September 2012 - Posts

Obomination: Obama Plays Fast and Loose with Fast and Furious
Fri, Sep 28 2012 6:26 AM

Obama said, “the Fast and Furious program was a field-initiated program begun under the previous administration.”  Mr. President, you lie.

But you don’t have to take my word for it.  Politifact rated Obama’s statement “false.”  Politifact noted that the Department of Justice Inspector General’s 512-page reportclearly shows” that Fast and Furious was a program during the Obama administration.  Furthermore, ABC’s Jake Tapper wrote, “Obama Falsely Claimed That Program Began Under President George W. Bush.”  Obama’s lie merits three pinocchios from The Washington Post’s Fact Checker, which found that “Obama has shirked responsibility for politically hot failures in the past.”

Fast and Furious is not the same as Operation Wide Receiver, a Bush-era program. But entirely different programs are a technicality Obama wants to gloss over, in order to play the blame game.  The President of the United States shouldn’t be lying to the American people.  Fast and Furious began in October 2009, nine months into the Obama presidency.

A further point about what came to light from the IG report is discussed over at Pajamas Media:

the tactics of Operation Wide Receiver never came to the attention of senior DOJ officials during the Bush administration, and only came to the attention of senior Justice officials under the Obama administration. Even though the same individuals that ran Wide Receiver also launched Fast and Furious using similar tactics, Obama’s DOJ failed to provide oversight…

what the OIG report shows us during the later stages of Operation Wide Receiver, when it was finally brought to the attention of Eric Holder’s Justice Department, is that the key interest of the Department was damage control — covering up the hundreds of weapons walked and the resulting murders committed with ATF-walked guns.

An Obomination that Barack’s administration gave birth to was the Fast and Furious program.  To suggest otherwise is simply not true.

 

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South Carolina Governor, a Female Minority, Stands By Voter ID
Thu, Sep 27 2012 1:16 AM

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley is the target of outrageous attacks from radicals like Al Sharpton for her support of voter ID.  But this daughter of Indian parents wasn’t silenced by a claim she was discriminating.  To the contrary, she pointed how condescending such comments really are.

Governor Haley wrote on her facebook page yesterday:

Rev. Al Sharpton accused me of stopping the progress of SC by pushing the Voter ID law implying I am blocking minorities from their right to vote. My response as the daughter of Indian parents, "As a racial minority, I find it both ironic and offensive that Al Sharpton is saying that minorities are somehow incapable of performing the simple task of getting their photo taken."

It really is a simple task of getting a photo taken.  Transportation to the DMV is a non-issue, especially when supportive governors like Nikki Haley give free rides to voters seeking their IDs.

Al Sharpton is out to attack Nikki Haley for supporting common sense reforms like voter ID, because he knows that public support is high for it.  Governor Haley is an example of the supporters of voter ID that fly in the face of Sharpton’s assertions that voter ID proponents discriminate against those who are not white or male.

The irony of what comes out of Sharpton’s mouth doesn’t end with his attacks on Governor Haley.  He denies the existence of vote fraud, but he actually committed it.

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Election Reforms by Florida Republican Legislature Upheld by Federal Court
Wed, Sep 26 2012 6:35 AM

A federal court has upheld election reforms passed in 2011 by the Florida legislature. Despite Democrats’ claims to the contrary, the election law changes were found not to be discriminatory.

Rep. Corinne Brown (D-FL) along with the Duval County Democratic Party had sued in July to prevent the election reforms from taking effect, claiming that the law discriminated against African Americans. U.S. District Judge Timothy Corrigan held that challengers to the law “failed to demonstrate that they are substantially likely to prove that the 2011 changes to the Early Voting Statute were made with the intent to discriminate against minority voters.”   Actually, evidence demonstrated the opposite.  Corrigan found that "[t]he new statute will actually serve to increase the availability of Sunday voting.”

George Meros, who represented Florida, argued that the law passed in 2011 gives counties flexibility. Counties are allowed to spread the hours the polls are open over eight calendar days in order to give early voters 48-96 hours of access to the polls. Meros calls the election law "race neutral,” and pointed to an African America elections supervisor in a north Florida county with a majority of black voters who was not using the full 96 hours.

The Republican-led legislature had reformed the election laws to protect the integrity of elections in the Sunshine State.  Recent news reports indicate that absentee ballot fraud and other forms of vote fraud are problematic in Florida.  Even Democrats have complained about vote fraud committed by fellow Democrats in the Florida primary.

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Democrat Complaints of Vote Fraud Surface When They Are The Victims
Tue, Sep 25 2012 3:56 AM

Departing from the party line of denial, Rep. John Patrick Julien (D-North Miami) has complained of vote fraud in court filings in Florida.   How come?  This is a case of Democrat-on-Democrat fraud in primaries, which generates some refreshing honesty in the left about the existence of fraud in elections.

Julien filed court documents detailing how the infamous “Teacher Carline” as well as “The Queen of Absentee Ballots” have been paid off by his opponent, Rep. Barbara Watson in the Democrat primary for District 107.  Watson’s campaign also gave $1,000 to run radio ads telling Haitian Creole-speaking North Miamians to “consult” with Carline Paul before casting their absentee ballots, in order to “vote correctly.”  A “fraud hotspot” is apparently a nursing home called Watercrest.  Dead residents or non-residents requested absentee ballots while several other residents do not remember who they voted for when someone filled out their ballot.  Julien lost by 13 votes, a razor-thin margin that absentee ballots probably made a difference.  The same lawyer who is litigating Julien’s case also litigated a similar challenge between two Democrats in the Florida state Senate: as lawyer for Mack Bernard, he charged Democratic primary opponent Rep. Jeff Clemens.

Democrat-on-Democrat fraud is nothing new.  There’s Rhode Island, where Democrats like state Senator Harold Metts and State Representative Anastasia Williams lent their support to a voter ID law after being fed up with the fraud in elections they experienced firsthand.  Democrat Adriano Espaillat charged Rep. Charlie Rangel with fraud to obtain the Democratic nomination for the 13th Congressional District.  But notable fraud deniers change their tune when they are victims.  Bill Clinton complained of vote fraud by the Obama camp in the 2008 primary in Nevada, saying, “There was a representative of the organization following along behind us going up to everybody who said that, saying ‘if you’re not gonna vote for our guy were gonna give you a schedule tomorrow so you can’t be there.’”   Campaign managers from both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s camps lodged charges of vote fraud at each other in the close Nevada race. 

Unfortunately, the only way we hear about fraud in Democrat primaries is when one candidate is so victimized that he or she goes public with what goes on.  Congressional candidate Wendy Rosen’s commission of vote fraud came out, but was made public from a source within the Maryland Democrat party, interestingly when she fought off a razor-thin challenge from a fellow Democrat in the primary.  If only Democrats were more concerned with the integrity of elections, instead of just victory, we could have an honest discussion of the existence of fraud and accept the needed reforms.

by Maya Noronha | 1 comment(s)
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Vote Fraud the Left Can’t Deny
Mon, Sep 24 2012 6:50 AM

 

The Republican Study Committee published a policy brief last week about vote fraud.  The evidence is all there, with background and citations to news articles.  These are facts that the left can't deny.

In the 2008 United States Supreme Court opinion which upheld Indiana voter ID law, Justice Stevens wrote that “flagrant examples of such fraud in other parts of the country have been documented throughout this Nation’s history by respected historians and journalists." The Republican Study Committee’s listing echoes the Supreme Court’s finding that reporters have covered stories of vote fraud all over the country.  States where the fraud has occurred include Michigan, Maryland, Florida, Arkansas, California, Virginia, West Virginia, New Hampshire, Georgia as well as Indiana.  There are many forms of vote fraud, and the Republican Study Committee has listed a variety of forms, including posthumous voting, absentee ballot fraud, felon voting, non-resident voter registration, bribery, forgery, multiple voting and noncitizen voting.

Despite resources like this, politicized individuals fail to acknowledge the existence of fraud.  In November of 2011, New York Times editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal claimed there weren’t any recent cases of vote fraud.  He dared readers to find documented accounts online.  If he bothered to thoroughly research news reports, he would find many instances of fraud.  But the truth about vote fraud doesn’t serve his political motives.  The same goes for a number of other leftist outlets that deny fraud, such as the Brennan Center for Justice.

Accounts of vote fraud with hyperlinks to news stories are also available on the RNLA website.

 

by Maya Noronha | with no comments
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Obomination: DOJ Gets Media Matters to Spin Stories Bashing Its Critics
Fri, Sep 21 2012 6:56 AM

When Obama is criticized by someone, the Justice Department calls in for help from Media Matters.  Department of Justice Public Affairs Chief Tracy Schmaler has been pitching ideas to the leftist group, Media Matters.   During the first term of the Obama administration, Media Matters has served as an unofficial Obama-approved Press Secretary, not an independent center.

On July 8, 2011, Media Matters staffer Matt Gertz wrote to Schmaler asking for help “debunking what I think is a conservative media myth about Operation Fast and Furious.”  A Media Matters story about Fast and Furious which tried to differentiate it from Wide Receiver, an operation under the Bush Administration appeared on their website just hours after Schmaler sent an e-mail to them in January of 2012. 

In 2010, Schmaler sent information to Media Matters to defend the administration from fallout after the DOJ dismissed the Black Panthers voter intimidation case.  Media Matters staffer Jeremy Holden promptly issued a story harshly critical of former Civil Rights Division attorneys J. Christian Adams and Hans von Spakovsky claiming that they sought “to reignite the phony New Black Panther Party scandal.”  Two months later, Holden also attacked the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights for holding a hearing on the matter.

E-mails between Schmaler and Media Matters were published after the Daily Caller issued a Freedom of Information Act request with the Department of Justice. The documents released show that there was coordination of an administration-approved message with Media Matters. Media Matters sent Schmaler the full text of stories of criticizing opponents of the Obama administration.  Schmaler would send others hyperlinks to the biased Media Matters articles.

Media Matters for America identifies itself as a “Web-based, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.” 

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4,000 Noncitizens on Voter Rolls in Michigan
Thu, Sep 20 2012 3:03 AM

4,000 noncitizens are on the voter rolls in Michigan, according to a new estimate by state authorities.  A Canadian citizen voted in multiple elections in Michigan, including November 2000, November 2004, August 2006, November 2006, November 2008, August 2010 and November 2012 elections.  Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson said, “We have a problem. We need to fix it…Denying and minimizing it doesn't get the job done.” 

Anyone in favor of integrity in elections should support the efforts to identify noncitizens on the voter rolls and combat vote fraud.  Johnson said, “I don't think anybody wants noncitizens to vote no matter what their party affiliation to vote.”  Even Johnson’s 2010 Democratic opponent, Jocelyn Benson agrees, saying, “If someone is legitimately trying to misrepresent themselves as a citizen in order to interfere with our elections, then what's to say they won't misrepresent themselves a second time at the ballot box.”   ACLU spokeswoman Rana Elmir has said, “We can all agree that it should be easier to vote, yet harder to cheat.”

State Senator Darwin Booher (R-Evart) said, “Elections in Michigan are often won and lost by incredibly close margins. We must make every effort to have the cleanest voter rolls we can. The fact that we have noncitizens on our voter rolls and casting ballots should concern all eligible voters whose voices are being diluted by those who shouldn't be voting.”

The Office of Secretary of State of Michigan completed an analysis of 58,000 driver's licenses and state-issued identification cards found 963 noncitizens registered to vote.  54 have a voting history and have voted a total of 95 times. 

Vote fraud deniers are unfairly challenging efforts by chief state election officials to determine the amount of fraud occurring in their states.  The Obama administration has also been opposing efforts to just identify who are noncitizens on the voter rolls.  Johnson has repeatedly asked federal officials for help but to date they have refused.

Denial is not the answer.  Johnson says, “We have to face this issue, not ignore it, or we are doing a disservice to every legitimate voter in Michigan.”

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Pennsylvania Voter ID: Rhetoric and Reality
Wed, Sep 19 2012 5:52 AM

Yesterday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court expressed concerns about the implementation of Pennsylvania's voter ID law:

Pennsylvania's highest court on Tuesday told a lower court that it should stop a tough new voter photo identification law from taking effect in this year's presidential election if the judge concludes voters cannot easily get ID cards or thinks they will be disenfranchised.

The 4-2 decision by the state Supreme Court sends the case back to the lower Commonwealth Court, where a judge initially ruled in August that the divisive law could go forward. The high court asked for an opinion by Oct. 2 -- just 35 days before the election.

If the judge finds there will be no voter disenfranchisement and that IDs are easily obtained, then the 6-month-old law can stand, the Supreme Court said.

But it is important to note that the judges on a bipartisan basis (three Republicans and one Democrat), supporters of the decision. and rational opponents of voter ID admit:

All sides seem to concede that the legislature has the authority to impose this requirement for voting.

That is very important. Voter ID is not "Jim Crow" or the other inflammatory terms the left is using. Voter ID is legal and legitimate. The only issue is concerning the implementation of the law, which opponents contend is going to be difficult. As far as the difficulty of obtaining ID. Keep in mind what RNLA Policy Director Maya Noronha wrote yesterday on the decision:

Today the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a baffling request for more information from a lower court, questioning whether voter identification cards would be available for voters.  The voter ID case should have been a slam dunk, but they are delaying.  Apparently, they are too scared to uphold the law without being giving an Applewhite, and many Applewhites a day.

Applewhite is Viviette Applewhite, the named plaintiff of the lawsuit who claimed that she could not get an ID… until, of course, she got it.  Applewhite obtained her photo ID the day after the Commonwealth Court upheld the law.  Her voter ID card demonstrates that the law is not actually burdensome, because if the ACLU were right, Applewhite would still be struggling to get identification.  Voter ID opponents and civic organizations have also been active in Pennsylvania to help Pennsylvanians get IDs.

And that's just it; the best example opponents of the voter ID law could find of someone who would be disenfranchised, now has an ID, well in advance of the election. It seems like the Pennsylvania GOP is more in touch with reality then the liberal extremists using inflammatory rhetoric. They get the last word on this for now:

The state GOP chairman, Rob Gleason, predicted the law would ultimately be upheld, and pointed to a poll showing wide support for it.

"Even The Philadelphia Inquirer reported, just last Sunday, that two-thirds of likely Pennsylvania voters support the state's new law requiring official photo ID to vote. What's more, 94 percent of those polled said it would not be difficult for them to obtain the necessary ID," his statement said. "Clearly, this legislation is in line - and in touch - with the view of Pennsylvanians, despite the hysteria created by some in the media."

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Constitutional Crisis Averted, Even After Democrats’ Campaign Lobbying the Court for Obamacare
Wed, Sep 19 2012 12:40 AM

Former Solicitor General Paul Clement said that the Obamacare decision marked a successful outcome of “the long struggle to enforce meaningful limits on the commerce clause.” Georgetown Law Professor Randy Barnett said he and others may not have been successful in “saving the country from Obamacare” but they did achieve the goal of “saving the Constitution for the country.”  Preservation of the Constitution occurred even in the midst of unprecedented pressure from Democrats and liberals to uphold the law and to dismiss outright the commerce clause argument as frivolous.

Clement and Barnett were among those that spoke yesterday, the day after Constitution Day, at an annual symposium at the Cato Institute entitled, “The Supreme Court: Past and Prologue, A Look at the October 2011 and 2012 Terms.”   Clement delivered the Simon lecture, and the topic was “October Term 2011: A Constitutional Moment?”  In brief, Clement’s answer to the question was that the Obamacare decision was actually not a constitutional moment, but “almost” was.  Clement said it would have been a “constitutional moment” if pundits and prognosticators had actually been correct that the Court would uphold Obamacare under the commerce clause.   (The term “constitutional moment” is a reference to Yale Law School Professor Bruce Ackerman’s theory about wide-scale constitutional change.)

Barnett criticized the “publicity campaign” that Democrats, liberal pundits and liberal law professors put on after the close of Supreme Court oral arguments but before the ruling was issued.  He was concerned that the campaign specifically targeted Chief Justice John Roberts.  Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Patrick Leahy actually went so far as even lobbying the Supreme Court from the floor of the Senate.  Baker & Hostetler partner David Rivkin pessimistically predicted that in the future the Supreme Court will probably face a “similar campaign of intimidation.”

A case is currently pending to challenge Obamacare on the basis of the origination clause, which declares that a bill which institutes a tax must originate in the House of Representatives.  But this case could end up being moot.  Barnett placed specific importance on the upcoming election.  The future of Obamacare lies in the hands of American voters.  Obama and Democrats would continue to force the unpopular program on the people, but Romney and Republicans would repeal.  Who has control of Congress and the White House will determine whether the price of Obamacare continues to be forced on us.

 

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News21 Students Get an F: Results Driven Vote Fraud Report Flawed and Biased
Tue, Sep 18 2012 8:40 AM

News21, a project of the Cronkite School of Journalism, published an error-ridden series of articles about vote fraud beginning in mid-August, claiming that there is "no evidence" that voter ID laws would prevent fraud. The News21 "report" is a failure on every level and is an unfortunate example of advocacy of a position in ignorance of the facts. The News21 report should not be cited or used by anyone wanting information on vote fraud or ID.

David Norcross, Chairman of the Republican National Lawyers Association ("RNLA"), said:

The Cronkite School of Journalism has failed to teach its News21 students the basics of ethics in journalism and gets an "F" for their effort. Reporters have a duty to the public to fairly report the facts, but News21 students have gravely failed to fulfill this responsibility as seen in their reporting on voter ID and vote fraud.

News21's articles are biased and error-ridden. News21 analyzed data they admit was incomplete in a results-driven manner borrowed from radical liberal activists who have a record of distorting statistics. News21 ignored liberal or Democrat efforts in support of voter ID in furtherance of their agenda. They even engaged in race baiting. News21 adopted liberal talking points denying vote fraud in ignorance of reality. This is neither journalism, nor reporting but does serve as a good example of partisan muckraking.

Her are a few examples of problems with methodology:

  • News21 lists seven examples of how flawed and non-comprehensive their "comprehensive report" is within the document!
  • News21 ignored their own data. In just the first state RNLA reviewed of the News 21 report, RNLA found that News21 failed to count from their raw data a serious conviction of nine felony counts of falsifying ballots.
  • News21 takes the most slanted and narrow definition of vote fraud from a notorious vote-fraud denier, former Project Vote employee Lorraine Minnite. Project Vote was an affiliate of Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), which was infamous for numerous vote fraud convictions, for which it was called "reprehensible" by a Nevada judge during sentencing.
  • How narrow is their definition? Despite using Minnite's narrow definition of vote fraud as "voter impersonation", News 21 expressly does not count all instances of voter impersonation fraud. One example of an omission is Lafayette Fredrick Keaton who pled guilty to voting multiple times in the name of his dead son. All voting in Oregon is by mail and therefore impossible to "impersonate", according to News21.

 

Here are a few examples of bias of News21:

  • News21 Ignores bipartisan support of Voter ID and acknowledgements of the existence of vote fraud. While blaming the American Legislative Exchange Counsel (ALEC) for promoting Voter ID legislation in an article, it fails to mention heavily Democrat Rhode Island passed voter ID last year under the leadership of a liberal African American senior citizen, Democrat State Senator Harold Metts.
  • News21 also fails to mention the most important bipartisan report on voting; the Carter-Baker report which came out in support of Voter ID and was led by former President and staunch Democrat Jimmy Carter.
  • News21's lead author of the report went to the Democratic National Convention as a Cronkite News Service reporter, but no News21 reporter went to the Republican Convention. The author fails to mention the ID requirements at the convention to be able to cast a vote for President Obama.
  • The News21 webpage leads with the headline: Who Can Vote? You May Not Be Able To. This highly inflammatory and unsupported statement shows their bias as all are allowed to vote provisionally.
  • In an article casting Republican Secretary of States as partisan for their efforts on behalf of Voter ID in a few states, News21 fails to mention the qualified support of Democrat and New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner, nor the leading efforts of Democrat and Rhode Island Secretary of State Ralph Mollis to pass their states' voter ID bills.
  • News21 also repeats the ugly and completely unfounded accusations that Voter ID supporters are vile Jim Crow racists. News21 ignores efforts of Southern politicians such as South Asian American and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley to provide not only Voter ID for free, but also free rides to obtain the ID. Further, even liberal vote fraud deniers, such as African American Professor Spencer Overton, have given qualified support for voter ID.

     

News21 misquotes an RNLA survey and refused to print or mention an RNLA explanation of the survey. RNLA also adopts a fair and nonpartisan definition of vote fraud which includes non-citizen voting, double voting, voting in the wrong jurisdiction, etc. instead of the narrow and incomplete definition of one type of vote fraud that News21 uses. Maybe that is why the RNLA and the vast majority of the public in every poll support Voter ID.

For more information about vote fraud news or voter ID, please visit the RNLA website at http://www.rnla.org/votefraud.asp. To schedule an interview with an expert on laws criminalizing vote fraud, please contact Michael Thielen at (703) 719-6335.

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Happy 225th Birthday to the Constitution!
Mon, Sep 17 2012 1:26 AM

 

Just how do the media talk about the Constitution, now in the 225th year after it was approved by the Constitutional Convention?  Well, according to United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., the quality of the reporting of the constitutional issues that come before the United States Supreme Court is poor. 

On Friday, Justice Alito spoke to Roger Williams University School of Law in Rhode Island, declaring that it is “frustrating” to hear how opinions are “spun” and “reduced to a slogan that you put on a bumper sticker.”  Furthermore, he said that the media “read things into the questions” posed by the justices in oral arguments.  But Alito said that justices “can’t engage in a back-and-forth with people” because they “speak through [their] opinions.”

Ironically, the media spins their reporting of the same amendment to the Constitution that also provides for freedom of the press: the First Amendment.  The First Amendment case that Alito said was reported wrong was Citizens United.  Alito explained that “Campaign finance is very complicated.”  So complicated that the media is not alone in mischaracterization. President Obama, who lectured about constitutional law at Chicago Law School, publicly mischaracterized the case, which garnered a reaction from Justice Alito during a State of the Union.

Alito mentioned that a justice from the Supreme Court of Canada had said that reporters are briefed about the cases inside a locked room, to which Alito humorously commented, ‘‘I thought this was a wonderful idea. Why don’t we implement this in the United States? Until I found out that at the end of the process they actually unlock the door and they let them out.”

All jokes aside, misreporting of legal issues is a serious problem.  Maybe a good way for reporters to prepare for their reporting about the Constitution’s 225th birthday today is to actually read the Constitution, like the House of Representatives did.

 

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Obomination: Obama Adviser Threatens Gallup After Unfavorable Poll and Then DOJ Sues Pollsters
Fri, Sep 14 2012 6:00 AM

Don’t publish an unfavorable poll when Obama is in office, or otherwise you’ll get sued.  That’s this week’s Obomination: Obama is intimidating the media into reporting what he wants and using the Justice Department to enforce it.

It all started with a tweet.  In April, Romney was leading Obama 48 to 43, according to a Gallup poll.  But the facts weren’t the right message for the Obama camp, so Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod complained over methodology.  He tweeted that there were alleged sampling problems.  When Gallup stood by its methodology, the Department of Justice joined a lawsuit against former Gallup employee Michael Lindley (who worked for the Obama campaign in 2008) against the Gallup Corporation for overcharging the government on polling work.  The lawsuit was filed in 2009, but the DOJ only joined in April after the tussle between Axelrod and Gallup.

E-mails from Axelrod to Gallup were threatening.  Fox News reports that “employees at the venerable Gallup polling firm suggested they felt threatened by Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod when he questioned the methodology of a mid-April poll showing Mitt Romney leading the president – according to internal emails published Thursday.”  The threats included a request for the Gallup staffer to “come over and explain” to the White House the methodology of the poll.

Fox News also reported that “a Gallup official said in an email he thought Axelrod’s pressure ‘sounds a little like a Godfather situation.’”  The e-mails had the subject line “Axelrod vs. Gallup.”  The showdown resulted in a lawsuit with the same parties on either side of the controversy.

As for discussing the matter now, the Obama camp is keeping silent to the media questions about this matter.  Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told the Washington Times, “I have no knowledge of any discussions of anybody on the campaign side with Gallup.” 

In front of the camera, there’s no comment.  But behind the scenes, anyone with a message Obama doesn’t like better watch out, because they might find themselves the defendants in a lawsuit with the Obama DOJ just for telling the truth.

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PRESS RELEASE: RNLA Commends Rep. Joe Walsh on Highlighting Voter ID Issue
Thu, Sep 13 2012 9:21 AM

 

 

 

 

Washington, D.C. - Today, Congressman Joe Walsh (IL-8) reintroduced the Federal Election Integrity Act of 2012.  The bill would amend the Help America Vote Act to require photo identification at the polls. 

David Norcross, chairman of the Republican National Lawyers Association ("RNLA") said:

 

Voter ID is a common sense election reform.  Elected officials like Congressman Walsh should be commended for highlighting the merits of voter ID and other reforms in combating vote fraud, especially now when there is aggressive opposition by President Obama’s Justice Department.  We should have open, fair and honest elections this year, and voter ID laws help achieve that.

Without proper ID it is easy to vote for the deceased, for fictitious registrants and to vote in more than one polling place.  Failure to require identification led to a polling worker in Washington, D.C. recently offering (and almost insisting that he give) a ballot to an impersonator claiming to be Attorney General Eric Holder. The simple fact is that without proper identification at the polling place, poll workers have little ability to stop fraud.  Identification requirements are the perfect way to begin educating folks about the sanctity of the ballot and show that cheating is not the way our system should work.

A supporter of this bill is RNLA Advisory Council Co-Chair, Edwin Meese III, who previously served as Attorney General in the Reagan administration and currently is the Ronald Reagan Chair in Public Policy and Chairman of the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at the Heritage Foundation. 

RNLA strongly supports the concept of voter ID and efforts to highlight the need for it.  For more information about voter ID, please visit the Republican Lawyer blog at the RNLA website at http://www.rnla.org.  To schedule an interview with a voter ID expert at the RNLA, please contact Michael Thielen at (703) 719-6335.

###

A pdf of the press release is available here.

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PA Supreme Court Should Uphold Voter ID Law
Thu, Sep 13 2012 5:43 AM

Today, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will start hearing the appeal of a lower court decision on voter ID.  Pennsylvania Commonwealth Judge Robert Simpson held in mid-August that the Pennsylvania voter ID law “does not expressly disenfranchise or burden any qualified elector or group of electors.”  A closer look at the well-written opinion shows how specious the arguments presented by challengers of the voter ID law are in sharp contrast to the credible testimony and firm footing in law that proponents of voter ID offer.

Simpson said that “the availability of absentee voting, provisional ballots, and opportunities for judicial relief for those with special hardships” in addition to “the believable testimony about the pending [free] DOS photo IDs for voting, and the enhanced availability of birth confirmation through the Department of Health for those born in Pennsylvania” were factors that would prevent eligible voters from being disenfranchised by the voter ID law. 

Simpson recognized the strength of Pennsylvania’s interest in passing the law; Pennsylvania declared that their reason for the law was based on the idea that “requiring a photo ID improves the security and integrity of elections in Pennsylvania” and that voter ID “is a tool to detect and deter voter fraud.”  That alone, without detailing vote fraud in the state, is sufficient.  Although opponents of voter ID have placed a great deal of weight on Representative Turzai’s comments about how the voter ID might impact the election, Judge Simpson recognized that this one statement was “made away from the chamber floor” at a partisan event and cannot be inferred to be the motivation of the votes of the other members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly who passed the law.

Simpson cited a number of voter ID cases where laws were upheld, including the Supreme Court’s Crawford case about the Indiana law, the 10th Circuit opinion in Santillanes  about Albuquerque, New Mexico, Georgia Supreme Court Perdue case and Michigan Supreme Court’s case In re Request for Advisory Opinion.

Judge Simpson recognized the brief of the challengers as offering misapplication and mischaracterizations of the law, making claims that were not backed up by unbiased research, and calling for a last minute court-instituted change that would cause great injury to the administration of Pennsylvania elections in November for which preparation, training and education was already underway. 

Simpson found that the Pennsylvania Department of State called Pennsylvania agency and election officials to the stand that offered “more credible evidence.”  Moreover, the testimony of those implementing the law convinced Judge Simpson that they “will fully educate the public,” will comply with state election law requirements and  do so “in a non-partisan, even-handed manner.” This is in comparison to the challengers’ witnesses, one of which was described as “not credible” because of “demeanor, bias… and lack of knowledge.”   Furthermore, the testimony about research by the supposed expert had “opinions [that] were contrary to testimony by most, perhaps all of the lay witnesses.”  The case presented by the challenges did not introduce undisputed facts but instead was “speculation about hypothetical or imaginary cases.”

The challengers lawyers failed to offer the proper standard of review, offered a meritless argument about voter ID being an unconstitutional additional requirement to vote, failed to argue properly for a facial challenge (as opposed to an as-applied challenge) appropriate to a state constitutional challenge in Pennsylvania.  Simpson explained that “Pennsylvania courts considering state constitutional challenges to state election laws, afford a substantial degree of deference to the judgment of the legislature. Simpson held that the “legislature has the power to define which electors are ‘qualified’” and that the voter ID law “simply gives poll workers another tool to verify that the person voting is who they claim to be.”

If the members of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court set aside partisan influences (as Judge Simpson clearly did) and follow the precedent on voter ID, they should agree with the well-supported lower court opinion and uphold Pennsylvania’s voter ID law.

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A Victory for Free Speech in Minnesota
Wed, Sep 12 2012 5:18 AM

The Eighth Circuit issued a ruling that is a huge victory for free speech by cutting down part of a Minnesota statute. In an en banc ruling by the Eighth Circuit, the Court said an onerous disclosure statute imposed on all associations and corporations that wanted to make independent expenditures was “most likely unconstitutional.”  The statute was challenged by Minnesota Citizens and Taxpayer League, a 501(c)(4) and Coastal Travel LLC.

The Eighth Circuit agreed with the argument that the statute impermissibly limits the freedom of speech of associations and corporations. The court held:

Minnesota's law hinders associations from participating in the political debate and limits their access to the citizenry and the government. The law manifestly discourages associations, particularly small associations with limited resources, from engaging in protected political speech.

RNLA Board of Governors member James Bopp said this was a “big ruling.” The statute required any association or organization that wanted to make an independent expenditure over $100 to establish a “political fund” in order to make the expenditure. The statute required that the political fund have continuing reporting requirements until the political fund was dissolved. The Eighth Circuit decided that “compelling an association to decide whether exercising its constitutional right is worth the time and expense of entering a long-term morass of regulatory red tape” poses grave constitutional problems.

The Court’s holding is primarily derived from the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United which held “the government may not suppress political speech on the basis of the speaker’s corporate identity” whether by “nonprofit or for-profit corporations.” The Eighth Circuit also justified their decision by distinguishing the case from the DC Circuit’s holding in Speech Now which upheld disclosure laws by saying the law in Minnesota applies to far more associations.

Disclosure appears to be the next hot topic in campaign finance law. Outside of court, Senate Democrats have tried for almost two years now to push through the DISCLOSE Act, which would fundamentally undermine the First Amendment.  However, rulings like this one in the Eighth Circuit could be a big first step in guaranteeing equal First Amendment rights for everyone.

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