Will Ann Coulter finally be held accountable for having committed voter fraud? We may find out on October 14th when the matter will come up at a public hearing by Connecticut's State Elections Commission after an extraordinarily long two-year delay since the complaints about her allegedly illegal absentee votes in 2002 and 2004 were filed.
As The BRAD BLOG spent years documenting beyond a shadow of a doubt concerning her voter registration fraud and voter fraud in a different state, Florida, Ann Coulter committed third degree felony voter registration fraud, along with a first degree voter fraud misdemeanor, when she lied about her residency and then knowingly voted at the wrong polling place in Palm Beach County, FL, in 2005.
Years of lying to the media, as well as election and law enforcement officials, and a last-minute, inappropriate intervention by a former boyfriend in the FBI, helped run out the clock on those charges. Her offenses in the Sunshine State were eventually found to be beyond the statute of limitations by the Florida State Election Commission (FSEC). The stalling by other friendly Florida agencies took so long that the FSEC didn't receive the case until years after it had been originally reported to law enforcement by the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections. So she got off the hook and was never held accountable for easily documented crimes in Florida. [After years of reporting that part of the story in pieces as it developed, we told the entire sordid tale in one fell swoop in Hustler magazine. That April 2008 exposé can be read in full here.]
However, in Connecticut, where official complaints were filed in 2009 --- by a conservative activist --- that she also committed absentee voter fraud in the years prior to moving to Florida, when she allegedly voted illegally from her residence in New York, there is no such statute of limitations for voter fraud. [See UPDATE at bottom of story for someone who disagrees with that point.]
After a 20-month delay, Coulter's case is finally coming up for a vote at a public hearing before CT's State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC) on October 14th at 9:00am, 20 Trinity St. in Hartford CT, according to an email from the commission's MaryAnn Stratton and confirmation from the commission's director of communication...
Coulter's (Case) Number Finally Comes Up
In June of 2009, some five months after the original February 2009 complaints had been filed by conservative activist Daniel Borchers, we filed a report on the case asking what the extraordinary delay was about, given that other voters charged with almost identical crimes, as we detailed at the time, had seen their cases resolved with the SEEC in just two or three months.
In Coulter's Connecticut case, the fraud in question occurred in 2002 and again in 2004 when she lived in New York City but apparently voted as still registered at her parents address in the Nutmeg State. Our June 2009 story reported on a number of similar cases, including that of NY resident Daniel Jarvis Brown, who had been registered to vote at his parents' home in CT and illegally cast a ballot in the November 2008 election. His violations of Connecticut General Statutes 9-23g, 9-140, 9-172, 9-359 and 9-360 were resolved in just three months after he cooperated with officials and was allowed to remit a civil penalty of just $1,500 when investigators had determined that he had no prior cases and lacked "specific knowledge concerning registration requirements."
Coulter, a constitutional attorney at the time of her several alleged instances of voting improprieties in the state of CT, would have a difficult time making the same claim that Brown did. The statutes she is alleged to have violated, just as Brown did, allow for thousands of dollars in fines, several years in prison, and referral to the Chief State's Attorney, U.S. Attorney, or U.S. Department of Justice.
But the SEEC has been extraordinarily tight-lipped about the Coulter affair for some reason. Despite the best efforts of Borchers, sending email inquiries on the status of the case every month or two since February of 2009, generally receiving little more than a terse "This matter is still pending" or "No information is available at this time" in reply, and our own efforts to keep an eye on new material posted at the commission's website and sending our own inquiries from time to time, information on the issue has been completely blacked out from the SEEC.
And then finally, on Monday, Borchers received the following, somewhat cryptic email from Stratton in reply to his latest missive asking about the disposition of the case:
Subject: RE: RE: RE: 2009-010 RE: Coulter Complaint
To: "'Daniel Borchers'"
Date: Monday, October 4, 2010, 3:36 PM
Dear Mr. Borchers:
This case is scheduled to appear on the October 14, 2010 public session. We expect the Commission will vote on this matter at that time. Our agenda can be viewed on www.ct.gov/seec
Exactly what the Commission will be voting on at this time --- to convict Coulter, ask law enforcement to take up the matter, agree to a settlement with her (as in the Brown case mentioned above), remand it for additional investigation, or dismiss the case altogether --- remains a mystery for the moment.
In attempting to get more specific information on the upcoming agenda, we followed up with Stratton and received a response from Nancy S. Nicolescu, the SEEC's Director of Communications, Legislative Affairs, and Candidate Services, to whom Stratton had forwarded our inquiry.
Nicolescu responded to say, almost as cryptically, that "At this time, the case you reference 2009-010 is expected to be presented in public session on October 14, 2010 at 9 a.m. for a Commission vote. The October 14th agenda will be posted early next week."
She adds that the case has been discussed by the Commission, up until now, only behind closed doors.
"As you may know, this case was previously discussed in Executive Session at the September 22, 2010 meeting," she wrote. "I am providing you with a link to our Commission Procedures which provides a brief description of the process relative to the Executive Session, I mention and will outline Commission resolutions and or actions that may be taken on October 14th."
Unfortunately, the linked document from Nicolescu is similarly vague in offering hints as to what the public may expect at the October 14th hearing.
In a follow-up call phone interview, Nicolescu told us that the document was purposedly vague, in that it only explains the many possibilities of what could be coming up for a vote, repeating again that because it is a "pending case" and "currently under investigation" she couldn't offer any more information at this time, though she did reveal that the case has been "docketed" by the Commission's Enforcement Unit, it's "legal subdivision."
She explained that "this case was, in fact, docketed and has been assigned to a staff member for investigation." She says that docketed cases are "investigated, evidence is collected and documented and appropriate interviews are taken," but added again that she could not offer "info on this particular case, because it's pending."
"They have been tenacious in withholding everything from public and media inquiries," Borchers told The BRAD BLOG this week, "including such simple points of fact such as whether Coulter has voted in recent elections and whether she is currently registered to vote in Connecticut."
He too seems flummoxed by what he describes as a "long 20-month investigation into what seems to be a simple, and simply-proved, case of voter fraud."
Nicolescu offered some insight into what had seemed an extraordinarily long investigation process. She says the Commission's size and duties have been expanded in recent years and that their "median" time for handling cases has ballooned. She claims that, "on average, this case falls within the median for length of time for open cases."
Will Justice Finally Be Served?
"Whether justice will be served remains to be seen," Borchers wrote via email. "Will the integrity of the voting system be reinforced, or will a conservative celebrity be given another free pass based upon her popularity, power, and the cadre of elite relationships she has courted throughout her career?"
Though he is a conservative, Borchers has been extremely critical of Coulter over the years, charging that she's a dangerous opportunist who is anything but conservative, and who has given true conservative philosophy a bad name. [DISCLOSURE: Borchers has guest blogged for The BRAD BLOG from time to time over the years on related issues.]
Republicans have, for years, built much of their electoral strategy on false charges of "massive Democratic voter fraud," despite the lack of evidence for any such thing, even from George W. Bush's own Dept. of Justice. That contrasts with the great deal of evidence documenting that insider election fraud is far more prevalent, particularly as a "conspiracy" as small as one is able to flip the results of entire elections on electronic voting systems with little possibility of detection.
Given the Right's frequent, if evidence-shy campaign against "voter fraud" --- remember, their desire to bring false voter fraud charges against Democrats before the 2004 election was at the heart of the Bush/Rove U.S. Attorney Purge --- the fact that one of the GOP's former superstars may be charged with it is no small matter.
While Fox "News" has spent uncountable hours stoking unfounded fears of "voter fraud" by groups like ACORN --- part and parcel of the GOP's strategy to create a false "epidemic" of fraud in hopes of encouraging polling place photo ID restrictions which, as non-partisan public interest groups have documented, would actually disenfranchise millions of legal minority, elderly, and young (read: Democratic-leaning) voters --- Coulter remains on the Fox payroll as an analyst.
She has not been asked about her own voter fraud in Florida on the Republican "news" channel since former Fox host Alan Colmes asked her about it in 2006.
"I think the syphilis has gone to their brains," Coulter fired back at Colmes when he asked about the allegations of voter fraud made against her by the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections.
"Did you knowingly vote in the wrong district?" Colmes followed up. "No, I live in New York," Coulter indignantly --- and perhaps incriminatingly --- lied in response. "This is all false, I'm telling you."
It wasn't false. She lived in Florida, as we documented in no uncertain terms, where she knowingly registered at the wrong address, as we documented in no uncertain terms, and committed voter fraud there additionally by knowingly voting at the wrong precinct, as we documented in no uncertain terms.
Had Coulter actually "live[d] in New York" at the time, as she claimed to Colmes, and as she had the year before when she voted absentee in Connecticut, she would have violated CT law, which she appears to have done.
To our knowledge, despite regular appearances on the channel, she has never been asked about the pending allegations of her own voter fraud in Connecticut, even though Fox "News" regularly reports Republican allegations (and requests for investigations) of "voter fraud" by Democrats as if such allegations are the same as actual crimes. In fact, ACORN has never been charged with voter fraud or even voter registration fraud, or assisting in same, despite Fox and its "analysts" falsely reporting as much time and time again. We can't say the same for Republican voter registration outfits, as we were forced to reveal on Fox ourselves. Almost every single alleged "investigation" against ACORN for voter fraud or voter registration fraud has been quietly dropped --- usually just a few months after an election, when such charges are no longer helpful to Republicans --- without a peep about it from Fox "News."
"Preservation of the rule of law - which Coulter frequently invokes - necessitates that Coulter be held responsible for her misbehavior and held to the same standards to which everyone else is held," writes Borchers in a follow-up email this morning. "Throughout her high-profile career, Coulter has survived controversies of her own making while claiming to be the victim (and her fans accept her assertions). ... Coulter has flaunted her prestige, power, and connections to elude - and even eviscerate - the rule of law."
She has indeed been able to flaunt the rule of law in the past. Her Florida voter fraud is only one such example. The only question now is: will she be able to do it yet again in Connecticut? We may find out next Thursday.
• For more information on the Connecticut State Elections Enforcement Commission's Oct. 14th hearing on Coulter's voter fraud complaints, see the SEEC website.
[Our thanks to Ellen of News Hounds who has been assiduous in reminding their readers about Coulter's storied history of voter fraud over the years, even as others media outlets have lost track of it, and as Fox "News" continues to regularly beat the phony "voter fraud" drum on behalf of the GOP, while happily ignoring the actual voter fraud taking place right under their own noses.]
UPDATE 10/7/10: Rightwinger Andrew Worthing takes us to task for our coverage, dismisses the charges against Coulter as "conspiracy theory", charges that we've misstated the law, and counters that the statute of limitations for Coulter's alleged crimes might, in fact, have expired in CT. His full response is here...
UPDATE 10/14/10: CT State Elections Enforcement Commission finds "insufficient evidence" to prove "voter fraud, but apparently didn't look very hard, even as they made enormous errors in their report. Full details now here...