July 2011 - Posts

Weekly Standard: Quotes RNLA in “Dems Urge DOJ to Investigate Dems?”
Sat, Jul 9 2011 2:00 PM

The RNLA sent a letter to a group of Democrat Senators who asked DOJ to investigate states that recently passed Voter ID laws.  As the Weekly Standard notes:

But there's one interesting wrinkle here, as noted by the Republican National Lawyers Association -- deep blue Rhode Island just passed a voter ID law.  [The Article then quotes the RNLA letter here and concludes:]  Will the Justice Department investigate Democratic Rhode Island? Stay tuned!

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Ohio Secretary of State Wants Voter Fraud Investigation
Fri, Jul 8 2011 10:37 AM

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted sent a letter to the attorney general and county prosecutor to investigate a group of Democrats that allegedly committed voter fraud during the 2010 election. The investigation will determine if absentee ballots in Lawrence County were cast in circumvention of Ohio election law.

Although Mr. Husted’s letter does not specifically name any parties, testimony suggests that the investigation will focus on Russell Bennett, Butch Singer, Russell Malone, Steve Burcham (Lawrence County Treasurer), Steve Burcham’s wife, and Don Simmons (Democratic Party Committeeman). Mr. Husted wants an investigation to determine if they falsely represented on absent voter’s applications that the voter wanted his or her ballot sent to Russell Bennett’s post office box. At issue are 77 absentee ballots that were reportedly sent to the PO Box of Russell Bennett. Butch Singer testified that he gave absentee ballot applications he collected to others before he brought it to the board, dropping them off at different locations for Steven Burcham and Douglas Malone to collect.

The discrepancy was discovered last October, when a board of elections employee noticed that the handwriting in the “Send Ballot To” portion of the applications differed from that in the section with the voter’s name. The board then contacted 10 voters to see where they wanted their ballot sent. All 10 voters replied that they wanted their ballots mailed to them at their home address, suggesting that the ‘Send Ballot To’ portion of the absentee ballot application was completed after the voters filled in their application form.

If the investigation is opened, the attorney general and county prosecutor will likely pursue three charges. One charge investigated will likely be for knowingly making a false misrepresentation for obtaining an absent voter’s ballot. A second election law that would be violated states that no one should knowingly not forward an absentee ballot application to the appropriate election official that the voter entrusted him to do so. A third election law violated states that no one shall knowingly possess the absentee ballot of another voter unless the voter is confined or disabled. Violations of these election laws are fourth degree felonies, which carry a maximum penalty of 18 months in prison and $5,000 fine for each conviction.

In speaking about his reasons for requesting an investigation, Secretary of State Husted said:

There was an attempt to violate the election law with the attempt to cast and count fraudulent votes. If we didn’t believe there were irregularities that amounted to a violation of law we would not have referred it to the attorney general and the county prosecutor.

Luckily, thanks to the due diligence of officials at the Lawrence County Board of Elections, no fraudulent votes were counted. However, not all jurisdictions can be so lucky. Although this case of voter fraud seems to have been thwarted with proper charges brought against the perpetrators, there are still far too many instances of successful voter fraud in the United States.

To read Mr. Husted’s entire letter requesting an investigation, go here

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Obomination: The Barack Czar Life
Fri, Jul 8 2011 5:49 AM

 

Numbering more than the famed Romanev Dynasty, Obama’s czars are some of the most radical people in the executive branch.  Czars are high-level White House staff selected by the President without Senate confirmation and wielding extensive power without Congressional oversight.  With official titles like “Special Advisor,” “Assistant to the President” or “Special Envoy,” these individuals live the Barack Czar life – all that power, without any of the accountability.

Without undergoing informative Senate confirmation hearings, Obama has been able to select some of the most radical czars in his administration.  Green jobs czar Van Jones had signed a petition questioning whether the Bush administration deliberately allowed 9/11 to occur as a pretext for war and was involved with the Bay Area radical Marxist group, Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement (STORM).  Jones resigned, but there are still radical czars in office like John Holdren, the science czar, who supports compulsory abortion and sterilization as methods of population-control, and thinks that they could be upheld under the Constitution.

Republican Congressmen have derided Obama for making "an end-run around the constitutional process" and "creating a shadow government." But it’s not just Republicans who object.  The late Senator Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) wrote to Obama that "[t]he rapid and easy accumulation of power by White House staff can threaten the Constitutional system of checks and balances…[by taking] direction and control of programmatic areas that are the statutory responsibility of Senate-confirmed officials."  He noted that czars often "shield the information and decision-making process behind the assertion of executive privilege" and frequently "have been allowed to inhibit openness and transparency, and reduce accountability."

Former Senator Russ Feingold (D–Wisc.) convened the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution for a hearing titled "Examining the History and Legality of Executive Branch Czars."  Feingold expressed concern about czars "[t]o the extent that this undercuts that role and people are put in the place of Cabinet people and really are the key authorities and you can’t question them."  Weeks later, Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) held a hearing on "The Past, Present, and Future of Policy Czars" at the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.

Congress has made repeated efforts to do what it can to stop the czars.  In September 2009, Senator Susan Collins (R-Me.) introduced an amendment to the Interior Department appropriations bill that would have withheld federal funds for 18 czars.  In the House, Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) proposed the Czar Accountability and Reform Act as well.  This year, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) successfully inserted language to defund czars into the spending bill.  However, Obama’s signing statement in April indicated his refusal to abide by Scalise’s amendment, based on the assertion that the amendment would unconstitutionally abrogate executive branch powers.  Last month, the Senate voted on Senator David Vitter’s (R-La.) amendment to the Nominations Process Reform Bill that sought to defund czars and require Senate confirmation.  It garnered the support of Democrats Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Ben Nelson (D-Ne.).  Unfortunately, in a close 47-51 vote, this amendment failed to pass. 

Despite Congressional disapproval, the Barack czar life continues.

 

by Maya Noronha | with no comments
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Rhode Island Governor Signs Voter ID Into Law; Cites Minority Support
Thu, Jul 7 2011 12:05 PM

On Tuesday, Independent Governor Lincoln Chaffee signed a voter ID bill into law. The bill was passed with overwhelming support by both houses of the Rhode Island legislature, which are controlled by Democrats.

The most interesting part about this voter ID bill is the support it received from minority communities. In a press release citing his support for the voter ID law, Governor Chaffee said:

As the General Assembly debated legislation requiring Rhode Island voters to present valid identification at the polls, I met with a number of experts on both sides to discuss this complex issue. Notably, I spoke with representatives of our state’s minority communities, and I found their concerns about voter fraud and their support for this bill particularly compelling.

Additionally, Harold Metts, the sponsor of the bill in the Rhode Island Senate said, “As a minority citizen and a senior citizen I would not support anything that I thought would present obstacles or limit protections”

The Rhode Island voter ID bill, which was passed by a Democratic legislature, signed by an Independent Governor, and supported by minority communities, thwarts attempts by Democrats to say voter ID bills are being passed by Republicans to suppress minority turnout. Democrats should be more concerned about the fairness and integrity of elections than hurling unfounded accusations of voter suppression.

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RNLA President Cleta Mitchell Sets the Record Straight on Voter ID
Wed, Jul 6 2011 10:28 AM

An op-ed on the need for voter ID laws by Cleta Mitchell, president of the RNLA, has just been published in The Daily Caller.  Mitchell identifies how DNC’s Voting Rights Institute and the leftist Brennan Center have misled the public.  Instead, she points to nonpartisan studies by American University and an investigation by the Milwaukee Police Department for the facts.  The truth is voter fraud is real and voter ID laws do not disenfranchise eligible voters.  That’s why 75% of Americans support voter ID laws.  Mitchell concludes, “With three-fourths of the electorate supporting voter ID, and so much research behind it, voter ID should be the law.”

Read Cleta Mitchell’s article here.

 

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Colbert Got the Coverage; But Other Super PAC Ruling Bigger News
Mon, Jul 4 2011 7:01 AM

The media circus at yesterday’s FEC hearing was due in large part to Stephen Colbert’s request to form a super PAC and fall under the media exemption, so he would not have to report in-kind contributions from his media entity, Viacom. (See yesterday’s blog post for a more detailed explanation.) However, what most people probably do not know is that the FEC considered another issue that has broader campaign finance implications.

An advisory opinion request, submitted on behalf of Majority PAC and House Majority PAC sough guidance on the permissibility of federal candidates and officeholders to solicit contributions on behalf of the super PAC. In a unanimous 6-0 vote, the FEC ruled it is permissible for candidates to solicit up to $5,000 on behalf of super PACs.

RNLA Board of Governors member, General Counsel of the James Madison Center for Free Speech, and Secretary/Treasurer/General Counsel of the James Republican Super PAC James Bopp Jr., comments:

We are pleased that the FEC has recognized that candidates and political-party officials may praise, endorse, and solicit for Super PACs. This means that Republican Super PAC can proceed with its plans and accomplish its goals.

This was probably the more important ruling in yesterday’s FEC hearing. Although Colbert’s super PAC received more media coverage, the ruling is limited, and will only apply to people of his stature. The FEC’s other ruling will open up the process to members of Congress to exercise their First Amendment rights to solicit money for super PACs. This ruling is proof that importance of laws is not determined by the amount of cameras or media coverage it receives.

To read the advisory opinion, go here.

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Obominations
Fri, Jul 1 2011 5:58 AM
The RNLA blog has a weekly "Obomination" feature covering the ways President Obama has defied the rule of law. December 28, 2012: Top Obominations of 2012 Obominations are Friday features on the RNLA blog that contain the most egregious lawbreaking...
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Obomination: Obama Thinks Campaign Laws Don't Apply to Him
Fri, Jul 1 2011 5:49 AM

At the White House, the President filmed an announcement for "Dinner with Barack," a raffle where entrants are asked to donate to Obama’s election campaign.  But there’s one problem with all this--federal law provides that the President may not solicit donations for a federal election in any room which is used for official duties.  See 18 U.S.C.  607.

After National Review Online’s Jim Geraghty recognized the White House background and pointed out the relevant law, White House lawyers scrambled to come up with a series of reasons to excuse the campaign’s wrongdoing. 

First, there was the flat out denial.  One White House official claimed, "There’s nothing in there that asks for money."   Obviously, the aide hadn’t watched the ad, which prominently displayed a website used to accept donations.  Furthermore, the video was e-mailed out with a message from Obama’s campaign manager with instructions to: "Watch the President's video, and then donate $5 or more to be automatically entered for the chance to have dinner with him."

Next, the White House asserted that small donations for a raffle do not count as fundraising.  However, when the website used in the ad accepts donations up to $2500, these hardly constitute small donations.

After that, White House officials claimed that it was the residence, not a place of official White House business.  However, diligent reporters at RealClearPolitics found photos of Obama giving radio addresses—in other words, conducting official business—in the same location as where the video was filmed.

Then, officials pulled out the classic excuse--everyone else is doing it.  The White House tried to point to the practice of past presidents.  However, George W. Bush’s ads at the White House were not fundraising efforts.  Obama may claim Clinton did it, but citing the practice of an administration rife with scandals is hardly sufficient to excuse Obama.  Aside from the Lincoln bedroom mess, Gore made fundraising calls from his vice presidential office, claiming that he could do it because there was "no controlling legal authority."

RNLA Chairman David A. Norcross said:

This Administration basically does whatever it wants: appoints czars with no Congressional oversight, imposes by regulatory fiat what Congress has refused to do (such as EPA regulations on greenhouse gases, power plants and industrial boilers) and ignores the War Powers Act.  Obviously the use of the White House as a backdrop for fundraising does not pose a problem for “the Man Who Would Be King.”

A DNC-funded ad filmed at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for the purpose of acquiring donations for a re-election campaign is clearly prohibited.  When will Obama learn that the president is not above the law?

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