The 2012 Republican Party – the gift that keeps on giving. Wait a minute. Isn’t that the phrase we use to describe STDs?
Florida Governor Rick Scott must be sitting in his office in Tallahassee pleased as punch at how well his voter purge drive is working. Hard on the heels of the discovery of registration fraud in Palm Beach County comes the news that between seven and ten counties have uncovered fraudulent registration forms. Well, maybe he’s not too pleased. All the complaints of fraud involve companies hired by the Florida Republicans, not Democrats. Not a single ACORN worker in sight.
Florida Republicans are in major crisis control mode, not just firing the vendor, but filing an election fraud complaint against Nathan Sproul and Strategic Allied Consulting and issuing statement after statement of how seriously the Party is taking this.
One state would have been bad enough, but…..
North Carolina’s Republicans didn’t even wait for any evidence. They fired Strategic on Thursday. No word yet from Colorado and Virginia where SAC also gathered registrations.
One company would have been bad enough, but…..
Winging clear across the country, the Sacramento Bee is following the unfolding story of voter registration fraud in California. The first evidence emerged in Sacramento County, where the Registrar of Voters, Jill LaVine, has turned over to the Secretary of State’s Office around 7,750 registration cards that her office has rejected for “inaccuracies.” Among those “inaccuracies” were party affiliations erased and replaced with “Republican.” The company involved in this scandal is called Momentum Political Services and is run by Monica Harris, a women with an extensive criminal record, including stealing from a youth agency to buy a van. The employee at the center of the fraudulent registration cards is one Remy Heng, who recently pleaded guilty to a multimillion-dollar mortgage fraud scam in Northern California. The Republican Party of Sacremento paid Momentum a $5 bounty for each registration collected. Between September and December of last year, the Party paid MPS $54,000, for 10,800 registrations, almost a third of the total handed in by MPS so far. Most of the rejected registrations were the result of mistakes in filling out the forms, but too many had shown up with things that made them suspicious.
Jennifer Kerns, spokeswoman for the California Republican Party, told the Sacramento Bee that the party has terminated its relationship with Harris and her company. That raises the question of how many other counties in California used Harris’ services. The question has also been raised, by the Democrats of course, of why the Republican Party didn’t do a background check on Harris and demand the same of her employees.
Harris and Heng are telling their stories to anyone who will listen, and they are utterly brilliant variations on what the right wing claims all Democrats do – we are victims, we were sick, we didn’t do anything intentionally wrong.
And moving back eastward from California……
Channel 8 Eyewitness News in Las Vegas, Nevada, was the first raise alarms about a private company hired to register voters. The company is called Voters Outreach of America, and former employee Eric Russell has turned over to the Las Vegas FBI office a bundle of Democratic registration cards he says his company intentionally ripped up and threw in the trash.
Russell admits to being a disgruntled former employee. He was one of about 300 people hired to gather registrations, and left the company over a pay dispute. Voters Outreach was operating in Las Vegas for over two months and Russell has no idea how many registration forms were trashed. The FBI is not “officially” investigating the allegations, just “looking into” the matter. Nevada Secretary of State Dean Heller’s office is also “looking into” the case.
At least one man, Daren Gray, whose registration card was among those Russell retrieved was shocked to learn that his registration was never filed with the proper authorities. He has every intention of showing up to vote on November 6.
This time, it wasn’t local. The Republican National Committee didn’t just recommend VOA, they are the ones who hired the company to register voters in Nevada. The local Republican officials issued the usual statement about zero tolerance for fraud and said there is just “no way” they would instruct a registration company to dispose of non-Republican registrations. VOA used the name America Votes in Oregon, where they came under scrutiny for their tactics in gathering registrations. Russell has told Eyewitness News that he and the others were told that they were working for America Votes, which is actually a Democratic Party organization. Eyewitness News is trying to uncover why a company hired by and working for the Republican National Committee was using the name of a Democratic Party organization in two states.
Right wing media in Nevada has attacked Russell as a “disgruntled employee” sort of treating him like a “gone postal” office shooter. He admits that if he hadn’t been ticked off about the pay dispute, he probably would not have approached the FBI. But Russell’s problems with VOA don’t negate the reality of those torn and trashed registration cards.
The Republican Party used the abuses of employees who were paid by the card for registering voters in companies and organizations working for the Democrats in 2008 to “prove” voter fraud and push through their new voter ID laws. Now that the shoe’s on the other foot, can we expect them to insist that the election boards always find false registrations? Will they try to make the case that registration fraud is not voter fraud, even after pushing the equivalency to pass their photo ID laws? Will they plead that they had no control over these rogue employees, even as they painted President Obama as personally responsible for the previous abuses?
Three states down, forty-seven to go. Who will be next?