Catherine Engelbrecht's work has been described as 'downright goofy' by revered Reagan-appointed conservative judge...
By Brad Friedman on 1/26/2015, 6:27pm PT  

While it's amusing enough that former CBS News reporter Sharyl "BENGHAZI!!!" Attkisson has been scheduled by Republicans to appear at this week's Senate confirmation hearings of U.S. Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch, another "expert witness" called by Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans is, arguably, even more absurd.

Catherine Engelbrecht, the founder of the fraudulent Republican "voter fraud" group calling themselves True the Vote, is also scheduled to be called as a witness. Last September, as Dave Weigel notes at Bloomberg, when AG Eric Holder announced his intention to resign after a replacement was confirmed, Engelbrecht accused Holder of having carried out a "radical, racialist assault on voting rights."

That's her opinion, of course, but for her own sake, given her group's hilarious track record of failure, prevarication and complete fabrication, the GOP may not want to force this woman to be sworn in before she testifies this week...

True the Vote (TTV) and Engelbrecht have a short if storied history of utterly beclowning themselves. Over and over and over again.

They first appeared on the Republican grifter scene in 2010, pretending to be a non-partisan, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) "election integrity" group. Their purpose, however, was quickly revealed as little more than an outfit set up to support the GOP push for polling place Photo ID restriction laws that serve to disproportionately disenfranchise poor, minority, student and elderly (read: Democratic-leaning) voters. That, despite the complete and total dearth of almost any actual polling place voter fraud that might be deterred by such GOP-supported voter suppression measures.

It was unclear, when they first appeared, if Engelbrecht and her crew actually believed the horseshit they were selling about an epidemic of Democratic voter fraud at the polling place, or if they knew better, but didn't give a damn. In their inauspicious introductory video, TTV included the following photograph to underscore how "some people" are willing to cheat to win elections...

Trouble is, the photo --- like the group itself, as we would subsequently learn (over and again) --- was a fake.

"Here's the real photo," as we reported at the time, "and another one from the same series, taken at a protest in Florida following the 2000 election after tens of thousands of voters were incorrectly removed from the voting rolls by then Gov. Jeb Bush and his Secretary of State Katherine Harris, before voters were denied a full and fair count of the ballots by the U.S. Supreme Court"...

At the time, Engelbrecht told The BRAD BLOG that the photo was included in their introductory video because it was "the subject of much speculation".

She never responded to our follow-up queries asking for details about what the "speculation" was concerning the faked photograph, but TTV was subsequently embarrassed enough to remove the video in question and re-render it without the phony photo.

"When it was brought to our attention that there were questions about the photo, we took it out," she told us at the time (before she then stopped replying to our emails). "It was added as a filler between personal testimonies of election fraud and its omission did not change whatsoever the message of the video."

"The message of the video," as she described it, included, among other nonsense, commentary from Republican crackpot David Horowitz alleging all matter of evil-doing by supposed Democrats, such as the charge that "ACORN is a voter fraud machine." Naturally, the video included exactly zero evidence of ACORN having committed any voter fraud, no doubt, because, in fact, there is no such evidence of the now-defunct community organization ever having actually committed any. There is, however, pretty decent evidence --- as we demonstrated first-hand in 2012 --- that David Horowitz himself is an unapologetic liar.

But TTV's failed introductory video turned out to be the least of their embarrassments. Since then, while the funding from Rightwing Koch-funded Tea Party organizations has poured in (even while they continue to use the claim of being non-partisan as a tax dodge), things have gone down hill for them as they've failed to find fraud in election after election and, sometimes, resort to just making shit up out of whole cloth.

Last November, for example, when we covered their most recent failure to unearth any voter fraud (Democratic or otherwise) across the nation, "despite an army of monitors and a new smartphone app," we summarized the discredited "voter fraud" fraudsters this way...

"True the Vote"...has, since its dubious inception, received and spent a fortune over the years tripping over its own wingnut feet to publish fake "voter fraud!" data, find itself tossed out of courts, harass legal voters attempting to cast legal votes, and otherwise make repeated jackasses of themselves by attempting to perpetuate the well-worn, but fact-shy Republican hoax that there is a massive Democratic voter fraud epidemic at our polls.

TTV was made even more famous lately when they were cited, by name, by 7th Circuit Court of Appeals judge Richard Posner, a very well-respected Reagan-appointed conservative jurist, in his recent opinion on Wisconsin's Photo ID voting law. In Posner's devastating, must-read dissent decrying such discriminatory laws, the most well-cited legal scholar of the 20th century, according to the Yale Law School's Journal of Legal Studies, described the group's "evidence" of voter impersonation fraud as "downright goofy, if not paranoid," citing "the nonexistent buses that according to the 'True the Vote' movement transport foreigners and reservation Indians to polling places" to illegally cast a ballot.

The solution to the pretend problem that TTV lies to its followers about, is, of course, polling place Photo ID restrictions that, as Judge Lynn Adelman of the U.S. District Court in Wisconsin wrote in striking down that state's discriminatory, unconstitutional law after a full trial earlier this year, serve only to "prevent more legitimate votes from being cast than fraudulent votes."

So the group's newest embarrassing failure to uncover virtually any "voter fraud" at the polling places it monitored in dozens of states during Tuesday's mid-term general elections --- with an army of righteous and disinformed civilian wingnuts armed with a brand-new smart phone app --- comes as little surprise. It is, however, kind of amusing...

You can click here to find out what they actually did find at the polling places across the country last November, since it is pretty hilarious.

One might think being described as "downright goofy, if not paranoid" by perhaps the Right's most revered, Reagan-appointed federal judge might disqualify someone from being called to testify before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. But, of course, one might have thought that before today's Republican Party took control of the committee this year after gaining the majority when Democrats appear to have failed to carry out their notoriously ingenious voter fraud skills last November.

So Engelbrecht will, for some reason, be called to testify by Republicans in the U.S. Senate at the otherwise very serious confirmation hearings for the next Attorney General of the United States. What, James O'Keefe in a pretend pimp suit wasn't available?

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UPDATE 1/30/2015: Welp, Engelbrecht offered her testimony to the U.S. Senate on Thursday, and she didn't disappoint. Full details now here...

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