Open Source Research

Few realize how easy and effective open source research can be. I try to emphasize what a visit to the county courthouse can sometimes yield. One truly evil person running for county executive as a highly respected businessman went down in flames after we provided news reporters copies of his court settlement records with his ex-wife, who sued him for failing to provide court-ordered child support for their disabled son. Meanwhile, the father was living in a luxury condo with his new wife.

Another time, we flamed an oil company VP running for port commissioner. The local school district was suffering from a million dollar shortfall after the oil company property value was lowered. When we asked the county assessor how this happened, he said it was the result of reselling the company through an offshore holding company in the Caymans that the county lacked resources to investigate. The county treasurer complained to the Governor in an official letter detailing what had happened, and she gave us a copy of the file, which she noted is a public record we had a right to see.

Once I read the entire county budget in advance of hearings where the council was to explain why social and environmental programs were being cut, and handed out evidence of tax evasion through zoning manipulation and favoritism—with names of big shots who were sitting in the audience. People literally read from our flyer into the public record in front of newspaper, television and radio reporters.

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~ by Jay Taber on June 28, 2008.

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