Did Congress Ask California for Permission to Nullify a California Election???
Are You Dizzy Yet?...There's More! Effort to Recall Dennis Hastert Begins!
By Emily Levy on 8/28/2006, 7:57pm PT  

Guest blogged by Emily Levy

You know by now that Brian Bilbray was sworn in as Congressional Representative before the June 6 election in San Diego County, CA was certified. You might even remember reading on The BRAD BLOG that the official swearing in was preceded by a public "mock" swearing in. You learned last week that this premature act is now being used by the defendants in the Busby/Bilbray election contest as an attempt to nullify the election in California's 50th district. But today (drum roll please) Michael Collins of Scoop Independent News reveals that it was Assistant California SoS Susan Lapsley (seen in photo) who provided the election results to the House.

Collins points us to the Congressional Digest...

Representative-elect Brian P. Bilbray presented himself in the well of the House and was administered the Oath of Office by the Speaker. Earlier the Clerk of the House transmitted a facsimile copy of the unofficial returns of the Special Election held on June 6, 2006 from Ms. Susan Lapsley, Assistant Secretary of State for Elections, California Secretary of State Office, indicating that the Honorable Brian P. Bilbray was elected Representative in Congress for the Fiftieth Congressional District of California.

Says Collins in more keen analysis of what can only be seen as an extraordinary power grab by D.C. Republicans...

Now we find out that that swearing in was based on the confirmation provided by a state government official. This strongly implies that the Congress actually recognized state authority to determine that the election outcome was official.

A careful look at the statement in the Congressional Digest reveals some interesting assumptions and perhaps careful planning. The Speaker, Hastert, administered the oath based on word from California’s Assistant Secretary of State for Elections that Bilbray "was elected Representative in Congress." Several assumptions are embedded in this statement. First, Hastert knew that he needed an authority to justify the election as official. Second, he relied on state authority, Susan Lapsley specifically. Third, Hastert knew that there were only "unofficial results," because those are clearly referenced yet he accepted the word of the Clerk that Lapsley had made the call that Bilbray "was elected Representative in Congress." Finally, Lapsley, who has no official status in San Diego County where the election was held, used "unofficial results" to convey to the court that Bilbray was elected.

Last week Paul Vinovich, counsel to the Committee on House Administration, wrote a letter [PDF] to Judge Yuri Hofmann, who is hearing the election contest in the 50th District filed by Paul Lehto and Ken Simpkins. In this letter Vinovich claims that the California courts have no jurisdiction over the case because it is Congress who decides who its members are. Vinovich also wrote,

The House of Representatives has conclusively determined that Brian Bilbray is the people's duly elected representative from the 50th Congressional District.

But California law says that certification is a required part of determining the outcome of California elections. Bilbray was sworn in on June 13, 17 days before the June 30 certification of the election. So no such "conclusive determination" could legally have been made by the time Bilbray was anointed.

The People's Email Network (AKA The PEN) has begun an effort to Recall Hastert for Interfering with Local Elections.

It seems to me that not only Hastert but also Susan Lapsley and by extension Bruce McPherson are implicated here.

So who is Susan Lapsley, Assistant to the Secretary of State for Elections? She was previously Susan Bilyeu, previously Deputy Secretary of State in Nevada. Her husband, Rob Lapsley, was the former deputy SoS to Republican SoS of California, Bill Jones. According to an official involved with the California voting system certification process, when asked if he was surprised to hear her name connected with this story about Congress's intrusion into the Busby/Bilbray election,

"If anybody would tell them this, it would be her."

The official described Lapsley's entrance into the California SoS bureaucracy this way:

From the day she showed up as part of the process at the SoS office, she was first there without a title and was involved in pretty much everything having to do with the e-technology issue.... Very clearly someone with connections behind the scenes. It was clear everybody in room looked to her for direction.

What's her husband up to now? According to my source, whether or not it's his official title, he's SoS Bruce McPherson's campaign director.

As you may recall, Republican Bruce McPherson was appointed SoS by Gov. Schwarzenegger after elected Democrat Kevin Shelley, who had decertified Diebold's machines for use in California elections, was run out of his job. According to my source within the California voting system certification process, when McPherson took office he had been as consistent about having an open process for certification as Shelley had been. "At least he was trying to appear to do the right thing." But that changed when Lapsley came aboard. She was in charge of the certification process and largely responsible for the outrageous changes in the process made to prevent VotePad from being certified. (VotePad was rejected for certification last Friday.)

My source says of Lapsley,

She's the only person I've dealt with at Secretary of State for the last six months who never says, 'I'll need to talk to somebody.'

So did she "talk to somebody" before sending the unofficial results to Congress? Did she know these results would be used in an attempt to nullify the San Diego election? I'll let you know just as soon as she returns my phone call...