Owner of Momentum Political Services has 'extensive criminal history, including prison sentence'
Rep. Lungren's campaign claims innocence despite state's long history of GOP voter registration fraud...
By Brad Friedman on 5/16/2012, 3:39pm PT  

The head of a firm which was paid some $50,000 by the Republican Party in Sacramento to sign up new Republican voters this year has "an extensive criminal history, including a prison sentence for stealing from a family she befriended and buying a van with funds stolen from a youth agency."

Moreover, one of the employees that "professional con-artist" Monica Harris, the head of the GOP's Momentum Political Services, hired to work with her at the firm, where she was paid per Republican registration, recently pleaded guilty to fraud charges in a multimillion-dollar mortgage scheme.

The growing scandal, all but ignored by those on the Right who professionally pretend that Democrats and ACORN are stealing elections, underscores yet again the extent to which the Republican Party is willing to go in order to win elections, even while falsely accusing Democrats of undermining them...

The new information on Harris and Momentum Political Services comes from a report this week from the Sacramento Bee:

The owner and an employee of a company accused of fraudulent voter registration drives in Sacramento County have been convicted of crimes of deception in the past.

The owner of Momentum Political Services, Monica Harris, has an extensive criminal history, including a prison sentence for stealing from a family she befriended and buying a van with funds stolen from a youth agency, court records show. Two of her victims called Harris a "professional con artist."

Harris' employee, Remy Heng, recently pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Sacramento to his role in a multimillion-dollar mortgage fraud scheme in Northern California.
Momentum Political Services was hired by the Republican Party of Sacramento County to conduct voter registration drives. [Sacramento County Registrar of Voters Jill] LaVine said her office found numerous examples of people of having their political party affiliation switched to Republican against their wishes.

We detailed the allegations against Momentum Political Services as they emerged earlier this month, and as Sacramento Registrar Jill Lavine turned over some 7,500 registration forms her office determined to be fraudulent over to the Sec. of State's Election Fraud Unit for investigation.

As we noted at the time, the GOP voter registration were turned in to the Sacramento Registrar's office "with fake addresses, voter names that don't exist, duplicate Social Security numbers, and party affiliations that seem to have been changed 'by someone' to Republican."

A few days later we interviewed Lavine on our KPFK radio program. She confirmed the invalid registrations reportedly turned in by the GOP-hired firm.

At the heart of this scandal --- other than the extraordinary hypocrisy of the GOP inaccurately accusing Democrats of "voter fraud" while carrying out, and paying top dollar for extensive registration fraud schemes year after year after year --- is the "bounty" system used by Republican Party to gather Republican-only voter registrations at the price of anywhere from $5 to $12 for each.

The practice remains legal in California, but has continuously led to GOP election fraud by folks with criminal backgrounds hired again and again by the Republican Party. Every time, details emerge about Democratic forms being shredded, false names being submitted to registrars, and party affiliations fraudulently being changed from Democratic to Republican. If the Democratic Party is doing anything similar in this state --- or any other --- we've not heard about it, even as the Republican Party had long criticized ACORN for paying workers on a "per registration" basis (they didn't, but it didn't stop the GOP's professional anti-ACORN clowns and profiteers like Matthew Vadum from falsely accusing them of doing that and much worse.

The GOP, meanwhile, has been found to do this in election after election, as we detailed in our original report, and as we highlighted while appearing on Fox "News" in September of 2008, just before that year's Presidential Election. On the day of that Fox appearance, Mark Anthony Jacoby --- head of Young Political Majors, the firm hired by the California State Republican Party that year to carry out their voter registration headhunt --- was arrested on voter registration charges (he would eventually plead guilty.)

When asked about the scandal, Jeffy Wyly, the campaign manager for incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. (and former state Attorney General) Dan Lungren --- who is running this year in a new swing district where Momentum Political Services was gathering Republican registrations --- called the matter "unfortunate," according to Felicia Mello at Elk Grove Patch.

He explained that registration bounties are "a huge part of politics here in California," but claimed that the effort, paid for by his party, to sign up new Republican voters in his candidate's district, "was not being run by the campaign."

Contrast that response to the attacks on ACORN which, unlike the GOP-hired firms founds to have committed fraud each election year, was neither hired by the Democratic Party nor limited their registration gathering to any particular party.

"The third-party firms really need to do their homework," Wyly told the Patch. "Certainly they need to do a better job of verifying signatures before they submit them to the county."

Once again, contrast that with ACORN which verified each and every signature, flagging the ones they believed to be fraudulent before turning them in, as required by law, to election officials along with the names of those few workers who they believed had defrauded the organization by creating fake registrations.

When Republicans actually pay for the fraudulent activity it's "unfortunate" but has nothing to do with the candidates from the party who paid for it. When a tiny handful of ACORN's tens of thousands of registration workers did the same thing, it was one of the "greatest frauds in voter history in this country" and "destroying the fabric of democracy," as then GOP Presidential nominee John McCain actually charged during a Presidential debate in 2008. That was just two years after the same McCain had been the keynote speaker at an ACORN rally, where he told those in attendance that they were "what makes America special."

In commenting on the woman at the center of the latest GOP voter registration fraud scandal this week, Daily Kos' Joan McCarter opined: "Harris's long history of criminal activity should have precluded her from getting any contract registering voters, but clearly Republicans don't care about voter registration fraud if they think it's going to benefit them."

She is correct. The history of GOP voter registration fraud, as we detailed in our previous report on the scandal, dwarfs anything that ACORN --- the non-partisan community organization which legally registered millions of low and middle-income voters, no matter their party affiliation --- was ever falsely accused of.

McCarter goes on to write: "Instead of going after these political consulting firms and the bounty system that pays them, Republican legislatures across the country are punishing actual, legitimate, registered voters. Because that's how they'll win."

Yup. We've been reporting for months now --- years actually --- on how the false claims against ACORN were used to buttress the GOP's cynical and deceptive assault on voting rights to support polling place Photo ID restrictions meant only to keep legal Democratic-leaning voters from voting. Such laws, of course, do nothing to prevent voter registration fraud, which is already a violation of the law and deterred by the federal requirement in the Help American Vote Act (HAVA) to show Photo ID when voting for the first time after one has been registered to vote by mail or by a third party. Since the passage of those Republican laws in more than a dozen states over the past year, long-time voters have been disenfranchised, even as they continue to fight like hell to see their voting rights restored. (See here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here for just a few of our recent examples.)

As usual, Democrats are doing little to nothing about these laws --- which are created by the GOP for a fictional reason, based on fictional evidence to suggest that the very real disenfranchising laws are needed --- other than crossing their fingers, hoping that non-governmental organizations like the NAACP and the League of Women Voters and others step in to help, and otherwise, preparing to feign outrage when they next get screwed at the polls by Republicans who have a long history of proving they are willing to do anything to win --- legally or otherwise.

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