Category Archives: Election Integrity

Texas racial gerrymandering, Wisconsin partisan gerrymandering headed to SCOTUS

Slate has a good summary of the decision of the federal district court for Texas on Thursday that, once again, struck down the district lines drawn by the Texas legislature for intentional racial discrimination. Federal Court: Texas Intentionally Gerrymandered Its Districts to Dilute Minority Votes:

On Thursday, a three-judge federal court ruled that Texas intentionally discriminated against minority voters in drawing its state House district map in 2011. The decision follows a similar ruling by the same court in March holding that Texas also drew its federal congressional districts in an effort to dilute minority votes. Thursday’s ruling marks the third time in recent weeks that the federal judiciary has found Texas to have intentionally burdened its Hispanic voters.

The majority attached a 151-page findings of fact to its already lengthy opinion, reflecting careful analysis of Texas’ gerrymander that will be difficult for the Supreme Court to ignore on appeal. In short, the court found that Texas legislators drew multiple House districts that diluted Hispanics’ votes, a violation of both the Voting Rights Act and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. The court also found that the legislature had engaged in race-based gerrymandering, which similarly runs afoul of equal protection and the VRA. Finally, the court concluded that the House map violated the one person, one vote principle by creating districts within unequal populations, another Equal Protection infringement.

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American Bridge 21st Century radio ad against Rep. Martha McSally

The Democratic Super-PAC American Bridge 21st Century has released radio ads against three vulnerable Republican members of Congress, focusing on Donald Trump’s dangerous ties to Russia. American Bridge Releases Radio Ads on Trump’s Dangerous Ties to Russia:

The 60-second spots will run for the next seven days against Rep. Martha McSally (AZ-02), Rep. John Katko (NY-24), and Rep. Will Hurd (TX-23).

Here is a YouTube link to the radio ad airing against Rep. Martha McSally. Bridge Project | Martha McSally Radio Ad.

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With new revelations in the growing scandal surfacing weekly, the American people deserve the kind of answers that can only come from a truly independent investigation operating free of politics. That’s why Americans overwhelmingly support creating an independent commission to investigate Trump’s ties to Russia. But Republicans in Congress are standing in the way, instead putting their party ahead of the country.

Statement by American Bridge President Jessica Mackler:

“The country overwhelmingly wants an independent commission investigating the growing scandal surrounding Donald Trump’s ties to Russia and we’re going to hold Republicans accountable for standing in the way. Republicans who refuse to put country ahead of party are doing so at their own peril.”

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Latest in the Putin-Trump campaign investigation

There are several new reports on the Trump-Putin campaign investigation front.

The New York Times reports that Trump Adviser’s Visit to Moscow Got the F.B.I.’s Attention:

Ever since F.B.I. investigators discovered in 2013 that a Russian spy was trying to recruit an American businessman named Carter Page, the bureau maintained an occasional interest in Mr. Page. So when he became a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign last year and gave a Russia-friendly speech at a prestigious Moscow institute, it soon caught the bureau’s attention.

That trip last July was a catalyst for the F.B.I. investigation into connections between Russia and President Trump’s campaign, according to current and former law enforcement and intelligence officials.

It is unclear exactly what about Mr. Page’s visit drew the F.B.I.’s interest: meetings he had during his three days in Moscow, intercepted communications of Russian officials speaking about him, or something else.

After Mr. Page, 45 — a Navy veteran and businessman who had lived in Moscow for three years — stepped down from the Trump campaign in September, the F.B.I. obtained a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court allowing the authorities to monitor his communications on the suspicion that he was a Russian agent.

From the Russia trip of the once-obscure Mr. Page grew a wide-ranging investigation, now accompanied by two congressional inquiries, that has cast a shadow over the early months of the Trump administration.

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Latest on the Trump-Putin campaign investigation

The lesson from the Watergate scandal was “follow the money.” It’s always about the money.

The New York Times reported over the weekend that Representative Mike Quigley of Illinois, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, traveled to Cyprus last week with staff members as part of the committee’s investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. election. House’s Inquiry Into Russia Points a Congressman to Cyprus:

A Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee conducted interviews and collected documents in Cyprus this week as part of the panel’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the American election, and possible links between President Trump’s associates and Moscow.

Representative Mike Quigley of Illinois said Friday that Cyprus is the center of Russian money laundering, and that the panel “must follow the facts wherever they take us.”

Cyprus, considered a tax haven, has emerged as a focal point in criminal and congressional investigations of Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, who had bank accounts there. The F.B.I. is examining Mr. Manafort’s business dealings in Ukraine, and any links he has to the Russian government.

Mr. Quigley, who traveled to Nicosia, the island nation’s capital, with an intelligence committee staff member, said he would not discuss what he had learned.

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(Update) AZ Tea-Publican legislature aids and abets our corporate overlords in restricting your constitutional right to make laws

The Chamber of Commerce organizations got their lickspittle servants in our Tea-Publican controlled legislature and our “Koch-bot” governor to do their bidding in making it damn near impossible for citizens to exercise their constitutional right to make laws by citizens initiative. Buying a legislature and governor to do your bidding is the exclusive provence of our Plutocratic corporate overlords, and you will obey!

The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports, House passes two more bills tightening citizen-initiative laws:

Republican state lawmakers on Thursday agreed to impose two new sets of restrictions on initiatives that foes said in combination with already-approved measures will effectively deny the ability of voters to ever again propose their own laws.

SB 1236, approved by the House on a 35-23 party-line vote, would make the committee pushing a ballot measure financially responsible for any acts of fraud or forgery committed by anyone who is paid to gather signatures for the initiative. Those fines would be $1,000 for each violation.

That measure still needs final Senate approval.

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Latest in the Trump-Putin campaign investigation

Britain’s spy agencies played a crucial role in alerting their counterparts in Washington to contacts between members of Donald Trump’s campaign team and Russian intelligence operatives, Britain’s The Guardian reports. British spies were first to spot Trump team’s links with Russia:

GCHQ first became aware in late 2015 of suspicious “interactions” between figures connected to Trump and known or suspected Russian agents, a source close to UK intelligence said. This intelligence was passed to the US as part of a routine exchange of information.

Over the next six months, until summer 2016, a number of western agencies shared further information on contacts between Trump’s inner circle and Russians, sources said.

The European countries that passed on signals intelligence – known as SIGINT – included Germany, Estonia and Poland. Australia, a member of the “Five Eyes” spying alliance that also includes the US, UK, Canada and New Zealand, also relayed material, one source said.

Another source suggested the Dutch and the French spy agency, the General Directorate for External Security or DGSE, were contributors.

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