Last week, the Rachel Maddow Show picked up on a story we'd first reported here, concerning the hypocrisy of Newt Gingrich's massive "voter fraud" in the state of Virginia, as compared to what the GOP and Fox "News" and even Gingrich himself had been decrying as massive "voter fraud" when it was carried out by ACORN. When Gingrich did the same thing --- but far worse --- he called it "just a mistake."
Last night, as her top story, Maddow picked up on our coverage of the indescribable hypocrisy of the Iowa GOP, which sets it's very own rules for the Iowa Caucuses tonight and, in doing so, chose to not require Photo ID restrictions on voters for either voting or registering to vote at the caucus on the same night.
As we originally noted last week, while the GOP has long claimed disenfranchising polling place Photo ID restrictions are necessary to stop rampant "voter fraud" during elections in which Democrats will be participating, apparently they have no such concerns about their own elections. Even when they are allowed to set all of the rules for them. Or, more accurately, they don't wish to disenfranchise their very own voters, while they do hope to disenfranchise Democratic-leaning voters in normal elections. It's also worth highlighting that they have fought against allowing same day registration and voting in regular elections as well, while having no problem with it here in the Iowa GOP caucuses.
Maddow was as amused by it all as we were. Here's her coverage from last night. Also, read on for details on one point of information that her guest, Doug Heye, former RNC Communications Director and current Sr. Advisor to the Iowa GOP, seems to have gotten blatantly wrong during his interview with Maddow...at least according to our confirmed reporting...
Heye claims in the video above that while no Photo ID is required for voting at the IA caucuses, it will be required for folks who wish to first register and then vote at the caucus sites tonight. His assertions is a direct contradiction of both information posted by the Iowa GOP itself on its own caucus website, as well as info on the website of Iowa's Republican Sec. of State Matt Schultz. Moreover, it also contradicts the information that his office confirmed to me when I called them last week before reporting my original story...
As we originally reported when we broke this story at The BRAD BLOG on 12/28/11, the Iowa GOP's own "Bullet-Point Guide to the 2012 Republican Party of Iowa Caucuses" states:
However, when one links to the Iowa Sec. of State page as linked by the Iowa GOP "For more information," it clearly states that "If you cannot prove who you are and where you live with the documents" listed, such as Photo ID, utility bill, etc., "a registered voter from your precinct may attest for you."
The page goes on to note that "Both you and the attester will be required to sign an oath swearing the statements being made are true," and that "Falsely attesting or being attested for is registration fraud," amounting to a "class 'D' felony and is punishable by a fine of up to $7,500 and up to 5 years in prison."
To make certain that both the Iowa GOP website and the Iowa Sec. of State website offered accurate information, I called the IA SoS before my original report and spoke to Cheryl Allen, who confirmed, after checking with a superior, that, indeed, no Photo ID is needed to register at the caucuses. She said it's "the easiest way," but that it's not required.
For the record, I also attempted to contact the IA GOP's Communication Director Nicole Sizemore, whose name is offered on the IA GOP "Bullet-Point Guide" page, but she failed to return either my phone or email queries.
Very early this morning, after seeing Heye's statement on the Maddow Show, I alerted both her and Heye via Twitter that the information he offered on the show was incorrect according to both the IA GOP web page and the IA SoS. But Heye, in response, stood by his claim that while Photo ID was not needed to vote, it was needed to register.
In turn, I clarified that "I'm not 'seeking a controversy'...I'm trying to report the FACTS. And either yours or mine (along w/ IA GOP & SoS) are wrong."
His response in return: "Those registering at a caucus site will have to show an ID, as the fact sheet you sourced clearly points out."
So there you go. My confirmed facts with evidence, versus Heye's assertions. You can decide based on the evidence. Or, perhaps Maddow will be able to get a call returned and be able to figure out who has this story right.
Finally... While the coverage of the Gingrich/ACORN/"Voter Fraud" hypocrisy on last week's Maddow Show (as guest hosted by Chris Hayes) failed to give us credit for the story, it's quite possible they put 2 and 2 together on their own before coming to the same conclusions about his bald-faced hypocrisy as we did, just moments after Newt uttered his remarkable "it was just a mistake" admission to a voter in Iowa.
However, in the case of the Iowa GOP Photo ID story above, Maddow really hit the points of the story last night almost point-by-point as we reported them in our own original story last week. Yes, it's possible she did her own original reporting on this matter separately from our tip-off, though it seems more likely that she (or one of her producers) originally read one of our several reports on the matter, as it got quite a bit of play here as well as on Huffington Post and elsewhere over the last several days.
Of course, we're always delighted when MSNBC or any other news outlet picks up on our reports.
That said, in neither case above did the show offer us a hat-tip in exchange for our fairly decent scoops. It would have been nice had they done so, as we independent progressive election integrity journalist types don't always receive the notice or credit we're due, as we struggle to survive in a very non-independent, and partisan world, which frequently cares far more about those who cover the horse race circus, rather than the much less-fun "track conditions" on which the horses are running. So a generous and appropriate nod from corporate news outlets which rely on our work for the basis of their own coverage is always greatly appreciated...as well as helpful to our very survival.
I hope that Maddow, if we were an original source for her story, will do the right thing in this case, and offer us our proper due. If our reports had nothing to do with hers, then so be it, and my apologies for suggesting otherwise, as based only on the sense I got when seeing her very similar report for the first time late last night.