While the GOP and its operatives have been on a tear over the last year (and many more), falsely claiming an epidemic of Democratic "voter fraud" meriting the potential disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of legal (and mostly Democratic) voters through polling place Photo ID restriction laws in order stop it, the recent spate of actual voter fraud by high profile Republicans --- both alleged-with-much-evidence and actually-proven-in-a-court-of-law --- continues apace.
The latest high-profile Republican to join the ranks of apparent voter fraud felons is Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana. Like Republican Sec. of State Charlie White, who was found guilty of three counts of felony voter fraud (and three other felonies) earlier this month, Lugar hails from Indiana, the very first state in the nation, ironically enough, to implement voter suppressing polling place Photo ID laws in 2008.
And, like White, those draconian laws did absolutely nothing to stop Lugar from apparently committing voter fraud under the law, since the only type of voter fraud potentially deterred by polling place Photo ID laws are the incredibly rare cases of in-person polling place impersonation. Where voter fraud occurs to any measurable extent, it is in cases like Lugar's, White's, and all of the GOP superstars we'll remind you of again below.
The allegations against Lugar, who has been registered to vote at a house he has not lived in since 1977, were detailed quickly Tuesday night on the Rachel Maddow Show. A complaint against Lugar has been filed by a group of Indiana "Tea Partiers" challenging his eligibility for office, as publicized last week by Lugar's primary opponent in the 2012 election, Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock.
Maddow's report, embedded below, was the prelude to her interview with independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Sanders is one of four non-Republican U.S. Senators who have now requested a study by the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) on the problem of "voter fraud" in this nation, particularly in the 14 states where Republican legislatures have recently passed polling place Photo ID restrictions under the pretense of stopping it. If that study finds what all of the other legitimate ones have found to date, we'll learn yet again how extraordinarily rare in-person voter fraud is and, at the same time, how many thousands and/or millions of Americans stand to be disenfranchised by the very laws that Republicans pretend are meant to deter it.
Here's her report...
And, by way of service to those who may yet to have noticed, here again is an update of our quick summary of the recent (and quickly growing!) spate of serious fraud allegations and convictions of a number of very high-profile Republicans other than Lugar. The list, please note, also includes several of this year's GOP candidates currently vying for the party's nomination for President of the United States...
• As noted above, earlier this month Indiana's Republican Secretary of State Charlie White was declared guilty of three voter fraud felonies, having been found by a jury to have registered and voted from a residence where he did not actually live. Prior to that, in a separate civil case, White was ordered immediately removed from office by a circuit court judge who found that his fraudulent registration made him ineligible to be on the ballot in 2010 in the first place. He was ordered to be replaced by the second-highest vote-getter on the ballot, his Democratic rival, Vop Osili. Both court rulings are being appealed by White in the state which, ironically enough, was the very first in the nation to institute polling place Photo ID restrictions. Those restrictions, however, failed to keep White himself, the state's top election official, from committing voter fraud.
• Last Summer, long-shot GOP candidate Fred Karger filed a complaint with Massachusetts officials charging that Mitt Romney was illegally registered to vote in his son's unfinished basement in Belmont, MA, despite having moved out of the state several years earlier. The recent release of Romney's 2010 federal tax returns did little to dispel the concern. The (occasional) Republican front-runner failed to include state returns in his release, nor any returns at all from 2009 or years prior. Karger has detailed that while Romney did not buy a house again in the state until July of 2010 (in anticipation of another Presidential run) he cast a ballot illegally in the January 2010 special election for U.S. Senate. Massachusetts law states that residency is clearly defined as "where a person dwells and which is the center of his domestic, social, and civil life." Nonetheless, residents in Belmont, MA, where Romney was allegedly registered in his son's basement at the time of his January 2010 vote, say neither he nor his wife had been seen in the town since selling their mansion and moving out of state years earlier. Karger has suggested he may file a federal complaint as well if state officials fail to act. An online petition calling on the Massachusetts Election Division to investigate Romney's alleged voter fraud was recently created at Change.org.
• Last month, in an exclusive at The BRAD BLOG, we confirmed the fact that the Virginia State Attorney General is officially investigating some 1,500 incidents of ballot petition fraud by the Newt Gingrich campaign related to the former U.S. House Speaker's failed attempt to qualify for the GOP Presidential Primary Election in his own home state. Gingrich had been video-taped late last year by CNN claiming to a supporter in Iowa, after failing to qualify for the ballot with 10,000 valid signatures: "We turned in 11,100 --- we needed 10,000 --- 1,500 of them were by one guy who, frankly, committed fraud." That, while Gingrich had joined with fellow Republicans over the years in falsely charging the community group ACORN with similar crimes. In fact, what Gingrich's campaign did in Virginia, if his own admission is accurate, appears far worse than anything ACORN has ever done. They had actually been the ones, in most cases, to have identified the fraud by a handful of their workers when verifying the validity of voter registrations before turning them all in --- as required by law --- to officials. Gingrich appears to have either failed to validate signatures before turning them or, unlike ACORN, appears to have failed to turn in the guilty parties to law enforcement once the fraud was discovered.
• In March of 2011, then GOP Presidential candidate Jon Huntsman was also identified as possibly having committed voter fraud. In his case, the former Governor remained registered to vote at the Executive Mansion in Utah well over a year after he had become the U.S. ambassador to China. As the Salt Lake Tribune noted at the time: "Huntsman voted by absentee ballot for last year’s general election using the state-owned mansion on South Temple as his Utah residence — months after Gov. Gary Herbert settled into the historic building and Huntsman purchased a home in Washington, D.C."
• In a case remarkably similar to both Sec. of State White's and Sen. Lugar's in Indiana, Missouri U.S. House Rep. Todd Akin is currently vying for the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate, even though, as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported last year, Akin has been voting for years from a property outside of his own district where he does not live. The house, as the paper found, is currently vacant and has been long-scheduled for suburban re-development. Still, the Congressman has continued to use it as his voting address for some seven elections, ever since the time that he and his family moved to their new house in a different town some 18 miles away.
• In a ham-handed attempt to try and demonstrate that polling place voter fraud exists in New Hampshire, despite election officials' assertions to the contrary, GOP propagandist and federally convicted criminal James O'Keefe led a video-taped conspiracy to commit polling place voter fraud during the state's "First-in-the-Nation" Primary early last month. A Republican Mayor in the Granite State has since called for O'Keefe and his co-conspirators to be "arrested and prosecuted". A petition with more than 100,000 signatures was submitted recently to the state Attorney General calling for an investigation of O'Keefe on charges of voter fraud.
• In what appears to have been an attempt at massive election fraud, Charlie Webster, the chair of the Maine Republican Party, publicly announced Mitt Romney the winner of the 2012 GOP Caucuses there, by just 194 votes, before hundreds of voters in two different counties had even met to vote. At the same time, dozens of towns which had already held caucuses were fraudulently reported by the party as having had no voters at all. Several months earlier, Webster had named hundreds of legal students voters as having committed voter fraud, when they hadn't. An investigation by the Republican Sec. of State in Maine found they were, in fact, legal voters, though he, nonetheless, sent them threatening letters in apparent hopes of intimidating them from casting their legal votes in Maine in the future.
• In an amusing turn of events, religious Republican supporters of Newt Gingrich charge that religious Republican supporters of GOP Presidential candidate Rick Santorum rigged an informal election during a secret meeting near Austin last month. The confab had been called in an attempt by "religious conservative leaders" to coalesce their support around a single GOP alternative to Mitt Romney. The attempt appears to have failed.
Other recent cases of high-profile GOP voter fraud taking place prior to the last year, include, among others, GOP superstar Ann Coulter's multiple cases of demonstrated voter fraud, the 156-year sentences being served now by 8 top election officials in Clay County, KY, where they had changed the votes of voters on electronic voting systems, and the voter registration fraud convictions of the California GOP's voter registration firm before the 2008 Presidential election.
Not a single one of the above detailed cases of election fraud would have been deterred or prevented by the disenfranchising polling place Photo ID restrictions Republicans are attempting to institute in at least a dozen states across the country prior to the 2012 Presidential election, even as the epidemic of election fraud by top GOP officials continues unabated.