I apologize up front for the length of this post. However, I decided that if I were to try and tackle this issue in a serious and relatively comprehensive manner, that I would do it right. This by no means is exhaustive and I am sure there is much that I have not included here, but I think that it certainly gives a large enough framework to support my views and provide “food for thought” for others.
And yes, I know that I left some stuff out, and that I am not highlighting exit polls or the hacking of Diebold machines – that is by design. I am looking bigger picture than that. If you are looking for “proof that Ohio was stolen”, then you will likely be disappointed. However, if you are looking into how Ohio 2004 could have happened and how it nearly happened again in 2006, then you will hopefully enjoy this.
After 2000, I thought something was up (as did many others). But I thought it was more related to the butterfly ballot and a horrific Supreme Court decision that couldn’t even be cited as precedent and would ultimately be the impetus for change in the right direction. Man was I wrong. As the next few years passed, I became more and more suspicious, but after the 2004 election, there were too many others that said, “move along, nothing to see here” or “it’s always been like this, so what are you going to do about it?”
And as more and more information came out, whether it was through the most excellent Brad Blog, Talking Points Memo, ePluribus Media or even through Black Box Voting (which, while certainly far from perfect, it did keep this issue out in the open) and the reports of exit polls being so far off for the first time ever that it defied all logic and reason, there was more and more suspicion.
But it was really just that – suspicion and a growing suspicion. However, the US Attorney purge has really opened the door to a number of, frankly shocking, issues, events and “coincidences” that certainly go a long way towards confirming a concerted effort by the republican party (as well as the RNC itself), this administration, the Department of Justice, Diebold and republican linked organizations to either manipulate the votes, disenfranchise large numbers of probably Democratic voters, change the makeup of voting districts, purge the voting rolls and otherwise skew the elections or give the republicans a distinct advantage.
Hence, I am not using the terms “voter fraud” or “voting fraud” – but am consciously using “election fraud” – which to me indicates that there was intent to skew the actual election process in favor of republicans. I will try to keep the tin foil hattery to a minimum and not provide any of my personal thoughts or assertions. But what I hope to do here is to provide some of the major pieces to a puzzle that to me would certainly give a large amount of evidence that something massive was going on with respect to ensuring the “permanent republican majority” that Tom DeLay and Karl Rove envisioned.
The US Attorney Purge
I’ll start with this, because it is the most recent, and instead of the allegations and statistics that have been used in the past, this shows (at least to me) a more than coincidental connection between the replacement of US Attorneys and their willingness to pursue voter fraud cases and other cases that would “assist” republicans in certain elections which were thought to be close. I am not going to provide the background of the purge, but will indicate that there were a few things that should be noted:
- This was truly unprecedented. According to an article in Salon, the Congressional Research Service issued a report that indicated that between 1981 and 2006, only five of the 486 U.S. attorneys failed to finish their four-year terms, and none were fired for political reasons.;
- There were numerous options being considered between 2005 and 2006 with respect to the US Attorneys. At different points, there was talk about dismissing all 93 US Attorneys, dismissing 26 attorneys, other lists dismissing thirteen, nine, five, eight and seven attorneys;
- Approximately nine “battleground states” had their US Attorney on the list at some point, and as McClatchy reported earlier this week, ” In at least seven states, it now appears, U.S. attorneys were fired or considered for firing as Republicans in those states urged investigations or prosecutions of alleged Democratic voter fraud.”;
- The PATRIOT ACT reauthorization in 2005 allowed for a change into how interim US Attorneys would be appointed, resulting in the ability for replacements to bypass Senate confirmation and serve until the end of the President’s term.
Let’s look at a few of these Attorneys:
Washington District Attorney John McKay, a man who received excellent performance reviews, was fired. And coincidentally, his dismissal is widely speculated to have been related to his not bringing (nonexistent) voter fraud charges in the 2004 Gubernatorial election.
New Mexico District Attorney David Iglesias was added to the list of attorneys to be fired on Election Day 2006 after being threatened by NM Senator Pete Dominici (a republican) for not bringing corruption charges against a Democrat before the 2006 election (specifically public corruption charges of Albuquerque's Metropolitan Courthouse construction). Dominici reached out to Karl Rove directly in order to have Iglesias dismissed after both he and NM Representative Heather Wilson leaned on Iglesias to bring indictments before Election Day 2006.
Arkansas District Attorney Bud Cummins, the one US Attorney that Alberto Gonzales and his team backtracked from earlier assertions of "performance related dismissal", was replaced with Tim Griffin, who worked under Karl Rove at the Republican National Committee. Griffin had a large role in “caging” during the 2004 elections:
Another of the most important reasons why Griffin's appointment deserves a harder look is from his involvement in "caging," which "appeared to be" a Republican Party effort to challenge the ballots of thousands of voters in largely African American communities through mailings targeting those who were serving in Iraq. Since they were stationed out of country, they were not at the address to which the mailings were sent, and the letters were returned as "not deliverable," establishing "cause" to strike the intended recipients from the voter roles. Who sent the originating email with respect to this caging "program"? Tim Griffin.
Griffin is now being investigated FOR VOTER FRAUD for his role in the caging scheme. Additionally, Murray Waas recently reported that the White House was concealing emails that linked Rove to Griffin’s hiring:
The Bush administration has withheld a series of e-mails from Congress showing that senior White House and Justice Department officials worked together to conceal the role of Karl Rove in installing Timothy Griffin, a protégé of Rove's, as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas.
The withheld records show that D. Kyle Sampson, who was then-chief of staff to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, consulted with White House officials in drafting two letters to Congress that appear to have misrepresented the circumstances of Griffin's appointment as U.S. attorney and of Rove's role in supporting Griffin.
New Jersey District Attorney Chris Christie was only on the November 1, 2006 list, which would appear to be a “cover” for other US Attorneys that were to be fired. Christie seems to be one who wouldn’t make any list that would be penalizing those who weren’t “loyal Bushies”, since he was a "Bush Pioneer" in 2000, “raising” over $100,000 for Bush. Additionally, the 2006 NJ Senate race was a pretty close one for much of the year, and during September 2006, there were leaks to the press about a corruption probe into Democratic Senator Menendez. While this was meant to give Kean a push, it was not only largely dismissed by the Philadelphia Inquirer at the time but nothing ever came of the probe. My guess is that Christie was put on the list as a cover for some of the other attorneys and there was little to no intention to ever fire him, but it could also be due to the fact that his probe into Menendez didn’t result in Kean winning the election.
Western Missouri District Attorney Todd Graves was dismissed in March 2006, replaced by Bradley Schlozman (a man with no prosecutorial experience). Schlozman was a political appointee to the Justice Department’s Voting Rights Section (remember this group as I will discuss it in detail below) before being appointed as replacement for Graves. The reason behind this change? Voter fraud prosecutions:
Then, in March 2006, Graves was replaced by a new US attorney -- one who had no prosecutorial experience and bypassed Senate confirmation. Bradley Schlozman moved aggressively where Graves had not, announcing felony indictments of four workers for a liberal activist group on voter registration fraud charges less than a week before the 2006 election.
Republicans, who had been pushing for restrictive new voting laws, applauded. But critics said Schlozman violated a department policy to wait until after an election to bring voter fraud indictments if the case could affect the outcome, either by becoming a campaign issue or by scaring legitimate voters into staying home.
Also recently reported by the McClatchy Washington Bureau was a story indicating the White House was urging the Justice Department to pursue voting fraud cases against Democrats in three states BEFORE the 2006 elections:
Only weeks before last year's pivotal midterm elections, the White House urged the Justice Department to pursue voter-fraud allegations against Democrats in three battleground states, a high-ranking Justice official has told congressional investigators.
In two instances in October 2006, President Bush's political adviser, Karl Rove, or his deputies passed the allegations on to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' then-chief of staff, Kyle Sampson.
Sampson tapped Gonzales aide Matthew Friedrich, who'd just left his post as chief of staff of the criminal division. In the first case, Friedrich agreed to find out whether Justice officials knew of "rampant" voter fraud or "lax" enforcement in parts of New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, and report back.
All in all, these are five examples of situations where the US Attorneys were directly involved in some actions around an election which had the potential to swing or impact an election. Those that went along kept their jobs or were promoted while those who did not were removed and replaced.
The Voting Rights Section at the Department of Justice
I mentioned this above with respect to Western Missouri’s Attorney Bradley Schlozman. The issue here involves Schlozman, the Voting Rights Section’s (“VRS”) Special Counsel, Robert Popper and a host of others. But, consider that the Voting Rights Section is supposed to enforce the Voting Rights Act, the Help America Vote Act, protect minority rights in redistricting, make sure that voters are not disenfranchised and are able to have their votes counted. Makes sense, yes? Now consider the following (much of this can be found in a prior diary of mine):
In the Boston Globe article linked above, there was the following quote about Schlozman’s tenure at the Voting Rights Section:
There, he came into conflict with veteran staff over his decisions to approve a Texas redistricting plan and a Georgia photo-ID voting law, both of which benefited Republicans. He also hired many new career lawyers with strong conservative credentials, in what critics say was an attempt to reduce enforcement of laws designed to eliminate obstacles to voting by minorities.
"Schlozman was reshaping the Civil Rights Division," said Joe Rich , who was chief of the voting rights section until taking a buyout in 2005, in an interview. "Schlozman didn't know anything about voting law. . . . All he knew is he wanted to be sure that the Republicans were going to win."
With respect to Special Counsel Robert Popper, consider the following:
- Popper has vast experience with redistricting cases – but in a way that challenges old district lines in order to redraw them “more fairly” – focusing almost exclusively on redrawing largely minority districts (a 1996 case deals with the largely minority 12th district in New York;
- Other cases being pursued by the Voting Rights Section (signed by Alberto Gonzales and Robert Popper) target districts for “not properly eliminating ineligible voters from the voting rolls”. As opposed to making sure that voters CAN vote – they are focusing on cleansing (my word) the voting rolls – again, in districts that have had a large increase in Democratic registrations or are largely minority districts. This includes a questionable case in Alabama, cases in New Jersey, in Maine and Indiana all dealing with the purging of voter rolls or not using electronic voting machines;
- Over 50% of the career attorneys in the Civil Rights Division have been forced out in one way or another over the past two years;
- These attorneys were replaced largely with people affiliated with the Federalist Society or the Republican National Lawyers Association; and
- Less than half of these “new attorneys” have little to no experience in civil rights cases at all.
There are more examples in an excellent ePluribus Media story, including the following quote from one of the career attorneys who was forced out:
"Political appointees made it quite clear that they did not wish to draw on the expertise and institutional knowledge of career attorneys. Instead, there appeared to be a conscious effort to remake the Division's career staff."
A recent editorial in the LA Times contained this observation of the Justice Department under the Bush administration:
Under the Bush administration, however, all that changed. Over the last six years, this Justice Department has ignored the advice of its staff and skewed aspects of law enforcement in ways that clearly were intended to influence the outcome of elections.
It has notably shirked its legal responsibility to protect voting rights. From 2001 to 2006, no voting discrimination cases were brought on behalf of African American or Native American voters. U.S. attorneys were told instead to give priority to voter fraud cases, which, when coupled with the strong support for voter ID laws, indicated an intent to depress voter turnout in minority and poor communities.
Given the numerous instances of reports asserting the destruction of Democratic party voter registrations in numerous states, as well as the numerous reports of irregularities around the country, none of these were pursued by the VRS. Yet, the VRS, under Popper, Schlozman and Gonzales, chose to pursue cases where it would curtail the rights of people to have their votes counted.
2002 - New Hampshire Phone Jamming and Georgia’s “Miracle Win By Chambliss”
In 2002, John Sununu won a close Senate race. On Election Day 2002, there were charges of “phone jamming” the Democrats’ get out the vote efforts. While Sununu probably would have won even without this, there was ultimately the conviction of three NH Republican Party officials of violating Federal Communications Law:
[Charles] McGee and two other participants -- Republican National Committee regional political director James Tobin and GOP consultant Allen Raymond-- have been found guilty of criminally violating federal communications law. Tobin will be sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Concord, N.H.
It should be noted that right before the phone jamming scheme, there were two $5,000 contributions from Jack Abramoff clients as well as another $5,000 from Tom DeLay’s “Americans for a Republican Majority” PAC.
This paled in comparison to what went on in Georgia in 2002. An article in the September 21, 2006 Rolling Stone by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. contained a discussion with a Diebold consultant who was involved with the Georgia election in 2002. Now, this was one of the first in which the Diebold machines were used, and was also the election where Saxby Chambliss came from a five to six point deficit the week of the election to win by seven points – a near statistical impossibility. While this was dubbed a “miracle”, there was much more to it than met the eye.
Essentially, as described by Christopher Hood (the former Diebold consultant), Georgia Secretary of State Cathy Cox basically “outsourced” the entire 2002 election process – the training, setting up of machines, counting the votes, etc. to Diebold. As Hood described, there were unapproved and unauthorized software patches put in around the time of the Georgia primary:
Then, one muggy day in mid-August, Hood was surprised to see the president of Diebold's election unit, Bob Urosevich, arrive in Georgia from his headquarters in Texas. With the primaries looming, Urosevich was personally distributing a "patch," a little piece of software designed to correct glitches in the computer program. "We were told that it was intended to fix the clock in the system, which it didn't do," Hood says. "The curious thing is the very swift, covert way this was done."
"It was an unauthorized patch, and they were trying to keep it secret from the state," Hood told me. "We were told not to talk to county personnel about it. I received instructions directly from Urosevich. It was very unusual that a president of the company would give an order like that and be involved at that level."
According to Hood, Diebold employees altered software in some 5,000 machines in DeKalb and Fulton counties - the state's largest Democratic strongholds. To avoid detection, Hood and others on his team entered warehouses early in the morning. "We went in at 7:30 a.m. and were out by 11," Hood says. "There was a universal key to unlock the machines, and it's easy to get access. The machines in the warehouses were unlocked. We had control of everything. The state gave us the keys to the castle, so to speak, and they stayed out of our way." Hood personally patched fifty-six machines and witnessed the patch being applied to more than 1,200 others.
All emphasis here is mine.
During 2003, A number of reports and presentations were made throughout the United States showing why the Diebold machines should not be certified for use in elections. I’ll also point out that California unanimously voted to have the Secretary of State decertify the machines in 2004, and was considering bringing charges against the firm related to use of these machines. However, the machines were still widely used during the 2004 elections.
2004 Texas Redistricting
For those who forget the gerrymandering of the Texas House Districts which was engineered by Tom DeLay, I’ll make brief mention of it here. Through DeLay’s two PACs (Texans for a Republican Majority and Americans for a Republican Majority), the newly republican Texas Legislature in 2003 tried to ram through a redistricting plan which was hotly contested by the Democrats.
The the redistricting case ultimately went to the Supreme Court, who partially overturned in 2006, and there were two walkouts by Democrats in the Texas Legislature – precluding a quorum from existing and allowing the redistricting to occur. The Justice Department ruled that this violated the Voting Rights Act. Republicans gained 4 or 5 seats from this redistricting alone.
2004 Election – Ohio. The “fruits” of their labor
Without beating this to death, there were so many issues with the 2004 election, I’ll just make mention of them – mainly since this is already getting long, many people already know of most of these and they really are more symptoms than the root cause of the larger point of the diary. But, I will provide links to these and a brief description of the “issues and irregularities” – pretty much all of which favored Bush and the republicans.
There was Ohio, and anything related to Ohio is not complete without Georgia10’s excellent writeup from January 2005 and eRiposte’s roundup of overall voter suppression/intimidation/suppression items from 2004.
I want to point out here that the following issues with Ohio may not be the “proof” that the election was stolen, and I am not really interested in giving my opinion of this here anyway. What I want to do with Ohio is to provide a summary of the major issues that have been pointed out in the past. As I also said in my opening, I am also not discussing the exit poll discrepancies in Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania or any other states, as even though I think it is highly fishy, there are a number of postings and people who doubt the methodology and accuracy, or don’t think this rises to a level of “fraud”. Needless to say, I think that the exit polls aren’t really as pertinent to the larger picture of what I am laying out here. They are quite possibly “proof” or support for the “fruits of the larger picture” of election fraud. However, for my purpose here, the following merely serves as examples of what this effort could produce on election day.
That all being said, consider the following:
Extremely long lines in minority and predominantly Democratic districts. Nearly 100 voting machines staying in storage when they were desperately needed in such districts (I’ll point out that there was very little waiting time in republican districts). So many “errors and issues” that would necessitate a recount, just based on the number of issues alone. Widespread voter suppression tactics, including “Democrats vote on November 3” flyers. The nonexistent terror threat in Warren County that precluded anyone from watching the votes be counted. Secretary of State Ken Blackwell’s connection to Florida 2000, the decision regarding voter registrations being on a certain weight paper and his being co-Chair of Bush’s reelection committee. The incredibly high voter turnout (131% in the Clyde precinct) in republican counties and just as incredibly low turnout (as low as 7%) in Democratic counties. The “fixed Ohio recount”, where the tallies and counties were pre-selected. There are many more, but I don’t want this to become a rehashing of what happened in Ohio.
Again, this is not to say that every one of these (1) are related or (2) indicative of a centralized effort to commit voter fraud. However, nearly all of the irregularities and issues favored Bush and the republicans. This also doesn’t provide proof that there was hacking of the voting machines either. Yet, there were still 4,000 votes for Bush in a precinct that had 600 total voters, and too large of a number of widespread issues that were all targeting Democrats. This is not something that can all be the result of isolated incidents. Again, these are more “suppression” tactics that can be linked back to decisions made by Blackwell, who was linked to Bush’s re-election campaign.
Of course, there was the comment made by Rep. Peter King in the fall of 2004 indicating that “it’s all over but the counting, and we’ll take care of the counting”. There were the exit poll discrepancies, and while there has been much debate over whether there was a problem with the way the exit polls were conducted, it is interesting to note that exit polls have been as close to the best indicator of a fair election for decades in scores of countries. The same exit polls that led to allegations of fraud and massive protests in the Ukraine right after our own 2004 elections.
There was also the proclamation by Diebold Executive Walden O’Dell that he would deliver Ohio’s electoral votes to Bush.
But the hundreds of instances of irregularities, suppression, disenfranchisement and possible fraud in the 2004 election are merely symptoms of the larger issue. Maybe Peter King was kidding when he uttered those words on the White House lawn and maybe O’Dell was just saying this as a Bush supporter – but sometimes the truth comes out in jest as well.
From my perspective, the whole “permanent republican majority” meme was something that really resonated. What is happening at the Voting Rights Section in the DOJ, and what has happened with the voting machine security issues, especially in light of them being run by businesses that are very cozy to the republican party. There are also other things that can not be explained at this time which may play a part as well. For example, what was in those missing emails that Rove deleted? What was the purpose of the wiretapping program that even had Ashcroft not want to recertify it? What was being done with the data mining rooms at AT&T and other facilities? Maybe it had nothing to do with keeping the “permanent republican majority”. Maybe it did – but either way, there is ample evidence that the republicans over the past six years have put many things into place that “had the appearance” of tilting the scales in favor of republicans – not just on or around election day, but all throughout the Justice Department, the RNC, the Secretary of State in “key battleground states”, through destroying voter registrations and through Political Action Committees (at least in NH and Texas, if not other states as well).
As I said last week, this cuts right to the heart of our democracy.