Tuesday, October 21, 2008
RNC Has to Back Down on New Mexico "Voter Fraud" Allegations; Pat Rogers Involved Again
There's a lot happening with the GOP and its spurious "voter fraud" claims here in New Mexico, as well as other battleground states where Repubs are pulling their now traditional shenanigans to gin up confusion and discourage Democrats from voting. The New Mexico story's getting national exposure in a number of articles including one at TPM, which outlines the recent sequence of events whereby the GOP had to back down on its previous claims that they'd found illegitimate voters registered by ACORN who participated in the New Mexico Democratic Party's presidential caucus back in June:
In other words, it looks like the RNC had scheduled a call to tout evidence of voter fraud -- not voter registration fraud, mind you, but actual voter fraud -- being perpetrated by ACORN in New Mexico. But when ACORN appeared to come up with compelling evidence that no such fraud had occurred, the RNC held the call anyway, simply shifting the focus to other vague allegations against ACORN -- then refused to address the New Mexico situation when asked.
The New Mexico GOP has been trumpeting charges that they've found 28 illegitimate voters in the primary caucus here. Only five of the 28 New Mexicans named by the GOP were registered to vote by ACORN, and all of them were, indeed, legitimate voters. The others dug up by the New Mexico GOP have also reportedly been found to be real people with a legal right to vote. In a conference call with the media on Monday, ACORN said local elections officials had confirmed that the 28 were valid voters. So much for the huge "voter fraud" scandal being drummed up this year by the likes of GOP State Rep. Justine Fox-Young.
Rep. Conyers Weighs In
The New Mexico GOP is also getting heat for making public the names of voters being challenged in the PR gambit from none other than U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers.
In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey on Monday, Conyers criticized the New Mexico GOP for disseminating the names of the voters claiming "it was a clear effort to intimidate voters." The letter also mentions disturbing actions in other states on the part of the GOP, and says that reports of "violence and threats" against ACORN have surfaced. Conyers is seeking "further assurances that the full weight of the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation will be brought to bear deterring anyone who would interfere with any person's right to vote or with citizens who serve our democracy by educating, registering, and turning out voters." Conyers' letter also brings in the name of New Mexico's own Pat Rogers (right):
Furthermore, it is deeply troubling that, just weeks after the Department's own watchdogs documented the role that specious agitating on alleged vote fraud matters by New Mexico Republicans played in the firing of United States Attorneys in 2006, in this controversy we see the same figures cropping up again and apparently obtaining a new FBI investigation just in time for the 2008 election. Thus a lawyer named Pat Rogers -- described in the local press as "an attorney who advises the state GOP" -- is apparently playing a key role in pressing these current claims. Mr. Rogers, however, appears repeatedly in the report on the U.S. Attorney firings prepared by the Department's Offices of the Inspector General and Professional Responsibility, which documented his actions making flawed claims of voter fraud and bringing unwarranted pressure to bear on law enforcement officials, including Mr. Iglesias, in 2006.
Pat Rogers, GOP Point Man on "Voter Fraud"
Ah, yes -- the infamous Pat Rogers, who was so intimately involved in the politicized firing of the U.S. Attorney for New Mexico, David Iglesias. As noted in a report by Jason Leopold in The Public Record:
The state's Republican Party claims it discovered the problems during a review of 92 newly registered voters in one district. Pat Rogers, an attorney who works closely with the state's Republican Party, said the suspect ballots were turned over to the state attorney general's office and the Bernalillo County district attorney.
Rogers, it turns out, has a history of lodging complaints against Democrats and organizations such as ACORN claiming voter fraud and other election irregularities.
According to a report by the Justice Department's inspector general, "Patrick Rogers, the former general counsel to the New Mexico state Republican Party and a party activist, continued [before the 2006 election] to complain about voter fraud issues in New Mexico. In a March 2006 e-mail forwarded to [Craig] Donsanto in the [Justice Department's] Public Integrity Section, Rogers complained about voter fraud in New Mexico and added, "I have calls in, to the USA [U.S. Attorney] and his main assistant, but they were not much help during the ACORN fraudulent registration debacle last election."
Donsanto is the author of the updated May 2007 Federal Prosecution of Election Offenses manual that softened the warnings about investigating and prosecuting voter fraud cases before an election. Last week, according to an Associated Press report, the FBI launched an investigation into claims by Republican operatives that ACORN has been involved in a massive voter registration fraud scheme.
Rogers told The Public Record after the release of the Justice Department report on the U.S. Attorney firings that the "the DOJ report is erroneous is so many ways it is not possible to address them all."
Yeah, right, Pat. As a matter of fact:
... the Justice Department report concluded that Rogers played a role in pressuring Iglesias's office to prosecute ACORN for voter fraud. In June 2006, Rogers sent Iglesias's Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney Rumaldo Armijo an e-mail:
"The voter fraud wars continue. Any indictment of the Acorn woman would be appreciated. . . . The ACLU/Wortheim [sic] democrats will turn to the camera and suggest fraud is not an issue, because the USA would have done something by now. Carpe Diem!"
Darren White's Voter Fraud Connection
And then there's Sheriff Darren White, the Repub running for Congress in NM-01, who chaired the Bush campaign in Bernalillo County back in 2004, and who stepped up to the plate to push the GOP's line on "voter fraud" allegations in 2006. Leopold continues:
Local Bush/Cheney campaign chairman Sheriff Darren White, showed up at the Bernalillo county clerk's office demanding to know if there were any questionable voter registrations on file. Mary Herrera, the Bernalillo County clerk, told White that there were about 3,000 or so forms that were either incomplete or incorrectly filled out.
White seized upon the registration forms as evidence that ACORN submitted fraudulent registration forms and held a press conference along with other Republican officials in the county to call attention to the matter.
Different Year, Same Old ...
Election years may change, but the GOP players and their targets remain the same. This time, however, Dems are clearly much more ready to hit back and challenge the bankrupt "voter fraud" allegations. Not only is Conyers pushing the issue, but the Obama campaign's chief legal council, Bob Bauer, is making waves about the FBI investigation of ACORN. The campaign has asked the U.S. Department of Justice to "look into whether any administration officials have worked in a joint effort with the McCain campaign and the RNC in legitimizing the allegations of vote fraud":
In the letter, Bauer asks for an inquiry into what he calls a "systematic development and dissemination of unsupported, spurious allegations of vote fraud." On a conference call with reporters, Bauer went further in explaining their position.
"These [vote fraud] allegations do not mean illegal voting," Bauer said. "Nobody really expects thousands of Mickey Mouses or Tony Romos to show up at the poll to vote this fall. But at the end of the day, the reason that you're getting the daily calls, the reason -- quite apart from political desperation -- that they're resorting to this issue and not to others, is to utilize the mantra that they've hit upon and the organization whose name they plan to make famous as a proxy for attacking the electoral process itself."
Bauer also brought up the Pat Rogers connection:
"There's a Republican attorney down there you're well aware of, Pat Rogers, who was involved in the Iglesias firing -- David Iglesias firing, who's continuing to whip up this story. The chair of the New Mexico Republican Party [Allen Weh] has been actively involved in this.
You can read more about the involvement of Pat Rogers and -- and Mickey Barnett -- in the "voter fraud" scams of 2006 in a previous post that also describes their connections with Rove and the Iglesias firing.
Thank you Barb for posting this information. I would like to point out that a couple of years ago Representative Justine Fox-Young was involved in what I believe was a fraudulent act on the floor of the New Mexico House of Representatives where she claimed to have a list of illegal voters. When pressed by reporter Greg Palast she refused to share her information AND she never turned the list over to anyone in a position to investigate the alleged problem.
I suggest that it is bad enough that she is involved in this two times but I believe that it is extremely bad that she did it as an official function of the New Mexico House of Representatives. Shouldn't there be some punishment for this kind of misuse of her official political position?
Grandstanding is part of politics and even bending the truth seems to be the norm. Do we have to accept the actions of Representative Justine Fox-Young?
At the very least people should be voting against her.
Posted by: Terry Riley | Oct 21, 2008 5:25:06 PM
The Republican Party knows that these are bogus charges, but so what? They can't stand groups like ACORN that get more voters to the polls, because they know that larger turnouts favor Democrats.
Rep. Fox Young's most recent statement about these claimed fraudulent voters was that she would stand by her claim that they were suspicious. Say what? She should join with Michele Bachmann in the "Remember Joe McCarthy Club".
Posted by: Paul Stokes | Oct 21, 2008 5:50:57 PM