Written by Tom Fitton
We all saw what happened in 2008 and 2010, where the now bankrupt "community organization" ACORN and its partner in crime, Project Vote, engaged in massive voter registration fraud. (The starting line-up for the Dallas Cowboys registered to vote in Nevada, to give just one absurd example of ACORN's work.)
Well now, as we head into the presidential election season, many are wondering if we are in for a repeat of this chaos in 2012 - not if Judicial Watch has anything to say about it.
Last Thursday morning, Judicial Watch held a press conference at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, DC, to announce a critically important new campaign: The 2012 Election Integrity Project. (You can view the video from our press conference here.)
This campaign has a very simple mission: To help make sure certain voter rolls in 2012 are clean as federal law requires. No dead people. No convicted felons. And here's how we're going about it.
According to a Judicial Watch investigation based on publicly available data, voter rolls in the following states contain the names of individuals who are ineligible to vote: Mississippi, Iowa, Indiana, Missouri, Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Florida, Alabama, California, and Colorado.
On February 7, 2012, Judicial Watch sent initial warning letters to election officials in Indiana and Ohio, as well as letters of inquiry to Florida and California officials, investigating problematic voting lists in those states. Additional letters are forthcoming.
Judicial Watch's initial warning letters notified election officials in Ohio and Indiana that they are required by law to "maintain accurate lists of eligible voters for use in conducting elections." And if they fail? We made it very clear we are prepared to take legal action if election officials fail to clean up their voter rolls:
Allowing the names of ineligible voters to remain on the voting rolls harms the integrity of the electoral process and undermines voter confidence in the legitimacy of elections.
As the top election officials… it is your responsibility under federal law to conduct a program that reasonably ensures that the lists of eligible voters are accurate.
We hope our concerns can be resolved amicably. However, with the November 2012 election on the horizon and in light of the importance of Section 8 of the NVRA [National Voter Registration Act] to ensuring the integrity and legitimacy of the electoral process, we must emphasize the importance of timeliness. Accordingly, if we believe you do not intend to correct the above-identified problems, a lawsuit seeking declaratory and injunctive relief may be necessary.
As we indicate in our letters, under Section 8 of the NVRA, states must make a "reasonable effort" to clean up registration rolls. Section 8 also requires states to make available for public inspection "all records concerning the implementation of programs and activities conducted for the purpose of ensuring the accuracy and currency of official lists of eligible voters."
There is no excuse for dirty voter lists. The law is unambiguous as to the responsibilities of election officials and Judicial Watch intends to hold them accountable.
As I mentioned, election fraud was a significant concern during the 2008 and 2010 election seasons, with ACORN/Project Vote being linked to massive voter registration fraud. A total of 70 ACORN employees in 12 states have been convicted of voter registration fraud. As documented in a July 2009 report by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, of the 1.3 million registrations Project Vote/ACORN submitted in the 2008 election cycle, more than one-third were invalid.
And what is the nation's top law enforcement official, Attorney General Eric Holder, doing about all of this?
Judicial Watch has uncovered documents showing that, rather than taking action to enforce Section 8 of the NVRA, the Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) is now working with ACORN-front Project Vote, Barack Obama's former employer, to push for strict enforcement of Section 7 of the NVRA relating to welfare office voter registration obligations. The purpose of this campaign is evidently to use voter registration laws to register greater numbers of low-income voters, widely considered to be an important voting demographic for the Obama presidential campaign.
This will make election fraud worse.
Policy changes prompted by stricter enforcement of Section 7 have resulted in increased incidents of voter registration errors. For example, a separate Judicial Watch investigation found that the percentage of invalid voter registration forms from Colorado public assistance agencies was four times the national average after Project Vote successfully forced the state to implement new policies for increasing the registration of public assistance recipients during the 2008 and 2010 election seasons.
While Eric Holder appears intent on enforcing Section 7 of the NVRA, which will yield an increased risk of voter fraud, he apparently has no interest in enforcing Section 8 to ensure clean elections:
While you may be aware that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has prioritized enforcement of Section 7 of the NVRA, which seeks to expand opportunities to register to vote, the Attorney General has not demonstrated any similar interest in prioritizing enforcement of the list maintenance provisions of Section 8 of the NVRA. Nonetheless, Section 8 is an important counterpart to Section 7. The two provisions represent a carefully crafted compromise by the U.S. Congress to increase both voter registration and the integrity of voter rolls.
President Obama and the Holder DOJ evidently have no interest in clean elections this year so this responsibility has now fallen to Judicial Watch. And given the rampant election fraud that occurred during the last two election cycles, this is a matter of the highest priority as we head into the 2012 election season. It is simply impossible to have any faith in the integrity of an election where dead people remain on the voting rolls. This is a recipe for voter fraud and stolen elections. And we aim, with your support, to correct it.
Another day another taxpayer funded bailout to a politically connected energy company up to its eyeballs in debt. This time, it's a California solar company called SunPower. And Judicial Watch is once again battling the Obama administration for details as to how the deal went down.
On February 1 we filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Department of the Treasury for records regarding the controversial $1.2 billion government loan guarantee from the Obama Department of Energy to SunPower, a California solar company reportedly $820 million in debt. (A similar lawsuit was filed on the same date by Judicial Watch against the U.S. Department of Navy for related documents.)
Here's what we're after pursuant to Judicial Watch's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests filed with the Departments of Interior and Treasury on October 21, 2011:
Any and all records regarding, concerning or related to the issuance of a Department of Energy loan guarantee to SunPower, Inc. and/or NRG Energy, Inc. on or about September 30, 2011.
Any and all records of communication between any official, officer, or employee of the Departments of the Interior and/or Treasury and any official, officer or employee of any other government agency, department of office regarding, concerning or related to any loan guarantees applied for, by, and/or awarded to SunPower, Inc. and/or NRG Energy.
Any and all records of communication between any official, officer, or employee of the Department of the Interior and/or Treasury and any officer, employee or representative of Lang, Hansen, O'Malley & Miller, a government relations firm headquartered in Sacramento, California.
We also asked for records regarding a visit to SunPower's Richmond, California, production facility on October 14, 2010, by Interior Secretary Kenneth L. Salazar, U.S. Congressman George Miller III (D-CA), and others. (Miller's involvement in SunPower has been the subject of several investigative pieces in Human Events.) The FOIA request submitted to the Department of the Navy sought access as well to "any and all records regarding, concerning or related to the $100,268,000 firm-fixed-price task order awarded to SunPower, Inc. on September 30, 2011."
All three agencies have acknowledged receipt of Judicial Watch's FOIA requests but have failed to respond within the statutorily allotted time frame. So, as per usual, we have no records and no explanation as to when they are to be released from the Obama administration.
In light of the lawless Obama administration loan to the now bankrupt energy company Solyndra, the SunPower loan has come under intense scrutiny. Remember, this loan is double the size of Solyndra! And SunPower is not only drowning in $820 million of debt and besieged by shareholder lawsuits, but the company also plans to manufacture its solar panels at a new facility of some 320,000 square feet located in Mexicali, Mexico. (Nothing like using more than $1 billion in American tax dollars to subsidize jobs in Mexico, right?)
There's a congressional corruption angle, too.
George Miller IV, a "founding partner and principal" of the lobbying firm that helped secure the loan (Lang, Hansen, O'Malley & Miller), is the son of California Democratic Congressman George Miller III. The lobbying firm reportedly charged SunPower $176,000 in fees since 2009.
As reported by Human Events, Congressman Miller has been a champion for SunPower, which has operated a solar panel manufacturing facility in his district, and pushed for the loan guarantees: "In support of the loan request, Rep. George Miller III, the co-chairman of the policy and steering committee for House Democrats, wrote a letter to the Department of Energy and led Secretary of the Interior Kenneth L. Salazar on an Oct. 14, 2010, tour of the company's facility in Richmond, Calif."
So we can potentially add influence peddling to the long list of reasons why this loan guarantee was a terrible idea.
In the end, SunPower may make the Solyndra scandal seem like small potatoes. And just like Solyndra, the SunPower loan is tainted by corruption and terrible judgment. In the wake of the public outrage over Solyndra, the Obama administration clearly intends to cover up the details of yet another risky and corrupt government bailout. We expect our lawsuits will break through the Obama administration stone wall.
This week thousands of conservatives will descend upon Washington, DC, for the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). In fact, I'll be running over to the hotel right after I finalize this Update. Given the unprecedented expansion of the federal government over the last three years, and the massive amount of corruption and secrecy inside Congress and the Obama White House, there is a great sense of urgency for our cause. And that's why Judicial Watch decided to take a major role in CPAC activities in 2012.
In addition to having our usual information booth, here's a quick summary of what we have planned. (If you're in town, please feel free to join us! And here's the full CPAC agenda for your information.)
CPAC is the largest gathering of conservatives in the country. And with our major participation, we are proud to stand with thousands of other conservatives seeking to combat Washington corruption. We must fight for ethics, accountability and transparency in the White House and in Congress - that is our message for CPAC.
Judicial Watch is the largest and most effective government watchdog in the nation. Through our major sponsorship of CPAC, we look forward to educating more of the grassroots about the bipartisan corruption enveloping our nation's capital.
Until next week