Friday, June 27, 2014

Mississippi: Racebaiting opposition traced back to Barbour family; legal challenge and special election could be in the running for McDaniel! (UPDATE)

"Mitch McConnell, John McCain, Karl Rove, Thad Cochran, Haley Barbour, the NRSC, et al, must answer for this. To say they were not involved in blatantly racist behavior is not good enough. They've yet to condemn this activity let alone demand that those behind it be exposed." ~ Mark Levin
Earlier today, we learned that the Cochran-Barbour plot had thickened, via NRO.
Meet what appears to be one of the keys to Thad Cochran’s black-turnout operation, Mitzi Bickers.

She is, from all appearances, something of a renaissance woman: She is not only the pastor of Atlanta’s Emmanuel Baptist Church but also a former president of the Atlanta school board, a former construction-company executive, and a Democratic staffer and political strategist with a checkered past. Last year, she left her job as a senior adviser to Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed after news surfaced that she had filed a fraudulent financial-disclosure statement.

In a bizarre turn of events, it seems that Bickers was in the middle of a bitterly contested Republican Senate primary. Two Atlanta-based entities affiliated with Bickers, The Bickers Group and the Pirouette Company, were paid thousands of dollars to make robo-calls on Senator Cochran’s behalf by a super PAC that backed Cochran in his bid for reelection. Documents filed with the Federal Election Commission show that Mississippi Conservatives, the political-action committee run by former Mississippi governor Haley Barbour’s nephew Henry, paid the groups a total of $44,000 for get-out-the-vote “phone services.”
This afternoon, the UK's Daily Mail BUSTED this flat out RACIST corruption wide open! Yep, we have to hop all the way across the pond to learn of how the GOP establishment is acting like the old DIXIECRATS!

A series of three racially charged radio ads that ran in rural Mississippi on Election Day played a role in driving black Democrats to vote in a Republican primary run-off election. MailOnline has exclusively obtained audio of the ads.

They were broadcast 48 times in a 12-hour period Tuesday on WMGO-AM radio in the town of Canton, and urged black Mississippians to cross party lines and support GOP Sen. Thad Cochran in his smash-mouth contest against tea party insurgent Chris McDaniel.

Each carried a required acknowledgement stating that it was 'paid for by Citizens for Progress.' Clerks at the office of Mississippi's secretary of state told MailOnline that no such group is registered there as a political committee.

The Federal Election Commission also lacks any registration from a group with that name.
Pretty sure that's a federal and state offense!
Politics in America's Deep South is historically a full-contact sport replete with its own tradition of dirty tricks, but the radio ads indicate a level of race-baiting that is rarely seen in twenty-first century U.S. politics.

They claimed that supporters of conservative McDaniel had connections to the Ku Klux Klan and that McDaniel had a 'racist agenda.' They also warned that black Democrats 'could lose food stamps, housing assistance, student loans, early breakfast and lunch programs and disaster assistance' if he were to become the Republican U.S. Senate nominee.

'Vote against the tea party. Vote Thad Cochran,' one ad said. 'If the tea party, with their racist ideas, win, we will be sent back to the '50s and '60s.'

MailOnline has learned that 'Citizens for Progress' is tied to a longtime Democratic political operative who was paid $44,000 to run racially explosive 'robocalls' in the same race. A political action committee founded by former Republican National Committee chair and former Republican Gov. Haley Barbour made those payments.

The calls were placed in predominantly black and Democratic regions of the state during the final days before Tuesday's runoff, according to a political operative in Mississippi.

Mitzi Bickers, an Atlanta pastor and former president of the Atlanta school board, used the same nonexistent group name – 'Citizens for Progress' – in a 2013 campaign for a local sales tax proposal.

After it was reported that Bickers filed a fraudulent financial disclosure report related to the campaign, she resigned her post as a senior adviser to Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed. The political 'super PAC' that paid her to run the robocalls is called Mississippi Conservatives, according to National Review.

Haley Barbour, the former governor, founded the PAC, which is now run by Henry Barbour, his nephew.

Henry Barbour denied any knowledge of the three radio ads, but acknowledged to MailOnline that his organization had paid Bickers for the phone call campaign.

'We hired Mitzi Bickers to do paid phones,' he said Friday via email. 'If she had something to do with radio ads, I am unaware of it and was not involved with radio ads in Canton.'

'It's time to take a stand and say no to the tea party, the call's script read. 'No to their obstruction, no to their disrespectful treatment of the first African-American president.'

Bickers did not respond to repeated phone calls seeking comment.

One of the radio ads was first surfaced online by opposition researcher Charles C. Johnson, a McDaniel supporter and tea party advocate whose Twitter feed is a one-stop shop for conservatives who claim widespread voter fraud delivered Cochran a victory from the jaws of defeat.

Johnson also first obtained a recording of the robocalls, which used some of the same language as the radio ads – including the claim that Chris McDaniel would cut funding for federal programs favored by Democrats in predominantly black regions of Mississippi.

About 61,000 more people voted in the run-off than in the original primary contest, marking the first time in 30 years that a rematch created more interest than the contest it followed. Most of that increase was seen in pockets of the deep-red state that are dominated by heavily black Democratic constituencies.

The groundswell of voter participation was largely due to a get-out-the-vote strategy that saw tens of thousands of registered Democrats crossing party lines to cast ballots for the Republican Cochran – mostly in protest votes aimed at knocking his tea party opponent out of the race.

The tactic is legal in Mississippi, as long as those protest voters didn't already cast ballots in the Democratic primary three weeks earlier.
'As those protest voters didn't already cast ballots in the Democratic primary three weeks earlier,' is key! And as the McDaniel campaign seeks this information, they're getting the run around from country clerks who are trying to keep them from checking the voter rolls (obviously Cochran supporters!)...
GWP: The Chris McDaniel campaign identified multiple Mississippi counties in which enough improper ballots were cast that a legal challenge to the outcome of the election is warranted.

This comes after 25,000-35,000 Democrat votes helped push Thad Cochran to victory over Chris McDaniel (by 6,880 votes) in the June 24 runoff.

The McDaniel campaign has already found 1,000 examples in one county of Democrats who voted in the June 3rd primary as Democrats and then crossed over into the Republican primary this week. This is illegal and their votes should not be counted.

Lindsay Krout, a volunteer working in Mississippi, was barred from reviewing voter rolls in Lafayette County Mississippi Friday morning.

Lindsay said when she went to the Lafayette County courthouse this morning and was forced to wait for an hour. Then the county clerk told her the Secretary of State’s office said the county had to redact the Social Security number and addresses from the voter rolls. The clerk said it will take until Wednesday to redact the information. And, the county will charge McDaniel supporters for the extra work.

Mississippi law states that the clerk must allow public viewing of the election documentation:

Lindsay said McDaniel supporters in Lowndes County and Lauderdale County faced similar pushback from the local officials. The clerks also said they would have to schedule the time so county officials could be present.
Multiple updates to this article have added Stone, Marshall, Quitman, Coahoma (the county I was born in, typical), Forrest and Smith counties to the list. 

Related link: MS State Officials Breaking the Law by Denying McDaniel Campaign Access to Voter Rolls

Back to the Daily Mail piece (oh, yeah, there's more)...

Remember that nasty race-baiting flyer that came out?
James 'Scooby Doo' Warren, a longtime Democratic political operative, told the Jackson, Mississippi Clarion-Ledger on June 17 that he was directing a 'get-out-the-vote' plan that included the robocalls.

He was working, Warren said, with Mississippi Conservatives, the same Haley Barbour-related PAC that funded Mitzi Bickers to produce the racially explosive robocalls. It's not clear whether he was involved with the radio ads.

Warren also said he was working closely with Bishop Ronnie Crudup Sr., a clergyman whose church created a separate political action committee called 'All Citizens for Mississippi.'

That group paid to produce and distribute pro-Cochran fliers in African-American neighborhoods, including one that claimed 'the tea party intends to prevent you from voting.'

A full-page ad the group ran in a black community newspaper in Mississippi stated that 'we're asking Democrats to cross over and vote in the Republican primary.

The New York Times reported that All Citizens for Mississippi didn't legally exist when that ad was run, but only filed its first report with the Federal Election Commission later.

McDaniel's campaign hasn't conceded Tuesday's election, and political observers expect him to officially challenge the results on Friday or Monday.

His supporters have flooded across the state to pore over polling-place records, identifying Cochran voters who double-dipped by casting ballots for a Democrat on June 3 and for Cochran on June 24.

Facebook pages and Twitter feeds serving as informal clearinghouses for angry tea partiers now feature claims that between 5,000 and 15,000 such voters were identified in the first 48 hours after the polls closed Tuesday evening.

If true, the result could be thrown out and a special election called in July – the third contest pitting the two Republicans against each other in barely a month.
And that's precisely what needs to happen, while simultaneously holding the GOP establishment and its operatives accountable for these despicable racebaiting tactics. #RememberMississippi!

H/t: TRS & ML

Related links: After winning MS Republican vote, McDaniel vows, 'We haven't conceded, we're going to investigate' (LEVIN ADDENDUM)
PROOF of Cochran Fraud for McDaniel's challenge...either a new election or run as a write-in (UPDATE)
McDaniel's non-concession speech: "Before this race ends, we have to be absolutely certain that the Republican Primary was won by Republican voters!"
New Low: Cochran racebaits black Democratic voters to steal Republican runoff in Mississippi (UPDATE: STOLEN!)

UPDATE: In just a matter of days, it already looks like the effort to find invalid votes and other corruption, atop the Barbour's involvement, has cast a shadow of doubt over last Tuesday's runoff...enough so to begin making the case for throwing out the bogus results and holding a special election!
TheDC: Volunteers working for tea party challenger Chris McDaniel in Mississippi say they have already found 20 percent of the invalid double-votes they need to cancel Sen. Thad Cochran’s business-funded runoff victory.

“We’re finished with Hinds County, and we’re up to 1,500” invalid votes, said Noel Fritsch, Daniel’s press aide.

That’s critical because McDaniel can force another runoff if he can find more invalid votes than Cochran’s roughly 7,000-vote margin-of-victory on June 24. Votes are invalidated if voters cast ballots in both the Democrats’ June 3 primary and the GOP’s run-off on June 24.

However, McDaniel can also force another election even if he can’t find 7,000 invalid ballots, said Fritsch.

“We don’t have to prove that we have 7,000 [invalid] votes…. all there needs to be is enough doubt about the election, and we’re confident about that,” he said.

That “cancel by doubt” strategy gives the McDaniel campaign an incentive to collect evidence about possible vote-buying and other potentially unethical behavior by Cochran’s campaign. ...

Roughly 84,000 voters cast ballots in the Democratic primary. To find 7,000 invalid votes, more than 8.5 percent of the 84,000 people who cast votes in the Democratic Primary would also have to have cast votes in the GOP runoff.

However, 19,000 absentee voters cast ballots in the GOP run-off, and many of those votes may be improper, say McDaniel’s allies.

“We haven’t gotten into them yet, but we’re confident that is where a lot of their effort was concentrated, and that’s where we’ll find a lot more ineligible votes,” Fritsch said.

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