[FoRK] Following Bill Gates' Linux Attack Money

Stephen D. Williams sdw
Thu Jun 30 19:08:41 PDT 2005


I'm not sure now how I found this, but it is interesting.  Fact 
checkers, go!
Melinda Gates on the board of the Post?  The queen has moved to take out 
the press...
And still, Linux/Unix (Solaris, OS X), Java, and Open Source grows 
faster, IE loses market share, and Microsoft looks worse...

http://lxer.com/module/newswire/view/38971/index.html

Following Bill Gates' Linux Attack Money
Posted by dave on Jun 29, 2005 1:08 PM
LXer; By Tom Adelstein
Score: barbarbarbar (17 votes; 88% positive)

The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth 
of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their 
democratic State itself. That in its essence, is Fascism - ownership of 
government by an individual, by a group or by any controlling private power.

In a letter to the Department of Justice addressing Microsoft's Proposed 
Final Judgment in their anti-trust case, a well-known consumer advocate 
wrote:

    "The agreement should require that this information 
(interoperability) be as freely available as possible, with a high 
burden on Microsoft to justify secrecy. Indeed, there is ample evidence 
that Microsoft is focused on strategies to cripple the free software 
movement, which it publicly considers an important competitive threat. 
This is particularly true for software developed under the GNU Public 
License (GPL), which is used in GNU/Linux, the most important rival to 
Microsoft in the server market."(1)

In the same letter he writes, "One of Microsoft's high-level executives 
says (published) that freely distributed software code such as Linux 
could stifle innovation and that legislators need to understand the threat."

Little doubt exists that Microsoft has reached legislators. In Monday's 
article we discussed how a dispute in the House Ethics Committee has 
kept the members from meeting and considering House Majority Leader Tom 
DeLay's activities that could have ramifications for Microsoft. In 
making legislators aware of many issues, the Redmond company's financial 
reach may be part of why the committee has delayed their investigation. 
Perhaps everyone involved hopes that a delay will allow the heat to pass 
on this and other issues.

What we did not discuss on Monday, however, was the possibility that the 
committee could remain deadlocked for other reasons. Such reasons could 
involve additional payments which Preston Gates may have some difficulty 
explaining. Should the ethics committee meet, some democrats could face 
similar problems for Tom DeLay. According to the the Washington Post, 
other names are beginning to surface, including both House and Senate 
members. Names discussed in the article include Thomas A. Daschle (S.D.) 
and Harry M. Reid (Nev.), Richard A. Gephardt (Mo.), Sen. Conrad Burns 
(R-Mont.), Patrick J. Kennedy (D-R.I.), Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.) and 
Byron L. Dorgan (N.D.).

While you might find the Washington Post's work admirable, there are 
some subtle changes in their reporting that grabbed my attention. For 
example, a switch has occurred in naming Jack Abramoff's employer. In 
our previous discussion, we referenced a washington Post story that said 
that Abramoff worked for Preston Gates. Even the Seattle Times wrote an 
article focused on Preston Gates' potential problems. For example, in a 
discussion of one of the firm's clients the article states:

    ...a California lawmaker recently urged a separate investigation 
into how the firm billed the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana 
Islands after the auditor there reported the commonwealth "may have paid 
too much for services of Preston Gates. ... " Abramoff was the lead 
lobbyist.

Since the April article, the Washington Post has stopped inquiring into 
Preston Gates activities with regard to improper finances. Back on April 
24th, the Washington Post mentioned Preston Gates eight separate times 
while relating to Mr. DeLay's potential ethics violations. The Post 
never mentioned Greenberg Traurig in that article. In the June 3rd 
article, Greenberg Traurig gets six mentions and Preston Gates receives 
no mention at all.

Previously, Abramoff charged expenses to a credit card billed to Preston 
Gates, and the Post stated that. Now, Abramoff's connections while at 
Greenberg Traurig have become the focus of the Post's attention. Yet, 
the questionable ethics violations supposedly happened while Abramoff 
worked for Preston Gates and it was their problem.
Surprise

Does it surprise you that Melinda French Gates holds a seat on the Board 
of the Washington Post Co.? You can see a listing of the Board here. You 
might also notice one bridge partner sitting on that board.

Some people believe the seat of power in Washington, D.C. resides at the 
headquarters of the Washington Post. Certainly, membership on the Post's 
board would require a position of prominence in the world. Perhaps some 
people might wonder what Melinda Gates has accomplished to put her in 
such a seat of power.

We can forget Melinda Gates position for a little while. We just want to 
establish the fact that she's there in a position of some power. We also 
want to mention the possibility that some relationship exists between 
Preston Gates and Microsoft's largest shareholders.

Here's another piece that might fit something in the puzzle. Charles 
Cooper wrote a short article in his C/Net News.com blog about the DeLay 
Abramoff and possible Microsoft connection. He wrote:

    ... what piqued my interest was the tidbit that the (Tom DeLay) 
flight invoice listed Preston Gates & Ellis, the firm that then employed 
Abramoff as a lobbyist. Computer history buffs will recall that Preston 
Gates & Ellis was co-founded by William H. Gates, Sr., the father of 
Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

    I point that out because only last week the New York Times reported 
that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation had contributed a substantial 
sums to the DeLay Foundation for Kids since 2001.

For more information on the Gates contribution, see this hyperlink.
Where the Money Goes

Let's begin to make some sense of Microsoft's puzzling maze of 
influence. We'll only travel a short distance before seeing multiple 
paths on which we can travel. Regardless of the path we take, Microsoft 
has paved it with money.

First, let's get a little glimpse of the firm of Preston Gates & Ellis 
from the Seattle Times article mentioned above:

    Preston Gates traces its roots to Harold Preston, who arrived in 
Seattle from Iowa in 1883 and started a solo law practice. Civic 
activist Jim Ellis joined in 1949. The firm of William H. Gates Sr., 
father of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, merged with Preston in 1990.

    In 1973, the firm opened its Washington, D.C., office, including on 
its nameplate former Democratic Congressman Lloyd Meeds, who represented 
northwest Washington from 1965 to 1979, and Emanuel Rouvelas, former 
counsel to the Senate Commerce Committee.

As I mentioned Monday, getting William Gates Sr. together with Preston, 
Microsoft suddenly had an organization that looked like a law firm and 
not the legal department of Microsoft. The office in Washington, D.C. 
offered Microsoft and the Business Software Alliance a new way to reach 
out and affect government policy.

In Figure 1, you can see an excerpt from a lobbyist filing form showing 
Preston Gates & Ellis et al registered as lobbyists for the Business 
Software Alliance. Many such forms exist in the database at 
http://sopr.senate.gov. We can now ask some questions we would hope our 
legislators might ask. Who paid Preston Gates to lobby on behalf of the 
BSA? From where did the funds come? What did Preston Gates do? Doesn't 
the BSA have a staff of its own lobbyists? What do the BSA lobbyists do?

Figure 1 - Excerpt of Lobbyist Registration for Showing BSA as Preston 
Gates client

In Figure 2, you we can see another excerpt of a registration document 
showing that Preston Gates & Ellis also lobbies for Microsoft. In Figure 
2 we can also see some of the issues that the lobbyists handled for 
Microsoft, who also has their own in-house lobbyists.

Figure 2 - Excerpt of Lobbyist Registration for Showing Microsoft as 
Preston Gates client

In Figure 3, you can see the results of a query in the US Senate's 
lobbyist registration database. Preston Gates & Ellis has worked with 
the BSA for several years. Each link takes you to pages of information, 
names of lobbyists, expenses, issues on which the lobbyists work and 
updates when personnel rotate to other projects.

Figure 3 - An Example Query from which You Can Find Raw Lobbying Information

In Figure 4 you can see another excerpt of one of the registration forms 
found in the Senate lobbyist database. This excerpt appears to tell us 
that Jack Abramoff did work as a lobbyist for the BSA while at Preston 
Gates. While the Washington Post has started steering away from Preston 
Gates & Ellis, the information on this registration form should lead 
someone to look into or inquire about Abramoff's activities connected 
with the BSA.

Figure 4 - Excerpt from Registration Statement Showing Abramoff as a 
Lobbyist Working with the BSA

As one begins to examine the relationship among the BSA, Microsoft and 
Preston Gates & Ellis, perhaps a pattern emerges. One would want to take 
care before calling them interlocking companies or alter-egos. Still, 
consider the fact that the BSA enforces licensing for Microsoft. Some 
allegations exist that say the BSA waives penalties for non-compliant 
companies if those companies buy upgrades from Microsoft. We do not know 
if the BSA has that power. One would want to find out.

Additionally, profiles of firm members at Preston Gates & Ellis provide 
information saying that many members of the firm work for the BSA. Does 
that mean the BSA outsources personnel from Preston Gates & Ellis? To 
answer that, someone would have to inquire and examine the evidence and 
arrive at a factual determination. Understanding the relationships among 
the firms seems important in light of many unexplained situations.

The next two Figures will provide some insight into reasons one might 
believe that the three companies need examination. While circumstantial, 
the close relationships and inner workings could make one believe that 
not everything fits.

In Figure 5, one can see that the Chairman of the Senator Judiciary 
Committee received funds for re-election from Microsoft. This is the 
same Microsoft that the same the committee questioned with regard to the 
last Federal anti-trust settlement.

Figure 5 - Listing of Top Contributors to Patrick Leahy's campaign for 
the Senate in Vermont

In Figure 6, we excerpted two contributions and moved them into view of 
the camera. These contributions came from an earlier Senate race. Notice 
that both the BSA and Preston Gates & Ellis contributed to the Leahy 
campaign.

Figure 6 - Listing of Contributors to Patrick Leahy's campaign for the 
Senate in Vermont

Difficulties exist in following Microsoft's money trail because of the 
many sources of data. Additionally, the registration forms of many 
candidates, lobbyists, assistant, staff, etc. do not exist in digital 
formats. One cannot mine the data easily. One might consider this an 
ideal scenario for a monopolist whose compliance audits related to its 
settlement with the Department of Justice exist in secrecy.
Wag the Dog

In a statement written by Senator Leahy on December 12, 2001 entitled, 
"The Microsoft Settlement: A Look to the Future", he states:

    Our courts have developed a test for determining the effectiveness 
of a remedy in a Sherman Act case: The remedy must end the 
anticompetitive practices, it must deprive the wrongdoer of the fruits 
of the wrongdoing, and it must ensure that the illegality does not 
recur. The Tunney Act also requires that any settlement of such a case 
serve the public interest. These are all high standards, but they are 
reasonable ones. In this case, the D.C. Circuit, sitting en banc and 
writing unanimously, found that Microsoft had engaged in serious 
exclusionary practices, to the detriment of their competitors and, thus, 
to all consumers. Today, we must satisfy ourselves that these matters 
have been addressed and redressed, or find out why not.

Considering the question Senator Leahy posed on December 12, 2001, we 
should look again to the statement of the well-known consumer advocate 
we quoted at the start of this article. He had a different slant when he 
wrote:

    It is astonishing that the agreement fails to provide any penalty 
for Microsoft's past misdeeds, creating both the sense that Microsoft is 
escaping punishment because of its extraordinary political and economic 
power, and undermining the value of antitrust penalties as a deterrent. 
Second, the agreement does not adequately address the concerns about 
Microsoft's failure to abide by the spirit or the letter of previous 
agreements, offering a weak oversight regime that suffers in several 
specific areas. Indeed, the proposed alternative dispute resolution for 
compliance with the agreement embraces many of the worst features of 
such systems, operating in secrecy, lacking independence, and open to 
undue influence from Microsoft.

In addition to the hundreds of candidates receiving money from 
Microsoft, the combination of Microsoft, the BSA and Preston Gates & 
Ellis have access and use the services of former powerful people from 
Federal government. Here's a list of the lobbyists, their firms and 
former positons for whom Microsoft has access:

Bill Archer
   

Pricewaterhouse Coopers
   

U.S. House of Representatives
   

Member, House of Representatives (R-Texas)

Richard Armey
   

DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary LLP
   

U.S. House of Representatives
   

Member, House of Representatives (R-Texas)

Lloyd Bentsen
   

DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary LLP
   

U.S. House of Representatives
   

Member, House of Representatives (D-Texas)

James Blanchard
   

DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary LLP
   

U.S. House of Representatives
   

Member, House of Representatives (D-Mich.)

Bill Brewster
   

Capitol Hill Consulting Group
   

U.S. House of Representatives
   

Member, House of Representatives (D-Okla.)

John Buchanan
   

PodestaMattoon
   

U.S. House of Representatives
   

Member, U.S. House of Representatives (R-Ala.)

Rod Chandler
   

Downey McGrath Group Inc.
   

U.S. House of Representatives
   

Member, U.S. House of Representatives (R-Wash.)

Daniel Coats
   

DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary LLP
   

U.S. Senate
   

Member, Senate (R-Ind.)

James Courter
   

DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary LLP
   

U.S. House of Representatives
   

Member, House of Representatives (R-N.J.)

John Culver
   

Arent Fox PLLC
   

U.S. Senate
   

Member, Senate (D-Iowa)

Robert Davis
   

Preston Gates Ellis Rouvelas & Meeds LLP
   

U.S. House of Representatives
   

Member, House of Representatives (R-Mich.)

Robert Dawson
   

Interpublic Group of Companies, Inc.
   

Army Corps of Engineers
   

Assistant Secretary; Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works

Thomas Downey
   

Downey McGrath Group Inc.
   

U.S. House of Representatives
   

Member, House of Representatives (D-N.Y.)

John Doyle
   

Interpublic Group of Companies, Inc.
   

U.S. Department of Army
   

Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works)

Vic Fazio
   

Clark & Weinstock Inc.
   

U.S. House of Representatives
   

Member, House of Representatives (D-Calif.)

David Funderburk
   

Preston Gates Ellis Rouvelas & Meeds LLP
   

U.S. House of Representatives
   

Member, House of Representatives (R-N.C.)

Slade Gorton
   

Preston Gates Ellis Rouvelas & Meeds LLP
   

U.S. Senate
   

Member, Senate (R-Wash.)

Willis Gradison
   

Patton Boggs
   

U.S. House of Representatives
   

Member, House of Representatives (R-Ohio)

Jim Hall
   

Federalist Group
   

National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)
   

Chairman, National Transportation Safety Board

Ed Jenkins
   

Palmetto Group
   

U.S. House of Representatives
   

Member, U.S. House of Representatives (D-Ga.)

Ray Kogovsek
   

WPP Group plc
   

U.S. House of Representatives
   

Member, U.S. House of Representatives (D-Colo.)

Gregory Laughlin
   

Patton Boggs
   

U.S. House of Representatives
   

Member, House of Representatives (R-Texas).

Ray McGrath
   

Downey McGrath Group Inc.
   

U.S. House of Representatives
   

Member, House of Representatives (R-N.Y.)

Lloyd Meeds
   

Preston Gates Ellis Rouvelas & Meeds LLP
   

U.S. House of Representatives
   

Member, House of Representatives (D-Wash.)

Leon Panetta
   

Interpublic Group of Companies, Inc.
   

U.S. House of Representatives
   

Member, House of Representatives (D-Calif.)

John Podesta
   

PodestaMattoon
   

White House Office
   

Chief of Staff to President William Clinton

Fred Rooney
   

Interpublic Group of Companies, Inc.
   

U.S. House of Representatives
   

Member, House of Representatives (D-Pa.)

William Schachte
   

Blank & Rome LLP
   

U.S. Department of Defense (DOD)
   

Acting Judge Advocate General of the Navy

Rodney Slater
   

Patton Boggs
   

U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)
   

Secretary of Transportation

Bob Walker
   

WPP Group plc
   

U.S. House of Representatives
   

Member, House of Representatives (R-Pa.)

Vin Weber
   

Clark & Weinstock Inc.
   

U.S. House of Representatives
   

Member, House of Representatives (R-Minn.)

Charles Wilson
   

Palmetto Group
   

U.S. House of Representatives
   

Member, House of Representatives (D-Texas)


Some Other Friends in High Places

Microsoft has unparalleled influence throughout the Federal government. 
On the cover of a recent edition of VarBusiness Magazine dated June 26, 
2005 the editors presented a large headline which read:

    It's A Microsoft World. Five years after running afoul of the Feds, 
Microsoft is as powerful than ever. Pushing a platform instead of 
products could make it stronger still. Why nothing seems to stop it.

Few people who have researched the company believe that Microsoft ran 
afoul of the Feds. How could a company that owns the Feds run afoul of 
them? Microsoft wields more power than the Federal government. Reading 
the following, you will notice just a single handful of people who have 
vested interests in making sure the Federal government stays out of 
Microsoft's business.

Phil Bond: Undersecretary of Commerce for Technology. Bond is the 
highest-ranking appointed official who deals with technology. He is the 
former top aide to U.S. Rep. Jennifer Dunn (R-Wash.), whose district 
includes Microsoft's hometown of Redmond. Bond's top policy aide at 
Commerce was Connie Correll Partoyan, the former executive vice 
president of TechNet (a Microsoft-funded trade association), who 
recently took a lobbying job for the law firm Preston, Gates, Ellis & 
Rouvelas Meeds.

William Kolasky: Appointed deputy assistant attorney general for 
international enforcement for the Justice Department's antitrust 
division in October 2001. Kolasky was a lawyer for the Association for 
Competitive Technology, a group whose largest contributor is Microsoft, 
and wrote a friend of the court brief supporting Microsoft in its 
antitrust lawsuit.

Ed Gillespie : Until recently, he headed the Republican National 
Committee. Gillespie helped build the Republican party and identified 
candidates for state and federal elections. He has returned to Quinn 
Gillespie & Associates. Prior to becoming the head of the RNC he was a 
Microsoft lobbyist. Microsoft paid his lobbying firm, Quinn Gillespie & 
Associates, $1.2 million between 2001 and 2003, according to the Center 
for Public Integrity.

Richard Wallis: Microsoft's associate general counsel chairs the 
American Bar Association's antitrust section. This group influences how 
much oversight federal judges have over antitrust settlements. In late 
June, a U.S. appeals court rejected claims that Microsoft's 2001 deal 
with the government was too lenient.
Stay Tuned

Many difficulties associated with examining Microsoft's business 
practices exist. Many people have attempted to catalog and chronicle the 
various tactics used. The amount of material seems overwhelming.

When one looks at such data, the human perception mechanism begins to 
shut down. To defend itself, people become confused and go into states 
of denial or apathy. While we can discuss much more evidence, I consider 
it a good approach to simply digest the material in smaller chunks.

Hopefully we raised questions that people should examine. In the mean 
time, I will leave you with this quote I have seen frequently.

"The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the 
growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their 
democratic State itself. That in it's [sic] essence, is Fascism - 
ownership of government by an individual, by a group or by any 
controlling private power."

-- Franklin D. Roosevelt, Message proposing the "Standard Oil" Monopoly 
Investigation, 1938

Respectfully submitted

Notes:

(1)Letter from Ralph Nader to Renata B. Hesse January 28, 2002 
http://www.cptech.org/ms/nader-doj01282002.html (Back to top)

Related stories:

    * Microsoft Getting Closer to the Fire
    * Is Microsoft Buying Anti-Virus Companies to Undermine Linux? You 
Decide

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Subject     Topic Starter     Replies     Views     Last Post
Wow, great research on Microshaft s Linux!     DavidB     2     40     
Jun 30, 2005 7:56 PM
Wow, Tom, Great job!     DaGoodBoy     10     686     Jun 30, 2005 7:10 PM
Boycott Dell, HP, Gateway     cyber_rigger     13     581     Jun 30, 
2005 5:41 PM
Before you flame     tadelste     0     139     Jun 30, 2005 3:46 PM
...And this is just in the U.S....     DrDubious     1     306     Jun 
29, 2005 9:42 PM



sdw

-- 
swilliams at hpti.com http://www.hpti.com Per: sdw at lig.net http://sdw.st
Stephen D. Williams 703-724-0118W 703-995-0407Fax 20147-4622 AIM: sdw



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