Category Archives: Election Integrity

LD 23 State House Candidate Eric Kurland sees 2018 as a Referendum on Public Education.

Educator and Democratic LD 23 State House Candidate Eric Kurland

Democrat Eric Kurland described his reasons and goals for seeking one of the LD 23 State House seats from orthodox conservatives John Kavanagh and Jay Lawrence.

Over breakfast at the Scottsdale restaurant Randy’s (very good food and service) at Chaparral and Hayden, he said he was motivated by his advocacy for children and the misdirection of our Dark-Money-serving Republican state leaders in promoting private school vouchers rather than fully funding public education, Kurland, an educator with the Scottsdale Unified School District, has launched a campaign, fueled by his army of education supporters, emphasizing education, campaign finance reform, and reforming the private prison system.

A legislative district that encompasses all or parts of Scottsdale, Fountain Hills, Paradise Valley, and Rio Verde, there has not been a Democratic representative from LD 23 in recent years. Eager to break that trend, Kurland will be running for one of two state house seats against incumbent State Representative Jay Lawrence and Senate Pro Tempore John Kavanagh.

Kurland feels that both Lawrence and Kavanagh are on the “opposite end” of what the people who elected them want, living in “an ivory tower who do not feel the pulse of what a community requires.” If elected, Kurland states, that unlike his opponents, “it will not be the last time they (the people) will hear from him.”

Continue reading

Arizona Democratic Legislative Campaign Sees a Blue Wave Sweeping the State House

Murphy Bannerman, ADLCC

Communications and Research Coordinator Murphy Bannerman and Executive Director Charlie Fisher of the Arizona Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (ADLCC) are both optimistic that Democrats will take over one or both of the State Houses in this November’s elections, based on four reasons:

  • There is a record number of 114 Democratic candidates (just over half of whom are women and 51 are people of color).
  • There is a groundswell of progressive enthusiasm after the election of Donald Trump.
  • The Red for Ed movements has galvanized educators and school employees to support Democratic candidates.
  • District snapshots, conducted by the ADLCC, that shows targeted districts that are “likely to flip from red to blue.”

The ADLCC, an arm of the Arizona state Democratic Party that coördinates with the county and local district offices, was designed to help recruit, throughout the year, Democratic Candidates to run for every Legislative District (LD) State Representative and State Senate seat. They are also tasked with providing training on how to run and budget a political campaign. Their only focus is on state legislative seats.

(They are not involved with statewide offices like Governor, Attorney General, or US Senator. They do not aid in National Congressional races either. They also are not involved in promoting ballot initiatives, leaving that to the candidates to endorse if they want.)

Continue reading

Dirty trickster Roger Stone concocts a new conspiracy theory for Dear Leader

The thing about conspiracy theorists is that when their conspiracy theory is debunked, they never concede “Sorry, my bad. I was wrong.” No, they just alter their conspiracy theory and keep it alive.

A few weeks ago Donald Trump and his GOPropagandists at FAUX News aka Trump TV, in particular Trump’s Minister of Propaganda Sean Hannity, were pushing the “Spygate” conspiracy theory, asserting than an FBI informant was embedded as a “spy” in the Trump campaign.

This manufactured conspiracy theory quickly fell apart when Rep. Trey Gowdy, himself the purveyor of the “Benghazi!” conspiracy theory, went on Trump TV and dismissed President Trump’s ridiculous claim that his campaign was spied on by the FBI in 2016. Trey Gowdy rejects Trump’s Spygate theory. “I am even more convinced that the FBI did exactly what my fellow citizens would want them to do when they got the information they got,” Gowdy told Trump TV.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said later that House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy was “accurate” when he argued the FBI has acted appropriately in its ongoing probe of potential Russian links to the Trump campaign. House Speaker Paul Ryan sides with Trey Gowdy over Trump on ‘Spygate’.

Continue reading

SCOTUS punts on two gerrymandering cases

The U.S. Supreme Court began the day with 19 argued cases yet to be decided. This included two of the most highly anticipated cases of this term involving political gerrymandering, Gil v. Whitford (Wisconsin) and Benisek v. Lamone (Maryland).

Today the U.S. Supreme Court disappointed everyone by punting on these two cases. It was an anticlimactic end to these gerrymandering cases, which are likely to return in the future with additional cases moving through the appellate courts pipeline.

In Gil v. Whitford (.pdf) Chief Justice Roberts held that “The plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate Article III standing.”

The right to vote is “individual and personal in nature,” Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U. S. 533, 561, and “voters who allege facts showing disad- vantage to themselves as individuals have standing to sue” to remedy that disadvantage, Baker, 369 U. S., at 206. The plaintiffs here al- leged that they suffered such injury from partisan gerrymandering, which works through the “cracking” and “packing” of voters. To the extent that the plaintiffs’ alleged harm is the dilution of their votes, that injury is district specific. An individual voter in Wisconsin is placed in a single district. He votes for a single representative. The boundaries of the district, and the composition of its voters, deter- mine whether and to what extent a particular voter is packed or cracked. A plaintiff who complains of gerrymandering, but who does not live in a gerrymandered district, “assert[s] only a generalized grievance against governmental conduct of which he or she does not approve.” United States v. Hays, 515 U. S. 737, 745.

Continue reading

Message to Trump: Paul Manafort sent to jail for witness tampering

Permanent musical accompaniment: I Fought The Law (And The Law Won), by the Bobby Fuller Four (1966).

The Special Counsel and U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson sent President Trump a clear message today: tamper with witnesses, and you will be going to jail; you can share a cell with your former campaign manager. Paul Manafort ordered to jail after witness-tampering charges:

A federal judge ordered Paul Manafort to jail Friday over charges he tampered with witnesses while out on bail — a major blow for President Trump’s former campaign chairman as he awaits trial on federal conspiracy and money-laundering charges next month.

“You have abused the trust placed in you six months ago,” U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson told Manafort. “The government motion will be granted, and the defendant will be detained.”

The judge said sending Manafort to a cell was “an extraordinarily difficult decision” but said his conduct — allegedly contacting witnesses in the case in an effort to get them to lie to investigators — left her little choice.

“This is not middle school. I can’t take away his cellphone,” she said. “If I tell him not to call 56 witnesses, will he call the 57th?” She said she should not have to draft a court order spelling out the entire criminal code for him to avoid violations.

“This hearing is not about politics. It is not about the conduct of the office of special counsel. It is about the defendant’s conduct,” Jackson said. “I’m concerned you seem to treat these proceedings as another marketing exercise.”

Continue reading

DOJ Inspector General finds fault, but no political bias in FBI investigations

The long-anticipated Department of Justice Inspector General Report, “A Review of Various Actions by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice in Advance of the 2016 Election,” was released today. DOJ OIG Press Release (.pdf), and Full Report (download).

The New York Times reports, Comey Cited as ‘Insubordinate,’ but Report Finds No Bias in F.B.I. Decision to Clear Clinton:

The former F.B.I. director James B. Comey was “insubordinate” in his handling of the investigation of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election, a critical Justice Department report concluded on Thursday.

But the report, by the department’s inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, does not challenge the decision not to prosecute Mrs. Clinton. Nor does it conclude that political bias at the F.B.I. influenced that decision, the officials said.

“We found no evidence that the conclusions by department prosecutors were affected by bias or other improper considerations,” the report said. “Rather, we concluded that they were based on the prosecutor’s assessment of facts, the law, and past department practice.”

The report has been highly anticipated in Washington, not least by President Trump, who has argued that a secret coterie of F.B.I. agents rigged the investigation to help Mrs. Clinton win the presidency. The findings cite no evidence to support that [conspiracy] theory.

Continue reading