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Latest Featured Reports | Monday, September 1, 2014
Erick Erickson's Global Warming Denialist Tantrum
Latest barometer of denialist desperation: The rightwing 'thought leader', as usual, is wrong on the facts and science, so he's just taking his ball and going home...
Video Captures GA Family Disowning, Assaulting 20-Year Old Gay Son
But there is a "happy" ending, of sorts, to this heartbreaking and disturbing story...
'Green News Report' 8/28/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
BP refinery explodes. Again.; UN report warns of 'irreversible' warming; Fines for oil, chem spills; 22% of world elec. is now green; PLUS: People's Climate March coming to NYC...
Previous GNRs: 8/26/14 - 8/21/14 - Archives...
Faking the Ferguson Docs:
KPFK 'BradCast'
Brad interviews open records advocate Charlie Grapski on his evidence that Ferguson and St. Louis County police are illegally withholding evidence in the killing of Michael Brown; Plus MUCH more...
Records Requests Suggest Ferguson, St. Louis County Police Involved in Cover-Up
How else to explain the missing details and required documentation of Officer Darren Wilson's killing of Michael Brown?...
'Green News Report' 8/26/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Napa earthquake is a warning for CA's nuke plants; Another coal plant bites the dust; Cutting emissions will save $$$; PLUS: Fighting drought with a 'salmon cannon'...Yep...
Previous GNRs: 8/21/14 - 8/19/14 - Archives...
Siegelman Judge, Arrested For Beating His Wife, May Avoid Prosecution Altogether
U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller checks in for 'treatment', may be able to duck prosecution...
Our Story So Far: The WI GOP Photo ID Voting Restrictions
Trouble keeping up with all the court cases barring, then allowing, then barring GOP Photo ID voting restrictions in WI? We'll catch you up quickly...
Obama Orders Review of Police Militarization Program
In response to bi-partisan calls for reform and disturbing display by militarized local police in Ferguson, MO, the President takes aim at controversial Pentagon program...
Ryan Dismisses Elderly Voter's Question About His Medicare Cuts
2012 GOP Veep nom and 2016 hopeful 'charms' elderly voters in FL, by ignoring them...
Perry Tells NH Businessmen His Felony Indictment Was for a 'Bribery' Charge
Is this another 'oops' moment from the Repub TX Governor and 2016 hopeful? Or something else entirely?...
'Green News Report' 8/21/14
Too much rain in AZ desert; Another toxic spill in Ohio River; Solar breakthrough; Wind energy prices hit all-time low; PLUS: Auto-magically cleaning up Baltimore Harbor...
Rep. Hank Johnson on Ferguson and Demilitarizing the Police: KPFK 'BradCast'
The Democratic U.S. Congressman from Georgia's 4th district joins Bradto discuss his new bill...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...

By Ernest A. Canning on 8/25/2014 5:32pm PT  

Trying to make sense of all the different court rulings in Wisconsin on their partisan Photo ID voting laws? We'll try to unpack that for you.

The short version: Two different state trial courts found the GOP's Photo ID restriction on voting to be a violation of the state constitution's right to vote. A federal trial court (aka U.S. District Court) similarly found the law to be a violation of various parts of the U.S. Constitution.

The partisan WI state Supreme Court recently overturned the decisions in the two state cases --- literally re-writing the law as they did so (yes, actually legislating from the bench on behalf of Republicans). Wisconsin's Republican Governor Scott Walker, whom recent polls suggest is in a virtual dead heat with his Democratic challenger Mary Burke, then asked the federal appellate court to immediately overturn the U.S. District Court's injunction, which still blocks implementation of Wisconsin's Photo ID law.

Last week, the federal appellate court turned down Walker's request that it immediately overturn the federal injunction. Wisconsin election officials are, at present, still barred from enforcing the controversial law in the Badger State.

Specifically, last week, the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeal issued an order [PDF] in which it refused an emergency stay of the federal court decision permanently enjoining Wisconsin's partisan Photo ID law prior to oral arguments on the merits of the state's federal appeal. Yes, the state not only appealed the adverse ruling in the two state cases (successfully), but they also appealed the initial federal court decision as well.

The permanent injunction in federal court was issued earlier this year by U.S. District Court Judge Lynn Adelman who, in a landmark 90-page decision and order [PDF] following a full trial, found that the Republican-enacted Photo ID law violated the U.S. Constitution and that it was "absolutely clear" that it "will prevent more legitimate votes from being cast than fraudulent votes."

Last month, following the issuance of the two decisions by the sharply divided and extraordinarily partisan Wisconsin Supreme Court which lifted the state court injunctions in two different state cases --- Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP vs. Walker [PDF] and League of Women Voters of Wisconsin v. Walker [PDF] --- Walker filed his Expedited Motion for a Stay Pending Appeal of the Permanent Injunction [PDF] in the federal appellate court.

In it's ruling last week, the 7th Circuit upheld the portion of the Wisconsin Supreme Court decisions which changed the law by directing the state's Department of Motor Vehicles to issue Photo ID cards sans requiring documents, such as birth certificates, for which the elector had previously been required to pay a fee to a government agency. That issue, however, is only one of the reasons why U.S. District Court Judge Adelman initially found the polling place Photo ID law constitutionally infirm. While we will have to await a final decision --- and even that decision will, no doubt, make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court eventually --- the current ruling issued last week suggests that the 7th Circuit did not see that one single issue as sufficient to immediately stay Judge Adelman's permanent injunction in federal court.

The 7th Circuit will hear oral arguments on September 12 --- less than two months prior to the November General Election. It is likely the 7th Circuit will expedite its decision. Stay tuned!

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LA Times Buries 'grim' news on page A-11...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/11/2014 1:24pm PT  

The much-debated Keystone XL pipeline could increase global warming pollution by as much four times the amount estimated by the U.S. State Department, according to a new study by an independent non-profit research organization.

Without mentioning that the State Department's own environmental impact report may have been hopelessly compromised by "corporate conflicts of interest," Los Angeles Times offered an important article discussing the findings of the new report published Sunday by the journal Nature Climate Change.

The State Department's dubious estimate of the Keystone XL's anticipated impact on increased carbon emissions is critical to President Barack Obama's determination as to whether he will approve the controversial tar sands oil project since, as noted by the scientists who authored the report at the Stockholm Environment Institute, the President has stated that "he would only approve the Keystone XL pipeline…if it 'does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.'"

This new report may alter his calculation of exacerbated emissions expected to occur from building the massive pipeline that would ship dirty tar sands crude from Alberta, Canada down to the Gulf of Mexico for export, as the LA Times' Neela Banerjee explains in her article, headlined in the print version as "Grim estimates on pipeline"...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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370 to 40 vote a rebuke to GOP war hawks like McCain, Graham...
By Ernest A. Canning on 7/25/2014 4:16pm PT  

The U.S. House has finally found something they can agree on. They want President Obama to remove U.S. troops from Iraq.

In an overwhelming bi-partisan vote on Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a Concurrent Resolution [PDF], which, pursuant to Section 5(c) of the War Powers Act, directs "the President to remove United States Armed Forces, other than Armed Forces required to protect United States diplomatic facilities and personnel from Iraq" within 30 days, unless it is unsafe to do so.

Section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution states:

...at any time that United States Armed Forces are engaged in hostilities outside the territory of the United States, its possessions and territories without a declaration of war or specific statutory authorization, such forces shall be removed by the President if the Congress so directs by concurrent resolution.

The bi-partisan Resolution, adopted by a 370 to 40 vote, was introduced by Reps. Jim McGovern (D-MA), Walter Jones (R-NC) and Barbara Lee (D-CA).

Last month, the President authorized up to 300 more U.S. troops to be sent to Iraq as military advisers in the wake of the takeover of a number of Iraqi cities by militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). That brought the total of U.S. troops in the nation to more than 800.

Win Without War, a national coalition of anti-war organizations, released a statement describing today's vote as "a strong message to President Obama that there is no authorization for any escalation of US military involvement in Iraq."

"After nearly 13 years of trying to solve such challenges militarily in Iraq and Afghanistan, with little success, the American people simply do not support another war in the Middle East," the group said in their statement. "Instead, we hope today's clear message against military escalation will encourage the President to double down on diplomatic efforts and a robust humanitarian response."

While the House Resolution is directed to the President, it also represents a stinging rebuke to GOP war hawk Senators like John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsay Graham (R-SC). Earlier this month the pair criticized the President for refusing to reach an agreement with the Iraqi government after he came to office, which would have "kept U.S. troops there", following George W. Bush's Status of Forces Agreement struck with Iraq in 2008. That agreement called for the removal of all U.S. forces from Iraq by the end of 2011.

The vote on Friday is believed to be largely symbolic, however, as it would require similar passage in the U.S. Senate, where Senators like McCain and Graham would likely seek to block a vote on the matter. Then, again, matters could lead to a "politics-make-strange-bedfellows" moment if Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rand Paul (R-KY) were to come together in support of the Concurrent Resolution.

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State legislature, governor add proposition to general election ballot calling for amendment to overturn 'Citizens United'...
UPDATE: 'Overturn Citizens United Act' will appear as 'Prop 49' on November ballot | LATER UPDATE: No, it won't...
By Ernest A. Canning on 7/18/2014 1:24pm PT  

California's Democratic Governor Jerry Brown has permitted SB 1272, an advisory measure entitled the Overturn Citizens United Act, to appear on the state's November 2014 ballot.

The measure not only calls upon Congress to "propose an amendment...to the United States Constitution" to overturn the infamous Citizens United decision and its progeny, but "to make clear that the rights protected by the United States Constitution are the rights of natural persons only."

According to state Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), the author of SB 1272, the measure is intended to send "a message to Congress" that we "should not equate money with free speech and corporations are not people."

A constitutional amendment that eliminated "corporate personhood" would not only invalidate Citizens United but would overturn the newly minted right to "corporate religious liberty" established in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, Inc. (2014).

Unfortunately, the language Lieu included in the measure stops short of "money is not speech." Instead, the measure simply provides for "full regulation or limitation of campaign contributions and spending, to ensure that all citizens, regardless of wealth, may express their views to one another."

While the ballot proposition is not binding, and has produced critics who describe the measure as little more than a political stunt, if adopted by an overwhelming majority of California voters this fall, it could very well help to ignite a nationwide groundswell of opposition to a series of decisions by an oligarchic Supreme Court that have threatened the very survival of our constitutional representative democracy...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Over 100 top state GOPers endorse Gov. Sam Brownback's Democratic opponent after tax cuts for wealthy devastate state...
By Ernest A. Canning on 7/17/2014 9:00am PT  

The Washington Post recently reported that more "than 100 current and former [Kansas] Republican officials [have] endorsed Democratic state Rep. Paul Davis [in his] bid to unseat Gov. Sam Brownback (R)."

The website of the group that refers to itself as the "Republicans for Kansas Values," reveals that the source of their revolt can be found in what the LA Times' Michael Hiltzik described as Brownback's draconian "Tea Party tax cuts," enacted in the name of economic "freedom" that have, he says, benefited only the wealthy and have turned the Sunflower State "into a smoking ruin."

As we once described in "'Tea Party' Future: Fascism, Feudalism, Economic Collapse", that "smoking ruin" was not unexpected. But neither was the revulsion of traditionally conservative Kansas Republicans to Brownback's application of the Koch brothers' radical brand of libertarianism...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 6/16/2014 6:05am PT  

Apparently, swinging and missing on three separate occasions is not enough to get either Ohio's Republican Governor John Kasich or its Republican Secretary of State John Husted to walk away from the plate.

After U.S. District Court Judge Peter Economus issued an August 2012 preliminary injunction that forced the Buckeye State to restore early voting for the three days preceding the November 2012 Presidential Election, Husted found it necessary to apologize to the court for what appeared to be a contemptuous directive to the state's 88 county Boards of Election that they not establish hours for voting on those days, pending the state's appeal of the preliminary injunction. Strike one!

In early October 2012, a unanimous three judge panel of the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeal ruled against Husted, expressly sustaining every aspect of Judge Economus' August 2012 decision. Strike two!

That same month, the U.S. Supreme Court summarily rejected Husted's request for an emergency stay. Strike three!

Undaunted, in Feb. 2014 Gov. Kasich signed into law a new elections bill that failed to correct the previous disparate deadlines for in-person voting, allowing military voters to vote on the last days before the election, but nobody else. Husted then issued a directive that provided for early voting between 8:00 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014, but failed to provide for any voting hours on either Sunday, Nov. 2 or Monday, Nov. 3 --- despite the still-existing law allowing military members to cast their vote those days.

As it happens, African-American churches have traditionally used early voting on the Sunday before elections as "Souls to the Polls" day to help get out the vote. In turn, Republicans in Ohio have been working hard to end early voting on the Sunday before election day.

In his original 2012 ruling, Judge Economus held that all Ohio voters had a "constitutionally protected right to participate in the 2012 election --- and all elections --- on an equal basis." That is why he declared the effort to limit early voting to only active duty military members on the weekend before the election to be an unconstitutional violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

This year's latest gambit led to the issuance last week of a Permanent Injunction [PDF] on the Republican scheme, pursuant to which Judge Economus has ordered the recalcitrant Ohio Secretary of State [emphasis added] "to set uniform and suitable in-person early voting hours for all eligible voters for the three days preceding all future elections." Strike four?

Amusingly, rather than attempting to violate the court order this time around, SoS Husted is pretending that all of this is simply what he wanted all along, declaring in a statement (via the "Election Law Blog"), issued after losing again in court last week: "I am pleased that the federal court has affirmed what I have long advocated --- that all voters, no matter where they live, should have the same opportunity to vote. Thankfully, uniformity and equality won the day."

Also, up is down, black is white, and John Husted is a great champion of voting rights.

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10th Circuit stays order compelling EAC to add 'Proof of Citizenship' requirement to federal voter registration form...
By Ernest A. Canning on 5/27/2014 8:35am PT  

Early last week, with little attention in the media, the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeal applied the brakes, for now, to one of the newest voter suppression schemes on the bleeding front edge of the GOP's ongoing War on Voting.

The insidious new Republican scheme, if it manages to overcome continuing challenges in court, such as the stay and appeal it now faces in the 10th Circuit, could result in thousands of otherwise eligible voters in Kansas and Arizona (and elsewhere, if the effort is allowed to move forward in KS and AZ) unable to even register to vote, much less cast a ballot on Election Day.

An investigative report by the Arizona Republic last year found the evidence for the purported basis of the new law --- claims by Republicans that non-citizens are casting ballots in the state --- to be "nearly non-existent".

Judith Brown Dianis, a civil rights litigator at The Advancement Project, described the nearly decade-long, coordinated, nationwide GOP voter suppression effort as "the largest legislative effort to roll back voting rights since the post-Reconstruction era". While appearing before a U.S. Senate Subcommittee in 2011, she described the effort as one designed to make "it harder to register to vote, harder to cast a ballot and harder to have a vote counted."

One of the primary GOP efforts to make it "harder to cast a ballot" can be found in the spate of polling place Photo ID laws that Republicans have sought to justify on the basis of what amounts to a phantom menace. Cases of in-person voter impersonation --- the only type of voter fraud that can be prevented by Photo ID --- are about as scarce as hen's teeth.

The same can be said about baseless GOP claims of an epidemic of voter fraud in the form of votes cast by non-citizens --- an allegation that is now being used as part of the new Republican ploy to prevent perfectly lawful citizens from even registering to vote...

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UPDATED: Wisconsin Republicans will appeal to 7th Circuit...
By Ernest A. Canning on 5/2/2014 1:23pm PT  

This week's federal court decision to strike down Wisconsin's polling place Photo ID law has national significance and does not bode well for Republicans who have been attempting to advance such electoral schemes in recent years, as based on misleading "facts", wild claims and dishonest interpretations of case law and court precedent.

The court's landmark decision in the Wisconsin case contains a methodology for testing the law's constitutionality that, if applied by other courts in similar federal challenges to similar laws in other states, would likely mark the beginning of the end for Republican-enacted, polling place Photo ID restrictions. We describe that possibility as "likely", given that a careful reading of prior case law suggests that six of the Supreme Court's nine Justices have already subscribed to legal opinions that are consistent with the methodology used by the federal court in Wisconsin.

In late 2011, shortly after the filing of the first of the two federal cases that resulted in this week's ruling finding that Wisconsin's polling place Photo ID law (Act 23) violated both the U.S. Constitution and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), The BRAD BLOG explained why the issues before the federal bench in Wisconsin "could reverse similar laws nationwide."

The 90-page decision and order [PDF] that U.S. District Court Judge Lynn Adelman meticulously crafted, not only after a full trial on the merits, but over a span of more than 3 1/2 months following it, suggests that our earlier prediction may have been an understatement.

In declaring Wisconsin's Republican-enacted Photo ID law unconstitutional and a violation of federal law, Judge Adelman applied a very specific test for the law, one called for by the U.S. Supreme Court back in 2008. That same test, measuring the potential benefits of such laws against their possible harm to voters' rights, if similarly applied elsewhere, would likely invalidate most, if not all of the similar restrictions which have been rammed through numerous GOP-majority state legislatures over the past six years.

While stopping short of describing Republican "justifications" for such laws as a mere pretext for voter suppression, Judge Adelman's decision persuasively finds that the core GOP claims about the supposed need for polling place Photo ID restrictions cannot withstand judicial scrutiny when tested against a fact-based reality in a court of law. The judge found, in no uncertain terms, that such laws are constitutionally infirm because, without legitimate state interests for such restrictions, they serve only to disproportionately disenfranchise the poor, the elderly and minority voters...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 4/7/2014 6:35am PT  

Just over a week ago, it was North Carolina legislators ordered by the court to cough up documentation relating to passage of new, draconian restrictions on voting rights in their state. Now, legislators in Texas are facing much the same thing, as that state's extreme polling place Photo ID restrictions also face legal and Constitutional challenge.

By way of an eight-page Order [PDF] issued late last week, U.S. District Court Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos has directed the State of Texas to serve upon the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) documents that relate to the question of whether "state legislators, contrary to their public pronouncements, acted with discriminatory intent in enacting SB 14," the Lone Star State's polling place Photo ID restriction law.

That law had previously been found to be discriminatory against minority voters in TX, and thus rejected by both the DoJ and a federal court panel as a violation of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). It was then re-enacted by the state of Texas almost immediately after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted a central provision of the VRA in the summer of 2013.

As reported by The BRAD BLOG last September, the DoJ, and Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX), filed separate federal lawsuits (now consolidated into a single case, Veasey v. Perry) in which they allege that the Photo ID law enacted by the Texas legislature (SB 14) violates another section of the VRA, Section 2, as well as the U.S. Constitution.

The documents in question, created by Republican officials and lawmakers, which must now be turned over to the court, may shed light on the actual intent of those officials in enacting the restrictive voting law...

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Emails may show attempted discrimination, tie effort to GOP/ALEC's nationwide vote suppression tactics...
By Ernest A. Canning on 3/31/2014 6:35am PT  

A U.S. District judge has ruled that Republican legislators in North Carolina must provide documents revealing their work in passing and implementing a radical election reform bill which, when it was passed last year, was described by opponents as the "worse-than-anyone-would-have-ever-imagined voter suppression bill."

Late last week, U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Joi Elizabeth Peake issued an Order [PDF] in which she rejected a blanket refusal by NC Republican state legislators to provide any documents that relate to the question of whether the sweeping legislation known as the Voter Information Reform Act ("VIVA" aka HB 589) amounted to nothing less than a racially-motivated attempt to deprive African-Americans of their constitutional right to vote.

As we observed when the law was hastily enacted last year, among the law's myriad ways of making registration and voting much more difficult, VIVA includes "draconian polling place Photo ID restrictions (despite the absence of any evidence of polling place impersonation in the state), shortens the early voting period and eliminates NC's very successful same-day voter registration program."

VIVA was quickly passed last year on the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court's controversial, 5-4 decision in Shelby County v. Holder. The decision resulted in the gutting of a central provision of the federal Voting Rights Act. Before that, most of the measures in VIVA could not have taken effect unless they received advance approval from either the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) or a federal court. Such approval could have been obtained only if NC established that VIVA was neither intended to nor would have the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race, color or being the member of a language minority.

The new ruling may help plaintiffs establish violations of both the still-standing elements of the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution. Moreover, the order to compel documentation concerning the law's genesis in NC, if upheld, could also have a broader national significance...

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If the FEC is too (purposely) gridlocked to do it, state Attorneys General should take action...
By Ernest A. Canning on 2/10/2014 7:05am PT  

Last year, as we reported at the time, California Republicans who sought to sabotage the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act, sent out deceptive mailers to constituents at taxpayer expense directing them to a fake "Obamacare" website.

This year, picking up on the idea that duping the public (committing fraud) is the key to their success, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) was recently found to have created at least eighteen websites built to appear to support Democratic candidates while, in actuality, using the sites to fund raise against those same candidates.

The website seen in the graphic above, for example, appears to support Arizona Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick's re-election bid --- unless you are very careful to read the fine print. The site, AnnKirkpatrick.com, "might greet visitors with a welcoming photo of the Arizona congresswoman and a screaming 'Kirkpatrick for Congress' logo, but that design belies its true agenda," according to the Los Angeles Times. That agenda, they say, includes duping supporters of Democratic candidates into donating towards their defeat --- a tactic, which, the non-partisan Campaign Legal Center's senior counsel Paul S. Ryan describes as a "slam dunk" violation of Federal Election Commission (FEC) Rules.

As we've recently been reporting, however, "slam dunk" violations of federal campaign finance laws and FEC rules are anything but a "slam dunk" when it comes to their actual enforcement by the FEC...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 2/3/2014 6:05am PT  

With Brad Friedman...

After a recent three-to-three decision by a partisan-deadlocked Federal Elections Commission (FEC), Karl Rove may have thought he was off the hook for federal campaign finance violations by his Crossroads GPS organization. Two non-profit, good government groups, however, feel differently. Last Friday, they filed a federal lawsuit [PDF] against the FEC in hopes of forcing the agency to reverse its ruling, revisit the complaint against his group's 2010 electioneering, and to enforce federal campaign finance rules as specified by law.

Late last Friday, Attorneys from the non-partisan Campaign Legal Center and the Public Citizen Litigation Group filed a civil complaint against the FEC in U.S. District Court in Washington D.C.

The suit seeks to reverse what the plaintiffs describe as an "arbitrary" and "capricious" decision by the three Republican FEC Commissioners, in contradiction of the advice of their own staff attorneys, to dismiss the administrative complaint the groups had filed against Rove's organization. That administrative complaint charged that Rove's group violated federal campaign finance law during the 2010 election cycle.

The votes by the three Republican FEC Commissioners effectively quashed any further official investigation into the allegations that Rove's group violated the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (FECA) when it spent the majority of its money during the 2010 election cycle on electioneering, but failed to register as a "political committee" with the FEC, as required by law. Their decision to shut down the investigation came after what the FEC's own staff attorneys found to be a likely violation of the federal campaign finance law.

By dismissing the administrative complaint and shutting the door on the investigation, the Republican FEC Commissioners not only allowed Rove to keep, as a secret, the identity of donors of tens of millions of dollars used to support Republican Congressional campaigns in 2010, but effectively offered Rove carte blanche to conceal donor identities with respect to monies spent in subsequent elections, such as the 2012 election cycle in which Crossroads GPS "spent at least $71 million on federal campaign activity," according to the newly filed federal complaint.

The plaintiffs charge that the FEC's deadlock was the result of "an impermissible interpretation of FECA," and the agency's own published guidelines due to an "abuse of discretion" by the Republican commissioners in a manner that was "otherwise contrary to law"...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 1/31/2014 11:57am PT  

In the lead up to this Sunday's Super Bowl XLVIII, an advocacy group calling itself SackNFLTaxBreaks.org announced its formation "to sack the National Football League's anti-fan behavior, its nonprofit tax-free status, as well as the overall government subsidization of the league."

Co-founded by "New Orleans Saints fan Lynda Woolard" and Ryan Rudominer, "a proud shareholder of the Green Bay Packers, the NFL's only publicly owned team," the group says it hopes to "bring together supporters from associations, nonprofits, unions, corporations, government, journalism, think tanks, academia, the law, and leading advocacy organizations from across the political spectrum."

Their advocacy, to date, is largely built upon a petition launched last year by Woolard calling on Congress to revoke the non-profit, tax-exempt status of the National Football League. Her petition, so far, has obtained more than 300,000 signatures.

On their home page, the group notes that "Despite making $10 billion annually in profits, and paying Commissioner Roger Goodell a whopping $29.5 million dollars-a-year (15 times more than the nonprofit tax-free league gives to charity), the NFL receives a billion dollars annually in government assistance."

The NFL is a separate entity from the individual teams in the league, which do pay taxes. At least two U.S. Senators, Oklahoma Republican Tom Coburn and Maine independent Angus King (who caucuses with the Democrats), have recently "started a push to end" the NFL's non-profit status.

While the movement to end the NFL's special tax breaks is relatively new, the issue of corporate welfare via professional sports has been the subject of previous, blistering critiques...

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And, no, Photo ID restrictions wouldn't have stopped him
(Or the VERY high profile GOPers who committed same)...
By Ernest A. Canning on 1/30/2014 5:05pm PT  

On Tuesday, a Los Angeles County jury convicted California State Senator Roderick D. Wright (D) of false residency voter fraud, after finding that he lied about his address on voter registration and candidacy papers.

Wright's crime was an elite form of voter fraud, which, along with almost all of the most prevalent forms of voter fraud, would not have been prevented by polling place Photo ID restriction laws.

The jury was not persuaded by Wright's claim that he resided in the Inglewood residence of his common law stepmother. Prosecutors presented extensive evidence that established that Wright resided in an "upscale Baldwin Hills neighborhood" that was outside the district. They found that, in addition to lying about his address on his voter registration and candidacy papers, he fraudulently voted in five elections.

As we have repeatedly explained, most recently in covering a recent judicial determination that Pennsylvania's Photo ID law violated that state's constitution, cases involving in-person voter impersonation by ordinary citizens --- the only type of voter fraud that can possibly be prevented by polling place Photo ID restrictions --- are about a scarce as hen's teeth. False residency, by contrast, is a form of voter fraud that has reached epidemic proportions amongst our political elites in both parties, especially, as Brad Friedman has tirelessly documented, amongst the very high-level Republicans who hypocritically call for Photo ID restrictions for everybody else.

Where millions of innocent Americans are at risk of disenfranchisement as a result of the phantom menace of in-person voter fraud, prosecutions of elite politicians for false residency voter fraud have been rare. In one of those rare instances, former Indiana Republican Secretary of State Charlie White was convicted in 2012 of three counts of felony false residency voter fraud. His conviction was particularly ironic, given that he was the chief election official in the first state in the nation to implement polling place Photo ID restrictions. Despite his felony voter fraud charges (and four others) White has not had to serve so much as a single day in jail. Wright, a Democrat, faces up to eight years in prison.

[Update 1/31/2014: Following a meeting by the Democratic caucus, California State Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg (D) announced that Wright will retain his seat pending appeal. However, the Democratic caucus, which sports a super-majority in the state Senate, removed Wright from his position as the Chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee.]

Here are just a few of the cases of false residency voter fraud we've documented over recent years, by some high-profile GOPers you will be very familiar with...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 1/20/2014 9:35am PT  

The small City of Deming, New Mexico (2010 pop. 14,855) has agreed to pay $1.6 million to a man who had been the victim of what reporters at KOB Eyewitness News 4 in Albuquerque described as "a humiliating violation of [his] body by police and doctors."

Last November, we covered how, what, at most, was a routine traffic stop for an alleged failure to yield upon exiting a Wal-Mart parking lot, turned into an indescribably invasive, fourteen-hour ordeal for the man who was pulled over...

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