By John Russell on 6/3/2007, 7:35am PT  

Guest blogged by John Russell, 2006 Democratic Candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in Florida's 5th Congressional District

Just prior to the 1pm start of a recent U.S. House Administration Committee meeting, about which I had received third-hand notification that several contested Congressional elections from 2006 (including my own) were to be brought up and recommended for dismissal, I made several calls to House offices in the vain hope that I might be able to have our Constitutional rights protected and upheld.

Pragmatist that I am, I offered House Administration Committee Counsel, Tom Hicks, my thoughts, hoping that he would bring my concerns to the Committee’s attention. Understanding fully the genesis and context of this meeting --- held without notice to the contestants --- Mr. Hicks was apparently poised to enter one of those smoke-filled rooms we used to hear about.

Apparently, at that point, there was no citing of Constitutional rights convincing enough for this group of rascals to interfere with their plans to “slide our contests under the rug” and hopefully out the doors of Congress. I concluded my voice mail plea not to ignore our Constitutional right to due process by asking Mr. Hicks, “This is still America… is it not?”

The blatant disregard of the Federal Contested Elections Act and the U.S. Constitution by members of Congress exhibited in this meeting is beyond the pale. The Committee members’ audacity is only exceeded by the dearth of factual information regarding policy and political issues provided to the general public by the now defunct Fourth Estate, which has been replaced by the corporate media. As a candidate for federal office, I have now become completely acclimated to the ways and means of the liberally right-wing media in how candidates are at once dismembered, or accordingly contrived, by “The Establishment's” voice...

One has to view with just a hint of curiosity the decision by the judge in our state election contest to dismiss three of the four lawsuits questioning the official results nearly simultaneously with the House Administration committee’s decision to recommend dismissal. Restoring a representative democracy is hard work, and is costly.

If you would like to help restore democracy by aiding my team with the costs (filing fees, copying costs and transcription of court reporters records), please visit my website contribution page. The FEC requires that election contest financing be reported as a campaign contribution. All funds collected are dedicated to this cause.

To listen to the media, there has been only one contested election in Florida. While the public has seen and heard considerable public discussion on television and in print regarding the Congressional District 13 race between Christine Jennings (D) and Vern Buchanan (R), nary a whisper has surfaced regarding ongoing election contests disputing official results in three other Florida Congressional districts, a statewide constitutional amendment and the gubernatorial race.

This despite the fact that evidence collected thus far in Congressional Districts 5 (my race against Ginny Brown-Waite) and 24 (Clint Curtis v. Tom Feeney) in Florida has demonstrated statistically, with a high degree of confidence, that votes were not accurately counted in our 2006 election.

Our findings indicate that the “official vote count” was not accurate in either touch-screen or optical scan counties here in Florida in 2006. (For a more in-depth discussion of the details, please read the Election Reform Document published on my homepage.)

Notwithstanding the control wielded by a less than “fair and balanced” media, supported by contrived polling results, from a media-owned and controlled polling organization designed to dissuade Democratic voters from voting for their candidate because the polls “say” that he/she “has no chance”...there is more.

Witness the newspaper comments which were prominently placed in the May 10, 2007 Local and State section of The St. Petersburg Times, in the box article entitled "Better Luck Next Time, Losers" [emphasis added]:

A U.S. House Committee has a message for some sore losers: Get over it! The House Administration Committee is recommending that the full chamber dismiss appeals by four losing candidates.

Three are in Florida: Democrat John Russell, who lost to Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Brooksville; Democrat Clint Curtis, who lost to Rep. Tom Feeney, R-Oviedo; and Democrat Frank Gonzalez who lost to Republican Lincoln Diaz-Balart, R-Miami. The committee said it will continue to investigate the close race between Republican Vern Buchanon and Democrat Christine Jennings.

This from The St. Petersburg Times, one of Bill O'Reilly's 'most liberal papers in the United States', which NEVER mentioned once --- until telling us "Losers" to "Get over it!" --- that any of these seats were ever contested except for Ms. Jennings'.

A footnote on that story: When one of my supporters contacted the editor who approved the item to complain, he responded that, “he and the un-named author were just having a little fun with the story.” That’s what passes for journalistic integrity at The St. Petersburg Times.

This is the framework under which candidates like myself and hundreds of others now must compete --- not only for federal office, but in Florida for State, County and Local office as well.

Contact the office of your congressional representative and request that he/she oppose this action to halt these contests and allow the facts to be presented. You can contact your representative by calling the House operator at 202-225-3121 and asking for the office of your congressperson, or copy, email or fax the form message provided here:

I am [your name] from [your city/town]. I urge Representative __________ to follow the law and allow a full and complete investigation to be conducted regarding the Florida Congressional election contests by Clint Curtis, John Russell, and Frank Gonzalez. I am very concerned about this serious issue, and I hope that Representative __________ will uphold the law and protect democracy instead of ignoring the law and undermining democracy. Thank you.

Direct phone, fax and email contact information for your Congress Members is available here.

John Russell

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