Written by Tom Fitton
During the Conservative Political Action Conference in February, Judicial Watch announced a major new campaign to stop leftist activists and their allies in the Obama administration from undermining the integrity of the elections in 2012. And as the nation heads into another presidential election season, our 2012 Election Integrity Project is one of JW’s top priorities. Overall, our investigators have uncovered a multi-pronged strategy by leftist radicals to make certain Barack Obama and other liberal candidates are reelected by hook or by crook – with the full support and participation of the Obama Justice Department.
Consider this from The Washington Post:
The Obama administration on Monday blocked a new law in Texas that requires voters to show a photo ID, drawing fierce criticism from Republicans who say the move was aimed at boosting President Obama’s reelection prospects.
The Justice Department said that the law disproportionately harms Hispanic voters.
The action follows a similar move in late December to block a voter ID law in South Carolina that federal officials said adversely affects black voters.
American citizens need identification to purchase an adult beverage, drive a car and pick up certain over-the-counter medicines. But the Department of Justice (DOJ), which currently is a bastion of left-wing radicalism, argues that requiring an ID to make sure a person is eligible to vote is somehow discriminatory.
Trust me when I say that the Obama administration’s attack on voter ID laws has absolutely nothing to do with discrimination. As I pointed out to you a few weeks ago, this is all part of the DOJ’s partisan program to ensure the reelection of Barack Obama.
First, as Judicial Watch exposed, the DOJ is working hand-in-hand with scandal-ridden Project Vote to use Section 7 of the National Voter Registration Act to register as many welfare recipients as possible to vote in the upcoming election. (Because these government-dependent individuals typically vote for big government Democrats, some have called this Obama’s “Food Stamp Army.”)
At the same time, the Obama DOJ refuses to enforce an important counterpart to Section 7 of the NVRA – Section 8, which requires that state election officials keep voter rolls clean so that dead people, convicted felons and other ineligible individuals don’t have a chance to vote.
(By the way, if you want to how see how easy it may be for “dead people” to vote, check out this videofrom BigGovernment.com by James O’Keefe. O’Keefe, you may recall, was responsible for the video showing ACORN employees teaching undercover reporters to evade tax and prostitution laws.)
Evidently, ignoring Section 8 isn’t enough for the Obama DOJ, and it is doubling down by legally attacking states that are trying to enact clean election measures such as voter ID laws.
Thankfully, the law allows private citizens and organizations to do what the DOJ won’t do, help to enforce voting registration laws. And that’s where we come in
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.
In February, Judicial Watch began putting election officials in these states on notice 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.”
As you know, Judicial Watch neither supports nor opposes candidates for public office. All we want – indeed, all the American people want – are clean and honest elections. Unfortunately, the Obama administration and the Obama campaign (is there really any difference between the two?) disagree.
In addition to abusing the National Voter Registration Act, the Obama administration continues to bankroll ACORN and its offshoots with American tax dollars in defiance of a federal funding ban so the “community organizations” can continue their corrupt work and enact “stealth amnesty” policies that allow greater numbers of illegal aliens to vote for Obama and other liberal candidates in 2012.
We all know the Obama DOJ will enforce voter intimidation laws only on behalf of minority victims and ignore crimes against white voters (see Black Panthers).
Make no mistake: The Obama gang is aggressively employing Chicago-style tactics to stuff the ballot box come Election Day in violation of the law. And Judicial Watch is prepared to go to court if necessary to make sure the elections are fair and honest. And we do what we can to stand with Texas, South Carolina and other states under assault from the Obama DOJ.
On the first anniversary of the passage of Obamacare, also known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit against the Obama Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to obtain records related to a taxpayer funded Obamacare propaganda campaign. (And thanks to these lawsuits, so far we’ve uncovered a treasure trove of records that prompted the U.S. Senate to follow suit with a bipartisan investigation of its own.)
How are we celebrating this year? On Thursday, March 22, just a few days before the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments in a consolidated Obamacare lawsuit, Judicial Watch will host an educational panel discussion, titled “Obamacare Update: In the Courts and In Practice.”
The event will be held at Judicial Watch headquarters, so if you’re in DC, please feel free to come on by. (It’ll also be streamed live on our website, http://www.judicialwatch.org/live.) We’ll have an excellent panel of experts, including former Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum; South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson; Betsy McCaughey, president of Defend Your Healthcare, former lieutenant governor of New York; and Lee A. Casey, partner at Baker Hostetler. Each and every one of these panelists is a leader in this battle and we are lucky to have the benefit of their expertise.
One of the issues we are certain to discuss is the fate of the so-called “individual mandate,” which requires American citizens to purchase health insurance or pay a government fine.
By now you likely know where we stand on this issue. Here’s how we sum it up in the amicus curiae brief we filed with the High Court on February 13:
Petitioners are trying to defend a provision in an act passed by Congress that exceeds its enumerated powers. Though Congress enacted this provision under the Commerce Clause, Congress’ power under the clause is not broad enough to compel Americans to engage in commerce by purchasing a particular product. Though Petitioners try to rescue the provision by arguing that it is valid under Congress’ taxing power even if it is invalid under Congress’ commerce power, a provision of an act that is not a tax may not be construed as a tax merely to save it from being declared unconstitutional.
We further argue that, if the Supreme Court affirms the constitutionality of the so-called individual mandate, “it must be willing to hold that Congress’ powers under the Commerce clause are plenary and unlimited, for there remains no principled way to limit Congress’ power if it is stretched as far as Petitioners (the Obama administration) ask.”
Or, as Florida federal district judge Roger Vinson ruled last year in an opinion that would strike down Obamacare in its entirety, if the government can force American taxpayers to buy health insurance, it can also force them to decide “whether and when (or not) to buy a house, a car, a television, a dinner or even a morning cup of coffee.”
This is a frightening but very real proposition if Obamacare is allowed to stand.
Another issue that I’m sure will come up during our panel is the overall cost of the putting the president’s socialist healthcare overhaul into action. Just this week, the Congressional Budget Office revised its projections for the cost of Obamacare. Once set at a “mere” $900 billion, it appears cost projections have doubled to at least 1.6 trillion (with a “t”) between now and 2022. And that’s just the cost of coverage and does not address the cost of implementation. When taking these other costs into consideration, the total tab for Obamacare could reach or exceed $2.6 trillion.
We also hope to cover Obamacare’s unprecedented assault on religious liberty. The power-hungry Commander in Chief needs to remember that he is only our president, not our pope.
As I say, now this is all in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court, which begins hearing oral arguments on Monday, March 26, in a lawsuit brought against the Obama administration by 26 states and other parties (Florida v. Dept. of Health & Human Services). A decision is expected sometime in June. But as you can see with Big Government’s pending upending of traditional religious doctrine on the altar of socialized medicine, this is a battle that may not end quickly or cleanly.
Well, this week is Sunshine Week, the once-a-year celebration of transparency in government. And asThe Washington Post noted, this is as good a time as any to focus on the record of the Obama administration, which promised to be the most transparent in history:
It’s Sunshine Week — an annual review and acknowledgment of open government and transparency efforts at the local, state and federal level — and another opportunity to review how well the Obama administration is doing in releasing government information into the open.
In a speech Monday, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said the administration has “made meaningful, measurable progress in improving the way our Department – and its partners and counterparts – respond to disclosure requests.”
The Attorney General then threw some suspect numbers around to justify his claim that transparency has improved during the Obama regime.
Well, we have some stats of our own: Since President Obama took office, we have filed 877 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. In nearly every case we have had to fight tooth-and-nail to obtain records. And in 75 instances we’ve had to resort to filing FOIA lawsuits in court after the Obama administration stonewalled our requests. We would sue more but we only have so many lawyers on staff!
One year ago, during Sunshine Week, I testified before Congress on the issue of transparency, and I gave the Obama administration a failing grade. Here’s a bit of that testimony, which you can read in fullhere.
Essential to Judicial Watch’s anti-corruption and transparency mission is the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Judicial Watch used this tool effectively to root out corruption in the Clinton administration and to take on the Bush administration’s penchant for improper secrecy….
…The American people were promised a new era of transparency with the Obama administration. Unfortunately, this promise has not been kept.
To be clear: The Obama administration is less transparent than the Bush administration…The Bush administration was tough and tricky. But the Obama administration is tougher and trickier.
Nothing over the last year has suggested to me that transparency has improved in this administration. In fact, it’s gotten worse. Much worse.
Consider the Navy Seal raid that killed Osama bin Laden. On the one hand, the Obama administration stonewalls our basic request for records, including the bin Laden death photos, citing national security concerns. On the other hand, the Obama administration reportedly leaked classified details regarding the raid to a Hollywood director for a film set to be released just before the elections. (You can expect this film to be one long Obama campaign commercial.)
This is just one example of many, as I noted in some detail in my speech before the Conservative Political Action Conference last month. From Fast and Furious to Solyndra to Fannie and Freddie, the Obama administration plays games with FOIA law. When information makes the Obama administration look good, they leak it. When it makes them look bad they withhold it. That’s not transparency. That’s politics at its worst. As far as Sunshine Week is concerned, Obama and his appointees have buried transparency, however much they praise it.
Until Next week...
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