California Congressman Duncan D. Hunter (R) is in the middle of an amusing kerfuffle after claiming that he was told by unnamed U.S. Border Patrol agents that "ISIS is coming across the southern border," and will soon be "bombing American cities [after] coming across from Mexico." Most disturbing, he also said that while several of the Islamic terrorists had already been nabbed by federal agents, more have most likely slipped through and are amongst us even now!
"I know that at least 10 ISIS fighters have been caught coming across the Mexican border in Texas," the Congressman told a dubious Greta Van Susteren on Fox "News" earlier this week. Though those 10, luckily, were taken into custody, Hunter added, "you know there's going to be dozens more that did not get caught by the Border Patrol."
The Dept. of Homeland Security, however, has denied the claim, calling it "categorically false, and not supported by any credible intelligence or the facts on the ground." The Mexican Embassy has similarly disputed it. Politifact investigated the matter, before describing it as "incorrect and ridiculous" and rating it a "Pants on Fire" lie. And now other Republicans are being forced to grapple with how and whether to back up their colleague or not.
Nonetheless, Hunter Jr. is sticking by his alarming claim.
But this is hardly the first time a California Congressman named Duncan Hunter went on record, on television, during the heat of a campaign to simply make shit up about scary aliens sneaking across the border to come into our country and undermine our very way of life.
As The BRAD BLOG highlighted in 2007, Hunter Jr.'s father, now-retired Rep. Duncan Hunter Sr. --- who held the same Congressional seat his son holds now --- offered a similarly outrageous and apparently bald-faced lie while pretending to run for President that year.
Then, as now, Republicans were in the middle of attempting to enact disenfranchising Photo ID voting restrictions in the lead up to the election, akin to the very same ones blocked by the Supreme Court in WI and struck down as discriminatory and an "unconstitutional poll tax" by a federal judge in TX last night.
During a PBS-sponsored Republican Presidential debate that year, in response to a panelist's question, Hunter the Elder offered a blatant whopper about non-citizens "being round up [and] herded into the polls" to vote, claiming, with no apparent evidence to back him up whatsoever, that "we've seen that in California" in past elections.
Like Boy Hunter's recent claim on Fox "News", Father Hunter's response to debate moderator, Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Cynthia Tucker, appears to have been simply made up out of (nearly) whole cloth...
Tucker's specific question in the 2007 debate was: "Many voting rights advocates are worried about rigid voter ID laws which require photo ID like a driver's license. Are you concerned that some eligible voters will be denied the right to vote simply because they don't have a driver's license?"
Hunter Sr.'s imaginative answer included this: "We have right now a real danger of people that are illegally in the country being rounded up, herded into the polls, we've seen that in California, voting illegally. That disenfranchises everybody in that community."
We live in California, and are not familiar with having "seen" any illegal voters "rounded up" to be herded into the polls".
So, after numerous attempts to get comment from Hunter Sr.'s campaign and Congressional offices at the time, concerning what the hell he was actually talking about, we went ahead and offered what we think he must have thought he was referring to since, after a week or so of trying, it seemed neither the candidate nor his office was willing to back up his wild assertion with any actual evidence. Sound familiar?
Actual evidence, as opposed to wild, unsupported allegations by Republicanist media outlets is difficult to come by. But what happened in that race --- after a lot of Googling and even purchased articles from newspaper archives, far more research than we suspect Hunter ever did before making his unfounded accusations in a Presidential Debate --- seems to be this:
Sketchy evidence from 14 months of county, state, and federal investigations suggests that there were some non-citizens who may have voted in the election, though not enough to change the election results even if they did. They did so without the intent of knowingly violating the law. Most of the allegations had to do with an Hispanic group that had registered immigrants to vote as they were preparing to become U.S. citizens. Most of those registrants had, in fact, become citizens by the time they actually voted.
Dornan contested the election under the Federal Contested Elections Act. The challenge was eventually dismissed in a lopsided 378 to 33 vote in the Republican majority-led U.S. House in 1998. That vote came on the heels of an 8 to 1 recommendation by the Republican majority-led House Oversight Committee, after a Republican majority-led task force, comprised of Republicans Bob Ney (now-jailed) and Vernon Ehlers (now ranking member of the House Admin Comm. who replaced Ney when he went to jail) and Democrat Steny Hoyer (now House Majority leader) ran an 18-month investigation into the allegations.
At the state level, the D.A. in heavily Republican Orange County and Republican Secretary of State Bill Jones both investigated the matter as well. Both state investigations ultimately decided against bringing any voter fraud indictments. Both were unable to prove that anyone had the intent of voting illegally, deciding instead that the voters in question "had registered in error and not from criminal intent," according to Lorraine Minnite's 1993 Demos report on "Securing the Vote: an analysis of Election Fraud" [PDF, see pages 40 to 42].
All told, according to Minnite, some $1.4 million in tax-payer dollars was spent in the state, county, and federal investigations. Nobody was ever charged with voter fraud.
The video of the exchange between Tucker and Hunter Sr. was included in our original report, but has since been removed from YouTube. Though the text transcript of the question and answer is still there. The video of Hunter Jr.'s exchange with Van Susteren is posted here.
In any event, like father like son. It seems the Duncans Hunter have a family proclivity for just making shit up for public consumption in the heat of their political campaigns --- particularly when it allows them to mention scary scary illegals aliens secretly crossing our border to destroy our American way of life with all sorts of nefarious deeds.
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)