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Update on True the Vote and Obamacare Scandals

In Wake of Election Integrity Victory in Virginia, Judicial Watch, True the Vote Shift Focus to Indiana’s Dirty Voter Rolls

Last week I reported to you that Judicial Watch and its partner the Allied Educational Fund (AEF) filed a “friend of the court” brief with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division, supporting the Virginia Board of Election’s plan to remove as many as 57,000 voters deemed ineligible from the Virginia voter registration rolls as required by the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA).

Well, as the Update was hitting your in-box, we got some very exciting news in this case. As we urged, the federal court denied a petition by the Democratic Party of Virginia to put a stop to the state’s removal of ineligible voters. Per the ruling issued by The Honorable Claude M. Hilton:

“[The Democratic Party of Virginia] has not presented evidence of any individual who has been deprived of their right to vote. Those individuals who are registered in another state and have thus been correctly removed from the Virginia voter rolls have suffered no harm.”

“…the Commonwealth has a compelling interest in preventing voter fraud and maintaining accurate voter registration rolls. Allowing ineligible voters to cast a vote in Virginia when they are at the same time registered to vote in another state would cut against this valid interest in maintaining accurate voter registration rolls.”

In reading the judge’s ruling, it strikes me as such a classic example of common sense that I cannot believe the Democratic Party needs to be told by a federal court that it’s not okay for voters to vote twice! But such is the case in the land of Obama/ACORN/Project Vote. Here’s the statement I offered to the press:

“We are pleased that Judge Hilton affirmed the commonsense notion that Virginia can remove the names ineligible voters, tens of thousands of whom seem to be registered to vote in more than one state. It is shameful that the organized Left is standing against election integrity measures such as voter ID and clean voter rolls. For its part, Judicial Watch, through its Election Integrity Project, is committed to battling the coordinated efforts to undermine clean elections across the country.”

And speaking of our Election Integrity Project, JW and another partner, True the Vote, took a step forward in our joint lawsuit against the State of Indiana for failing to maintain clean voter registration lists. (True the Vote is a citizens’ watchdog dedicated to securing the integrity of America’s elections. By the way, for that, it has been targeted by the Obama IRS and other federal agencies!)

On October 11, 2013, we filed a motion for summary judgment presenting the court with the following new evidence gathered against Indiana over the past 15 months of litigation:

  • The Indiana Election Division Co-Directors “frequently disagreed… concerning voter list maintenance, preventing Indiana from initiating numerous voter list maintenance programs.”

  • “Indiana has taken a mostly passive approach to voter list maintenance, even though states are required to actively lead, direct, and oversee a list maintenance program under the NVRA.”

  • Though the Indiana Department of Health is “required by Indiana law to obtain out-of-state death information from other states for purposes of assisting the Election Division to maintain the voter registration rolls,” for several years it has “failed to comply with Indiana law in this regard.”

  • Indiana’s voter rolls were inaccurate “due to a general failure to adequately identify voters who had died out-of-state or relocated out-of-state”

  • Local Indiana election officials testified that they “cannot effectively undertake efforts to maintain voter registration rolls” unless the Indiana State Government coordinates the participation of “as many as 6 separate Indiana state offices and local election officials in all 92 Indiana counties.”

  • Judicial Watch and True the Vote’s expert witness, former Georgia Secretary of State and Chief Election Official Karen Handel, concluded that  “Indiana has failed to conduct even the most basic list maintenance program to ensure reasonably accurate voter rolls.”

Arguing that “Indiana has violated NVRA Section 8’s requirement to ‘conduct a general program that makes a reasonable effort to remove the names of ineligible voters from the official lists of eligible voters,’” the Judicial Watch/True the Vote motion cited the following “reasonable activities” the state of Indiana failed to undertake:

  • “Conduct a statewide mailing to all registered voters pursuant to the NVRA to identify voters who have moved;

  • “Ensure that the Indiana Department of Health obtains death information from other states via the State and Territorial Exchange of Vital Events (“STEVE”) and Electronic Verification of Vital Events (“EVVE”) interstate systems and provides the information to the Election Division for list maintenance;

  • “Obtain the Social Security Death Index (“SSDI”) from the federal government and provide appropriate information from the SSDI to each local official;

  • “Enter the Interstate Voter Registration Cross-Check (“IVRC”) program for the identification of Indiana voters who move out-of-state;

  • “Obtain the National Change of Address (“NCOA”) database from the U.S. Postal Service to identify relocated voters; and

  • “Obtain access to the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (“SAVE”) database from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to identify non-citizen registered voters.”

The Judicial Watch/True the Vote motion also alleges Indiana has neglected to undertake reasonable oversight activities, including a failure to conduct adequate training and instruction of local elections officials, to monitor the list maintenance performance of local officials on a regular basis, and to provide state funding to local officials to carry out list maintenance programs.

Catherine Englebrecht, president of True the Vote, noted that the facts and the rule of law stand against Indiana in a statement to the press: “When the state admits in court its continued inability to share basic information between agencies to maintain voter rolls, then we have a serious breakdown in the execution of our most basic of civil rights. Indiana has been reprimanded before for these procedural breakdowns by the Department of Justice – the actions taken by True the Vote and Judicial Watch are intended to ensure that justice will be served.”

Our lawsuit has documented beyond any doubt the utter failure of Indiana’s election officials to maintain accurate and current voter registration rolls. This failure is not only a violation of federal law, but it harms citizens’ confidence in the integrity of elections and undermines the stability and effectiveness of the electoral system. Unfortunately, Indiana has rejected multiple offers to settle this case. So once again, a federal court may have to intervene to force Indiana officials to obey the law and clean up Indiana’s voting rolls.

If you want to read about the history of our litigation against Indiana and our other election integrity measures, click here.  Judicial Watch and True the Vote, along with a few other conservative organizations and lawyers, are part of a small platoon defending against the Obama Left’s assault on free and fair elections. I like our odds! But you should know (and you should let your family, friends, and neighbors know) that the stakes for our nation are enormous.

Of course, at the center of the Left’s efforts to steal elections is the “community” organization ACORN, which continues to make news even after allegedly going out of business for good. Read on…

Smoking Gun Docs Reveal Former Top ACORN Operative Continues to Advise Obama Officials on Housing Issues

Every time I read through documents we uncover detailing ACORN’s covert activities inside the Obama administration, or click on a news story about yet another state-level ACORN corrupt spinoff, I feel like I’m living in a bad zombie movie. ACORN is truly the organization that just will not die. Time and time again, it rises from the grave, shambling towards Washington with outstretched hands looking to grab more tax dollars, or bend the ear of another Obama official.

Case in point: The documents we just uncovered from the Consumer Financial Protection Administration (CFPB) revealing that Bruce Dorpalen, the former Director of ACORN Housing and current Executive Director of the ACORN spinoff the National Housing Resource Center (NHRC), has met repeatedly with top Obama administration officials, including CFBP Director Richard Cordray and U.S. Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry, to advise them on government housing policy.

According to documents, which we received as a result of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed on May 16, 2013:

  • In a December 10, 2012, email, CFPB Senior Advisor Brenda Muniz wrote to Dorpalen to confirm that he would, “be the one to introduce Director Cordray” at an NHRC “Leaders in Housing Counseling” forum to be held at Washington’s Renaissance Hotel on December 12.

When Dorpalen invited Muniz and CPFB Associate Director Zixta Martinez to a dinner with representatives from several housing counseling agencies the night before the forum, Muniz apparently had questions about attending the event, writing to Martinez, “I’m going to submit this to ethics unless you think I shouldn’t.” No information was provided as to Martinez’ response.

  • The attendees list generated by Dorpalen for Muniz concerning an April 2013 meeting indicates that Dorpalen met with CFPB Regional Strategist Keo Chea and with representatives of the Federal Reserve. The meeting was also attended by Dustin Toomey, the Executive Director of Affordable Housing Centers of PA (an ACORN spin-off co-located with the NHRC).

  • A subsequent email from Dorpalen indicates that on April 11, 2013, he had “a meeting in the afternoon with Tom Curry from the OCC.” As Comptroller of the Currency, Curry supervises more than 2,000 national banks and federal savings associations throughout the United States.

  • A March 25, 2013, email reveals that Dorpalen sent a letter signed by 240 housing counseling agencies to CFPB’s Martinez and Muniz lobbying for an “extension of the HAMP [Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) and Making Home Affordable programs past the December 31, 2013, deadline” for their expiration.

Just eight weeks later, on May 30, 2013, the Obama administration announced that it had extended the programs to 2015.

  • A January 10, 2013, email indicates that Dorpalen was invited to be a panelist at a January CFPB field hearing in Atlanta, Georgia. Before the panel, Muniz apparently organized a “prep call” between Dorpalen and other attendees (including Julia Gordon, the Director of Housing Finance and Policy at the Center for American Progress) to discuss the event.

The agenda, attached to the email about the call, was not provided in the response to Judicial Watch. However, the email suggests that information regarding an unspecified, proposed CFPB rule would be discussed on the call and that Muniz did not want to address the issue via email.

The National Housing Resource Center is a project of the George Soros-funded Tides Foundation. It apparently began operation in early 2012 – the same time that ACORN’s previous housing-related spinoff, Affordable Housing Centers of America, closed its doors. We see this quite a bit with ACORN spinoffs. Like a corrupt mob shop that shuts down on one side of the street, it opens days later on the other under a new name.

The NHRC operates as a lobbyist for the housing counseling industry and includes among its accomplishments securing $25 million in additional grant funding for housing counselors from the Treasury Department and the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). NHRC Executive Director Dorpalen has visited the White House on at least five occasions, including a November 2012 meeting with National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling.

So what’s the bottom line in all of this? These smoking-gun documents clearly show the continued collusion among Obama’s Department of Housing and Urban Renewal, the controversial Consumer Financial Protection Administration and ACORN spinoffs – and provide more evidence that Barack Obama has turned the federal government’s housing policy over to the far left.

How is it, after the scandals of ACORN and its contribution to the housing crash, that this organization’s former leadership is still able to guide federal housing policy? Because ACORN and its many “Frankensteins,” as former ACORN head Bertha Lewis called them, have a long and deep relationship with the president. Barack Obama truly is the president from ACORN.

Further reading: our friend and ACORN expert Matthew Vadum has an excellent piece on our latest revelations.

Obamacare Scandal

I knew Obamacare was monstrous and harmful, but who could have imagined that Obamacare would almost immediately shut down the health insurance market. If, as Obamacare requires, you want to individually buy health insurance, it is nearly impossible. As The Washington Post, an Obamacare cheerleader, was force to admit, the Obamacare health insurance “marketplace” is in “de facto shutdown.”

The Obama administration is in full cover-up mode and Congress is in an uproar. In the meantime, Americans will now be forced to go without health insurance. And what is Congress doing to solve the current crisis – and it is a crisis – caused by the Obamacare failure.  You guessed it!  It’s holding hearings!

The government contractors who created Healthcare.gov, the online portal for Obamacare, testified on Thursday before a House panel.

And what was their explanation for all of the chaos? Per USA TODAY:

High demand for health insurance coupled with confusion between contractors led to many of the problems that have plagued the HealthCare.gov website meant to allow uninsured Americans to buy insurance through the Affordable Care Act, an official with the top contractor will say in prepared testimony to a House panel Thursday.

That official’s name is Cheryl Campbell, Senior Vice President of CGI. And she did indeed place some of the blame for the system failure on “high consumer interest.” I’m certainly not buying that argument. And neither did The Washington Post, which noted that the website was not properly vetted before launch:

Days before the launch of President Obama’s online health insurance marketplace, government officials and contractors tested a key part of the Website to see whether it could handle tens of thousands of consumers at the same time. It crashed after a simulation in which just a few hundred people tried to log on simultaneously.

Despite the failed test, federal health officials plowed ahead.

So in a world where Internet sites routinely accommodate tens of millions of visits per day, Healthcare.gov couldn’t handle a few hundred. In fact, the Post discloses that the Obamacare site shut down after only 2,000 people logged on! So the idea that “volume” and “demand” caused this catastrophe is another Big Lie from the corrupt Kathleen Sebelius and her bosses at the White House.

The Obamacare contractor also told Congress that no amount of testing could have solved the issues with Healthcare.gov. And that may be true. The problems with Obamacare run far deeper than error messages on a website. It is unquestionably a bureaucratic monstrosity that never should have seen the light of day. But there is something testing would have shown (and did show): that the system was fatally flawed and should not have been “beta tested” on American citizens trying to get healthcare coverage.

But government bureaucrats never let a little thing like abject failure stand in the way of expanding a bloated federal program. So they unleashed Obamacare on innocent Americans with disastrous results. And now it appears even more tax dollars will be expended to try to plug the leaks. Again, courtesy of USA TODAY:

The international telecommunications company Verizon has been tasked with helping the government fix the federal health exchange, USA TODAY has learned.

An informed source in the telecommunications industry said Verizon’s Enterprise Solutions division has been asked by the Department of Health and Human Services to improve the performance of the HealthCare.gov site, which is a key component of the Affordable Care Act.

A dozen health insurance companies are also scrambling to Washington, DC, to add their expertise to this new Healthcare.gov “dream team.”

And the chances of success? About even, said Clark Kelso, California’s chief information officer under Governors Gray Davis and Arnold Schwarzenegger, in an interview with USA TODAY: “They’ve got a short window here to try to fix things. Simply throwing a lot of new programmers at something like this does not guarantee success.”

True, throwing more programmers and more money at the problem won’t help. It never does. And neither will throwing blame.

The Obama administration, pilloried for the website’s terrible performance, was more than willing to throw CGI under the bus. While Campbell, speaking on behalf of CGI before Congress, said in essence “right back at you” to the president. The Obama HHS, Campbell stated, “serves the important role of systems integrator or ‘quarterback’ on this project and is the ultimate responsible party for the end-to-end performance.”

This entire Healthcare.gov mess has spread over to an issue of primary concern to Judicial Watch, the so-called “mandate” that requires individuals to buy insurance or pay a penalty. With Democrats calling for the administration to delay the individual mandate, says Fox News: “Several Democratic senators are calling on the Obama administration to delay enforcement of the health care law’s individual mandate, joining their Republican colleagues in saying it would be unfair to penalize Americans for failing to buy insurance when the primary sign-up website doesn’t work.”

As you know, JW and its client, Dr. Larry Kawa of Kawa Orthodontics, filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Treasury challenging the Obama administration’s decision to unilaterally delay the enactment of the so-called “employer mandate” provision of the Affordable Healthcare Act, while leaving the individual mandate in place.

Here’s our view: If a change to the Obamacare law is to happen, it must come from Congress, not the president. President Obama does not have the legal authority to change a law, simply because he wants the Democratic Party to avoid unpleasant political consequences in upcoming elections – which is clearly the motivation behind the policy change.

In the meantime, we aim to get the truth. The Obama administration is refusing to divulge key details about the Obamacare debacle. As soon as the Obamacare site launched and crashed, we began filing Freedom of Information requests.

Congress will flail, but Judicial Watch will pursue these records relentlessly, even in the face of Obama administration’s criminal-type thuggery to try to keep the details secret.

Many folks ask us if we get discouraged in the face of all the corruption and scandal we have to battle here in Washington and across the country.  Now, like many other American citizens, I get close to blowing a gasket every now and then at the latest public corruption or government abuse outrage. The wonderful thing about Judicial Watch is that it allows Americans to effectively channel their well-justified moral outrage and hold those corrupt politicians and public officials responsible for abusing the public trust accountable to the rule of law.

So yes, like you, I am aghast at the Obamacare crisis. But rather than stand around and complain, Judicial Watch is working to expose the truth and defend the rule of law. As with election integrity, the stakes are high, so I encourage you to stand with us in this battle.

Tom FittonUntil next week…

Tom Fitton, President

Until next week Judicial Watch, Inc., a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law. Through its educational endeavors, Judicial Watch advocates high standards of ethics and morality in our nation's public life and seeks to ensure that political and judicial officials do not abuse the powers entrusted to them by the American people. Judicial Watch fulfills its educational mission through litigation, investigations, and public outreach.

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