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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 05/09/14

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. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 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. (END VIDEO CLIP) 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?" (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We found a witch. May we burn her? (CHEERS) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do you know she`s a witch? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She looks like one. (CHEERS) 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: The nose? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the hat. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But she`s a witch. (CHEERS) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you dress her up like this? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. 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. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A newt? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got better. (END VIDEO CLIP) 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. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 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 somewhere. (END VIDEO CLIP) 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. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 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. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Wait, hold on. We couldn`t ever get involved in anything but a what? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SESSIONS: We really couldn`t ever get involved in anything but a goo ball. (END VIDEO CLIP) 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? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SESSIONS: We really couldn`t ever get involved in anything but a goo ball. (END VIDEO CLIP) 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." (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SESSIONS: Anything but a goo ball. (END VIDEO CLIP) 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. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 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. (END VIDEO CLIP) 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. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 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 this. 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. (END VIDEO CLIP) 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? (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 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. (END VIDEO CLIP) 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. REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ, (D-FL), DEMOCRATIC NATL. CMTE. CHAIR: 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. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) 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 Giants! 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 us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 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. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: You know what, actually don`t. (LAUGHTER) 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. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PARKS: Using idio motor finger signaling . (END VIDEO CLIP) 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 invitation. 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. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 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. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. ROMNEY: When will this end? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, let me stop this . (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me stop this right now. (END VIDEO CLIP) 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. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) to talk about minimum wage and (INAUDIBLE) 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. (END VIDEO CLIP) 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. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ROMNEY: Right now there is probably not a need to raise the minimum wage. (END VIDEO CLIP) 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. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 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. (END VIDEO CLIP) 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. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) 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 . THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END