Politicians are experiencing an increase in theft from their campaign funds, with cyber criminals targeting these massive campaign accounts. Plus, the US government has filed a lawsuit to stop Microsoft from becoming an even bigger monopoly. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio: Politicians are experiencing an increase in theft from their campaign funds with cyber criminals targeting these massive campaign accounts. Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins joins me to talk about it. Lot of money sitting there, huh? I mean, these big massive campaign accounts, it’s just kind of a new target. I mean, I expect, I expect this to get a lot worse.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. And that’s what the cybersecurity experts are telling us right now, because we have already seen a huge uptick in the amount of, or the number of politicians, I should say, that are reporting to the FEC, Hey, I don’t have receipts for these expenses because my account got hacked. Or they stole our checks. And it’s been increasing pretty much every single year for about a decade now. And the reason for that, I mean, it almost ties directly in with Citizens United, with McCutcheon.

Mike Papantonio: No question.

Farron Cousins: Because we have these huge super PACs that are, are literally some of them sitting on tens of millions of dollars. And the way it’s structured is you don’t have somebody sitting there every day watching expenses to know, wait a minute, this is a fraudulent $500 payment. This thousand dollars shouldn’t have gone here. And these cyber criminals have finally realized, this is the Wild West. Nobody’s looking over our shoulders. We can take what we want.

Mike Papantonio: It’s called blind stupid money. I mean, that’s what it is. It’s called blind. There’s so much money there, nobody’s really keeping up with it. In this story, they talk about, they talk about Matt Gaetz’s program, the National Association for Manufacturers. You remember the whole things with Black Life Matters, all that money disappeared because it’s impossible to keep up with it, I guess, or there’s no system to keep up with it. It’s kinda like that whole GoFundMe thing, which serves a really good purpose. It does a lot of good. But when you’re talking about money at this scale where you got people writing checks for a hundred thousand dollars and it’s just like fun money.

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: Right?

Farron Cousins: Well, yeah. And another part of it too is just the amount of money that comes in on a daily basis. You know, I mean, if we were talking about accounts where they had a set amount of money and they knew for six months, nothing more comes in. So we know where our balance is at.

Mike Papantonio: Mm-hmm.

Farron Cousins: Typically, you know, think of the average person’s bank account. You know how much money you have sitting in your checking account, you know how much comes in and how much goes out. With these accounts, we’re talking about transactions of thousands of dollars every single day of the week, whether it’s money coming in, or money going out, plane tickets, electronics, liquor stores. And those are all things that cyber criminals will steal your money and buy so it doesn’t raise suspicion. And they figured it out.

Mike Papantonio: Well, one thing. Yeah. One thing they’re doing is they’re copying, they’re forging checks.

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: They’re doing prints of checks. They’ll take a legitimate check, run it through a machine, it looks exactly like the check. And so they’re forging these images. That’s, that’s one of the real popular ones because these checks, you know, checkbooks are laying around. It’s just the disorganization is almost overwhelming.

Mike Papantonio: The US government’s filed a lawsuit to stop Microsoft from becoming an even bigger monopoly. About time, would you say?

Farron Cousins: It, it’s long overdue. And, and ironically what it took was Microsoft trying to buy the video game, video game company, Activision Blizzard.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: And, and of course we see the monopoly problems with that. It’s, it’s almost shocking that Microsoft even had the audacity to say, we’re gonna do this because who’s gonna stop us?

Mike Papantonio: We’re gonna do this because we can.

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: Basically there’s, we don’t have a, we don’t have a government entity because now, now when you look in the back, you look at really behind this story, you’re seeing that the very people who are supposed to be regulating them have come from the tech industry. They’ve come from Microsoft. So what we see is, you know, the tech companies are simply, it’s a revolving door. You move from the tech company to regulatory and nothing ever happens. I mean, whether you’re dealing with antitrust issues, mono, monopoly issues like, it doesn’t make any difference because they all come from the industry. The same thing and I can’t, I can’t say this enough time, the movie Dopesick. Now, as you know, we started the, we started the opioid case right here in this lawsuit. That, that was the national opioid case that we started right here. And it, I was, I was hesitant to watch Dopesick because I didn’t think it would, I don’t, I always think they don’t get it right.

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: This movie got it right. But the most important thing that they said is they told the story how the FDA was responsible for thousands of deaths all over this country, all over the world. The FDA made the decision that, hey, we’re gonna let this happen. And the person who made the decision for the FDA who told the doctors that the opioid was less than 1% addiction problem, after he did that, you know, where he went to work, he went to work for Purdue. The people who manufactured the product. Went to work for the Sackler family, the people who were responsible for thousands, hundreds of thousands of deaths. And so, it’s just that revolving door thing, man. It just never changes. We, we, I say it all the time, the FDA is completely dysfunctional, utterly dysfunctional. And when you watch Dopesick, you’ll see as, as you’re, as I’m watching that, I’m almost, I’m feeling like I’m living through it because I took, I took the depositions in that.

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: I mean, you know, I was there in the middle of it taking the deposition, asking these questions, and they really get it right. And you’ll go, you’ll get so angry, Farron, when you watch how government entities were captured by the industry.

Farron Cousins: And, and with this particular suit here, which again, kind of shocked they’re even doing it at the FTC, but good for them.

Mike Papantonio: Mm-hmm.

Farron Cousins: It, it, it’s reminiscent, just so people kind of understand what we’re looking at, back in the good old days where you had the movie theaters owned by the movie companies.

Mike Papantonio: Mm-hmm.

Farron Cousins: And they would say, our movies can only show in our theaters. Our theaters can only show our movies. Big lawsuit obviously broke up those monopolies. And that’s the exact same thing thing here with Microsoft who makes Xbox trying to buy the video game company. You can’t own the platform and the content and everything else under the sun. So to me this seems like a fairly easy lawsuit. The government should be able to win.

Mike Papantonio: It, it won’t.

Farron Cousins: They’ll put the dumbest lawyers they have on it so, so they lose.

Mike Papantonio: It’s not, the problem I, I’ve, I’ve come to the conclusion after reading, because I’ve always been so troubled by what in the hell is wrong with the Department of Justice. What’s happened with our governmental prosecutors? And the truth is, the best trial lawyers coming out of law school, they’re not going to government work anymore. They’re going into private industry. And so you have kind of the, I, I call it the, the pencil pusher nerds. The people who were top of their class where it came to writing and they, you know, they’re great, they’re great on memos and they did make great grades. They graduated at the top, you know, 1% of their class. But the, those aren’t the people that you want going to trial. And unfortunately that’s what’s happened with I think a lot of these governmental agencies. Farron, thanks for joining me. Okay.

Farron Cousins: Thank you.

Mike Papantonio: That’s all for this week, but all of these segments are gonna be available this coming week right here on this channel. And you can follow us on Twitter @AmericasLawyer. I’m Mike Papantonio and this has been America’s Lawyer, where we tell you the stories that corporate media won’t tell you because they’re advertisers don’t allow ’em to tell the stories or their political connections are so tribal that it, they won’t allow for it. And hopefully we’ll see you next time.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.