Monday, March 2, 2015

Investigating Vote Buying in Tennessee Will get you Fired

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is probing allegations of vote-buying in last year's controversial Monroe County sheriff's election.  
According to the lawsuit, the two learned of a vote-buying scheme before the election and alerted prosecutors who, in turn, enlisted the TBI. The legal action does not specifically accuse White in the scheme. Manning says in the lawsuit he has proof votes were being bought.
“Manning recorded a conversation with a Monroe County citizen who stated on the recording that his vote had been purchased for $20,” the lawsuit stated.
Not only is this a possible example of the ongoing nature of vote fraud, it once again proves how difficult it is to even investigate. The investigators were allegedly fired for even pursuing these allegations.

The pair claims White fired them in that interim period between his election and his ouster because of their political allegiance to Bivens and their participation in the TBI vote-buying probe.
While there is a lot of other allegations involved in this race outside vote buying, once again it those investigating vote fraud that are punished instead of those who commit the fraud.  While in New York the Election Board asked investigators to be prosecuted for investigating vote fraud, in Tennessee apparently such investigations can get you fired.  

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Will Lorreta Lynch Be the Next DNC AG?

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted today to report Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch out of committee and to the floor.

The vote was 12-8 with all Democrats voting in favor of Lynch and all Republicans voting against, except that Senators Hatch, Graham and Flake voted in favor of Lynch.  The Senators voting against were Chairman Grassley, and Senators Sessions, Cornyn, Lee, Cruz, Vitter, Perdue, and Tillis.

Chairman Grassley explained his vote in detail hereChairman Grassley is concerned that she will continue to politicize the Justice Department.  As he stated:

Now, I’m confident that if she had demonstrated a little more independence from the President, she would’ve garnered more support here today.  To illustrate why, we need to look no further than the recent confirmation of Secretary Carter to the Department of Defense.  When he testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Secretary Carter demonstrated the type of independent streak that many of us were hoping we’d see from Ms. Lynch.

Most of the media reporting on the two nominations seemed to agree.  Consider these headlines from several major news outlets regarding the Carter nomination:
•    “In Ashton Carter, Nominee for Defense Secretary, a Change in Direction,” The New York Times•    “New Defense Secretary airs differences with Obama over Ukraine, Gitmo,” Washington Times•    “Obama Pentagon pick Carter says he won’t bend to White House Pressure to release Gitmo prisoners,” Fox News•    “Defense nominee Carter casts himself as an independent voice,” The Washington Post
Compare those headlines to these regarding Ms. Lynch, from some of the very same news outlets:
•    “Lynch Defends Obama’s Immigration Action,” The New York Times•    “Loretta Lynch Defends Obama’s Immigration Actions,” Huffington Post•    “Loretta Lynch Defends Obama’s Executive Action, NSA Surveillance,” Newsweek•    “Attorney General Nominee Loretta Lynch defends Obama Immigration policies,” Washington Times
Secretary Carter was confirmed with 93 votes.  Only 5 Senators voted against his nomination.  That lopsided vote was a reflection of his testimony before the Senate, which demonstrated a willingness to be an independent voice within the administration.
I suspect Ms. Lynch will be confirmed, but I doubt she’ll garner 93 votes in support of her nomination.  And to the extent her support isn’t as broad as Secretary Carter’s, it will reflect a reluctance to take the department in a new direction, and her unwillingness to identify meaningful limitations on executive power.

Eric Holder was the DNC Attorney General, let’s hope Ms. Lynch is not as well.  

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

More Hypocrisy on the Government Takeover of the Internet

President Obama’s unprecedented attempts at a government takeover of the Internet have another element, Hypocrisy.

A key Republican lawmaker in Congress called for Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler to make proposed net neutrality regulations public before a planned Thursday vote on the measure.

[House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason] Chaffetz urged Wheeler to publicly release the 332-page draft order that was given to the other four commissioners nearly three weeks ago and appear at a House Oversight hearing Wednesday before a vote at the FCC's monthly meeting Thursday.

Also today, FCC commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O'Rielly too asked for Wheeler to release the proposal to the public and postpone the Thursday vote to allow for 30 days of public comment.

Chairman Wheeler is refusing to do so even amid allegations of undue influence by the White House.  This is particular ironic in light of what then Senator Obama stated in 2007:

A senator who supported the FCC's postponement back then, Chaffetz notes, was then-senator Barack Obama. "He specifically noted while a certain proposal 'may pass the muster of a federal court, Congress and the public have the right to review any specific proposal and decide whether or not it constitutes sound policy. And the commission has the responsibility to defend any new proposal in public discourse and debate,'" Chaffetz said citing the original letter sent by Sen. Obama to Martin.

In 2007 the proposed rules for a less important FCC matter were made public so there could be a debate.  Not now.  

[Note:  RNLA is pleased to announce that both Republican Commissioners of the FCC will be speaking at our March 20 National Policy Conference.]  

Thursday, February 19, 2015

More Politicizing DOJ? Strange DAPA Response.

Former RNLA law student leader and current South Texas College of Law Professor Josh Blackman has done a couple of fascinating blog posts regarding the “DAPA decision” halting President Obama’s Executive Order on Immigration.  In one post Blackman asks:  What is the Administration Thinking about its DAPA Appeal?! .  Blackman writes:

I am really, really confused. For the last month or so, based on my reading of the transcript, I was fairly convinced Judge Hanen would issue a preliminary injunction, putting DAPA on hold. I have to imagine the Justice Department reached a similar conclusion. Even more so, I have to imagine that DOJ recognized that a federal district court could put enjoin DAPA even before a suit was filed, based on procedural or substantive grounds. From my research on Obamacare, teams were assembled before the law was even passed to prepare litigation strategies. So what happened?!

. . .

A top administration official said Wednesday it was unclear whether the Department of Justice would seek an emergency order that would allow the president’s immigration programs to go into effect while an appeal proceeds. A spokeswoman for the Justice Department said that no decision had been made on an emergency application to an appeals court, but she pledged to fight all challenges to the president’s actions.

If the administration files for an expedited appeal, followed by certiorari, it would effectively be impossible to resolve the issue before July. The case will be argued next term, with a decision as late as in June 2016. At that point, the administration is over. Why wouldn’t they go with the emergency stay?

More importantly, why was this decision not made weeks, if not months ago?

Blackman discusses theories including hubris but does not reach a conclusion. 

One theory that Blackman does not discuss is this is another example of the politicizing of the Department of Justice.  The Obama DOJ does not care about legal strategies, justice, or the rule of law; rather they care about public relations and using DOJ for political gain. 

They may view this as another political issue to gin up their base much as they do voting, where they run publicity campaigns claiming civil rights and other violations but do little actual legal work.  

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Reactions and Further Details on Obama's Overreach on DAPA

The political landscape was shaken yesterday in a Court decision that was a major defeat for the Obama Administration. 

Last night, a district court in Texas ordered a halt to the Obama Administration’s program (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA) that offers licenses and work authorization to illegal immigrants who identify themselves to authorities. The state of Texas and numerous other states filed a federal lawsuit against the program last December under the Constitution’s Take Care Clause and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).

Townhall has a listing of five major findings in the decision.  Here is one of the most interesting.

There Is A Big Difference Between Executive Discretion And Bestowing Benefits . . .
Judge Hanen found that Obama's DAPA program, however, cannot be characterized as "non-enforcement" since "it is actually affirmative action rather than inaction."
Specifically, Hanen notes that DAPA "awards legal presence to individuals Congress has deemed deportable or removable, as well as the ability to obtain Social Security numbers, work authorization permits, and the ability to travel."
"Absent DAPA, these individuals would not receive these benefits," Hanen continues, "Exercising prosecutorial discretion and/or refusing to enforce a statute does not also entail bestowing benefits."
Professor Josh Blackman has more background on the case here
Hanen points out further irony by citing a question from a Department of Homeland Security civics test for naturalization applicants. At the very same time the administration is asserting power over state driver’s licenses because of federal authority over immigration, the Department’s test tells applicants that one of the powers that “belong to the states” (not the federal government) is giving out driver’s licenses.
The Obama Administration has repeatedly refused to recognize, much less obey, the Constitution’s separation of powers. But as every high school student learns, Congress creates the laws and the President executes them. This Administration has now elevated lawlessness to high art, whether by rewriting Obamacare, refusing to enforce the laws, or even, as the Court held in this case, creating laws from scratch.  
Senator Ted Cruz of Texas highlights the irresponsibility of Senate Democrats regarding this decision:
"The Texas court decision reached last night is a major turning point in the fight to stop Obama's lawless amnesty," said Sen. Cruz. "Gov. Abbott and Attorney General Paxton are leading a coalition of 26 states to block the illegal executive actions and to protect our states, cities, and communities. This is a major victory for the rule of law; the District Court's ruling states that President Obama must now stop implementing these policies in 'any and all aspects.' Last summer we saw a humanitarian crisis on our southern border that was a direct consequence of Obama's previous amnesty. Republicans are now standing together to try to ensure that it never happens again.
"The Senate Democrats who are filibustering Department of Homeland Security funding should look hard at this ruling. At a time when we face grave national security threats, at home and abroad, it is the height of irresponsibility for the Democrats to block this funding in an extreme attempt to save Obama's amnesty, which a federal judge has just declared illegal."

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

CREW’s Nefarious Aims and Intentions

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) doesn’t like playing defense. After FEC Commissioner Lee E. Goodman slammed the agitprop group for a speech-stifling proposal during last week’s FEC hearing, indignation ensued. In short order, the self-styled “watchdog” produced an umbrage-taking blog post and tweet.

The imbroglio centered on the group’s McCutcheon-related rulemaking proposal. CREW suggested the FEC interpret FECA to require regulation of internet electioneering communications (ECs)—issue ads mentioning political candidates. “The Commission should examine whether the statutory language can be construed to cover [ECs] carried over the internet.” The FEC exempted such ads from its dominion in 2006.

Goodman and many others believe a policy reversal would produce an “insidious regulatory scheme,” dampening the internet’s current open, competitive political marketplace. CREW accuses Goodman of misinterpreting its “aims” and “intentions.” Scrutiny of such is long overdue.

Late last summer, Clinton hatchet man David Brock acquired CREW, adding it to his partisan-attack group portfolio, which also includes Media Matters, American Bridge, and the American Independent Institute. These groups, with their combined annual $28 million-dollar budget, exist as opposition-research platforms for the DNC and Clinton Inc. Brock is also strongly intertwined with the high-dollar liberal funding consortium Democracy Alliance. When Brock acquired CREW he explained one of its aims would be “donor targeting.”  

Harassing and intimidating opposing donors is par for Brock’s course. Post-Citizens United, Media Matters hatched a plan to discourage political activity by public companies: “Media Matters Action Network will create a multitude of public relations challenges for corporations that make the decision to meddle in political campaigns.” But Brock hardly invented this tactic. Progressives have employed it for generations; Saul Alinsky’s Fifth Rule for Radicals is “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.’ There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions.”

Of course neither CREW nor most of Brock’s other concerns subject their donors to public exposure. Brock explained this hypocrisy with familiar self-indulgent progressive moralism at a Democracy Alliance retreat. “You’re not in this room today trying to figure out how to rig the game so you can be free to make money poisoning little kids . . . a false moral equivalence is . . . what they want: keeping us quiet about what they’re doing to destroy the very fabric of our nation.” Translation: we’re good; they’re evil so we get to play by our own rules. This kind of self-assured morality allows purported transparency-philes like Barak Obama, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and Elizabeth Warren to pontificate at Democracy Alliance's dark-money confabs without a hint of self-awareness.  

Thus CREW’s intentions are straightforward: (i.) force government to dox political enemies; (ii.) turn information over to Brock apparatus; (iii.) bully and intimidate enemies into submission through ethics complaints, litigation, and public pressure campaigns; (iv.) deflect any criticism with moral indignation of virtuous watchdog; (v.) rinse, repeat.
CREW counts Chairwoman Ravel as an ally in step (i.) for internet ECs. “Ann Ravel suggested last year the FEC should examine whether and how to update campaign finance rules to deal with changes in technology and communication that are revolutionizing how campaigns are run. We agree.” They may be mistaken.

The Chairwoman was reticent to even discuss internet regulations at the hearing, despite last year calling for a “new dialogue” on the topic. Even the mere mention of internet regulation seemed to produce in her involuntary twitches and near-audible teeth gnashing. On two occasions, seemingly overcome, she interjected, assuring the audience no internet-regulation plans were looming. She even asked one witness where he had heard such information. The retreat may have unwittingly volunteered her for some Brock-style treatment.  

In any event, CREW will continue to harass progressivism's enemies with all the tools $3 million a year can buy. No one should be fooled about its aims or intentions.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Felon Voting: Another Example of the Politicization of DOJ

Hans A. von Spakovsky, former Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the Department of Justice, and Roger Clegg, former Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice, have written a fascinating Legal Memorandum on Felon Voting.  While part of the Legal Memorandum discusses a specific bill, it makes some very important larger points on felon voting. 

It also serves to remind us again of the unprecedented politicization of the Department of Justice during the Obama Administration.  Liberals and individuals such as Obama Administration Attorney General Eric Holder advocate for felon enfranchisement primarily as a source of additional Democrat votes. 

Mr. Von Spakovsky and Mr. Clegg point out felon enfranchisement hurts victims of crime:
Indeed, the people whose votes will be diluted the most if criminals are allowed to vote will be law-abiding people in high-crime areas—people who are themselves often disproportionately poor and minority. Liberal civil-rights groups lobbying against felon disenfranchisement seem to have less concern for those victims.
If felons are allowed to vote, local elections in high crime areas, such as for School Board and Sheriff, are going to be influenced by re-enfranchised felons.  The voices of their victims will be diluted.  However, for national or statewide elections Democrats will be helped as felons vote overwhelming for Democrats. 

Of course this is also another way to play the political race card to aid with Democrat turnout with claims that felons are disenfranchised because they are disproportionately African American.  Again, the lie is proved by Mr. Holder’s own actions as Von Spakovsky and Clegg note:
If there were evidence that such [racially motivated felon disenfranchisement] discriminatory laws were still on the books, there are many well-funded civil rights advocacy organizations, as well as the U.S. Department of Justice, that would be eager to challenge them. The fact that no such challenges are being brought indicates that such evidence likely does not exist.

Again, liberals and the Obama Administration are politicizing justice.  If they weren’t, they would be fighting for victims and not playing the race card for political gain.