“How Democrats Fooled California’s Redistricting Commission”

Must-read ProPublica:

In the weeks that followed, party leaders came up with a plan. Working with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee — a national arm of the party that provides money and support to Democratic candidates — members were told to begin “strategizing about potential future district lines,” according to another email.

The citizens’ commission had pledged to create districts based on testimony from the communities themselves, not from parties or statewide political players. To get around that, Democrats surreptitiously enlisted local voters, elected officials, labor unions and community groups to testify in support of configurations that coincided with the party’s interests.

When they appeared before the commission, those groups identified themselves as ordinary Californians and did not disclose their ties to the party. One woman who purported to represent the Asian community of the San Gabriel Valley was actually a lobbyist who grew up in rural Idaho, and lives in Sacramento.

In one instance, party operatives invented a local group to advocate for the Democrats’ map.

See also this press release from the California Republican Party.

Dave Wasserman’s take: “Overall, fascinating piece by @olgapierce & @propublica. But CA commission still deserves credit for more compact & competitive lines…My 2 main qualms w/ @ProPublica story: 1) Dems got 6-7 more seats from new lines? 2) Rose Institute cited as impartial “expert.” Really?…Aside from the righteous indignation over Dems who played the remap smart, @ProPublica does have awesome maps: http://projects.propublica.org/redistricting-maps/mcnerney…This shocking ProPublica “expose” on #CAredistrict explains how Berman/Sherman/Capps/etc. got great districts. Wait… “

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