In advance of a special election in New York's Ninth Congressional District, Fox News and National Review Online are raising the specter of voter fraud in case a Democrat wins the seat. In fact, the evidence they are citing has been debunked, and right-wing media regularly cry voter fraud when elections are close.
Thus far, the Freedom Of Information Act lawsuit that PajamasMedia.com filed against the U.S. Department of Justice has resulted in the disclosure of dozens of DOJ employee resumes and nine largely ignored columns by Hans von Spakovsky, J. Christian Adams and Richard Pollock.
"Every Single One" is their ongoing series of posts that tediously tick off the prior work experiences of DOJ lawyers followed by commentary declaring them unabashed left-wing radicals. Ostensibly, the point of the exercise is to establish a case that the administration of President Obama is engaging in the same kind of politicized hiring at DOJ that President Bush was found to have done. Their work has been an utter failure.
Von Spakovsky et al have provided no evidence of politicized hiring practices and have been content to make the lazy claim that, given "every single one" of the latest DOJ hires is liberal, improper procedures must have been used. Unfortunately, they've failed even at this. In order to make their case that every DOJ hire is liberal, they've concocted a definition of liberal so broad that even Pollack himself likely would have to be labeled as a radical leftist.
For the past couple of weeks, Pajamas Media (PJM) has been pushing what they believe to be is a profound disclosure of personal information about new employees at the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. PJM contributors Hans von Spakovsky and J. Christian Adams have been struggling to make the case that the Obama administration is politicizing the DOJ the way the Bush administration was found to have done, and now that they've gone through the trouble of filing a lawsuit to obtain the resumes of everyone hired at DOJ's Civil Rights Division since 2009, they are desperate to make their investment worthwhile. As a result, PJM has decided to run with the theme that "every single one" of the new hires is a "far-left" liberal.
Their arguments have so far provided no evidence whatsoever that qualified, similarly-situated conservative applicants to the Civil Rights Division were turned away for a lack of liberal credentials. Instead, they rely on the assertion that because all of the new hires are liberal, it defies probability that conservatives weren't rejected for political reasons. Despite the logical inadequacy of this argument, it relies on a definition of "liberal" that is completely constructed by von Spakovsky and Adams. Their frantic attempts to make a case of politicization against Attorney General Eric Holder and the Obama administration results in a broad, and at times ridiculous, characterization of what activities and affiliations constitute sufficient evidence of one's liberal worldview.
Here are just a few of the previous employers and affiliations that PJM believes are liberal (which by contrast reveals a lot about what von Spakovsky and Adams must believe conservative values do or do not encompass):
From the July 8 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
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In a USA Today op-ed, Pajamas Media blogger and former DOJ Civil Rights Division official Hans von Spakovsky employed numerous falsehoods to defend statutes requiring all voters to show identification before casting ballots. In fact, contrary to von Spakovsky's argument, legal voters have been turned away from the voting booth because they lacked proper identification, the effects of voter ID laws may fall disproportionately on the poor and members of racial minorities, and instances of fraudulent voting are very rare.
On Thursday's edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy reminded viewers of "Democratic lawmakers in Wisconsin who ran away from their responsibilities" to protest the stripping of union workers' collective bargaining rights in order to cheer the recall elections being held against of three of them. However, Doocy completely ignored that six Wisconsin Republican incumbents are also the subject of recalls, and that there were serious allegations of election fraud in the recall petitions filed against the three Wisconsin Democrats in question.
Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund is famous for crying voter fraud whenever a conservative is in danger of losing an election. We recently caught him making up facts to raise the specter of voter fraud when it appeared that conservative incumbent Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser had lost his bid for re-election.
Now that Prosser is in the lead, Fund has changed his tune a bit and is saying that the lesson from Wisconsin is that states must require voters to show ID notwithstanding the likelihood that such laws would disenfranchise some voters.
Fund argues that the actions of a clerk in one Wisconsin county -- who says she initially failed to report more than 14,000 votes, which gave Prosser a 7,000 vote lead -- prove that states must pass laws voters to "show photo ID at the polls."
Some states have since adopted photo ID laws. But too many (like Wisconsin) still do not require any ID to vote. In a time of razor-thin election margins, we can no longer afford such insecurity in our election process.
Fund does not explain exactly why the lesson of Wisconsin is the need for photo ID laws rather than better training and regulation of county election clerks. After all, the Wisconsin county clerk could have done the same exact thing even if voter ID laws were in place.
Fund also does not note that voter ID laws are likely to have a disproportionate impact on the poor and racial and ethnic minorities. In fact, given the rarity of voter fraud, it seems like there's little reason for voter ID laws besides vote suppression.
It's like clockwork. If there's a high-profile election that results in a narrow Republican defeat, Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund will make vague allegations of "voter fraud" against ACORN or unions or whoever the right-wing boogeyman of the moment is.
Fund was at it again this afternoon on Fox News' America Live, claiming that the stench of "voter fraud" hangs over the April 5 Wisconsin Supreme Court election, in which incumbent conservative Justice David Prosser trails challenger Joanne Kloppenburg by about 200 votes with a recount pending. Fund suspects there might be fraud because of "scattered examples of people being asked to fill out their ballots in pencil, which is not supposed to happen because you can erase a pencil."
Watch the video:
That's an interesting allegation, given that the Election Administration Manual, put out by the Elections Division of the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, directs municipal clerks that "Pencils or appropriate marking pens must be provided" at polling places.
That would help explain why this sample ballot for the April 5 election from Sheboygan County, and this sample ballot from Winnebago County, instruct voters in large capital letters: "IMPORTANT: USE A #2 PENCIL OR THE MARKING PEN PROVIDED."
It's almost like John Fund just makes accusations of voter fraud without knowing what he's talking about or doing basic research.
h/t Abram Sauer
If Megyn Kelly wants people to pretend that she is a journalist, can't she at least try to play one on TV?
Kelly, of course, is a touchstone of the so-called "news division" that puts the "news" in Fox News.
It was in that role last year that Kelly eagerly promoted "explosive new allegations" that the Obama Justice Department was racist, as evidenced by their supposed refusal to protect white voters from intimidation at the hands of minorities. Kelly bragged how she helped Fox News drag the rest of the media "kicking and screaming" to cover the preposterous claims being pushed by right-wing activists with an axe to grind. Kelly alone hyped the story during 45 segments in 2 weeks, covering 3 hours and 39 minutes of airtime.
I imagine Megyn Kelly, for one, will not return to this particular scandal -- a scandal that she has been hyping with obvious relish for some time now -- very often in the future.
Indeed. In four hours of on-air coverage since the new developments broke, Kelly has reported on kids who got stuck in the mud, a YouTube video of two girls in a fistfight, a missing cobra, AARP's support two years ago for health care reform, and - I'm not making this up - explosive new charges that the Obama administration is insufficiently transparent. The closest Kelly has come to the New Black Panthers was a report on controversy surrounding Oscar-winning film The Black Swan.
Kelly seems content to cover everything except an investigation that essentially discredited the non-scandal she flogged over, and over, and over again last summer.
Attempting to justify a push for additional restrictions on voter registration, The Weekly Standard's Michael Warren went searching for examples of fraudulent votes being cast in the last decade and came up with only five examples.
In his post, Warren tries to debunk progressives' arguments that Republicans are using restrictions on voter registration and voting as cover to disenfranchise people. Warren suggests that the restrictions are necessary to combat voter fraud, alleging that there have been "several substantial investigations into and cases of voter fraud since 2000." In fact, contrary to [Pew Center's Doug] Chapin's claim, there is much evidence that liberal groups like ACORN have gotten away with plenty of fraud in the last several elections before 2010. (Read here, here, here, and here, for starters.)"
As we've previously documented, actual examples of "voter fraud," people casting or attempting to cast an illegal ballot are extremely rare. Right-wing media figures often conflate "voter registration fraud," in which people participating in voter registration drives fill out fraudulent registration forms -- filling out registrations for Mickey Mouse, for instance, to pad the number of forms they turn in -- with actual voter fraud. After all, even if somebody fraudulently registers Mickey Mouse, how likely is it that Mickey Mouse will turn up to vote?
And sure enough, three of Warren's four examples of voter fraud in the last decade actually involve investigations of voter registration fraud. Indeed, one of the examples involves a man convicted of voter registration fraud who says he "took addresses from homeless shelters, used fake birthdays and Social Security numbers and took names from baby books to create voters out of thin air." It seems pretty unlikely that any of these registrations actually turned into votes.
Warren does hit on one report of actual alleged voter fraud: a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article reporting that three people were charged with illegally voting as felons and two were charged with voting twice (another two were charged with voter registration fraud).
That's it: Five examples of alleged fraudulent voting in the last decade. (By the way, a Justice Department report found that between October 2002 and September 2005, the Justice Department convicted 17 people for casting fraudulent ballots with another three pending at the time of the report.)
Is this handful of examples of voter fraud really enough to support bills that will have the effect of disenfranchising legitimate voters?
David Bossie has no idea what the word "hypocrisy" means:
[I]nsiders connected to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are hatching plans to protect the tenuous Senate Democrat majority. These Reid insiders are forming a "super" political action committee, called Majority PAC, to raise unlimited money in order to go on the offensive in Senate races across the country. Reid's people are within their rights to form the PAC, thanks to the Citizens United v. FEC victory at the United States Supreme Court last year. … However, because the entire Democrat Party machinery was against this landmark decision last year, this blatant reversal reeks of hypocrisy.
No. That isn't hypocrisy. If someone said no one should form such a PAC, even if it's legal, then that person turned around and formed one, that might be considered hypocrisy. Or if David Bossie were to say "I would never distribute doctored transcripts in an effort to mislead the nation about my political opponents and you shouldn't either," after having done exactly that, he would be guilty of hypocrisy. But saying "we don't think this campaign tactic should be legal, but as long as it is, we're going to use it" isn't hypocrisy. It's merely a refusal to unilaterally disarm.
And that's what Bossie is suggesting Democrats must do in order to avoid being hypocrites: Unilaterally disarm. By Bossie's logic, campaign finance reformers should never employ legal campaign finance tactics they think should not be legal. That, of course, would severely disadvantage those reformers electorally, and thus make the prospect of reform unlikely.
Bossie's position is like saying that if a nation advocates a worldwide ban on the development of new nuclear weapons, it is a hypocrite unless it unilaterally stops developing such weapons while its enemies continue to do so. It just doesn't make any sense, and it just isn't what the word hypocrisy means.
As Election Law blogger Professor Rick Hasen recently reported, last December, the Federal Election Commission deadlocked on whether to continue to pursue charges that Sean Hannity violated the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) by sending out a fundraising email in support of failed Republican congressional candidate John Gomez.
On June 24, 2010, New York state Democratic Committee Chairman Jay Jacobs filed a complaint alleging that Hannity, Gomez, and the companies that run his radio show, Premiere Radio Networks and Clear Channel, violated FECA. Jacobs based the complaint on the fact that Hannity sent out a fundraising pitch for Gomez to all subscribers of Hannity.com using Clear Channel corporate emails with a "DONATE NOW" hyperlink embedded in the email. The complaint alleged that Hannity, Premiere, and Clear Channel "normally charge" for third-parties to send e-mails to Hannity's e-mail list, but did not for the Gomez email. The complaint added that "the provision of the free hyperlink is an illegal corporate contribution to Gomez."
The complaint also alleged that "the email itself was also an illegal contribution."
The FEC has now closed the case without taking action against Hannity, but two Democratic members of the commission, which is equally divided between Republicans and Democrats, voted against a finding that there is "no reason to believe that Sean Hannity violated 2 U.S.C. § 441b(a)" of the Federal Election Campaign Act. The third Democratic member of the commission, Cynthia Bauerly, a former legislative director for New York Sen. Charles Schumer (D), abstained from voting.
The three Republican members of the commission voted to clear Hannity, but it takes a vote of four members of the commission to make such a decision. Therefore, the FEC closed the case without making a final determination about whether Hannity broke the law.
But it now seems that Hannity's activities may also skate close to the edge of what's allowed by federal election law.
From the November 2 edition of Fox News' America Live:
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From the November 2 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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From the October 29 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
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