Isn't it funny how one thing leads to another? I'm (still) looking at Wisconsin election information and - because of the way the GAB uses the word "inherit" - I started looking into the Statewide Voter Registration System (SVRS) this morning...and in doing that, I ran into some interesting information that ties our election registration system to Enron - one of the world's most scandalous "companies" - in an obscure but very important way. That way is Accenture and Deloitte Consulting.
Accenture used to be called Andersen Consulting and was part of Arthur Andersen - the firm that did the accounting for Enron. They changed their name just before the Enron scandal broke so, as Wikipedia put it, "Andersen Consulting's change of name proved to be fortuitous as it avoided the taint when Arthur Andersen was effectively dissolved as a result of its role in the later Enron scandal." Bottom line, they were part of Arthur Andersen. What was Arthur Andersen doing that was so bad? They were "cooking the books" for Enron...in other words, they were falsifying financial records to cover tremendous fraud on Enron's part. Deloitte, another major accounting firm, took on "a significant number" of Arthur Andersen employees when the company was dissolved over the scandal, as reported by Fox here.
Why does this matter? Because back in 2004, Accenture (a Bermuda-based company), through questionable and contested means by way of Kevin Kennedy of the GAB, was awarded the $14,000,000 contract to create the Wisconsin SVRS. Also part of this set up was Deloitte. Here are two articles from the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign and the Badger Herald that can shed some light on the that decision and the backlash from it (completely unbeknownst to me, as I was totally asleep at the wheel back then. You can thank Governor Walker for waking me up. :)
So all of this (new information to me) begs the question, "Did people who were Arthur Andersen employees at the time of the Enron scandal later do work on the Wisconsin election system by way of Accenture and Deloitte?" It matters not only given Accenture's connection to Enron/Arthur Andersen, but more importantly because of their history with voter registration databases in states like Texas, Florida, and Pennsylvania, as indicated by Equal Justice Foundation's page entitled "Accenture — Epitome Of Incompetence" (among other places online)...and especially in light of why their contract with Wisconsin ended early.
Deloitte has a pretty blotched history of scandals and lawsuits, too. Just do a search using "Deloitte" and "scandal" on Yahoo or Google for proof of that. That they have been involved with the State of Wisconsin's elections system, as well as the system that tracks Wisconsin public assistance (FoodShares, BadgerCare, W-2) is alarming...at least, to me, it is.
All of this is, actually.
Now, to wrap this up, I tried to find out who is in maintaining our SVRS now, but all I've found so far is this PowerPoint presentation from the State Elections Board (now the GAB) explaining the conversion, with the Vice President Software Engineering from the Aradyme Corporation seemingly as a presenter, and this report on/about Aradyme that was published on SEC Info which states:
In our current emphasis on providing data migration services for the delivery of voter registration and election management solutions for states to comply with HAVA, we have entered into contractual arrangements with:The same report also states:
Accenture LLP, the U.S.-based business of Accenture (NYSE:ACN), a multinational management and technology consulting firm, to deliver voter registration and election management solutions that enable state governments to comply with HAVA, commencing with initial contracts for Kansas and Wisconsin as part of Accenture's Election Services Management(tm) product.
Based on our initial work in Utah in early 2004, in recent months we have reached agreements with principal integrators Accenture, Unisys, Covansys, PCC Technology Group, Redcon and Maximus for HAVA-related services to be provided to Virginia, Kansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, Utah and Idaho and have ongoing marketing efforts for potential projects in additional states. We expect our sales successes will continue to accelerate into early calendar 2005 year.(BTW, Maximus is one of the for-profit, private companies that runs part of the welfare program in Milwaukee - and, itself, has been embroiled in scandals...)
So, perhaps Aradyme is doing it now...I have no idea - this "transparency in goverment" is making my head spin! But none of this makes me feel very confident about the integrity of our elections.
If you seriously don't know what Enron and Arthur Andersen did that makes them so scandalous, check out this documentary called "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room" and you will understand why their (Arthur Andersen's) connection - in ANY way however seemingly obscure - to Wisconsin elections is more than just a little noteworthy.)