Monday, March 23, 2009

Wasinger campaign workers, contributors are behind KS-01 and Boldra hit blog

When I started my blog, I began with just a quick google search of Rob Wasinger. I didn't know who he was or even where he was from, so I wanted to know more about him. Quite honestly, someone from Sen. Brownback's office didn't seem like they could be that bad to me.

Combining his name with Sam Brownback turned up many different results. One was a March 2008 press release from the McCain campaign naming their Catholics for McCain committee. Wasinger was named to the Steering Committee. I made note of it at the time because the release was from March 2008 and listed his home as Virginia, not Kansas.

I also did a Newsbank search for Rob Wasinger. That turned up some very interesting quotes in his position on the Catholics for McCain Committee, but not much else.

It was about that time a Google News search returned a Hutchinson News article about Wasinger and his recent move back to Hays. I also got more information from Dirt Diver Kansas and the Kansas Jackass about where exactly he lived. Before that time I knew he lived in Virginia, but not much else.

I also did a public search of Rob's voting history and found he had only voted once in Kansas, this past November. That was when I decided that while he may have worked for Sen. Brownback, he was clearly being an opportunist in moving back to Kansas just to run for public office.

At the same time, anonymous comments began appearing that claimed Wasinger had received this endorsement or that endorsement. I searched his site and could find no such evidence. I put up a post asking for evidence. Then I did a google search of "Wasinger, Pavone endorsement" and it returned a Facebook group page for Wasinger's campaign, with word for word endorsements that I had found anonymously on my blog.

They read like press releases, but they were no where to be found on Wasinger's website. The creator of the group was Billy Valentine from Franciscan University. Another quick search told me the university was located in Steubenville, Ohio.

This explains the mysterious endorsements that Wasinger would never acknowledge publicly and yet were thrown around as if they were fact. To those making the comments, they were indeed a fact, because they were involved with the Wasinger campaign.

I continued with a google search of "Valentine, Wasinger" and that returned the same Catholics for McCain page I mentioned above. Billy Valentine was on the Catholic Students for McCain committee. It also returned a result that showed Valentine was National Chairman of Students for Brownback.

A review of Wasinger's Jan. 30, 2009 campaign finance report showed a $250 contribution from Valentine. There was also a $250 donation from a Steven Valentine, a lawyer in Alexandria, VA.

Finally, the search returned a blog that Valentine wrote on frequently and was run by Franciscan University students. Steven Valentine was also listed as a contributor to the now defunct blog.

Before I go any further, there should be a discussion of the abilities and the limitations of IP address tracking.

I use a service that gathers web stats and individual hits. I pay extra for the service to give me additional information about my visitors. Part of that gathers their IP address and tells me where they are located.

The IP address that is gathered isn't from an individual computer as one might think. Actually, your internet service provider has a group of IP addresses that they use for a certain area, and an IP search will return that group of addresses rather than one specific address. So, that can be a limiting factor.

For example, when the Kansas Jackass visits and leaves a message, I can match up the time of his comment with the time of a hit that left a comment in my service. Even though he is located in Osage City, his IP tracks to Carbondale, according to my web service. That's because the internet service provider he uses has a set of IP addresses that they use for Osage City, Carbondale and Baldwin City. So if you go to another website that tracks IP addresses, some will return Carbondale, but others will return Osage City and another may return Baldwin City.

However, because that set of IP addresses is specific to those three cities, no other location will be returned besides those three cities. So, knowing an IP address can narrow a search considerably, if it's in the right area. Knowing a comment came from Kansas City or Wichita, that doesn't help as much. Knowing a comment came from Hoxie, that narrows things down considerably.

Fortunately, the locations for the IP hits I've gotten are not hard to decipher at all.

I began to receive numerous hits from an IP that resolved to Wierton, WV. That was very curious as I couldn't find any connections between Rob and West Virginia. Then I remembered the limitations of IP address tracking and sought out another site where I put in the IP address manually to find where it resolved to. My second search returned Steubenville, Ohio, just across the river from Wierton.

February 13th was an interesting day. I had posted a commentary the night before unrelated to the first district campaign, so I was rather surprised when it was chosen to attack Sen. Huelskamp rather than something I had written specifically regarding the campaign.

In any case, the barrage of comments gave me a wealth of information about where Wasinger's support was coming from.

Many of the comments were from Ohio. (The tagging of "Billy Valentine" is mine)

Another bulk of comments were from Massachusetts. These were perhaps the most devious while the others were just rather immature.

A smaller bulk were from Virginia and DC. One even came from the US Senate.

Interestingly enough, all of the comments were preceded by a visit from Rural Telephone Company in Hays. I would imagine not many people from Hays, Kansas use the Google Chrome browser, and even fewer still would visit this blog and then have a barrage of out-of-state comments appear. But, I could be wrong. (Again, the tagging of "Rob Wasinger" is mine.)

However, the most interesting comment came from a Terry Schilling at the Steubenville IP address. Another quick search told me Terry was a former student body president at Franciscan and also had received over $2,000 as an intern to Sen. Brownback.

The comment was clearly left by mistake, using his real ID rather than switching to anonymous. The comment was deleted by Schilling who then systematically went about erasing any evidence he had ever been here. Unfortunately for Schilling, even though the comment was deleted, the fact that it was left can't be deleted.

So this lead to a whole new line of searches which
returned a copy of the Franciscan University school newspaper which identified seven Brownback interns during his Presidential campaign. One of them was Terry Schilling, another Billy Valentine. So, in reality, it could be any seven of them, or more likely, all of them.

I think in the end trying to nail down a specific person is pointless. Really, all that has to be done is to show the connections between these students, Rob Wasinger and the attack comments left here. So much for a clean campaign.

A bit of humor for you. This line of searches also returned the same Franciscan University blog that I mentioned before. But Terry's name wasn't there. Instead he had changed it to "Manny Rivera" but somehow forgot that he had tagged his name on previous posts.

If you follow Manny's blogger profile, you'll get the same url in your address bar as following Terry Schilling's profile from his comment left here.

So it became quite apparent from the rants left here Feb. 13 that there was certainly a more coordinated effort going on. And the hit from Hays didn't seem to indicate it was unaffiliated with the Wasinger campaign.

Next up came the YouTube videos from the First District Meeting at Kansas Days. I previously wrote about those where I partially explained the connections between KSNBC-01 and the Wasinger campaign. You'll note not a one anonymous comment after that little story.

In essence, the YouTube videos are helpful because the link left as a comment here was immediately followed by me, allowing me to be the first to view the video. This means whoever made the video left the link, otherwise I couldn't have been the first to view it. The comment was left from Steubenville, Ohio. (Again, the tagging of "Billy Valentine/Terry Schilling" is mine)

Further, those who were at the First District meeting will know the angle of the video shows it was taken from the same place the Wasinger campaign stood and watched. So, the video somehow, mysteriously, found its way from the first district meeting to Ohio. Gee, I wonder how that happened?

Next up is the uncanny ability of information from campaign finance reports only available from the Kansas Secretary of State's office showing up on KSNBC-01.

Of course, the Ohio folks would have you believe this information was sent anonymously, via their oh-so-clever anonymous tips box. So let's think that through. First, we have KS-01 stating they'll put an anonymous comment box here. That was at 12:45pm on Feb. 25th. Then we have the hit story on KS-01 at 7:44pm the same day. Am I to believe that years of campaign finance reports were anonymously submitted to KS-01 through a tiny box and reformatted into this in a matter of seven hours? Am I really to believe the graphic didn't come directly from the Wasinger campaign?

If you had any doubts, then doubt no longer. A copy of a fund raising letter was put up on March 15. Am I also to believe that jpg and adobe files can be submitted through their tiny box?

And then there is Billy Valentine going on and saying pictures of Wasinger's children are on this blog. It's a bold face lie and is, of course, the same lie that was put up anonymously on KS-01 and not taken down. Is this where the Wasinger campaign is at? Telling flat out lies to try and win a congressional seat?

And finally, we arrive at the Boldra hit blog. As the only blog to link to the site, am I to believe they are not the ones behind it? We've seen some very prolific bloggers on the Wasinger campaign's staff. Am I to believe they are not the ones behind the shenanigans? After going on a national Republican blog and telling lies?

In the end it doesn't really matter which student is behind the two blogs, it only matters that the evidence overwhelmingly points to that group of students who have numerous ties to Rob Wasinger. In the end, all that has to be proven is that Rob is pulling the strings behind the scenes. Who's actually doing the dirty work doesn't really matter.

I think I'm beginning to understand why Sen. Brownback has refused to support Rob in his campaign. I can say with certainty it's the dirtiest campaign ever seen in Kansas history, and it's all due to the outside influence Rob has brought to the state to try and buy a House seat.

I don't think this will stop Rob or his out-of-state supporters. However, I think this does give Republican leaders in Kansas reason to pause when thinking about supporting Rob in his campaign. And in fact it already has, as Rob has yet to gain the endorsement of any group active in state politics. Are these the kind of actions you want to see in your Congressman? Many in Kansas politics are saying, "No thanks!"

So the next time you see Rob on the campaign trail, why not ask him about his KSNBC-01 blog and what has been published there. Ask him about his connections to Franciscan University and the prolific bloggers found there. Ask him if he can explain the amount of information that is finding it's way onto that blog with lightening speed. Ask him if he really meant it when he signed a clean campaign pledge or if he just signed it so he'd have cover while his out-of-state supporters did his bidding behind a thin veil of anonymity.

I doubt Rob will have many answers.


Anonymous said...

Great work. Glad to see there are some honest bloggers covering this race.

The boldra blog was actually run out of New York City, according to the gmail account they set up. Wasinger has several contributors from NYC. This is just pathetic.

Keep up the great work

Anonymous said...

I commend you on your investigation it was rather amusing to read. Although the only people who read these blogs are political folks. How many people you meet on the street of 1st district Kansas follow any political blog or for that matter how many people anywhere follow political blogs? This is a campaign that will be won in the streets w/ good old guerrilla marketing of whichever candidate. This blog non-sense will make no impact even though it is amusing.

farmerjoe said...

I don't know of anything that can be gleamed from a gmail account that would indicate who is behind it or where that person is from.

And I agree, to the average person this blogging stuff doesn't matter and won't matter in the end. However, the future campaign volunteers and Republican leaders are paying attention. And these kinds of dirty tricks and lies won't play well with them. Mr. Wasinger likes to pretend to be honest and upright in public, but in private he's playing every dirty trick he can, including claiming endorsements he's never received. It's something I don't think the Republican Party will ultimately tolerate.

Anonymous said...

Well said farmer joe. Wasinger and his runts are as sleazy as they come.

Anonymous said...


First of all, there is such a thing in this country as free speech.

Second, I think you may some some wrong information here.

Third, You are a total CREEP for going through all of that stuff.

- Dan said...

Wow. Great piece of investigative blogging.
I do believe political folks are paying attention and they will talk and the word will make it to the street.
This will not help Wasinger's campaign, but it was probably over anyway when Huelskamp received the Kansans for Life endorsement.

Jason said...

Very well done, sir, very well done!

Anonymous said...

Miss Anonymous finds this all to be very amusing. Cannibalize each other, boys! Be sure to leave nothing behind but teeth and cracked bones.


Anonymous said...

The comment section on Wasinger's blog is going nuts. I'm sure it sucks to be limited to their own blog now.

Anonymous said...

This is nothing. With Rob it will only get worse. Back during the KS Presidential caucus he used Brownback's campaign email list and flooded the list with slanderous attacks against Huck and Romney. Sent the emails off of Josh Lynch's computer...a former Brownback field worker hired by Wasinger for Iowa Pres operations. Its only a matter of time....

Anonymous said...

I've never seen a Congressional race won by hiding behind a computer screen taking cheap pot-shots at your opponent. This guy Wasinger is a rank amateur. Um, Rob, don't ya think you should actually get out and campaign once in a while? I can't believe he was put in charge of a Presidential campaign. There's a screw loose somewhere.

Anonymous said...

There was a "screw loose" in New Mexico once too.

What does that even mean?