by Tom Fitton –
In the wake of proposals to change voting laws and practices due to COVID-19, we and Election Integrity Project California are calling on lawmakers and election officials to renew their commitment to another important voting rights issue: the urgent need to clean up voter registration rolls as required by the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA).
For more than two decades, we have been known for our aggressive, leading edge use of public records laws and lawsuits, as well as taxpayer and civil rights protection litigation to fight for clean elections. In 2012, we launched a nationwide effort to promote election integrity and protect voting rights. As part of this effort, we have assembled a team of highly experienced voting rights attorneys who have fought gerrymandering in Maryland, stopped discriminatory elections in Hawaii, and cleaned up voter rolls in Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky, among other achievements. In April 2020, our voting rights team filed lawsuits in North Carolina and Pennsylvania to compel the cleanup of voter rolls in five counties in those states.
Since 2010, Election Integrity Project California has worked to enable citizens to become active participants in the entire election process. Its Data Analysis Group™ uses proprietary analysis techniques to research the accuracy of the voter rolls and report to officials duplicated, deceased and other ineligible registrations. This helps ensure compliance with federal and state list maintenance laws. Its Election Procedures Observations Program™ has resulted in providing documentation of the chaos in the election process due, in part, to bloated voter rolls. Based in Santa Clarita, California, Election Integrity Project California has recently expanded its efforts to include Arizona, Nevada and Arkansas.
We joined forces with Election Integrity Project California in 2017 to challenge the failure of election officials in Los Angeles and Sacramento to clean up Los Angeles County’s voter rolls. A 2019 settlement of that lawsuit caused changes in California’s statewide voter maintenance procedures and has the potential to result in the removal of some 1.5 million inactive registrations from Los Angeles County’s voter rolls.
In this election year, the two organizations jointly call upon all nonpartisan organizations interested in promoting genuinely fair and honest elections to coordinate their efforts across the election process.
Confidence in voter rolls is a civil rights issue. If voters don’t have confidence that voter rolls are updated regularly, it undermines the integrity of our elections.
Bob Popper, who leads our voter roll cleanup efforts, explained: “We look for counties that aren’t taking steps mandated by federal law or have more registered voters than citizens over the age of 18 who could lawfully register to vote. These are red flags and indicate that election officials may not be complying with their voter list maintenance obligations. We then request records from state and county election officials to see what efforts they are making to clean up their voter rolls. After analyzing the records, we work with officials in state and counties that fall short to educate them about their obligations and to encourage them to comply with the law.”
Linda Paine, President of Election Integrity Project California, said that, “As co-plaintiffs in the 2017 lawsuit, our organization’s evidence was instrumental in getting Los Angeles County to agree to update its voter rolls. Since then, our Election Integrity Project® identified significant structural flaws in California’s VoteCal voter database. Our Election Integrity Project® alerted the California Secretary of State to those flaws, and pointed out multiple incidents of double voting by mail in the March 3, 2020 primary, which he confirmed was double voting by duplicated registrants who had each received two mail ballots.”
Paine added, “Our Election Integrity Project® recently served notice on the California Secretary of State for violations of the National Voter Registration Act, after identifying hundreds of thousands of registration irregularities. Our work has exposed the urgent need to clean the voter lists, especially with potential all-mail elections on the horizon.”
Election Integrity Project California is a non-partisan, non-profit, tax-exempt, public benefit corporation and is a public charity under Internal Revenue Code section 50l(c)(3). Its motto is “Every Lawfully Cast Vote Accurately Counted®.” For more information about working with the Election Integrity Project® in California, Arizona, Arkansas and Nevada, visit its website at www.eip-ca.com or contact Linda Paine at (661) 313-5251.
Antifa Militant Who Praises Cop
Killers Gets Cash Settlement
It seems as though some politicians have decided that if they can’t control rioters, they can just throw money their way. Our Corruption Chronicles blog has one such story:
A renowned Antifa militant who publicly celebrates attacks on law enforcement is getting a cash settlement from a big U.S. city after claiming in a federal lawsuit that his civil rights were violated during a violent protest with his fellow extremists. The incident occurred in August 2018 when hundreds of radical leftists, including masked Antifa militants, confronted police and conservatives in downtown Portland, Oregon. Rowdy demonstrators used pepper spray against police and threw fireworks, bottles, rocks and ball bearings, according to a local news report. Videos of police in riot gear are embedded in the story, which says that protestors were armed with knives, traded blows and drew blood.
Among the rioters was a 31-year-old Antifa leader named James Mathew Mattox who praises cop killers on social media. Mattox was dressed in black bloc and a mask during the event and carried a shield with an anarchist symbol. Mattox provoked officers when they tried to disperse rioters by flipping them off, waving his shield and arms in the air and yelling profanities. When an officer shot a rubber bullet, Mattox taunted him for missing his left thigh before a second rubber bullet hit him in the right arm. This caused a “large gash,” according to his federal court complaint that includes other Portland-area Antifa rioters as plaintiffs. Mattox and his radical pals allege their civil rights were violated and he claims he suffered sharp pain, insomnia and limitations in functioning and movement for weeks. He was unable to return to work for over a week due to the seriousness of his injuries, according to the lawsuit. “In addition to the financial costs of having his injuries treated and missing work, Mr. Mattox suffered from the physical and emotional pain of having been subjected to extreme police violence,” the complaint states. “Mr. Mattox experienced depression and the lasting effects of trauma from extreme police violence.”
This month the Portland City Council agreed to pay Mattox $23,000 to settle the case while a conservative journalist uncovered disturbing social media posts written by the Antifa activist. Using the alias of a prominent Communist Party member (Jack Johnstone), Mattox’s social media outbursts express support for terrorist attacks on law enforcement. He specifically names three renowned cop killers— Christopher Jordan Dornere, Micah Xavier Johnson and Gavin Eugene Long—as his “personal heroes.” In 2013 Dorner killed four police officers and injured three in southern California. Johnson, a member of the New Black Panther Party, killed five Dallas cops at a Black Lives Matter protest in 2016. That same year, Long, a black separatist, killed three police officers and shot three others in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Nevertheless, in his lawsuit against the city of Portland and its police department Mattox asserts that he “posed no threat of violence,” despite his documented history of glorifying it against law enforcement officers. It is also worth mentioning that various news reports have confirmed Mattox has been arrested several times during violent Antifa protests in Portland. Now taxpayers in the city of about 655,000 are being forced to give him money because elected officials will not stand up to him.
Antifa protests are notoriously violent and can cause lots of damage in the cities targeted by the movement. During President Donald Trump’s inauguration in 2017, Antifa militants broke store windows, set a limousine on fire and caused thousands of dollars in damage to businesses in downtown Washington D.C. Hundreds were charged with felony rioting. Counterterrorism experts at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are increasingly concerned about violence perpetrated by Antifa supporters at public rallies where they confront their ideological opponents, the Congressional Research Service writes in a 2018 report. In Congressional testimony a few years ago, FBI Director Christopher Wray revealed that the agency was pursuing a number of anarchist extremist investigations in which the subjects are motivated to commit violent criminal activity based on Antifa ideology.
Judicial Watch has successfully gone after one of the movement’s most popular figures, a national organizer for a radical leftist group called By Any Means Necessary (BAMN) which was founded by the Marxist Revolutionary Workers League and uses raucous militant tactics to disrupt conservative speaking engagements. Among its prominent figures is a California public school teacher, Yvette Felarca, well known for her violent Antifa activism. In 2016 the educator and two of her radical pals were arrested and charged with several crimes, including felony assault, for inciting a riot in Sacramento.
Felarca was captured on video calling a man a Nazi and punching him in the stomach repeatedly while shouting obscenities at him. More than a dozen people were injured in the riot, at least 10 with stab wounds, and the capitol grounds suffered thousands of dollars in property damage. In 2017 Judicial Watch filed a California Public Records Act request seeking records about Felarca’s Antifa activism and its effect on the Berkeley Unified School District that employs her. She sued to stop the school district from furnishing the records and a federal judge determined that it was an entirely frivolous lawsuit and ordered her to pay Judicial Watch’s legal fees.
How does rewarding criminals make us any safer?
DHS Risks Safety and Security by
Letting ‘At-Risk’ Air Cargo Enter U.S.
We’ve reported previously on the failures of the Department of Homeland Security, the creation of which was a controversial shuffling of the bureaucratic deck after 9/11, and now we’ve got more evidence that this mammoth agency stumbles on its own feet. Our Corruption Chronicles blog reveals:
When al Qaeda militants deployed bombs on U.S.-bound planes, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) responded by launching a program called Air Cargo Advance Screening (ACAS) to prevent similar aviation security threats. That was a decade ago and, as is typical with many government programs, it fails miserably to accomplish its mission years after being implemented. “As a result, air carriers will continue transporting high-risk air cargo into the United States, putting public safety and national security at risk,” according to a report made public this month by the DHS Inspector General, which states the obvious in the document: “Air cargo shipments pose significant threats to national security.” DHS identifies high-risk cargo as shipment that could pose a risk to the aircraft during flight, such as unauthorized weapons, explosives, chemical and biological weapons, weapons of mass destruction or other destructive substances or items.
The 2010 foiled Al Qaeda plot sent Homeland Security officials scrambling to secure air cargo, especially since high-ranking officials openly admitted that the agency failed to meet federal standards by not screening cargo on hundreds of thousands of planes that fly over the U.S. annually. At the time, a mainstream newspaper reported that between 2,000 and 3,000 foreign flights that used American airspace to reach their destination each week were not scrutinized. Terrorists capitalized on the lapse with a sophisticated scheme to send bombs on a U.S.-bound cargo planes in October 2010. The elaborate bombs contained particularly lethal explosives, known as pentaerythritol tetranitrate, or PETN, that can be easily concealed or disguised. They were stuffed in the toner cartridge and casing of computer printers and linked to an electrical circuit with a mobile phone that served as a detonator. Adding insult to injury, some of the perpetrators were terrorists jailed at the military prison in Guantanamo and released to attend a bogus Saudi Arabian “rehabilitation” program for jihadists.
The 2010 plot exposed gaping security vulnerabilities because the explosives flew aboard several international flights before being discovered. al Qaeda “intended for the devices to explode in mid-air over the continental United States causing catastrophic damage to the aircraft, passengers, and property on the ground,” the DHS watchdog writes in its report. DHS quickly responded with a joint effort by two of its agencies, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to help identify high-risk cargo before departing from a foreign location. Years later it became federally mandated with a Federal Register announcement explaining that ACAS will enhance the security of the aircraft and passengers on U.S.-bound flights by enabling CBP to perform targeted risk assessments on the air cargo prior to the aircraft’s departure for the United States. “These risk assessments will identify and prevent high-risk air cargo from being loaded on the aircraft that could pose a risk to the aircraft during flight,” according to the announcement. In the document the government expressed urgency, revealing that “DHS has received specific, classified intelligence that certain terrorist organizations seek to exploit vulnerabilities in international air cargo to cause damage to infrastructure, injury, or loss of life in the United States or onboard aircraft.”
Incredibly, the security initiative is not being correctly implemented by the federal agencies in charge. Investigators found that CBP does not always prevent air carriers from transporting hazardous air cargo from foreign airports into the U.S. because the agency fails to properly resolve all ACAS referrals for shipments deemed high risk. In 45% of randomly sampled referrals taken in a year, CBP and TSA failed to ensure air carriers resolved referrals and the dangerous cargo traveled anyways. Under ACAS the screening process is supposed to be complex and must be completed in a specific order and timeframe by various entities throughout the air cargo supply chain, the watchdog report reveals. Instead, weaknesses were identified in various areas, including the program’s compliance procedures. This results in air carriers failing to provide CBP flight departure information necessary to enforce ACAS compliance. “Air carriers continue to be noncompliant with program requirements,” the report states, adding that “compliance rates have worsened” since ACAS became a federally mandated program. In some instances, air carriers blow CBP off all together. In one case, investigators found an air carrier flagged for transporting dangerous materials did not respond to CBP security inquiries until nine days after the flight departed.
“Neither CBP nor TSA developed adequate policies and procedures to ensure air carriers timely and appropriately resolved referrals prior to transporting high-risk cargo,” the DHS IG found. “Specifically, we determined CBP’s existing procedures do not prevent air carriers from transporting high-risk cargo to the United States prior to resolving referrals.” The probe also determined that TSA’s security programs do not require air carriers to provide information about how they screened cargo. “As a result, the ACAS Program cannot meet its overall purpose of preventing high-risk air cargo from departing foreign locations en route to the United States,” the report says.
Keeping our nation safe is the first order of business of our federal government.