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Will Votergate Come Back to Haunt Cuccinelli?

by: kindler

Sat Oct 20, 2012 at 14:07:47 PM EDT

Watergate started with a third-rate burglary at the Democratic headquarters that got little attention at the time.  The recent arrest of a young Republican operative dumping voter registration forms in the trash has received no more coverage than that.  Maybe it is just an "isolated incident" as the State Board of Elections claims.  But Salon's Brad Friedman builds a compelling case by connecting this dot with others, that we could be witnessing a full-fledged Republican conspiracy to suppress Democratic voter registration through outright election fraud.

That is, to be clear, a theory -- we don't know all the facts yet.  But the reason we have law enforcement officials is to investigate suspicious incidents and prosecute the guilty.  And this brings us to the top legal authority in the state, Attorney General Cuccinelli.

Where is he?  For a couple years now, Republican officials have been wailing about what a problem voter and election fraud are and how we need to act against these threats.  Yet faced with evidence of genuine election fraud happening -- in his very own state -- Cuccinelli is silent.  

kindler :: Will Votergate Come Back to Haunt Cuccinelli?
We know that he has political incentives to stay silent if he so chooses -- because it is less than three weeks away from a major election and why would he want to rock the boat for his party in that time?  But being Attorney General is about much more than party politics.  It's supposed to be about upholding the law and investigating potential violations of it, wherever they may lead.

While there is lots of room for partisanship on the issues where we may disagree, upholding the law is supposed to be one of those areas where politics must not interfere.  Justice is the blindfolded lady holding the scales.  She doesn't wear the button of either party on her gown.

If Cuccinelli continues to ignore calls to investigate this potential scandal in his own back yard, this could well turn into the Achilles' heel that cripples him in his race for governor next year.  He would not be able to portray himself as a fighter for freedom or justice or any other of the great principles he claims to follow if he is revealed to be just another partisan hack suppressing criminal investigations to help his party.  This is a line of attack that would resonate not just with Democrats but with independents and even with principled Republicans.  

While I doubt that he cares about any of these principles, I have no doubt that AG Cuccinelli cares very deeply about preserving his own hide.  But Votergate, if it mushrooms, could well be the anchor that brings down his whole career.  

As Senator McEachin and others have stated,  Cuccinelli as AG has a responsibility today to get to the bottom of this situation and find out if there is anything deeper going on there.  He will be judged by his actions, one way or another.

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I don't think the AG can actually do anything until a SBE or a locality asks (0.00 / 0)
If you want Cuccinelli to get involved, it looks like the State Board of Elections, a member of the Harrisonburg or Rockingham electoral board (I'm unsure which locality exactly is involved), or the Harrisonburg/Rockingham commonwealth's attorney must request his involvement first.

"When the State Board is of the opinion that the public interest will be served, it may request the Attorney General, or other attorney designated by the Governor for the purpose, to assist the attorney for the Commonwealth of any jurisdiction in which election laws have been violated. The Attorney General, or the other attorney designated by the Governor, shall have full authority to do whatever is necessary or appropriate to enforce the election laws or prosecute violations thereof... The attorney for the Commonwealth or a member of the electoral board of any county or city may make a request, in writing, that the Attorney General appoint a committee to make an immediate investigation of the election practices in that city or county, accompanied by a statement under oath that substantial violations of this title have allegedly occurred which may alter or have altered the outcome of an election..."

Va. Code Ann. sec. 24.2-104

I expect to SBE to do just that... (0.00 / 0)
... but after the election. Face it, they're quite busy for the next few weeks and any investigation would take a lot of time. This investigation will be better served after the election results are certified. There's just not enough time to get this resolved before the election.

That being said, I'm glad that you brought some facts into this to help kill a conspiracy rant.

[ Parent ]
Wrong (4.00 / 1)

This scandal needs to be addressed in as comprehensive a way possible before election day to prevent the criminals from getting away with the crime.

[ Parent ]
Well, then... (4.00 / 1)
I guess the best time to commit fraud is right before the election when the Board of Elections is busy.  

More considerate criminals will commit their fraud well in advance of the election to give the Board lots of time to conduct an investigation.  

For a Sustainable Virginia. Now on Twitter.

[ Parent ]
Let's be real. (0.00 / 0)
Common-sense things like seeking out the registrants who ended up in the dumpster can be accomplished now.

Working on the "Who knew what and when did they know it?" aspect could never be completed before the election.  

[ Parent ]
But now do we want a political actor to have this authority? (0.00 / 0)
Virginia AG wants power to probe election issues

Do you trust Cuccinelli to investigate elections issues in a non-partisan manner more than SBE? What if he becomes another True the Vote/Hans von Spakovsky but with actual legal authority?

[ Parent ]
The law (0.00 / 0)
Does it matter if someone has broken a law, in this case something to do with voter registration before the AG acts? If a law is broken why would the AG not be involved especially since these repug crooks were working in several Va locations. Looks like voter registration is no more important than someone stealing your dog.
Doubt if the republican sheriff who has had his picture taken with all the repug bigwigs will do much investigating.

VA AG (4.00 / 1)
The VA AG is not a really criminal law enforcement official. He mostly just does civil suits and gives interpretations of the law sometimes. The position is nothing like the US AG.

[ Parent ]
Though (0.00 / 0)

the Va AG does handle all criminal appeals in the Commonwealth and is empowered to conduct criminal investigations in certain circumstances.

I don't have a copy of the Code handy.  Anybody with relevant knowledge know if Cuccinelli could 'self-start' an investigation on these facts?

Also, any election lawyers know if an U.S. Attorney or the Justice Department could begin an investigation under the Voting Rights Act?

[ Parent ]
Curiouser and Curiouser (0.00 / 0)

Per this report from the CBS affiliate in Richmond, the Henrico Registrar discloses that Strategic Allied Consulting employees were engaging in improper voter registration activities at Henrico libraries.

Also, RPV asserts in FEC filings that Strategic Allied Consulting is located at an address in Glen Allen, Virginia.  The firm located at the address said it had no knowledge of Strategic.

I'm not a litigator; but it would seem to me that the persons whose registration forms were trashed would have a legitimate civil claim against Strategic, Pinpoint and, perhaps, the RPV.  If the number of persons begins to exceed those already identified in Rockingham County, a class action suit could probably be filed.

Remind me again... (4.00 / 1)
...what authority did Cuccinelli have to attempt to subpoena Professor Michael Mann for some sort of alleged crimes based on wacko climate denial conspiracies?

Oh, yeah -- the VA Supreme Court found that he had NONE.  That didn't exactly stop him from wasting two years and countless tax dollars trying, did it?  

For a Sustainable Virginia. Now on Twitter.

Millions spent mailing out new voter cards to stop "voter fraud" (4.00 / 1)
but when the real thing shows up, the response from the Gop: "crickets"!

Tim Kaine nails it (0.00 / 0)
"The State Board of Elections should take it seriously," Kaine said. "Why wouldn't the State Board of Elections have an investigation? How would they know [if it's an isolated incident]? I hope it's investigated and I hope it's an isolated incident."

(Source: today's Washington Post article)

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"Isolated incident?" (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
Keep posting the pic with cooch and smalls in the (0.00 / 0)
Same room at the Harrison burg office!  Make it go viral

There's more -- much more -- to this story (0.00 / 0)
Here's a copy of the diary I posted this morning.

In continuing fallout from the Harrisonburg voter registration incident, Brad Blog has turned up something that should surprise no one:  Karl Rove, Nathan Sproul, and Ed Gillispie are joined at the hip -- along with Virginia State Senator Jill Holtzman Vogel.

As sharp-eyed BRAD BLOG commenter "Citizen92" noticed in those newly released documents, the "Key takeaway from this is that Strategic Allied Consulting has a business address of 45 North Hill Drive, Suite 100, Warrenton, VA."
"Who else has a business address at 45 North Hill Drive?," Citizen92 asked rhetorically, "American Crossroads, Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie's 527 group."

Indeed our good Citizen92 is correct, according to the IRS 527 filing for American Crossroads [PDF], the mailing address for Rove's outfit is also 45 North Hill Drive, Suite 100, in Warrenton, VA.

The address belongs to HoltzmanVogelJosefiak PLLC, a top RNC law firm headed up by Jill Holtzman Vogel who also now serves as a Virginia State Senator from the 27th District.

Read the whole article here:

And check out this one also:

VA State Senator Jill Holtzman Vogel -- in addition to being up to her neck in election fraud -- isn't she the one who introduced the transvaginal ultrasound bill in the State Senate?

DNC weighs in on Votergate (0.00 / 0)
Statement from Debbie Wasserman-Schultz

For a Sustainable Virginia. Now on Twitter.

For readers' convenience, here's the statement (0.00 / 0)
"Despite their public renunciation of Strategic Allied Consulting, the Republican National Committee did not actually break ties with this sketchy firm. The RNC's continued ties to this company, despite revelations of its lengthy history of being accused of voter registration fraud and whose activities on behalf of the RNC in my home state of Florida this cycle are the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation, show a complete lack of willingness to protect the fundamental right to vote.

"The RNC's decision to continue to employ a consulting firm with a well-known history of registration fraud and other election-related irregularities is unconscionable, and it is a clear breach of public trust.

"Unfortunately, this is nothing new. Firms led by Sproul have long been associated with allegations of election fraud - including destroying Democratic voter registrations as far back as 2004. Yet RNC Chairman Reince Priebus continues to hire Sproul, showing his disdain for an honest electoral process.

"These allegations undermine our free and open elections. It's clear that Republicans cannot be trusted with voter registrations at any point in the process. The Democratic Party will call out these deceptive practices at every turn and continue to ensure elections are accessible and secure."

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