January 2011 - Posts

Oregon Man Convicted of Vote Fraud
Mon, Jan 24 2011 11:31 AM

The vote fraud deniers were dealt a serious blow last week when an Oregon man was convicted of casting his son and brother's ballots. While that is illegal in and of itself, they are both dead. The Oregon Capital News has the whole story:

PORTLAND- At 81 years old, Lafayette Fredrick Keaton of Portland was sentenced Wednesday to 12 months in prison and a $5,000 fine, in addition to a three-month sentence in the Marion County jail.

What was Keaton's offense? Voter fraud.

Keaton was first suspected of fraudulent activity within the election system in March 2009. For years he had been voting for both his deceased son and his deceased brother.

[…]

"I want to ensure all Oregonians that any type of fraud in Oregon's election system is very rare and when identified taken very seriously," said Secretary of State Kate Brown in a statement to the press on Wednesday.

"Any attempt to violate election laws will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," she said.

Oregon, like their neighbor Washington, is a vote by mail state. Meaning that to cast more than one ballot, he simply had to complete the ballot, sign the affidavit that they are who they say they are, and mail it back. No checking of photo ID or even a need to present himself at a polling place is required for him to cast his vote. If anything, this shows the need for states to enact voter ID laws and a system to crack down on this kind of double voting. It is also troubling that it took several years for his actions to be discovered by election officials.

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1 Year Later: Citizens United and Free Speech
Fri, Jan 21 2011 9:52 AM

Today marks the one year anniversary of the US Supreme Court ruling in the case of Citizens United v. FEC. In today's Washington Post, Citizens United President David Bossie and lead counsel in the lawsuit Ted Olson penned an op-ed looking at the impact the decision has made in terms of free speech and the rhetoric from the left which has attempted to vilify the decision as being anti free speech and overturning a "a hundred years" of precedents.

Key sections from the op-ed:

On the background leading up to the case:

The case arose in 2007, when Citizens United, a grass-roots membership organization, sought to broadcast a film critical of Hillary Clinton, then a candidate for president. The Federal Election Commission deemed the film too critical to be shown in the weeks before an election; if Citizens United had broadcast it, its officers would have been subject to prosecution and potential imprisonment for up to five years. The Supreme Court struck down this prohibition of corporate and labor union election-time speech about candidates as a violation of the First Amendment. To the court's majority, it was "stranger than fiction for our Government to make . . . political speech a crime."

On the attacks from President Obama and Sen. Schumer:

Stranger still were the unwarranted attacks against the Supreme Court that followed. Most visibly, the president used his State of the Union address to accuse the court of having "reversed a century of law" and "open[ed] the floodgates for special interests - including foreign corporations - to spend without limit in our elections." That statement was astonishing because none of it was true: The oldest decision reversed by Citizens United was 20 years old, not 100, and foreign corporations are prohibited from participating in elections, just as they were before. As for "special interests," many had been spending at an equally furious rate, apparently unnoticed by the president, well before this ruling.

Still, the attacks continued: Sen. Charles Schumer accused the court of attempting to "predetermine the outcome of next November's elections," handing them to "Corporate America and other special interests." And when the November elections brought grim tidings to many Democratic officeholders, those candidates blamed not themselves nor their unpopular policies but the court. "Clearly the Citizens United decision decided this race," said a freshly defeated Rep. Dan Maffei. Sen. Arlen Specter went so far as to blame Citizens United not only for his rejection at the ballot box but also for "effectively undermining the basic democratic principle of the power of one person, one vote."

On the real financial impact of Citizens United:

Still, the amount citizen groups spent in 2010 pales next to these enormous sums: $1.35 billion spent by the two major political parties and an additional $1.8 billion by candidates for Congress. While citizens making independent expenditures increased their election spending to nearly $300 million in 2010, that remains less than one-tenth of the more than $3 billion spent by political parties and their candidates.

So why all the hysteria from incumbents? Perhaps because independent spending by citizens has shifted away from Democratic candidates. In 2006, liberal interest groups tracked by the Center for Responsive Politics outspent conservative interest groups by a 2-to-1 margin. By 2010, the trend had reversed, and conservative groups were outspending the liberal groups 2 to 1.

What they see as the lasting impact of the Citizens United decision:

As the Supreme Court has ruled, Congress should get out of the business of picking winners and losers in the marketplace of ideas and placing its thumb on the scale of federal elections. In Citizens United, the court reminded us that when our government seeks "to command where a person may get his or her information or what distrusted source he or she may not hear, it uses censorship to control thought." The government argued in Citizens United that it could ban books advocating the election of a candidate if they were published by a corporation or labor union. Today, thanks to Citizens United, we may celebrate that the First Amendment confirms what our forefathers fought for: "the freedom to think for ourselves."

It is important to look at the impact of what this decision will mean for future campaigns and the development of any potential attacks on free speech. The entire op ed is worth reading and getting an understanding of what else they view as being the main impact of this decision on the political world. While, the left has attempted to vilify the decision the facts don't match up to their rhetoric. It will be interesting to see what else the left and their special interests will attempt to once again stifle free speech.

 

 

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RNLA Chapter Leader Elected to VA House of Delegates
Wed, Jan 12 2011 9:40 AM

In a special election on Tuesday January 11, RNLA Member, and Roanoke area chapter leader, Greg Habeeb was elected to represent Roanoke in the Virginia House of Delegates. He will serve the remainder of the term of Congressman Morgan Griffith who was elected to the US House of Representatives in November. Also elected in a special election to complete the term of a newly elected Congressman was now State Senator Bill Stanley.

From The Roanoke Times article this morning:

[…]

Habeeb convincingly defeated Democrat Ginger Mumpower of Roanoke County to win the House seat representing Salem and parts of Roanoke County. Habeeb got 64 percent of the vote and won every precinct in the district. He will complete the final year of Griffith's term.

[…]

The two Republicans ran well-organized and well-funded campaigns that had strong backing from the state party and key GOP leaders, including Gov. Bob McDonnell. McDonnell made appearances for both candidates on Sunday.

Habeeb said he and Stanley had messages with a common thread that resonated with voters.

"The agenda we were advancing was improving the lives of citizens by restoring the balance of government in the private sector and restoring the balance of government in the family," Habeeb said at his Salem headquarters, where a crowd of about 50 people celebrated his win. "That's a message that resonates from Danville to Catawba."

With Habeeb's election, Republicans retain effective control of 60 seats in the 100-member House of Delegates.

[…]

Habeeb said his initial legislative focus will be on "things that bring accountability and innovation to government," including the introduction of "market forces" to more public services.

[…]

The state board of elections will meet this morning to certify the results about two hours before the new legislators take their seats in the state Capitol. Habeeb and Stanley planned to drive to Richmond on Tuesday night and get an early start on their legislative careers this morning.

Congratulations to Greg and best of luck in Richmond doing the people's work!

 

 

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RNLA Board of Governors Members Named to Virginia’s Redistricting Commission
Mon, Jan 10 2011 12:43 PM

On Monday, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell announced the creation of a bipartisan redistricting commission to assist the Virginia legislature with the task of setting the boundries of Virginia's House of Delegates, State Senate, and Congressional Districts. Among the 11 members named to the Commission are 2 members of the RNLA Board of Governors. Cameron Quinn is the former Secretary of the State Board of Elections (the chief election official of the Commonwealth of Virginia). Prior to being named to the RNLA Board of Governors, Cameron served as RNLA Vice President for Professional Development. Ashley Taylor was elected to the RNLA Board of Governors at the December meeting of the RNLA Board of Governors. Ashley recently ended a term on the US Civil Rights Commission and is a Partner at Troutman Sanders.

The Commission is made up of members of both the Republican and Democratic Parties and reflects a cross section of former elected representatives, business leaders, and past government officials. The full press release, complete with quotes from Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, can be found below. Also included in the release is the charge to the commission and how they will assist in the drafting of the new legislative boundries. Congrats to Cameron and Ashley!

Governor Establishes Independent Bipartisan Redistricting Commission

RICHMOND - Governor Bob McDonnell today signed Executive Order #31 creating the Independent Bipartisan Advisory Commission on Redistricting.  In late December, the U.S. Census Bureau released statewide population data.  This Commission will prepare for the final census data and information that is expected to be released in February.  The Commission created today fulfills a campaign promise by Governor McDonnell to ensure bipartisan citizen involvement in the state legislative and Congressional district redistricting process.  The Commission will create and review proposed redistricting plans for the Virginia House of Delegates, Senate of Virginia, and Congressional districts.  The Commission will then recommend plans that meet the required criteria to the General Assembly.  

Speaking about the Commission, Governor McDonnell remarked, "As Virginia redraws its legislative districts later this year, the process should take place in a manner that is fair and open.  Legislative districts should be drawn in a way that reflects commonsense geographic boundaries and communities of interests as required by law.  This Bipartisan Redistricting Commission will contribute to public involvement, openness, and fairness in the redistricting process." 

The Commission will consist of 11 members, with an equal number of Republicans and Democrats, two former judges, one former federal judge nominated by a Republican president and one former state judge initially elected by a Democratic-led legislature, and one independent Chairman.  The members are drawn from business, former government service, and academia.  The members of the Commission are:

Chairman- Bob Holsworth, Managing Partner of DecideSmart and founder of the non-partisan website, VirginiaTomorrow.com

Gary Baise, Principal, Olsson Frank Weeda

The Honorable Viola Baskerville, Former Member, Virginia House of Delegates

Former Virginia Secretary of Administration

The Honorable Barry DuVal, President, Virginia Chamber of Commerce

Former Mayor of Newport News

Former Secretary of Commerce and Trade

The Honorable Jim Dyke, Partner, McGuireWoods

Former Secretary of Education

Former Chair, Greater Washington Board of Trade

Jean Jensen, Former Secretary, State Board of Elections

Former Executive Director, Democratic Party of Virginia

The Honorable Sam Johnston, Former Judge, 24th Judicial Circuit

The Honorable Walt Kelley, Former Judge, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia

Sean O'Brien, Executive Director, Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier

Cameron Quinn, Former Secretary, State Board of Elections

Ashley Taylor, Partner, Troutman Sanders

Former Commissioner, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

*The Commission's work will also be supported by advisors Judy Ford Wason and Dr. Quentin Kidd of Christopher Newport University, and Dr. Charles Dunn of Regent University. 

Remarking about the creation of the Commission, Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling said, "I applaud Governor McDonnell for keeping our campaign promise to pursue bipartisan redistricting in Virginia.  The goal of the redistricting process should be to form legislative districts that are compact, contiguous and share a common interest.   The creation of the Independent Bipartisan Advisory Commission on Redistricting will enable us to have at least one bipartisan perspective during the upcoming redistricting process to encourage that districts are drawn with the best interests of citizens in mind.  I have long supported the effort to pursue bipartisan redistricting in Virginia and I hope that this will be just the first step in creating a permanent process to accomplish this goal." 

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli added, "I agree with the Governor's creation of a redistricting commission composed of citizen members who are not current or recent elected officials.  This ensures a transparent process, open to the people, which will determine how best to draw legislative districts that strive to give voters fair representation by their elected officials.  Providing additional citizen input to the General Assembly is a move in the right direction." 

Former Governor L. Douglas Wilder said, "The Commission announced today is a great step towards ensuring a fair and open redistricting process.  The Governor has appointed a diverse and distinguished group that I am certain will provide good advice and recommendations to our policymakers in the General Assembly.  As a legislator and as Governor, I saw the good and bad parts of the redistricting process.  Efforts to open up that process and allow for public input are a move in the right direction, and the Bipartisan Commission created by the Governor will improve the process to the benefit of the Commonwealth." 

Chairman of the Commission, Bob Holsworth added, "I am honored to chair the Governor's Bipartisan Redistricting Commission. Encouraging more citizen involvement and input in the creation of our legislative and congressional districts is crucial to increasing participation in the electoral process. That is key to the future health and vibrancy of our democracy."

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ATR and The Daily Caller to Host RNC Chairman’s Debate
Mon, Jan 3 2011 9:00 AM

At 1pm today the conservative group Americans for Tax Reform and the website The Daily Caller will host a debate between the candidates to be the next RNC Chairman. The debate can be viewed here starting at 1pm, along with live coverage from the reporters from The Daily Caller. Also, during the debate viewers can submit a question for the candidates and vote on questions that they think should be asked of the candidates. Profiles of the majority of the candidates for RNC Chair can also be found at The Daily Caller.

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