WASHINGTON – The spokesman for the family of murdered Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich emphatically denies that the DNC is funding his salary.
Brad Bauman, a professional Democratic crisis public-relations consultant who has frequently criticized President Trump, abruptly ended a call with WND when asked about his connection to the DNC.
“That is patently 100 percent false!” he shouted, when asked if he was hired by the DNC, just before disconnecting the call.
Bauman refused to indicate who is paying his salary.
He is a consultant with Pastorum Group in Washington, D.C., a firm with progressive ties. In his role as a communications consultant, Bauman offers “strategic communications advice to Democratic candidates and labor unions,” his LinkedIn page states. The Pastorum Group Facebook page features many comments blasting Republicans and Trump, and members of the firm even protested President Trump’s 100th day in office.
From 2011 to 2014, Bauman was executive director of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, according to his LinkedIn page. He “worked with major progressive allies to craft and push progressive agenda items in Congress” and “founded Progressive Action PAC.”
Heavy.com reported Bauman has called for civil disobedience to push for an “independent investigation of Russia.”
On May 9, he posted the following question to Facebook: “At what point are House and Senate members going to stage a sit in on the floor or some act of civil disobedience in order to force a vote on an independent investigation of Russia?”
And in 2016, he blasted the GOP: “The Republican Party has become such a hotbed for scam artists, hucksters and sociopaths trying to screw you that they have straight up started screwing their own clients.”
Bauman also claimed President Trump “has no respect for America.” And he wrote: “To sum up Trump’s 100 days of foreign policy: Unannounced photo-ops with family members and admin officials and provocative unstrategic bombings and fake naval deployments are enough to show strength to American audiences. This is us getting played.”
Despite Bauman’s statement to the contrary, a Texas businessman who hired a private eye to look into Rich’s murder told WND that the DNC “assigned” Bauman to represent the Rich family.
Ed Butowsky, a wealth management and financial adviser, said the Rich family asked him for assistance in stopping top D.C. lobbyist Jack Burkman from representing himself to media as their spokesman.
Burkman, founder and president of JM Burkman & Associates, the top lobbying firm in D.C., with thousands of clients, has offered a $105,000 reward for anyone who has information about Rich’s death. Burkman has repeatedly claimed Russia is responsible for Rich’s murder.
Joel Rich, Seth’s father, allegedly asked Butowsky to push back against Burkman’s interference.
“The third time I talked to Mr. [Joel] Rich (Seth’s father), he said, ‘Ed, there is a guy named Burkman who keeps saying he represents us. I am going to give you his phone number. Please tell him to stop doing that. We have a man who was assigned to us by the DNC,'” Butowsky explained to WND.
According to Butowsky, Joel Rich added: “We were assigned a guy named Brad Bauman. I don’t know why we were assigned him. I have no idea why I need somebody to speak for me, but please tell Burkman, because he is not listening to me, to go away and stop acting like he speaks for us.”
“Joel Rich’s exact words were ‘the DNC assigned [Bauman] to us,'” Butowsky said.
Butowsky said has never spoken to Burkman, “but all I know is that Mr. Rich didn’t like him, that he wouldn’t listen and kept making up stuff.”
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In an interview with WND on May 16, Bauman explained that he was put in touch with Rich’s family by two of Rich’s friends – both of whom worked for the DNC – and that the family requested help because they had more media requests than they could handle.
Bauman also claimed the Rich family is “devastated” that a private eye, former D.C. police homicide detective Rod Wheeler, hasn’t ruled out the possibility that Rich had ties to WikiLeaks.
The Rich family was not upset about Wheeler’s progress in the investigation, Butowski told WND Tuesday. In fact, the family commended detective Wheeler for uncovering new information related to Rich’s murder just hours before the story went viral in the news media, he said.
Suddenly their tone changed – after Bauman intervened – Butowsky said.
“They had heard [Rich was possibly linked to WikiLeaks] for almost eight months. There is nothing outrageous here,” he said.
The night before the story broke about Rich’s involvement with WikiLeaks on May 15, “not only did Mr. Rich say he appreciated what Rod had done and the new information that he got, but asked to add to the story,” Butowsky continued. “Nine hours later, the only thing that changed was Brad Bauman, Democrat crisis management person – that’s all that happened.”
Butowsky first contacted Rich’s parents through the Jewish community on Facebook weeks after Rich was murdered. He wanted to reveal to them sensitive information he had heard about their son and give his condolences.
“I never met them before – and my only purpose was to share this one piece of information that might help them feel a little bit better. I had looked them up online and heard that they weren’t getting any information,” he said. “I shared with them what I knew. They said, ‘We don’t believe you.’ I said, ‘Fine, I don’t know you. I just wanted to make sure that if I could bring relief to somebody that I did.”
When Butowsky asked Rich’s parents whether law-enforcement officials had made any progress in finding their son’s murderer, they said the details surrounding Rich’s death remained a mystery.
“I said, ‘By the way, how are things going? I heard you are not getting anything, and I cannot imagine what this must be like.’ And they said, ‘Nobody is telling us anything. We haven’t heard from the D.C. police at all,” Butowsky recalled.
He suggested the family hire a private detective. When they told him they couldn’t afford an investigator, Butowsky offered to pay for one.
“My heart was like breaking for these people,” he said. “I said, ‘I’ll pay for it for you.'”
Butowsky said he finds Bauman’s involvement with the family extremely suspicious, and he is calling on the family to expose the DNC’s involvement and what he believes is obstruction of the murder investigation.
“Mr. Rich is a good man, but if Mr. Rich doesn’t stand up and tell the truth, he is complicit in this,” he said. “It’s really sad that Mr. Rich lost his son. But it’s really sad that Mr. Rich is complicit in keeping this Russian lie, apparently, alive.”
Judicial Watch seeks information
Meanwhile, government watchdog Judicial Watch is determined to get to the bottom of the Rich murder mystery.
The organization has filed Freedom of Information Act requests with the Washington, D.C., police department and the mayor’s office. Judicial Watch also has pending requests with the FBI regarding information on the DNC hacking.
“We know there is public interest in the death investigation of Mr. Rich. And when there is public interest, the way to get answers to some of the questions the public has is to get documents from the government,” Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, told WND on Tuesday. “The D.C. government should answer some of the pending questions about his death.”
Fitton continued: “We have a separate request from the FBI about the hack itself. I don’t know if [Rich’s murder and the DNC hack] are tied, but there are enough questions out there and substantial press interest in it that warrant at least someone independently getting some of the documents. Congress isn’t going to do it. Big Media isn’t going to do it.”
Fitton noted the mainstream media’s persistence in characterizing Rich’s possible ties to WikiLeaks as “conspiracy theories.”
“People getting hysteria over even asking questions is just so typical Washington. But we are not going to be cowed,” he said.
“There is enough out there to warrant further investigation, certainly about his involvement in WikiLeaks. These days we are only allowed to report questions about Donald Trump, but not about Democrats. It’s really – the media has just been deranged by its fixation on President Trump.”
In recent weeks, Democrats and the mainstream have been pushing for impeachment of President Trump, based on unsubstantiated assertions by anonymous sources that the Trump campaign coordinated with Russian intelligence officials to undermine the 2016 election. At the same time, they dismiss and suggestions that Rich was murdered for leaking DNC emails as “fake news” and “conspiracy.
“I see a report published on Fox News, quoting anonymous sources, and we are trying to figure out whether that is true or not, but it is certainly as well sourced as any other major story that gets big headlines these days. But only anonymous sources that dis Donald Trump are allowed to be pursued in Washington,” Fitton noted, highlighting the hypocrisy of the left and mainstream media. “They are trying to scare Republicans, conservatives, independent media off from investigating this. It’s a dog whistle to the Big Media: ‘Don’t ask any questions.
“Rich may have no ties to WikiLeaks, but saying so doesn’t make it so,” he said. “If there are any ties to WikiLeaks, a solid investigation will figure that out very quickly.”
As WND reported Monday, German-Finnish Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom tweeted on May 20: “I knew Seth Rich. I know he was the @Wikileaks source. I was involved.”
The tweet prompted Fox News’ Sean Hannity to respond: “You are the evidence? Can you explain that in more detail?”
On Tuesday, Kim Dotcom released the following statement on his website, claiming he spoke with Rich several years ago:
I know that Seth Rich was involved in the DNC leak.
I know this because in late 2014 a person contacted me about helping me to start a branch of the Internet Party in the United States. He called himself Panda. I now know that Panda was Seth Rich.
Panda advised me that he was working on voter analytics tools and other technologies that the Internet Party may find helpful.
I communicated with Panda on a number of topics including corruption and the influence of corporate money in politics.
He wanted to change that from the inside.
Dotcom also wrote: “The Rich family has reached out to me to ask that I be sensitive to their loss in my public comments. That request is entirely reasonable. I have consulted with my lawyers. I accept that my full statement should be provided to the authorities and I am prepared to do that so there can be a full investigation. My lawyers will speak with the authorities regarding the proper process.”