Monthly Archives: April 2012

The Vote Fraud Denier Network

No, that’s not a new cable channel.  It’s “the ACORN-affiliated Project Vote, Advancement Project, Asian American Legal Defense Fund (AALDF), Asian Pacific American Legal Center, Brennan Center for Justice, Common Cause, DEMOS, League of Women Voters, Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO).”

That’s according to J. Christian Adams, who also told a “True the Vote” conference that the “vote fraud deniers” “are liars. Give no quarter. The war between the righteous and the deceivers is as old as time. Don’t let them set the narrative…race will be used as a weapon.”

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Allegation of Actual Impersonation Voter Fraud Attempt in Texas…and An Illustration of Why Such Fraud is Rare and Stupid

Fort Worth Star Telegram: “A Democratic precinct chairwoman candidate has been indicted on suspicion of conspiring to arrange an illegal vote last year. Hazel Woodard James, 40, is accused of arranging for her son — who was not a registered voter — to vote on behalf of his father. The incident reportedly came to light when the father showed up later in the day to vote in the same precinct, 1211, for which James is now running to be chairwoman. Prosecutor David Lobingier said the indictment is the first case of election fraud in recent memory in Tarrant County.

Impersonation voter fraud is about the dumbest way I could think of to swing an election. That’s why almost all the cases of real fraud with the potential to affect elections involves absentee ballot fraud or election official misconduct: in both ways you could actually verify the fraudulent votes and cast them in sufficient enough numbers to affect elections. (More about the extreme rarity of impersonation voter fraud here.)

Note that the fraudulent scheme did not work—it was detected. Nonetheless, look for this allegation to become the new “1984 grand jury report“–supposed evidence of a massive problem with impersonation voter fraud.

UPDATE: That didn’t take long (and nice analogy of people accused of voter fraud to cockroaches!).  So we have here an alleged single case.  How does that stack up against other claims of voter fraud?  Here’s a brief excerpt from the Fraudulent Fraud Squad chapter of The Voting Wars:

Let’s consider first what the Department of Justice found in its extensive investigation of voter fraud. The department cannot possibly focus on every federal crime, and a change in administrations brings new priorities. Under George W. Bush, the Department of Justice put unprecedented emphasis on finding and prosecuting cases of voter fraud. The Fraudulent Fraud Squad had previously argued that the reason so few cases of voter fraud were discovered was that prosecutors had other priorities. The Justice Department’s new focus on fraud put this contention to the test.

The result is well summarized by a New York Times story, headlined “In 5-Year Effort, Scant Evidence of Voter Fraud”:

“Five years after the Bush administration began a crackdown on voter fraud, the Justice Department has turned up virtually no evidence of any organized effort to skew federal elections, according to court records and interviews   Although Republican activists have repeatedly said fraud is so widespread that it has corrupted the political process and, possibly, cost the party election victories, about 120 people have been charged and 86 convicted as of last year. Most of those charged have been Democrats, voting records show. Many of those charged by the Justice Department appear to have mistakenly filled out registration forms or misunderstood eligibility rules, a review of court records and interviews with prosecutors and defense lawyers show.”

The Times based its data on analysis done by Minnite and others. A Department of Justice report of voting fraud prosecutions had been posted first, perhaps inadvertently, on Representative Ney’s committee website, and Minnite spent weeks tracking down what happened in each of these cases.31

As Minnite’s meticulous research revealed, federal prosecutors dug diligently, but what they found was paltry and unimpressive. Few voters were committing election crimes. Thirty-one of the seventy federal convictions for election crimes between 2002 to 2005 were not against voters at all but against party and campaign workers; ten were against government officials; and three were against election workers. That left, out of hundreds of millions of votes cast nationwide, a mere thirty-five convictions against voters. Some of those prosecutions were for inadvertent mistakes or for registration fraud that did not affecting voting. It did not appear that any of the convictions described in the Times report would have been stopped by a voter identification law. Not one.

In a 2010 follow-up story, the Times explained that of the 55 people convicted from the 95 federal prosecutions during the period covered in the article, “fewer than 20 people were convicted of casting fraudulent ballots, and only 5 were convicted of registration fraud. Most of the rest were charged with other voting violations, including a scheme meant to help Republicans by blocking the phone lines used by two voting groups that were arranging rides to get voters to the polls.”32

The results were the same in Texas. A Dallas Morning News headline in 2008 read: “Texas AG Fails to Unravel Large-Scale Voter Fraud Schemes in His Two Year Campaign.” Similarly, a Democratic and Republican consultant were paired up by the United States Election Assistance Commission to investigate voter fraud and suppression (in a report the EAC later tried to bury, as we’ll see in chapter 5), and they reached the same conclusion. Only isolated cases of real fraud, and most of it registration fraud.33 No systematic voter fraud.

Further update:  I have more information about the allegations, and the case, here.

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Just Wondering Dept.

Why haven’t the usual suspects filed an FEC complaint against groups like Crossroads GPS in the 2012 election claiming that the groups are violating the FECA by not registering as political committees?  I know there are complaints against the IRS.

If the answer is that the FEC won’t do anything about it given its deadlock, then why file any complaints at the FEC?  Filing a complaint about groups which appear to be full political operations but hiding behind 501c4 status would shine more light on this unfortunate practice—which allows for shielding the identity of virtually all donors to these groups.

UPDATE: I wonder no longer and stand corrected. Adam Rappaport of CREW writes: “In March, we filed both IRS and FEC complaints against Americans for Job Security for spending 72 percent of its fiscal year 2010 budget on political activities:  The FEC complaint alleged AJS was a political committee that should have registered and filed requisite disclosures.  And last week we amended our IRS and FEC complaints against the Commission on Hope, Growth and Opportunity, similarly alleging to the FEC that CHGO was a political committee that should have registered and filed disclosures:”

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“Democracy 21 and Campaign Legal Center File FEC Complaint Against Rep. Schock for $25K Solicitation of Majority Leader Cantor for Super PAC Donation”

The following press release arrived via email:

Today, Democracy 21 and the Campaign Legal Center filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission against Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) for his illegal solicitation of Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) to make a contribution of $25,000 to the super PAC “Campaign For Primary Accountability.”  Press reports quote both Rep. Shock and a spokesman for Leader Cantor freely admitting that the solicitation was made for an amount five times the legal limit.

The FEC made clear in an advisory opinion last year (AO 2011-12) that a federal officeholder “may only solicit contributions of up to $5000 from individuals . . . and Federal political action committees” for a super PAC such as Campaign For Primary Accountability.  But an article published in Roll Call makes very clear that Rep. Schock asked Majority Leader Cantor to make a $25,000 contribution to the super PAC.

“The FEC last year correctly recognized that Members of Congress are not free to solicit large contributions to super PACs,” said Donald Simon, counsel to Democracy 21.  “It must now enforce the law against what appears to be a clear violation of it by Rep. Schock.  As bad as the super PAC problem is, it would be worse if the FEC allows Members of Congress to get into the business of soliciting huge contributions for super PACs, in violation of the law.”

“Rep. Schock and Leader Cantor’s campaign spokesman Ray Allen told Roll Call in no uncertain terms that a solicitation was made for $25,000, which amounts to a public confession to a clear violation of the law,” said Paul S. Ryan, Campaign Legal Center Senior Counsel.  “The FEC must pursue this violation by Rep. Schock or the agency would in effect be greenlighting candidates soliciting multi-million dollar contributions to the ostensibly ‘independent’ Super PACs that have been doing the dirty work of presidential candidates in the primaries – an activity expressly banned by the agency.”

The complaint asked the FEC to conduct an immediate investigation of the matter and impose appropriate sanctions.

To read the complaint, click here.

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