September 2011 - Posts

Obomination: The Double Standard at Obama’s DOJ
Fri, Sep 30 2011 8:12 AM

 

Have you been keeping count at Obama’s Department of Justice?

Leftist lawyers: 113

Moderate, non-ideological, or conservative lawyers: 0.

These numbers, as covered in a previous Obomination, are especially disturbing because career employees at the Justice Department are supposed to be selected by merit by law.  According to the Civil Service Reform Act, “All employees and applicants for employment should receive fair and equitable treatment in all aspects of personnel management without regard to political affiliation…” 

Moreover as David Steinberg points out, leftist political hiring of career attorneys by the DOJ also conflicts with the Department’s hiring policy, is contrary to the rationale behind civil rights laws the DOJ is support to enforce and demonstrates a double-standard.  Then, the DOJ’s reasonable accommodation statement declares that “The U.S. Department of Justice is an Equal Opportunity/Reasonable Accommodation Employer. Except where otherwise provided by law, there will be no discrimination because of …political affiliation…”    How can Eric Holder criticize political hiring of conservatives yet then let the DOJ engage in leftist politicized hiring?

PajamasMedia now reports that the recent leftist attorney hires at the Department of Justice should be concerned whether they will continue to be employed by the agency.  As fallout from the news coverage of the improper hiring practices of Obama’s Justice Department (“Every Single One”), the Senate wants to cut funding.  It’s time someone in Obama’s administration be found responsible for this improper hiring scheme.

Read RNLA Meese award winner Hans von Spakovsky’s and RNLA member Christian Adams’ articles in the “Every Single One” series here: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, and eleven.

 

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Racial Disparity Does Not Mean Racial Discrimination
Thu, Sep 29 2011 10:04 AM

Writer LaShawn Barber wrote an op-ed challenging critics of voter ID for turning the voter ID issue into a racial issue.  Barber points out a critical flaw in voter ID critics’ arguments:  “a racial disparity is not evidence of racial discrimination.” These laws do not single out black voters, or any other specific race.

Barber’s op-ed raises some legitimate questions:

What is preventing these “voters of color” from acquiring a photo ID card? In what way are they different from their “White counterparts”? These are the kind of questions every black American should be asking, not just a handful that includes me. Where is the righteous indignation at being portrayed as helpless children? The only people who should take issue with voter ID laws are those who intend to perpetrate a fraud. No responsible, law-abiding citizen should have any problem with such laws.

So what’s the reason for pulling out the race card?  Barber offers a reason:

It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure out why liberals engage in such hyperbole and condescension. Ninety percent of black voters choose Democrats, and if portraying them as eternally oppressed victims of racism and bias gets them to the polls, so be it.

Democrats are causing an uproar over voter ID to shamefully serve their own electoral ends.  

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Misleading, One-Sided Voter ID Segment on MSNBC
Wed, Sep 28 2011 2:43 PM

The Rev. Al Sharpton hosted a segment last night on MSNBC’s PoliticsNation that was onesided and misleading.  Sharpton invited only opponents of voter ID: Brett Bursey of the South Carolina Progressive Network and Advancement Project co-director Judith Browne Dianis to speak.  Sharpton was silent about the overwhelming public support for voter ID, which also comes from Democrats and Independents.

Sharpton began the segment by claiming that “Republicans are ramping up their unprecedented effort to suppress voter turnout ahead of the 2012 election” and titled his segment “GOP attempts to suppress voter turnout.”  Such assertions are fiction.  This right-wing conspiracy theory does not explain why Democrats and Independents have supported voter ID laws.  Rhode Island has a new voter ID law that was passed by a 4-to-1 Democratic legislature and signed into law by an Independent governor.  Polls show that 77% of voters not affiliated with either party and 63% of Democrats support voter ID.

Furthermore, Sharpton cited statistics from a report of the Brennan Center for Justice which has been discredited as “dubious in its methodology and results and suspect in its sweeping conclusions.”  He tried to discount voter fraud by introducing a graphic using percentages from the Brennan Center instead of listing how many actual cases of fraud there are. 

Fraud is real. The majority of Americans recognize that and support voter ID. 

by Maya Noronha | with no comments
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Obomination: Campaigner-in-Chief Ignores House of Representatives Rules
Fri, Sep 23 2011 1:33 PM

A DNC political ad for Obama uses footage from inside the Capitol, in violation of Rules for the House of Representatives.  House Rules 5 and 11 prohibit the use of broadcasts of House proceedings for political purposes.  The RNLA has written to the Office of Congressional Ethics requesting an investigation into this matter, as DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz is a member of the House of Representatives.

These ads, entitled “Fourteen Months,” are campaign ads pushing the President’s agenda and anticipating the presidential election fourteen months away. In a post titled “DNC ad makes obvious presidential politicization of jobs crisis, violates House ethics rules,” Tina Korbe writes,

It should have been obvious to anyone who watched the president’s jobs speech Thursday that it was as much a stump speech as it was a policy proposal — but just in case it wasn’t, the Democratic National Committee today released a 30-second ad that made it abundantly clear.

Erika Johnsen on Townhall also agreed that the ads are clearly political:

The “the next election is fourteen months away” meme in these ads is a thinly veiled attempt to make our economic problems look like political fails, instead of policy fails.

House Rule 5 provides that “Broadcast coverage and recordings of House floor proceedings may not be used for any political purpose…” Also, House Rule 11 provides that “radio and television tapes and film of any coverage of House committee proceedings may not be use, or made available for use, as partisan political campaign material to promote or oppose the candidacy of any person for public office.”

The Committee for Oversight and Government Reform is already investigating Obama for the campaign video filmed inside the White House.  Further, concerns have been raised about taxpayers footing the bill for Obama’s campaigning.  The aggressive campaigning of Obama has yet again shown disregard for law.

Read the original complaint and its supplement.

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Supplemental RNLA Complaint Against DNC Chair
Thu, Sep 22 2011 8:37 AM

 

The RNLA has issued a supplemental complaint against the DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz for approving more ads using footage of the House of Representatives chamber displaying Obama giving a speech to a September 8 joint session of Congress.

The original complaint was filed earlier this week. The grounds for both complaints are based in House Rule 5 which bars use of broadcast recordings of House proceedings for political uses.  The complaint indicates that the ads are clearly political, advocating for the President’s jobs plan in swing states that are key for the upcoming presidential election.  The ads are titled, “fourteen months”- a clear reference to the upcoming presidential election.  In addition, the DNC issued press releases regarding the ads and the DNC website use the footage to advocate for the president’s initiatives.

David Norcross, chair of the Republican National Lawyers Association, said, “The Obama administration, the DNC and the Democrat leadership in the House believe in rules only as they apply to others.” 

The Daily Caller has reported:

The letter that will be sent Thursday doubles down on the original complaint, targeting newly-released Spanish-language ads in Tampa, Denver, Miami and Las Vegas. The ads proclaim in Spanish: “In the face of Republicans, the President can’t do it alone. Read the plan. Stand together for more jobs.”

Read the RNLA’s press release.

 

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Maine Voters Support Voter ID; Oppose Same-Day Registration
Wed, Sep 21 2011 10:05 AM

53 percent of likely Maine voters support the the state’s recent decision to end same-day voter registration, including 72 percent of conservatives and 53 percent of independents. 55 percent of those polled believe it is more important to protect against voter fraud than it is to maximize voter turnout.  56 percent support voter identification.

The poll was conducted by Pulse Opinion Research on September 7, 2011 using automated polling methods and procedures licenses from Rasmussen.  The Maine Heritage Policy Center’s Chief Executive Officer Lance Dutson said, “Maine people understand that ending same-day registration helps protect the integrity of our system, and that the common-sense measure of requiring photo identification at the polls will help ensure Maine is safe from the kind of fraud and manipulation we see in other states.”

Read the RNLA white paper, entitled “Neither a Panacea for Turnout, nor Ready for Prime Time” by Joseph L. Olson.

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Poll Shows Hispanics Support Voter ID
Tue, Sep 20 2011 12:05 PM

A poll of voters in Florida, Colorado and New Mexico showed that vast majorities of Hispanic voters support photo identification requirements at polling places.  88% of Hispanics in Florida, 71% in Colorado and 73% in New Mexico support voter ID laws.

Resurgent Republic asked 1,200 voters whether they support or oppose “laws that would require registered voters to present photo identification, such as a drivers license, in order to cast their vote.”

According to a piece by Byron York in the Washington Examiner, “The overwhelming support for photo ID contrasts sharply with the intense opposition to such laws in the Justice Department, the Democratic party, and the civil rights establishment.”  He concluded that the poll “shows that among Hispanic voters at least, Democrats don't have the public on their side.”

Despite outrageous claims by DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and others that voter id somehow disenfranchises minorities, this poll echoes what other polls (like Rasmussen’s poll showing 3 out of 4 Americans support voter ID) have shown: voter ID has overwhelming support among the American public.  

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Media Coverage of RNLA Complaint on DNC Ad
Tue, Sep 20 2011 10:00 AM

 

This week, the RNLA sent a complaint to the Office of Congressional Ethics about the DNC’s ad featuring Obama speaking in the House chamber in the Capitol. 

The Daily Caller reported that:

Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida is the subject of a new ethics complaint filed in the Office of Congressional Ethics. The Republican National Lawyers Association (RNLA) filed the complaint in response to a video the Democratic National Committee (DNC), which Wasserman Schultz chairs

Questioning the mindset of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a  Shark Tank blog post said:

Maybe the pressures and competing demands of being both a Congresswoman and the Chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee are too much for Debbie Wasserman-Schultz to handle.  Or perhaps Debbie is a just a fully willing participant who is actively collaborating with the Obama Administration’s deceptive and possibly unethical communications strategy.  Either way, Debbie now finds herself as the recipient of a new ethics complaint filed against her by the Republican National Lawyers Association…

USA Today also covered the story, including a response from Brad Woodhouse of the DNC who challenged the complaint.  USA Today said, “Republican party officials say they want a Congressional ethics investigation into an ad that features President Barack Obama's House speech.”

Once a complaint is filed with the Office of Congressional Ethics, a 30-day preliminary review may be conducted.  Check the RNLA blog for the latest developments on this complaint.

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The RNLA Files Complaint Against DNC Committee Chair
Mon, Sep 19 2011 8:58 AM

As the Denver Post reported last night:

Republican party officials are requesting a Congressional ethics investigation into a television ad that ran last week in Colorado and a handful of other states that shows President Barack Obama on the House floor during a speech to both chambers of Congress.

The ad violates House Ethics Rule 5, which "clearly states that live broadcast recordings in the House chamber may not be used for any political purpose," the Republican National Lawyers Association told The Denver Post Sunday.

RNLA Chair David Norcross commented in the RNLA Press Release on the complaint:

In fact, Representative Schultz actually voted in 2008 to establish the Office of Congressional Ethics.  David Norcross, chair of the Republican National Lawyers Association, said that "it is certainly worth noting and has been typical of the House Democrat leadership to create rules they have no intention of adhering to themselves."

The television ad is not the first time President Obama or his allies such as the DNC Chair have abused ethics regarding fundraising ads, see here and here. Stay tuned for more on this.

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Obomination: Obama’s Disregard for Separation of Powers
Fri, Sep 16 2011 6:51 AM

For someone who taught constitutional law, Obama has forgotten (or simply chooses to ignore) one critical legal topic: separation of powers.  Our Founding Fathers created a limited form of government with three branches, but Obama seems to think he’s the only one, blatantly disregarding authority of the courts and Congress.  His approach has been to do what he wants, irrespective of what the Constitution dictates.

The Heritage Foundation identified a number of policy areas where “the President and the federal agencies under his command have spurned congressional authority to achieve Obama’s objectives.”   The policy areas that Obama has claimed control over include immigration, the environment, labor and the internet.

Obama’s EPA has regulated the emission of carbon dioxide.  The National Labor Relations Board has done a number of radical measures, such as reducing the time allowed for unionization elections, lodging unfair labor practices complaints against companies for making business decisions about where to hold plants and requiring that companies post a notification of union rights in the workplace.  The Department of Homeland Security has instructed attorneys to utilize prosecutorial discretion in immigration cases, effectively implementing the DREAM Act, which was never passed by Congress.  The Department of Justice refused to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act, despite being passed by Congress. 

But it’s not only the legislative branch that Obama ignores.  The judiciary is also disregarded.  Although an appeals court ruling denied the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) authority to regulate the internet, the FCC voted to set limits on internet traffic.

A number of individuals are alarmed by the usurpation of power by the 44th president.  Former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell and American Civil Rights Union fellow Ken Klukowski have  called  it an “imperial presidency,” where “Obama is now claiming powers far beyond what any president has before, remaking America’s economy even when Congress refuses to go along with him.”  Dan Kish, vice president of the Institute for Energy Research, said, “It is outrageous… Like it or not, Congress has the power to write laws.” Mike Petrilli, an executive vice president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, predicted that the Obama administration “will run into legal trouble … I don’t think he has the authority.”

When Congress has not passed a measure Obama wants to be law, Obama’s agencies have issued their own administrative rules anyway.  What Obama does not like actions of Congress or the courts, he simply ignores them.  Obama should stop usurping power from other branches, or otherwise the Constitution (signed 224 years ago, tomorrow) is sadly a dead letter.

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Witnesses Refute Liberals’ Lies with the Facts on Voter ID
Thu, Sep 15 2011 11:26 AM

Congressman Todd Rokita (R-IN) and Scholar Hans von Spakovsky testified to the merits of voter ID laws at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last Thursday.  Despite attempts by Senators Durbin (D-IL) and Franken (D-MN) to distract the public from the truth, the evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of photo voter ID.

Congressman Todd Rokita testified to his experiences in Indiana, which demonstrated a successful voter ID law implementation and a law that was upheld by the courts.  Scholar Hans von Spakovsky referenced many studies – such as those conducted by the University of Missouri, University of Delaware and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, American University, and John Lott – showing that voter ID does not depress turnout.  Now what studies support the assertions of the voter ID opponent Justin Levitt?  Just one: His own. 

In the Brennan Center report, The Truth About Voter Fraud he authored, Justin Levitt writes that “photo ID laws are effective only in preventing individuals from impersonating other voters at the polls — an occurrence more rare than getting struck by lightning.”  Levitt’s comment, much like his paper as a whole, is misleading.  First, he fails to recognize that voter ID prevents much more than impersonation; fraud that voter ID prevents or deters includes voting under fictitious voter registrations, double voting and voting by illegal aliens.  Second, his focus is wrong.  It’s not how often the fraud occurs, but it’s how significant it is that is relevant.  Lightning can kill a human being, just like how vote fraud can decide an election. The left-leaning Brennan Center published another report on voter ID which has been discredited.

The Transportation Safety Administration clearly informs the public that “Adult passengers (18 and over) are required to show a U.S. federal or state-issued photo ID in order to be allowed to go through the checkpoint and onto their flight.”  But where is the uproar against the requirement that there be IDs at the airport security checkpoint? (As Hans von Spakovsky pointed out, travel is an appropriate comparison to voting, because voting and travel are constitutional rights.) Just like photo ID ensures security in travel, photo ID allows the public to have confidence in elections.

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Will Military Voters from New York Be Disenfranchised in 2012?
Wed, Sep 14 2011 9:09 AM

New York has requested a waiver from the federal military voting protection law known as the MOVE Act for the 2012 election because of “an undue hardship.”  To be in compliance with the MOVE Act, states must send out ballots to military voters with sufficient time before an election so the ballots can be returned and counted.

The waiver application states that New York’s hardship is attributable to a primary on September 12, late judicial nominating conventions deadlines from the state’s candidate certification laws and delays due to changes from redistricting.  The application also complains of “6,000 poll sites in the state and more than 100,000 election workers serving on election day.” 

This is not the first time New York has requested a waiver from the MOVE Act.  In 2010, New York requested and received a fifteen day extension.  However, New York City and several counties failed to mail out absentee ballots in compliance with their waiver.  Ballots were ultimately sent only 22 days before the election; what resulted was that New York rejected one out of three military ballots.  New York and another noncompliant state, Illinois, disenfranchised more than 45,000 military voters in 2010.  Under the urging of RNLA and other groups the Department of Justice finally filed lawsuits against both states.

by Maya Noronha | with no comments
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Will Dead Voters Decide the Special Election in NY-9?
Tue, Sep 13 2011 3:05 PM

Hundreds of listed voters on the rolls in NY-9 have undeliverable addresses.  Five listed voters are deceased.  A voter even received an absentee ballot he had not requested.  Given these irregularities, the Turner campaign is expected to seek a court order to impound absentee ballots in the NY-9 special election until they can be examined by a judge verifying that they were completed by legal voters. 

RNLA member Grant Lally who is an attorney for the Turner campaign said, “The Board of Elections is sending out ballots to people who are long deceased.”  He said that Turner “wants to have a clean election, with votes only cast by legitimate living people.”

A special election decided by absentee ballots in New York is not unprecedented.  With such a close election, it could come down to a small margin of votes to decide a winner, and vote fraud has the potential to make a difference.

by Maya Noronha | with no comments
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Vote Fraud in New York
Tue, Sep 13 2011 7:17 AM

 

Today's election in the 9th Congressional District in New York has allegations of dirty tricks.  NBC New York reports that:

Democratic congressional candidate David Weprin isn't denying accusations that his campaign volunteers tried to spy on his rival's headquarters to send back intel… Weprin campaign spokeswoman Elizabeth Kerr admitted Weprin had sent a "tracker" to follow Turner at public events but denied that any staffers misrepresented themselves as reporters or Turner volunteers.

You don’t have to look outside the state to find more dirty tricks in an election.  Democrat elected officials in Troy, New York are in midst of an election fraud trial.  Former City Clerk William McInerny has pled guilty to vote fraud.  He admitted to a judge in court that he “signed the absentee ballot for Demetrius Banks with the intent to defraud.” Elections Commissioner Edward McDonough and City Councilman Mike Loporto were also indicted for vote fraud.

Unfortunately New York City –unlike Troy—does not have a recent history of going after vote fraud.  Steven Richman, general counsel for the city Board of Elections admitted, “There's no extensive investigation normally on a voter registration form… We accept it at its face value.”  Some have even admitted to newspapers that they double vote and have not been prosecuted.  Former Democratic vice presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro and her husband John A. Zaccaro, Sr. voted both in New York City and at her summer home in Saltaire.  Ferraro claimed to The New York Times that she should have the right to vote twice because “People are making decisions on how our taxes are spent… We have payment without representation.” 

Ferraro is not alone in double voting.  The New York Daily News found 46,000 voters registered in both New York and Florida and that “between 400 and 1,000 registered voters have voted twice in at least one election.”   Double voting remains illegal and punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

The New York 9th Congressional District election is very close, and it would not take much fraud to change the outcome of the election.

 

by Maya Noronha | with no comments
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The Difficulties of Prosecuting Vote Fraud
Mon, Sep 12 2011 11:32 AM

Andi Pringle, deputy chief of staff to D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray, voted in September’s D.C. primary even though she lived in Maryland for eighteen months.  After only taking office a week prior, Pringle resigned, calling her voting in the September 2010 D.C. primary a “distraction” from Gray’s administration.             

Pringle claimed her residency in Maryland was temporary and that she would be moving back to the District.  Pringle issued a statement that:  “In September 2010, I voted in the D.C. primary with the understanding that since I had not severed ties with my community nor established residency in Maryland, I should vote at the precinct where I had voted for the past eight years. If this was in error, I apologize.” 

Community activist Dorothy Brizill discovered Pringle cast a ballot in D.C. and filed a formal complaint with the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics.  Brizill said, “Anyone who has been in the District for a long time is concerned about people voting from outside the city.”

Pringle’s case emphasizes the difficulty of pursuing vote fraud prosecutions.   First of all, election officials did not uncover these voting irregularities, but a community activist did.  Vote fraud investigations, while important, are unfortunately not high on priorities of law enforcement.  Second, what evidence would a prosecutor have in this case?  Despite the evidence of her voting, Pringle claims that she was really a resident of D.C. and that she did not intentionally break the law.  

Last Thursday,  Congressman Todd Rokita testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee at a hearing that few prosecutions does not mean that there is not vote fraud.  Moreover, A Milwaukee Police Department Report of the November 2004 election recognized that there were few prosecutions despite the likelihood of fraud.  The report found that despite the fact the Police Department believe there was vote fraud, the prosecutors could not proceed forward with a case because of the poor record keeping by election administration officials and even an admission by those who committed vote fraud was not enough. As the Joint Task Force in that investigation concluded: “Simply put: it is hard to prove a bank embezzlement if the bank cannot tell how much money was there in the first place.”

The U.S. Attorney has discretion whether to prosecute.  Vote fraud is a felony punishable by 10 years in prison or a $20,000 fine.  

by Maya Noronha | with no comments
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