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Judicial Watch, Inc. is a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, which promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law.

Judicial Watch, Inc. is a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, which promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law.

Because no one
is above the law!


Tom Fitton's Judicial Watch Weekly Update

Can We Protect Our Elections From ACORN?

August 5, 2011

From the Desk of Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton:

Voter Fraud Front and Center

With little more than a year before the 2012 elections, the press has started to sharpen its focus on the candidates. Judicial Watch, meanwhile, is deeply concerned about the integrity of the electoral process — especially given the rampant voter registration fraud caused by the “community organization” ACORN and its partner in crime Project Vote in the last several election cycles. (Do not believe the rumors that ACORN is defunct. As I’ve said before, the organization has splintered into organizations across the country and they are prepared to wreak havoc in 2012. Project Vote is going strong, and hasn’t changed its stripes.)

On Tuesday, I moderated a Judicial Watch educational panel entitled “The Voter Fraud Threat to Free and Fair Elections” at Judicial Watch’s headquarters here in Washington, DC.

My guests were: John Fund, a senior editor of The American Spectator and author of Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy and the upcoming The Threat of Voter Fraud to Free and Fair Elections; Christian Adams, former Department of Justice Attorney in the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division; and Catherine Engelbrecht, Founder of both King Street Patriots and True the Vote.

It was about as good a panel as we’ve ever hosted, and viewing it will educate, worry and motivate you. You can click here to watch a video of the panel, which was also streamed live over the Internet. We will have a written transcript on our website very soon.

Following our educational panel, on Thursday we released documents obtained from the Colorado Department of State showing that ACORN and its affiliate, Project Vote, successfully pressured Colorado officials into implementing new policies for increasing the registration of public assistance recipients during the 2008 and 2010 election seasons. And, as you might expect, following the policy changes the percentage of invalid voter registration forms from Colorado public assistance agencies was four times the national average!

See what I mean by chaos and havoc?

We got these documents through a Colorado Open Records Act request filed with the Colorado Office of the Secretary of State. They include approximately 400 internal emails related to a complaint by ACORN and Project Vote that the state of Colorado was in violation of Section 7 of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). (Under Section 7, states are required to offer voter registration services at all public assistance agencies, including unemployment offices and food stamp offices.)

Here’s how the ACORN/Project Vote intimidation campaign unfolded, as detailed in these documents, which number more than 1,000 pages.

In a May 14, 2008, “pre-litigation” letter, ACORN and Project Vote complained to the State of Colorado that it was in violation of the NVRA, and subsequently set up a meeting with Colorado officials to discuss the matter. According to the documents, that meeting took place on July 2, 2008, at ACORN’s offices.

Evidently, the State of Colorado did not move fast enough with its “reforms” because on June 9, 2009, Project Vote election counsel Donald Wine II threatened Colorado officials with litigation: “CDHS [Colorado Department of Human Services] has had a year and a half to comply with the NVRA. We are left with no choice but to prepare for litigation.”

The threat worked like a charm. The Colorado Office of the Secretary of State immediately went to extreme measures to accommodate the demands made by ACORN and Project Vote, including:

  • Offering to help push a “legislative fix” to allow people without a driver’s license or state identification to register to vote online. According to a January 27, 2010, email from Director of Division of Elections Judd Choate, “The Secretary’s office would support such a fix. We just need a legislator on board and begin the process of drafting the bill.”
  • Sending spreadsheets of voter registration data to Project Vote on a bi-weekly basis for more than two years.
  • Posting a Project Vote-produced presentation on the Colorado Secretary of State website.
  • Hosting several meetings between Project Vote personnel and representatives of state welfare offices.
  • Ensuring that changes to voter registration forms were approved by Project Vote.

As a result of this collaboration between ACORN, Project Vote and Colorado officials, the number of voter registrations at Colorado public assistance agencies rose from 3,340 in 2007 to almost 44,000 in 2010. (In a February 15, 2011, email to Project Vote, Christi Heppard, Special Projects Coordinator for the Elections Division of the Colorado Department of State, wrote, “…I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the numbers.”)

But here’s the problem. The collaboration also led to a large number of invalid and duplicate voter registrations. A total of 8% of rejected registration forms came from public assistance agencies in Colorado in 2009-2010. This is more than four times the national average of 1.9% for that same time period.

Shocking? Not when you learn a little more about the people involved in Colorado’s welfare voter registration campaign.

According to the documents, Amy Busefink, who at the time was under indictment on 13 voter registration violation charges in Nevada, managed the online programs for Project Vote nationally, including Colorado’s. Busefink ultimately entered an Alford plea to two gross misdemeanor counts of conspiracy to commit the crime of compensation for registration of voters. (An Alford plea is a guilty plea, where the defendant does not admit the act and assert innocence, but admits that sufficient evidence exists with which the prosecution could likely convince a judge or jury to find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.)

Democrat Bernie Buescher, who served as Colorado Secretary of State from January 2009 through January 2011, and is a party to some of these emails, received support from the Secretary of State Project, an organization funded in part by liberal financier George Soros, and organized by the leftist group Buescher also campaigned with former State House Speaker Terrance Carroll for a proposed bill that would have implemented universal mail-in balloting, same-day voter registrations and pre-registration of 16-year-olds. Facing stiff opposition from county election clerks, the bill was tabled on April 21, 2010.

Colorado officials bent over backward to abide by the demands of ACORN/Project Vote, which an activist facing criminal charges helped run. So it comes as no surprise that there was a sharp increase in voter registration irregularities. (Colorado’s U.S. Senate election was mighty close in 2010. So who knows if all the ACORN games may have called the results into question!)

Here’s another deeply disturbing twist in this story. While Colorado officials took measures to satisfy the demands of Project Vote related to the registration of public assistance recipients, Buescher sought a waiver from the Obama administration that would have allowed a delay in sending out ballots in time for the military to vote in the last election. The Department of Defense rejected the request.

Apparently Colorado’s concern for voting rights of its citizens did not extend to military personnel in the state!

These documents may specifically refer to the 2008 and 2010 election cycles, but they are extremely relevant today. Nothing has changed. The ACORN/Project Vote gang has not gone away, and continues to try by hook or by crook to register Obama’s “Food Stamp Army” to vote in an effort to keep him and other leftist allies in office next year. (Judicial Watch’s interest is in the rule of law and protecting the integrity of our elections, not the success or failure of individual candidates for office (we neither support nor oppose candidates.))

And don’t expect the Obama Justice Department to do anything about it. They’ve already turned a blind eye to ACORN corruption that benefited Obama’s election in 2008. Don’t forget: Obama used to work for the ACORN-connected Project Vote, and has said he’s “been fighting alongside” ACORN his entire career. It’s up to your Judicial Watch to investigate ACORN and its numerous spin-offs.

If we’re going to protect the integrity of the 2012 elections, attention must be paid to the continuing nefarious activities of ACORN/Project Vote.

Rest assured we’re up to the task.

JW Investigation Spurs Congressional Probe over Net Neutrality

On June 2, 2011, Judicial Watch released documents that show the Obama FCC’s collusion with a radical leftist organization to seize control over the Internet. This investigation caught the eye of congressional leaders, and now it appears a congressional probe of the matter is in the offing.

According to The Hill:

The House Energy and Commerce Committee pressed the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday for all documentation of the rulemaking process behind the agency’s net-neutrality regulations.

Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Reps. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) and Greg Walden (R-Ore.) cited reports that FCC Chief of Staff Edward Lazarus attended White House meetings where net-neutrality rules were debated as evidence the FCC rules passed in December were politically motivated.

The representatives also pointed to an investigation from Judicial Watch that unearthed emails from the advocacy group Free Press to aides of FCC Commissioner Michael Copps advocating strongly for net neutrality, which Copps supported. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) termed the emails “collusion” last month.

“These allegations suggest the FCC’s network neutrality proceeding was designed to fulfill a presidential campaign slogan, when it should have been based on an analysis of statutory authority, an economic analysis of the Internet service market, and an examination of the record,” the lawmakers wrote.

“If true, it seems the FCC failed to develop an independent conclusion derived from a balanced fact-based record, which is incompatible with proper rule-making.”

Importantly, that FCC 3-2 vote seemed to be at with odds an April, 2010, federal appeals court ruling that the FCC had exceeded its authority in seeking to regulate the Internet and enforce “net neutrality” rules. (More evidence the lawless Obama administration has as much respect for court rulings as it does the U.S. Constitution — which is to say, very little.)

Now let me tell you why Congress is so “suspicious.”

The documents we uncovered show that the Obama FCC was deeply involved in discussions with the radical leftist organization Free Press in the run up to the December 2010 FCC vote. How deep? Free Press reached out to the FCC to invite FCC Commissioner Michael Copps to write an op-ed for the Albuquerque Journal in advance of a November 16 hearing on Internet Access. Free Press helped coordinate a speaker’s list for FCC “Internet workshops” — which was a “Who’s Who” of liberal activists.

There were also a series of back-and-forth emails to set up meetings between Copps and former Free Press President John Silver just before the net neutrality vote:

We are starting to get a good sense of how we’d like to proceed during the next three tricky months on NN [net neutrality]…” Silver wrote in an October 8, 2010, email: “I think it may make sense for us to get together next week when I’m in town.”

The documents also include a written summary of a phone call between Silver and Copps on November 28, 2010, again, just prior to the FCC vote in December:

Silver emphasized that a strong net neutrality rule is critical to preserving the Internet as a vibrant forum for speech, commerce, innovation and cultural expression…” the summary noted.

Allow me to introduce you to the people who seem to be running the FCC’s Internet policies:

Robert McChesny, former editor of the socialist magazine Monthly Review, is the co-founder and president of Free Press. Kim Gandy, the Chairman of the Free Press Board of Directors, served as the President of the leftist National Organization for Women from 2001-2009. Craig Aaron, Free Press’s President and CEO, formerly worked as managing editor of the socialist tabloid In These Times. Free Press is financially supported by George Soros’ Open Society Institute and other hard-left groups such as the Ford Foundation and Democracy Alliance.

Two socialists, a radical feminist, and a left-wing eccentric billionaire who uses his wealth to drive the liberal agenda — that’s quite a team.

The “net neutrality” debate is highly technical and somewhat confusing. Proponents of net neutrality count on this confusion to hoodwink people into accepting their agenda. But here’s why many see “net neutrality” as so dangerous.

Proponents of net neutrality, like Free Press, believe Internet access is a civil right. And what happens when you make something a civil right? You put the government in charge of “protecting” those rights. In the case of net neutrality, proponents want taxpayer-funded online access for everyone, most especially communities they deem “underserved.” This, of course, would require government control.

If allowed to move forward, the Left’s version of “net neutrality” could stifle innovation by preventing Internet service providers from managing their information networks with any flexibility. And it could effectively kill the digital economy. As Reason Magazine’s Steven Titch argued, if net neutrality were in play several years ago, there would be no iPhone, to give just one example.

So here’s the question you need to ask yourself. Do you want George Soros and Barack Obama to be able to micromanage the Internet? Congress is right (once again) to follow Judicial Watch’s lead in asking this question.

Judicial Watch in Court on Behalf of Widow of Police Officer Murdered by Illegal Alien

Judicial Watch Director of Litigation Paul Orfanedes, along with Judicial Watch attorney Julie Axelrod, appeared before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans on Wednesday on behalf Houston police sergeant Joslyn M. Johnson.

Houston, Texas, as you may recall, is a sanctuary city. And here’s the principal argument our client is trying to make in court, as described in our original complaint:

Sergeant Johnson challenges current policies, practices, and procedures of the Houston Police Department that substantially restrict, if not prohibit, Plaintiff from communicating with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) about illegal aliens who are criminally present in the United States.

Plaintiff does not seek to detain or arrest persons in order to inquire about their immigration status. Rather, Plaintiffs seeks to use her professional judgment to determine when it is appropriate to contact ICE to inquire or provide information about a person’s immigration status if, in the course of carrying out her duties and responsibilities as a law enforcement officer, she has reason to believe a crime may have been committed.

Now I say Mrs. Johnson is “trying” to make these arguments because the lower court dismissed the lawsuit before the merits of the case could even be considered. (For more information on the “reason” for this dismissal, please read our latest court filing in the case.)

If Judicial Watch is successful at the appellate court level, the lawsuit would be remanded to the district court level again where Sgt. Johnson could make her case.

This sanctuary policy issue personally affects Sgt. Johnson. Not only because she serves in the Houston Police Department and sees the potential dangers of allowing illegal alien criminals to roam free, but because Mrs. Johnson is also the widow of former Houston police officer Rodney Johnson, who was murdered by an illegal alien during a routine traffic stop on September 21, 2006.

Rodney Johnson was shot and killed by Juan Leonardo Quintero-Perez, a previously deported Mexican national who had reentered and was living in the U.S. illegally. After reentering the U.S. illegally, Quintero-Perez had multiple interactions with the Houston Police Department before shooting and killing Officer Johnson, including at least one arrest for driving under the influence and citations for failing to stop and give information following an accident and driving with a suspended license.

The City of Houston, in many ways, is the poster child for the harm that is caused by illegal alien sanctuary policies. And the harm continues to be devastating. Our investigators recently uncovered the infuriating details behind the murder of yet another police officer in Houston. Our Irene Garcia at JW’s Corruption Chronicles reported the details:

A Judicial Watch investigation has discovered that the drunk illegal immigrant who recently killed a Houston police officer had six arrest warrants, multiple encounters with law enforcement and had been caught driving without a license four times.

He also had been cited by police on eight occasions, was ticketed twice in 2009 and had two convictions for unlawful entry into the U.S., according to public records obtained by JW from the Houston Municipal Court. Incredibly, the illegal alien (Johoan Rodriguez) remained free and in late May struck and killed Houston Police Officer Kevin Will.

It marks the fourth time in the last few years that a Houston officer dies at the hands of a previously deported illegal immigrant protected by the city’s sanctuary policy, which, among other things, forbids police from inquiring about immigration status. In 2009 an illegal alien from Mexico (Roberto Pedroza Carrillo), who had been ticketed by Houston Police at least four times, killed an undercover police officer during a sting operation.

As long as the Obama administration refuses to police illegal alien sanctuary policies like those in Houston; as long as the Obama administration continues to sue states that seek to protect their citizens from the scourge of illegal immigration (like Arizona and, most recently, Alabama); and as long as the Obama administration continues to lawlessly suspend deportations for illegal alien criminals, expect more violence and more victims.

Until next week…

Tom Fitton

Judicial Watch is a non-partisan, educational foundation organized under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue code. Judicial Watch is dedicated to fighting government and judicial corruption and promoting a return to ethics and morality in our nation’s public life. To make a tax-deductible contribution in support of our efforts, click here.

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