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'The Rachel Maddow Show' for Friday, May 9th, 2014

Read the transcript to the Friday show

May 9, 2014

Guests: Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Steven Becker

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: .. tonight, one which involves a little bit of
Monty Python and a tiny, tiny, tiny little bit of Mitt Romney. I`m sorry.
But here we go. If you had the power of time travel and you could go
anywhere and be anyone at any time in history, I would recommend against
you deciding to be a woman in Salem, Massachusetts in roughly 1692 because
from 1692 to 1693 in Salem, Massachusetts, Salem, Massachusetts went
completely nuts. That community went into a panic over the fear of
witchcraft. They put more than 200 people on trial, the Salem witch
trials, right, for being witches. A significant proportion of the people
who they put on trial ended up getting drowned or burned at the stake or
hanged, et cetera. No, I was not there, and neither were you, but I think
it is fair to assert that Salem, Massachusetts did not actually have an
infestation of witches. What Salem, Massachusetts had was a really
unfortunate panic about a civic hysteria, and to remind us of that, we as
Americans have this really commonly used idiomatic phrase, in modern
American English, which is the phrase witch hunt.

We all know that if there`s a witch hunt under way, it is not like saying
rabbit hunt or bear hunt or manhunt, it doesn`t imply that there`s actually
a witch out there, and that is the person for whom you legitimately are
hunting. The whole idea of a witch hunt is that there isn`t really a
witch. There`s a self-serving exercise underway that`s maybe using the
fearful specter of a witch, but that`s just being used to excuse your own
self-serving hysteria. That`s what witch hunt means. And everybody knows
that. This is not an obscure thing, right? It`s not about witches,
paranoid self-serving group hysteria, right? We are all clear on this.
This is not an obscure idiom. This is an everyday household word kind of
thing. We all get what witch hunt means, right? Right.


REP. PETE SESSIONS (R) - TEXAS: And then they would try and explain
themselves in such a way that they would blame our insistence upon getting
the truth as a political witch hunt. Mr. Speaker, that must mean that
there`s a witch somewhere.


MADDOW: Nope. Exactly the opposite of that. Nope. Congressman Pete
Sessions of Texas, that`s not what witch hunt means. If somebody says
witch hunt - that doesn`t mean, or, look there must be - doesn`t anybody
let Republican members of Congress at least watch "Monty Python?"


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We found a witch. May we burn her?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do you know she`s a witch?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She looks like one.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bring her forward.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am not a witch. I am not a witch.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you`re dressed as one.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They dressed me up like this. And this isn`t my
nose, it is a false one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, what would you do the nose.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But she`s a witch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you dress her up like this?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, yes. A bit. She has got a wart.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What makes you think she`s a witch?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, she turned me into a newt.




MADDOW: I got better. The whole point, the whole idea of the witch hunt
is that she is not really a witch, right? They weren`t really witches.
Witch hunts are not about - Congress Pete Sessions of Texas understands it
differently apparently.


SESSIONS: They would blame our insistence upon getting the truth as a
political witch hunt. Mr. Speaker, that must mean that there`s a witch


MADDOW: Well, Congressman Pete Sessions of Texas is talking about there
with the whole new interpretation of what the phrase witch hunt means. It
is the special select committee that the Republicans in the House have just
formed to do yet another investigation into the attacks in Libya in 2012,
which killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to that country.
Democrats have characterized Republicans` efforts to turn that tragedy into
political scandal, they have characterized those efforts as a witch hunt.
If Congressman Sessions` remarks are any indication of the broader
Republicans feeling about that, they apparently may not think a witch hunt
is such a bad idea. After all, must mean there`s witches.

I do have to say though right before he said that, right before he said if
there`s a witch hunt that must mean there`s a witch, Congressman Pete
Sessions said something else, right before that, on the same point which
bears scrutiny. You at least need to hear it, if only because maybe you
know what it means. After working really hard on this today, I am still at
a loss as to what he is talking about. Watch.


SESSIONS: Hiding the ball is one thing, deception is another. And this
administration has gone out of their way. They`ve lawyered up to make sure
that they could I think mislead Congress. Where they would make sure that
we really couldn`t ever get involved in anything but a goo ball, and then
they would try and explain themselves in such a way.


MADDOW: Wait, hold on. We couldn`t ever get involved in anything but a


SESSIONS: We really couldn`t ever get involved in anything but a goo ball.


MADDOW: Goo ball. What is Congressman Pete Sessions of Texas talking
about with the goo ball reference? Urban dictionary says it has something
to do with pot, I am quite sure that`s not what he meant. We`ve checked
with our Texas source to see if maybe goo ball is a Texas specific thing,
because he is from Texas, maybe it has to do with some Texas football thing
or something and this is an idiomatic phrase that comes up regularly in
Texan conversation that we`re just not used to hearing in Washington. No,
not as far as we can tell. We contacted Congressman Pete Sessions` office
today and asked if they know what he means and if they would share it with
us, again, the phrase?


SESSIONS: We really couldn`t ever get involved in anything but a goo ball.


MADDOW: Congressman Sessions` office told us today that the Congressman
was already traveling on his way home, so they couldn`t ask him directly,
but they said they have not heard him use the word goo ball before. They
said goo ball is not a regular part of his vocabulary as far as they
remember. They guesses that maybe what he meant when he said it was
gooball, was maybe something more like the world "mess."


SESSIONS: Anything but a goo ball.


MADDOW: So, in the middle of this level of discourse about this special
select committee investigation in the House, there is a really interesting
question - a really interesting strategic question on the Democratic side,
and the Democrats right now are having a hard time figuring it out.
Republicans have formed this committee, Democrats think it is nonsense what
they`re doing and the way they`re trying to do it. Should Democrats ignore
the whole goo ball, should they ignore the whole thing, boycott
participating in it, or should the Democrats take part so there`s at least
a chance that hearings from this committee being something other than what
Kevin Drum today called a made for Fox News channel extravaganza.

And interestingly, there`s a pretty direct precedent for this hard decision
in the not too recent past. September 15, 2005, that was 17 days after
Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. And President George W. Bush that night
did his famous no tie, no suit jacket, long walk to the podium, I take
responsibility, apologetic address to the nation about how the government
had failed in its response to Hurricane Katrina, leading to over 1800
American deaths.

At that time, in 2005, both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House were under
the control of the Republican Party, and on the day that President Bush
gave that address in New Orleans, at home in Washington, Republicans in the
House voted to create a special select committee to investigate the
preparation for and response to Hurricane Katrina.

The Republicans would not only chair that committee, they would have the
most seats on that committee, they would control the subpoena power for the
committee, they would handle the questioning of the witnesses and the
overall report of the committee. By the way, that`s exactly what the
Republicans are offering right now in this Benghazi select committee.

But in 2005 when faced with that prospect as the official government
investigation into what went wrong with the government response to
Hurricane Katrina, Democrats seeing that`s what Republicans wanted to do,
they said no way, they said, we are not participating in that. They said
the investigation into Katrina should be a non-partisan investigation
independent of the government. They said it should be modeled on the
independent 9/11 commission, which had such a big impact. They said it
should be taken out of the hands of the Republican Congress. And when the
Republicans in Congress said no, the Democrats walked. Watch Nancy Pelosi
here in this clip explaining the Democrats` position on the time. Watch
what she says about Democrats voting their conscience on the issue and what
she says their conscience will tell them to do.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And what are your expectations for other Democrats,
are you encouraging them one way or another on this vote or you- kind of
let them vote.

NANCY PELOSI: They always vote their conscience, but they have to know
what the facts are in the legislation. So I never ask anybody not to vote
their conscience. And their conscience I think will tell them that the
legislation that the Republicans are putting forth today is a sham. They
call it bipartisan. The speaker appoints all of the members. It is not
evenly divided, it is unclear as to what the subpoena power would be. So,
I certainly would ask my colleagues not to support such a sham and I
believe that when they know the facts they will know that this is not how
to serve the interest of the people of the region. This is not a way to
find the truth. It is a way to give cover to the Republicans for the
failure of this administration in the immediate response to Katrina.


MADDOW: "They always vote their conscience. Their conscience I think will
tell them that this is a sham." That`s how Nancy Pelosi kept a reign on
her Democrats, right? This was 2005 and the Democrats polled out, but
Republicans went ahead with this thing anyway. And everybody knew that the
Democrats weren`t participating in it and that it was a Republican only
thing. And they did go ahead with it. And when that Republican only
report came out, it had precisely two sentences in the whole report about
how President George W. Bush did in responding to Katrina. This was their
verdict. In total, quote, "It does not appear the president received
adequate advice and council from senior disaster professionals." Also,
"Earlier presidential involvement might have resulted in a more effective
response." Other than that, though, he did a heck of a job. That was all
they said about him.

And so that is sort of the immediate precedent for the Democrats` own
decision right now about whether or not to participate in what they also
believe is another sham partisan Republican inquiry in the form of this
latest select committee that the House just formed. Nobody took the
Republican only select committee investigation into Katrina seriously.
Nobody remembers its weird whitewash of the president doing absolutely
nothing wrong because nobody paid attention to the report. The Democrats`
strategy of boycotting Republican investigations that they consider to be a
sham in that case quite successfully marginalized that investigation. On
the other hand, there`s Darrell Issa and Elijah Cummings, which is a
totally, totally different tactical example. As chairman of a key
oversight committee right now, Republican Congressman Darrell Issa has
launched hearing after hearing after hearing and investigation after
investigation after investigation, all of which the Democrats think are
shams. And one of the ways they have made their strongest case that
Darrell Issa isn`t really investigating anything, he is just grand standing
and doing so in a way that`s partisan and pointless, and classless.

One of the ways Democrats have expressed that about Darrell Issa is by
having the ranking Democrat on that committee, Elijah Cummings, say that at
all of the committee hearings. Having Elijah Cummings in the hearing room
has been a critical way that Democrats have made their case that Darrell
Issa in their view is a clown and that his supposed investigations should
not be taken seriously.


REP. DARRELL ISSA (R) - CA: Ladies and gentlemen, seeking the truth is the
obligation of this committee. I can see no point in going further. I have
no expectation that Miss Lerner will cooperate with this committee and
therefore we .

REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS, (D), MARYLAND: Mr. Chairman, Mr. Chairman, I have a
statement. I have a procedural question, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, I
have a procedural question. Mr. Chairman, you cannot run a committee like
this. You just cannot do this. This is - we are better than that as a
country. We are better than that as a committee. I have asked for a few
minutes to .

And now you`re turning me off. (INAUDIBLE). The fact is that I am asking
the question. I`m the ranking member of this committee and I wanted to ask
a question. For the past year, the central Republican accusation in this
investigation .

ISSA: We are adjourned. Close it down.

CUMMINGS: . collusion directed by or on behalf of the White House.

Before our committee revealed a single document.

ISSA: Thank you. Where`s the question?

CUMMINGS: But I - if you will sit down and allow me to ask the question, I
am a member of the Congress of the United States of America. I am tired of

ISSA: Well .

CUMMINGS: We have members over here, each who represent 700,000 people.
You cannot just have a one sided investigation. There is absolutely
something wrong with that, and this is absolutely un-American.


MADDOW: Congressman Darrell Issa later had to apologize for his behavior
toward Elijah Cummings, his now infamous cut his mike gesture. But that is
just one example of how it has been advantageous to the Democrats to have
Elijah Cummings in that room, to be participating in this Darrell Issa
investigations that they think are ridiculous, if only so they can say on
camera in front of everybody and on the record as part of those
investigations, hey, we think this is ridiculous. This is nuts. What
you`re doing here is not real oversight, what you`re doing here is wrong
and let me tell you how.

So those two examples. Which of those two tactics should the Democrats
choose now? Should they boycott the way did with the Katrina report or
should they Elijah Cummings this, and make sure they`ve always got a
Democrat in the room? The special select committee on Benghazi was
announced last week. Today, the Republicans rolled out their Republican
membership on the committee. Democrats so far haven`t said if they will
participate at all. Should they name five Democrats to the seats that
Republicans are giving them on that committee, the Republicans have seven
seats, the Democrats will have five seats and essentially no power? Should
they put five Democrats in those five seats? Should they boycott the whole
enterprise, and say we are not participating in this sham or is there a
third way?

Congressman Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut today suggested there might be a
third way, sort of splitting the difference between the two tactics. She
said the Democrats shouldn`t fill the seats the Republicans are giving them
on the committee, they should simply send one person, one Democratic member
of Congress to be up there to speak up in that Elijah Cummings blow the
whistle role on what`s going on in that hearing room.

Also to get access to the documents and the subpoenas that the committee is
surely going to issue and obtain. Which tactic should the Democrats choose
with this new select committee? If you were a Democrat in Congress, what
would you do?



SESSIONS: Hiding the ball is one thing. Deception is another. And this
administration has gone out of their way. They`ve lawyered up to make sure
that they could I think mislead Congress. Where they would make sure that
we really couldn`t ever get involved in anything, but a goo ball.


MADDOW: The Congressman Pete Sessions of Texas speaking about the special
select committee into Benghazi. Mr. Sessions also said that he resented
that Democrats were considering this a political witch hunt. Well, Mr.
Speaker, he said, that must mean there`s a witch somewhere. The whole idea
of the witch hunt getting very confused in this fight. But right now
Democrats are having to decide if they`re going to participate in what the
Republicans are doing with the special select committee or whether they
will as they have in the past on other select committees, whether they`re
going to boycott this enterprise. Joining us now, is Congresswoman Debbie
Wasserman-Schultz of Florida. She, of course, is chair of the Democratic
National Committee and she`s a member of the State and Foreign Operations
Committee. Congresswoman, thanks very much for being here. It`s nice to
see you.

too, thanks, Rachel.

MADDOW: So, not just as a member of Congress, but as chair of the
committee, do you think that Democrats should participate in what the
Republicans are doing with this select committee?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: You know, the more we`ve spent time on this today, the
more we`ve discussed it, the more I`ve had a chance to see that the
Republicans` proposal is for us not to have any consultation on subpoena
power, not even to be guaranteed to be able to be in the room when
witnesses are interviewed. I mean, that`s how imbalanced and farcical this
process is going to be. I`m really leaning more towards that we shouldn`t
legitimize or lend our credibility to a committee or a process that is
really as transparent as they come when it comes to what it really is
trying to do is gin up their base and make sure that they can use it as a
turn out machine. Because reality is, Rachel, they`ve lost the ACA as a
really white hot issue that gets their base fired up because the Affordable
Care Act is working. You have got 8 million people who signed up. They`ve
dropped about 20 points among their own partisans now, as far as that being
an issue that really drives them. Cliven Bundy kind of blew up in their
face, they thought that was something they would latch onto for a while.

So, now they have got to go back to Benghazi. And it is not going to be a
credible process. It`s not going to be fair, but leader Pelosi did give
the speaker another opportunity by sending him a letter today, asking him
to sit down with her, which he previously agreed to do, to try to see if
they can work something out and make sure that if you`re going to have a
select committee that the process be fair.

MADDOW: It seems to me that what you just said about the way that the
Republicans are trying to use this to excite their base, to drive turn out,
maybe, for the midterms among their most fervent supporters, people who get
fired up about this issue in a partisan way, it seems to me that that`s now
cooked, that`s now going to happen. They`re going to do this committee,
with or without the Democrats, they are going to use it that way. I think
Kevin Drum today was right when he described it as a made for Fox News
extravaganza. Given that it`s going to happen anyway, is there some value
to having anywhere between one and five Democrats in the room every time
there`s a hearing to put a different perspective into it, to maybe
interfere with the kinds of stuff that they have been trying to float on
Fox about this tragedy that the Democrats believe aren`t true?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: In our caucus meeting this morning on this topic there
were credible cases made on both sides. There were members that felt very
strongly that our participation would simply lend a farcical process that
was pure partisan, a political ploy, the credibility that it didn`t
deserve. And there was an effective case which could argue that we should
make sure that we show up. You`re right. Elijah Cummings has done a
remarkable job at making sure that the minority`s voice, the Democratic
voice, is a part of that ridiculous process that Darrell Issa presides
over. And by the way, I don`t know if this is something you`ve had a
chance to look at or talk about, Rachel, but even Buck McKeon, the chairman
of the Armed Services Committee, criticized Darrell Issa. There`s really a
civil war going on in the Republican Party over this now. Buck McKeon
criticized Darrell Issa for the last brigadier general that he had testify
on Benghazi because he said no new information came up. I mean that`s the
whole problem. They are totally using this and creating this select
committee so that they can drag it out, shine, you know, shine more
attention on it, get their base fired up, because they don`t have any other
issue left to really do that because they`ve lost them.

MADDOW: I get that that is why they`re doing it. That`s also how I see
it. How you guys are going to try to stop them from doing that remains to
be seen and I guess we`ll know when leader Pelosi announces the decision on
that membership. I think it is a really interesting open question. Thank
you for helping us understand it. I really appreciate it.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Thanks, no problem, Rachel.

MADDOW: Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, obviously,
chair of the Democratic National Committee.

OK, we`ve got lots more to come tonight, including a very, very excellent
Debunction Junction. Stay with us.


MADDOW: You know that TV show "30 Rock"? That`s where we work here on
MSNBC. Even if this job sucked, which it emphatically does not, the sheer
fact that the job takes place at "30 Rock" would make it not suck. One of
the things that`s suddenly really relevant about working at 30 Rock is that
30 Rock is right across the street from the historic Radio City Music Hall.
And right now, Radio City Music Hall is where the NFL draft is going on and
has been for two days. It`s quite literally right outside our windows.
Like if I angle that over my own desk and yelled go Patriots, there`s a
real chance I could start a riot in the streets right below my window.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let`s go Cowboys!

MADDOW: The pro-football draft is where football teams select their new
players for the upcoming season. It is basically the loudest and most
celebrated human resources event of all time. But even if you do not give
a ten hut hike about the NFL or its really loud and over the top draft,
there is something about that spectacle that urgently needs debunking.
That needs debunking. And a few other things need debunking, and
Debunction Junction, special Friday edition is straight ahead. Stay with



LOREN PARKS: (INAUDIBLE) about being fat and the same that women. Because
that`s where I have the experience. I don`t have the experience with men.
Maybe (INAUDIBLE). I don`t know. But at any rate, there are a multitude
of reasons why women are fat. Long time ago, back in the `80s, when I was
doing large groups of people, and using any amount of finger signaling, we
came up with a bunch of reasons the women who were overweight gave for
their being fat. You would be surprised at what some of them were. But
I`ll tell you this.


MADDOW: You know what, actually don`t.


MADDOW: Don`t tell me. That`s a man named Loren Parks, who Mother Jones
set a feature on this week, as the biggest political donor in the history
of the state of Oregon. He is currently focusing his zillions on trying to
defeat Oregon Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley, who`s up for re-election
this year. Mr. Parks in addition to spending gazillions on Oregon
politics, in his spare time, he is also a sex hypnotherapist who says he
can cure you of the trauma of being raped, but not if you`re getting too
much mileage out of that trauma and enjoying your status as a rape victim.
Also, he says he knows why women are the weight that they are because he
can tell through their idio-motor finger signaling.


PARKS: Using idio motor finger signaling .


MADDOW: So, Mr. Loren Parks, he is apparently the conservative zillionaire
that Oregon has all up in its politics these days, hypnotherapy and all.
We have also featured on this show the actions of Idaho`s conservative
zillionaire, who`s all up in that state`s politics. His name is Frank
VanderSloot. He got so mad when we covered him. The other day, the
conservative zillionaire from Missouri, Rex Sinquefield, he had his day in
the sun when Missouri adopted the tax plan that he had been trying to
bankroll forever. Of course, there`s Art Pope in North Carolina, famously
he not long ago transitioned from just being the conservative zillionaire
funding all Republican politics in the state to actually being formally put
in charge of the state`s budget by North Carolina`s Republican governor.
And these guys aren`t the only ones, this is just a representative sample.
But as campaign finance laws have fallen apart, basically every state
across the country has started growing their own conservative activist
political zillionaire. These guys have used their basically unlimited
resources to overwhelm all the other money in politics in their states to
try to get their way on both candidates and on policy.

And the biggest ones of all, of course, are the richest ones of all, two of
the richest men on earth, who today confirmed to their plans
to spend at minimum $125 million in the next six months on this year`s
midterm elections. And I know to a certain extent, all big numbers sound
like just big numbers. But for perspective, what they are planning on
spending is a number that is larger than what is likely to be spent by any
of the campaign committees from the Republican Party or the Democratic
Party. They`re bigger than the parties. So yeah, sure, Oregon may have
its hypnotist, and North Carolina may have its Art Pope, but all of us, we
all have the Koch brothers. They`re so rich and they are spending so fast,
they`re single, double handedly, I guess, changing the scale of individual
rich guy influence in American politics for the whole country.

At the same time, though, the Koch brothers are not just America`s
conservative activist billionaires. They`re also home state conservative
activist billionaires in their home state. In the great state of Kansas,
Koch industries is headquartered in Kansas, and for all the influence that
the Kochs are exerting politically nationwide, in Kansas they`ve been
dealing with it in a much more concentrated form for much longer. When the
Kochs first came to national prominence as political donors on the
conservative side in 2010, the politicians who the Kochs were funding above
all others at that time was then senator, and now Kansas Governor Sam
Brownback. They also basically created from dust the congressional career
of Mike Pompeo, who represents the district where Koch industries is
headquartered and who worked for a Koch funded company before they
bankrolled his way to Washington.

The Kochs influence looms large everywhere now, coast to coast, but it
looms large in their home state of Kansas like it does nowhere else. When
Sam Brownback was about to be elected governor in 2010, Democrats warned,
quote, "If Sam becomes governor, I think essentially Koch industries will
have the key to the governor`s office." Once Mr. Brownback would become
governor, one Democratic political consultant told the "Kansas City Star,"
quote, "One should monitor future asks for the Kochs, everything that
benefits them."

One of the ways that Koch Industries makes its mountains of money is by
refining oil. And one of the legislative priorities for the now giant
national network of Koch related political groups is opposing alternative
sources of energy that are not oil. And here is the really interesting
thing about how that`s working out for them in their home state of Kansas.
They are asking for that in their home state of Kansas. But for whatever
reason, they can`t get it done there, at least not yet. Six times this
year, according to activists in the state, the Koch supported group
Americans for Prosperity and the Kansas Chamber of Commerce. They`ve been
able to get bills part of the way through the Kansas legislature that would
get rid of Kansas`s law, which says a small proportion of energy used in
the state has to come from renewable sources. Six times they`ve tried that
just in the past year. But with all their clout, and with Sam Brownback in
the governor`s office, and complete Republican control, as far as I can see
in Kansas, they can`t get it done. And first of all, that appears to be
because renewable energy is popular, it`s hard to demonize it. Second of
all, bottom line, Kansas has one of the biggest wind energy industries in
the nation. Wind power is a $2 billion industry in Kansas with 25,000 jobs
and counting. The world`s largest deal ever to build wind turbines will
get a lot of its parts assembled at a plant in Hutchinson, Kansas. That
district happens to be represented in the Kansas State House by a
Republican named Steve Becker.

But issues like that turn out really to matter in Kansas politics. Last
week, the Kansas legislature adjourned for the end of their session. At
the very last minute, the Koch brothers funded group tried again to get rid
of the wind power law. They lost again, the lost the very last part of the
session, they lost by three votes. Again, by the count of wind power
supporters in Kansas, this was the sixth time that the chamber of commerce
and the Koch brothers group Americans for prosperity lost on this issue in
just this one state in just this one session. But since that vote, that
last vote of the session, local reporters have been looking into the failed
campaign against wind power in Kansas, specifically they have been looking
into these scary postcards that were sent around the state, trying to scare
people, specifically trying to scare old people into thinking that wind
power is driving up Kansas electric bills. Kansas seniors are already
stressed. "Call your legislator now, and tell him to repeal the wind
mandate." The local press started looking into these postcards. What they
found at first was a mystery. The group that sent these postcards out was
founded just a couple of weeks ago. They are registered in their official
state papers to this Ana Dayan (ph) lawyer`s office in Topeka. The lawyer
at that office tells the "Topeka Capital Journal" that he registered the
group because Americans for Prosperity, AFP, engaged him to.

Americans for Prosperity and the Chamber of Commerce both said not us, we
didn`t send those postcards, this has nothing to do with us. But the head
of the new group that sent the postcards is the sister of the chairman of
the Chamber of Commerce. The group`s lobbyist is the former director of
AFP in Kansas, also a former Koch Industries lobbyist. And with all of
those connections piling up, and with the lawyer saying he registered the
group because Americans for prosperity asked him to, it took about two days
for reporters to figure it out. The head of the Koch brothers group in
Kansas finally admitted yes, yes, OK, in his personal capacity he helped
set up that new group. He says he did it on a personal level, not as AFP.
One of the Republicans who`ve been the target of the postcard said that
that explanation sounded "pretty bogus to him." He said "That`s just
further evidence of the kind of dark money campaigning that goes on in
Kansas politics these days." Well-funded special interest groups try to
hide behind sham organizations in order to try to influence the electorate.

The Koch brothers` networks for all of their influence in the Koch brothers
home state of Kansas, they have not been able to get Kansas to dump the
wind energy industry into the dirt. Maybe even in a state where they have
tons of influence, that`s because it is sort of too on the nose, right?
It`s too transparent for the oil refining company to be declaring war on
the sun, right? War on wind. But watch for this no matter what state you
live in. When they wanted to appear to be something other than some of the
richest men on earth shouting down from upon their pile of their oil
refinery money, shouting down, right? What turned up in people`s mailboxes
instead when they wanted to look like something that they aren`t, was this
plea, apparently from the elderly poor. It wasn`t the Koch brothers and
AFP and the Chamber of Commerce asking you to get rid of this popular
policy, it is scared and poor senior citizens. They represented themselves
that way in order to try to get rid of solar and wind power in Kansas.
They also represented themselves that way when they tried to get rid of
solar power in Arizona, too, with a Koch funded group in Arizona also
telling seniors that they are the ones who should really be afraid. Keep
an eye on your mailbox and the political ads in your town in these next few
months. It is not Halloween, but pretending to be a poor little old lady
is apparently a popular costume this year for some of the richest oil men
on earth.

Joining us now is Kansas State Representative Steven Becker. Mr. Becker is
a Republican. He`s a lawmaker whose district got a huge chunk of that
biggest ever contract for wind turbines. He voted to keep the wind power,
a law that the Koch brothers have been wanting to repeal. Mr. Becker,
thank you very much for being with us tonight. It`s nice to have you here.

STATE REP. STEVEN BECKER, (R) KANSAS: Rachel, thank you so much for your

MADDOW: How would you describe Koch Industries and the Koch brothers and
their various networks, their strategy for trying to influence your
legislature on issues like this? How do you feel the pressure, if you do?

BECKER: The pressure, there is pressure. You can feel it. It was my
understanding that one of the brothers was present in the statehouse when
we took one of the many votes you mentioned on this particular issue of
wind energy, that he was in the statehouse visiting personally with some of
my colleagues. He did not contact me. But the pressure is there. They
work, Americans for Prosperity works so closely in harness with our state
Chamber of Commerce and together they are a formidable team.

MADDOW: It is so hard for me to understand, think - looking at your
district, and understanding how big economically the wind industry is in
your district and around the state of Kansas, what an important driver of
jobs and economic growth wind has been in Kansas, it is hard for me to see
the chamber being able to make a clean decision that they ought to do
something that would so palpably hurt that big $2 billion industry in your
state. Is there something I don`t understand about how they square that?

BECKER: No. You raised the same question I do. I don`t understand it.
Kansas is ranked third in the nation in wind energy potential, and I have
come to believe that wind energy can drive our state economy. It is a
resource that we have to develop. And I echo what you just said. It is
pro-business, it`s pro-jobs, it is stimulating our economy and it is there
for the taking, and I can`t understand why we are to repeal these wind
development standards that we passed I think it was back in 2009. The Koch
brothers and Americans for Prosperity always argue for, or their argument
is that we need a free market system. A free market should determine where
our energy comes from. But I think that argument fails because in Kansas
we don`t have a free market when it comes to electricity. Consumers don`t
pick where they will get their electricity. They don`t pick from what
source their electricity comes from. There is no free market in
electricity in Kansas. It is controlled by our corporation commission. So
I think their argument for a free market fails. So it must be some other
reason that they would not want to promote wind energy.

MADDOW: Kansas State Representative Steven Becker. We talk about these
issues a lot in the national perspective, thinking about what it must be
like to be a state legislator. Getting this kind of pressure. To hear
your perspective on it, your lived experience, this is really valuable.
Thanks for helping us understand, sir. I appreciate you being here.

BECKER: Well, thank you very much for having me.

MADDOW: Thanks. Cheers. All right.

We have lots to come tonight including Debunktion Junction, a special
Friday edition. Stay with us.



MITT ROMNEY: The minimum wage. You say I am not in favor of the minimum
wage. I am in favor of the minimum wage. And you have yet to produce any
document, which says that I do not support the minimum wage.


ROMNEY: When will this end?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, let me stop this .


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me stop this right now.


MADDOW: When will this end? That was a young Mitt Romney when he was
running against Senator Ted Kennedy. When will this end? In 1994. Mr.
Romney lost. But that debate lives forever. And that position of his that
he was so mad about. That possession of his lived for a while. When Mr.
Romney ran for president in 2008, he was for the minimum wage and for
raising it. And then when Mr. Romney ran for president again in 2012, he
was also for the minimum wage and for raising it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) to talk about minimum wage and

ROMNEY: My view has been to allow the minimum wage to rise with the CPI,
or with another index so it adjusts automatically over time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you support that as president?

ROMNEY: I have already indicated that.


MADDOW: That was in January 2012, on a rope line somewhere, Mr. Romney was
trying to get the Republican nomination for president. The right
criticized him for saying that about the minimum wage. "The Wall Street
Journal" ran an editorial against him on the issue. "If Mr. Romney was
going to be the Republican Party nominee then the right did not want their
nominee thinking the minimum wage should go up. And so -- bingo. Mitt
Romney decided he no longer believed that. Look. After outcry from the
right, Romney reverses stance on minimum wage. And so he did.


ROMNEY: Right now there is probably not a need to raise the minimum wage.


MADDOW: So that was March. He was for it until people complained and then
he was against it. But now it turns out he is for it again.


ROMNEY: I, for instance, as you know, I part company with many of the
conservatives in my party on the issue of the minimum wage. I think we
ought to raise it. Because frankly, our party is all about more jobs, and
better pay. And I think, communicating that is, is important to us.


MADDOW: For people who want to raise the minimum wage, right now, Mr.
Romney`s latest position on this issue is sort of understandably
heartening. A, you know, a prominent Republican who agrees with us. But
honestly, a grain of salt here. Whether you do not like Mitt Romney`s
current position on the minimum wage or you do like it. Just wait a
minute. He is due to come around again the next time the wind changes. I
mean take support where you can get it, sure. But do not mistake agreeing
with someone with the impression that that person is an authority on the
subject who ought to be listened to because they have a principled
possession on the matter.


MADDOW: Debunktion Junction, what`s my function, special Friday edition.
All right, the first one. The official magazine of the "National
Geographic Society, which is called "National Geographic," they hold an
annual photo contest. You submit your photo. If you win, grand prize
winners, get some really excellent stuff. You get like tickets for a
cruise. You get to go on really fancy photo workshops with professional
photographers. They have an expedition to Alaska that they give away.
"National Geographic" is great. People send in great photos to this
contest. And it`s not for professionals. Anybody can enter this contest.
Almost anybody can enter this contest. People from certain places are
barred from entering this contest. You cannot participate in the contest
if you live in Cuba, Iran, Sudan, North Korea, or New Jersey. True or
false? People from New Jersey are banned from the "National Geographic"
travel photo contest? False. Actually. But just barely. New Jersey was
banned alongside Syria, Iran, Sudan and North Korea. But now New Jersey is
off the list. The reason all of these other countries were on the list is
because the United States sanctions them in one way or another. Because of
the sanctions, "National Geographic" couldn`t like send you cruise tickets
if you won. That would be illegal. For New Jersey, though, there are no
sanctions. It`s something different. On the "National Geographic" website
they explain that New Jersey law bans its residents from entering a skill
contest, which requires an entry fee. The law was originally put in place
to curb gambling. After some understandable constituent complaints about
the "National Geographic" contest, though, the legislature did vote to get
rid of the law. Chris Christie signed that bill in January. Meaning, New
Jersey residents are now allowed to enter contests as long as those contest
do not constitute illegal gambling. Cuba, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, and
New Jersey all barred by "National Geographic." (BUZZER) at one time. But
not anymore.

Also. For the last three days, it has been really loud in our offices
here. And, the reason is -- right outside our windows is where NFL fans
from all over the map have been gathering for the NFL draft. I want to
give a personal shout out to them because they`re cheering, chanting and
just insanity has made it almost impossible to do work in our offices for
the last two days. Because we work on our show all day. We do not pay too
much attention to the NFL draft. Can`t. But there was one player, one
perspective NFL star, which caused me at our show meeting in real life not
as part of this Debunktion Junction to ask, is there really someone named
HaHa, Clinton-Dix? Which leads us to this moment. True or false. There
was a guy who just got drafted by the NFL named HaHa Clinton Dix.

Yes. This is HaHa Clinton-Dix. And Ha-ha Clinton Dix is his name. So,
you think - I mean the guy is named HaHa Clinton-Dix. Do you think why
doesn`t a guy named Ha-ha Clinton Dix change his name? Wouldn`t it be easy
to go through life not named HaHa Clinton-Dix? Maybe. Or maybe HaHa
Clinton-Dix is daring you to make fun of his name by being named Ha-ha.
Look at him. Number six for the University of Alabama. Where they`re not
kidding ever about football. He played the position of safety for Alabama
as a freshman. He has a 33 inch vertical leap. If he ever thought about
tackling you or me. If he ever imagined doing that. You or I would
require hospitalization just from the thinking of it. If you ever dream
about making fun of HaHa Clinton Dix, you need to wake up and apologize
promptly. HaHa Clinton Dix was the 21st player picked in the first round.
He was picked by the Green Bay packers. And he is now everybody`s new
favorite player. It is a rule. Nobody laughs at HaHa. That does it for
us tonight. We will see you again Monday, in the meantime you have to
spend some .


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