Election Fraud, Political Corruption, and its Consequences

Like Scott S. Powell, I think this presidential election was marked by very obvious fraud.

Common sense, longstanding predictable voting behavior patterns in many specific jurisdictions, big data statistical pattern analysis and forensic analysis of Dominion Voting Systems machines and software, and polling place wrongdoings in the contested states don’t just reveal garden variety voting irregularities, but rather overwhelming massive voter and polling place fraud.

It’s not new, but the scope of it is breathtaking. The Heritage Foundation has compiled an election fraud database, sampling the many proven instances of election fraud, which you are welcome to review. I cannot dispute their conclusion:

Each and every one of the cases in this database represents an instance in which a public official, usually a prosecutor, thought it serious enough to act upon it. And each and every one ended in a finding that the individual had engaged in wrongdoing in connection with an election hoping to affect its outcome -- or that the results of an election were sufficiently in question and had to be overturned. It is important to remember that every fraudulent vote that is cast invalidates the vote of an eligible voter, effectively disenfranchising that voter. In addition to diluting the votes of legitimate voters, fraud can have an impact in close elections, and we have many close elections in this country. This database is not an exhaustive or comprehensive list. It does not capture all cases and certainly does not capture reported instances or allegations of election fraud, some of which may be meritorious, that are not investigated or prosecuted. Because of vulnerabilities in the system, election fraud is relatively easy to commit and difficult to detect after-the-fact. Moreover, some public officials appear to be unconcerned with election fraud and fail to pursue cases that are reported to them. It is a general truism that you don’t find what you don’t look for. This database is intended to demonstrate the vulnerabilities in the election system and the many ways in which fraud is committed. Preventing, deterring, and prosecuting election fraud is essential to protecting the integrity of our voting process. Reforms intended to ensure election integrity do not disenfranchise voters and, in fact, protect their right to vote. Winning elections leads to political power and the incentives to take advantage of security vulnerabilities are great, so it is important that we take reasonable steps to make it hard to cheat, while making it easy for legitimate voters to vote. Americans deserve to have an electoral process that they can trust and that protects their most sacred right, and they have the right to know when the integrity of that process is imperiled.

The challenges now are wending their way through various courts and state legislatures. There are too many for me to provide an up-to-the-minute summary, but shipwreckedcrew, a lawyer with 22 years of experience as a U.S. attorney, does an exceptional job explaining the difficulties of prosecuting post-election challenges. The short time frame and the fact that much of the evidence is in the hands of the defendants -- things like voter registration information  and signature samples. This is particularly true this year, he notes:

The time frame allowed for an election contest in state statutes NEVER considered the circumstances where hundreds of thousands of ballots were submitted by mail, the process for validating those ballots rested with local officials -- often partisan local offices -- and the witnesses who might offer pertinent and admissible first-hand testimony are almost all employed by the opposing party in the case.

Apart from expert forensic testimony, it’s rare that we get eyewitness evidence of obvious fraud, especially this year where in the disputed states various stratagems were employed (often under the excuse of  preventing transmission of COVID-19 to prevent observation or the mysterious midnight “shutdowns” in key states during which votes were tallied). 

This week there was a significant exception in Fulton County, Georgia where Ruby Freeman, her daughter Shaye Moss, and several other poll workers allegedly appear to have engaged in major ballot stuffing after removing the election observers. They did so on the basis of a phony claim that a water main break meant they were closing down the counting. Once the watchers were gone, they went to work and the spike in votes for Biden at that time seems to confirm the fraud claim. They were caught only because there was a camera system in the venue of which they were apparently unaware. Andrea Widburg has expertly covered the incident this week, and this blog sums it up (as well as Facebook’s absurd effort to hide it). 

If the facts prove our observations and inferences correct, I doubt that only this handful of poll workers was involved. The scam seems too intricate not to have involved more people at a higher level. 

Will the challenges end in court? Will some key state legislatures refuse to certify or challenge the certification in Congress? Will Congress vote against certifying some state electoral votes? Will some states sue the states in question in the Supreme Court, arguing their mishandling of the election diminished the legal votes of those in states that followed rational procedures designed to preclude election tampering? I’ve no idea. Certainly the Georgia videotapes put paid to any claim that the challenge there was fanciful and the forensic evidence unreliable.

Will there be criminal proceedings against those who are credibly found to have tampered with the balloting and counting? State attorneys general and district attorneys can and should punish fraudsters who defied state laws. Attorney General William Barr and U.S. attorneys can as well -- fraud in national elections is within their bailiwick, though if Biden is inaugurated, he will certainly replace Barr and many if not most of the U.S. attorneys who are unlikely to work hard to cast a shadow on a Biden win.

Will there ever be criminal proceedings against the FISA abusers who participated in the anti-Trump Russian collusion smear? To date Durham has successfully prosecuted only one person, Kevin Clinesmith, for fraudulently changing an email to support a FISA warrant. Clinesmith is due to be sentenced Thursday. Attorney General Barr made public this week that on October 19 he had upped John Durham’s status from U.S. attorney to special counsel. Naturally, those who saw no problem with then-U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s appointment to special counsel are arguing that this appointment is illegal because the regulation then and now says the appointment must be made from outside the department. (Then I thought the Fitzgerald appointment was unconstitutional but there’s now precedent that the bar is only by regulation, not statute, and well -- precedent works both ways. If Fitzgerald’s appointment was legal, so should Durham’s be.)

The appointment means that Durham can file a report at the conclusion of his work, “it complicates the nomination of Sally Yates, who is widely cited as a frontrunner for the position of Attorney General” as she has an obvious conflict

By appointing Durham as a Special Counsel, Barr contradicted news reports before the election that Durham was frustrated and found nothing of significance despite Barr’s pressure. Some of us expressed doubts over those reports since Durham asked for this investigation to be upgraded to a criminal matter, secured the criminal plea of former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith, and asked recently for over a thousand pages of classified intelligence material.

Under the Justice Department regulations, Barr had to find (and Durham apparently agreed) that there is need for additional criminal investigation and “[t]hat investigation or prosecution of that person or matter by a United States Attorney's Office or litigating Division of the Department of Justice would present a conflict of interest for the Department or other extraordinary circumstances.” He must also find the appointment in the public interest. [snip]

Durham is now authorized to investigate anyone who may have “violated the law in connection with the intelligence, counter-intelligence, or law-enforcement activities directed at the 2016 presidential campaigns, individuals associated with those campaigns, and individuals associated with the administration of President Donald J. Trump, including but not limited to Crossfire Hurricane and the investigation of Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller, III.” The list of the names of people falling within that mandate is a who’s who of Washington from Hillary Clinton to James Comey to... yes... Joe Biden.

Bizarrely, reports have claimed that Trump was irate at the move as a “smokescreen” to delay the release of the report. That ignores not just the legal but political significance of the action. From a political perspective, the move is so elegantly lethal that it would make Machiavelli green with envy. [snip] By converting Durham into a special counsel, Barr makes it harder to fire him. It is not uncommon for presidents to replace all U.S. Attorneys with political allies. Durham however is now a Special Counsel and his replacement or the termination of his investigation would be viewed as an obstructive act. Indeed, when Trump even suggested such a course of action, he was accused of obstruction by a host of Democratic politicians and legal experts.

Congress failed to pass a relief package though the vindictive and self-serving Speaker said that would be okay now since Trump (she foresees) will no longer be in the White House. That means people were made to suffer great financial loss at the hands of the very rich premium chocolate ice cream eater to satisfy her partisan pique. They did pass a bill to legalize pot before they left, though.

This is akin to San Francisco’s latest move, which makes it illegal to smoke cigarettes in your own apartment, though smoking pot is fine. I rather doubt San Francisco law enforcement, which no longer prosecutes shoplifting and public defecation, among other societal transgressions, will be swarming through apartment complexes sniffing for smoke. On the other hand, there’s a business opportunity for you suffering from shutdowns without federal relief: Invent pot scent and sell it to San Francisco’s smokers.

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