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‘A Coen Brothers Movie In The Making’ – Inside A Failed Attempt At Election Meddling In Tulare

Kerry Klein
Valley Public Radio

When Tulare Regional Medical Center reopened its doors back in October, it was a new beginning. The embattled hospital had been closed for a year after its previous owner had bungled its finances so badly —and suspiciously—that declaring bankruptcy became the only way to start over.

But there’s so much more to the hospital’s previous life that it’s almost hard to believe. The latest developments, described last week in an explosive story by the New Yorker, involve election meddling—not from Russia, but from an Israeli intelligence company that was paid big money to sway the 2017 recall election for a former member of the hospital’s governing board. According to the story, the company, Israeli-based Psy-Group, is also under investigation by FBI Special Counsel Robert Mueller for attempting to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

In this interview, we speak with Adam Entous, a staff writer at the New Yorker and one of the story’s co-authors, about Psy-Group’s entanglement with the hospital’s former CEO Yorai Benzeevi, the lengths to which it went to influence the Tulare hospital board's recall election, and the likely reasons it ultimately failed.

Kerry Klein is an award-winning reporter whose coverage of public health, air pollution, drinking water access and wildfires in the San Joaquin Valley has been featured on NPR, KQED, Science Friday and Kaiser Health News. Her work has earned numerous regional Edward R. Murrow and Golden Mike Awards and has been recognized by the Association of Health Care Journalists and Society of Environmental Journalists. Her podcast Escape From Mammoth Pool was named a podcast “listeners couldn’t get enough of in 2021” by the radio aggregator NPR One.
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