Showing posts sorted by date for query king street thugs. Sort by relevance Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by date for query king street thugs. Sort by relevance Show all posts

Thursday, October 09, 2014

King Street Thugs lose again

From the press release...

(Yesterday), the Texas Democratic Party prevailed in King Street Patriots v. Texas Democratic Party, when the Texas Court of Appeals for the Third District confirmed a lower court decision to uphold provisions of Texas campaign finance law. [Campaign Legal Center, 10/8/2014]

The Texas Democratic Party’s suit alleged that the King Street Patriots had made in-kind contributions to the Republican Party of Texas. These donations would have been a violation of the restrictions on corporate political contributions. They also failed to register as a “political committee” and comply with Texas Disclosure Law. In response, the King Street Patriots filed a counterclaim that challenged the constitutionality of parts of Texas’ campaign finance laws. [Houston Chronicle, 3/28/2012]

Update: Quorum Report had  more (including the "blast from the past" link to Hair Balls).

The controversial conservative group King Street Patriots on Wednesday lost its appeal to exempt itself from the Texas Election Code, paving the way for the group to file a writ before the Texas Supreme Court.

The Patriots were a serious source of contention during the 2010 elections in Houston, where they were accused of intimidating voters at the polls. The patriots, who called themselves poll watchers, were well known for their campaign called “True the Vote.”

The Texas Democratic Party sued the King Street Patriots, alleging it needed to register as a political action committee under the Texas Election Code. The King Street Patriots, which refused to participate in discovery, counter-sued the Texas Democratic Party and the party chairs in Harris and Dallas counties, saying they were an independent non-partisan non-profit group exempt from registration.

Even Alex Jones gets it: King Street Patriots/True the Vote is hamstrung -- by the terms of the lawsuit they settled with the Democratic Party two years ago -- from doing those things they do to intimidate voters and suppress voting.  Court-compelled designation as a PAC restricts their special brand of bullshit even further.  But that won't stop them, in fact will barely slow them down.

Some of you may have seen Campos' post (also here) about the surge in D mailed ballots.  Sidebar: it's a credit to Glen Maxey -- someone I have excoriated here in the recent past -- and county chairs like Lane Lewis (Harris) and Don Bankston (Fort Bend) to have executed what appears to be a very successful strategy to increase this level of turnout to nearly presidential-year levels.  It's got the Republicans running scared.  In particular, it's got Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart terrified.

There might be more about that I can blog later, but for now just know that James O'Keefe is in town, and he's looking for trouble.  We already knew that Harris County Republican elected officials and KSP/TTV and yes, the Texas attorney general have a long and corrupt history together.

Update: More on the overall increase in Texas voter registrations from MSNBC, which links to our very own Kuff for the numbers.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

HCRP civil war emperils Dan Patrick, and the real threat to GOP survival

Not surprised and not feeling bad for anybody.

Over the last couple weeks, it has become impossible to deny that a civil war has broken out in the largest county Republican Party in America – and the way this fight plays out in Houston before the March primary could have serious implications for the political aspirations of Sen. Dan Patrick in his bid to preside over the Texas Senate.

Patrick, a Houston radio host and lawmaker who has given up his Senate seat, said in his announcement for higher office that the support he enjoys in the Bayou City is key to his statewide strategy. Simply put: Patrick is banking on Harris County in a way that the other three candidates in the race are not. The problem with that now is that Republicans there will also have to make a fundamental choice about who will lead the local party. This year’s challenge to six-term incumbent and conservative flamethrower Jared Woodfill is objectively the most serious one he’s faced but, at the same time, he’s never one to be counted out until the voting is done.

That's all Scott Braddock and Harvey Kronberg are going to give you.  Update: Republican activist Burt Levine posted the full article to his Facebook timeline; you can read it here Absent a subscription to read their take, I'll provide mine.  And I won't bury the lede.

The local chapter of Republickins just cannot determine whether to shit or go blind.

When you have the county judge and a county commissioner in a proxy duel with $10,000 checks over who is the better conservative, and the election is still two months away... well, you just know there's going to be a gunfight at the Not-OK Corral.

But there's a bigger picture, and while the TXGOP will very probably rise or fall on the backs of the winners and losers of their squabbles, that's small potatoes at this point.  Really.

Forget the flying-colors sideshow that is Judge Denise Pratt, and yes, disregard -- for the moment -- that her scandal is widening to include the fresh new district attorney, Devon Anderson.  Ignore that Judge Pratt has lost the endorsement of Republican Yoda Gary Polland (who has made a lot of money in her court) because she has become a "political liability".  Overlook that nasty little squabble over a gay precinct chair; both sides have kissed and made up for the cameras.

Pass over the most recent lamentations of Big Jolly, even.

If these people are the best that we Harris County Republicans have going for us, perhaps it is time to walk away from the whole mess. Putting the issue of abortion on the same level as that of gay marriage reduces it to nothing more than the political wedge issue that Democrats have been saying it is for us.

Update: Lone Star Q notes the gay/antigay fault line shaking up the HCRP as well as Patrick's reaction to Annise Parker's wedding, which sounds just like some of the vile comments I linked here.

Harris County Republicans are slowly coming to terms with the fact that no matter who wins the fight for their chair, we all lose.  Everybody.  And yet... this is still just a distraction from the main event.  They are certainly the symptoms of a more serious condition, which is the creaking obsolescence and rapidly approaching extinction of the Reagan Republican party.  And it will demonstrate itself most clearly as an electoral liability when the Texas GOP selects its lieutenant governor nominee in March's primary.  That's right; LG, not governor.

Enough has been written about the quartet of conservative morons running for the post, including the spin attached to their fundraisingSocratic Gadfly thinks that this contest will be the one where money makes the most difference, and I am inclined to agree just because of the difficulty in handicapping the race.  Polling suggests it will be Dewhurst and one other who emerges to run off in April, and again, who am I to disagree with polls?  (That's a joke.)

But if I had to bet today, I would put my money on Jerkin' Jerry Patterson, he of the bubble copter and boot pistol.  He's raised the smallest amount of money, but he's got the same statewide ballot name ID without the too-slick persona -- and freakishly large head -- of Todd Staples.  Patterson also has one the sneakiest persons ever managing his campaign, the former Safety for Dummies in Fort Bend County blogger, Chris Elam.

Patrick, for his part, is drawing criticism from the locals I overhear because of his *gasp* massive ego.  Staples is just too weird and incompetent even by the typical GOP standards.  It's still early enough, though, that all their warts could be washed away by the infusion of some of their millions of dollars into ubiquitous television advertisements, coming soon to a screen near you.

The two get reduced to one after the lightning round in late spring, and the lucky winner earns a trip to the fall classic in November, facing Leticia Van de Putte... and Libertarian Brandon de Hoyos, Green Chandra Courtney, and oddest of all, Maria Luisa Alvarado -- the 2006 Democratic nominee for lite guv -- running as an independent.  All those Latino/a surnames are surely going to diminish Sen. VDP's tally to some degree, an unfortunate circumstance for her prospects.

No matter what happens between now and then, the person sworn in on the South Steps in January 2015 gets to decide whether the state Senate will abandon its historical two-thirds rule, the last vestige of decorum in state politics (so says Kirk Watson, who lost the attorney generalship in 2002 to some dude in a wheelchair).  If it goes by the wayside, then the GOP will be poised to ram even more crap down every Texan's throat.

That's what's at stake, and these Harris County popcorn farts are just the undercard.

The real question is whether the sane people in the Lone Star State can toss a few cinder blocks to the dinosaurs in the quicksand, or whether the creatures will live to see one more presidential election cycle before they pass into history.  And that's an open question.

If you would like to see for yourself the four huge reptiles flailing about in the tar pit, the King Street Thugs are hosting them in Houston next week.  Be advised that security might not let you in if you're carrying an anvil.

I'm certain a concealed handgun is A-OK, though.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Voter registrations In Harris County to be mediated today

A little meeting today over the Harris County tax assessor/collector's continuing efforts to thwart voter registrations.

Harris County officials have rejected far fewer would-be voters since 2008, but Democrats are demanding more proof that voter rolls are not being illegally suppressed -- particularly among Hispanics -- as another U.S. presidential election approaches. The two sides will meet in secret mediation Friday as Democratic officials seek assurances the county is following the terms of a 2009 settlement reached after the party challenged Harris County voter reviews in a federal lawsuit. The county's voter registrations have remained fairly flat at about 1.9 million since 2008 (emphasis mine), failing to keep pace with a boom in the eligible voting population. "Harris County continues to fall behind other large cities. Harris County rejects far too many applications and removes far too many eligible voters from the rolls," Chad Dunn, an attorney for the Democrats, told the Houston Chronicle.

Sumners has severely curtailed efforts to recruit and train deputy voter registrars as well. Sumners is in fact a tool of the King Street Vote Suppressing Thugs, about which much has been written here.

Sumners said he believes more applicants were rejected in 2008 primarily because a group of deputy voter registrars working for nonprofit groups turned in thousands of duplicate, illegible or incomplete applications. He said he hopes that the quality of applications in 2012 will improve under a new law requiring deputy registrars to complete mandatory training. But Dunn told the court that party leaders need more information to confirm applications are being reviewed as the settlement requires. U.S. District Court Judge Gray H. Miller, who oversees the settlement, ordered both sides to meet with a mediator Friday. If the dispute is not resolved, a hearing has been set next week.

Sumners, in the first sentence of the above graf, refers to Houston Votes, which as an offshoot of Texans Together conducted voter registration drives in minority neighborhoods prior to the 2010 election. Those efforts were effectively demonized by Sumners' predecessor Leo Vasquez, the KSP/True the Vote pasty gangsters, and pretty much every conservative media outlet they could find.

On and on it goes. Progressives encourage people to vote, conservatives restrict it. They only want their voters to vote. They cannot win if more people vote. That "center-right" urban legend is thus advanced. It is fallacy that conservatives represent the view of Texans and Americans when 50% of the population doesn't vote and hundreds of thousands more -- perhaps millions just in Texas -- are prevented from voting. Update: Big Fat Republican Bloggers have their own take.

But conservatives would go further if they could, restricting voting to taxpayers and/or landowners exclusively. That's where we're eventually headed, and Texas will lead the way.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Texas has had "fewer than five" voter impersonation cases

In the past three years. Via ThinkProgress, the San Antonio Express News' Gary Scharrer:

Fewer than five “illegal voting” complaints involving voter impersonations were filed with the Texas Attorney General's Office from the 2008 and 2010 general elections in which more than 13 million voters participated.

Less than 5 out of 13 million. Aren't those fairly close to the MegaMillions winning odds? As the e-Trade baby says, 'that's the same chance as getting mauled by a polar bear AND a regular bear at the same time'. So clearly there oughta be a law.

Texas has suffered from “multiple cases of voter fraud,” Gov. Rick Perry said in a recent FOX News interview, though the attorney general handled just 20 allegations of election law violations in the 2008 and 2010 elections. Most involved mail-in ballot or campaign finance violations, electioneering too close to a polling place or a voter blocked by an election worker.

The Texas attorney general's office did not give the outcome of the four illegal voting complaints that were filed. Only one remains pending, according to agency records.

Sen. Rodney Ellis nails it.

"(T)here are more UFO and Bigfoot sightings than documented cases of voter impersonation."

Meanwhile, back in reality...

The D.C. district court has set trial in Texas’ voter ID suit for July 9-13.

That’s nearly three weeks earlier than requested by the Justice Department and intervenors.

However, the court also directed that issues related to the constitutionality of section 5 of the Voting Rights Act be bifurcated from the main trial and said that those issues would “not be addressed unless the Court denies judicial preclearance of Senate Bill [14].”

Since that means that hearings on constitutional issues would take place only after a ruling on the preclearance claims (by definition some time after the July 13 end of trial), that would seem to make it less likely that the constitutional issues could be teed up in time to get them to the Supreme Court before the November elections.

So there's a strong possibility that we won't have to deal with this BS in this election cycle. Everyone should continue to train and inform as if we will, however. One last legal note about the most active vote suppressors in the nation, that little old band of patriots thugs who call Houston home.

“The Texas Democratic Party contends that the King Street Patriots made unlawful political contributions to the Texas Republican Party and various Republican candidates by training poll workers in cooperation with the Republican Party and its candidates and subsequently offering the watchers’ services only to the party and its candidates.” The group also held forums only for the Republican Party and its candidates.

The court split off the KSP’s constitutional complaints into a separate lawsuit and in an opinion issued today sided with Democrats, rejecting the constitutional claims. This will allow the Democrats’ clams to go forward.

Cutting the nuts off these feral hogs is a great first step toward resolving some of the vote suppression efforts in Texas and everywhere else.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Dick Update

The Chron:

Houston Mayor Annise Parker announced a crackdown on so-called bandit signs Wednesday, pledging to issue fines to political candidates and others who illegally post their signs on city land.

The announcement comes less than a month before early voting in her re-election campaign. Parker said election season is when signs proliferate and that the city spent $450,000 in 2009 to take them down. The $200-per-offense fines aim to recover the city's costs.

"This is about quality of life in our city. This is about visual pollution, and this is about someone trampling on the public right of way and intruding in the public space. And it is about tax dollars – $450,000 a year to deal with illegally placed signs," Parker said during a news conference following Wednesday's City Council meeting.


(W)hether you’re concerned about those signs that break the law or those that clutter our streets and sightlines, it’s all good if the net effect is to convince candidates to leave signs off the junkier placements that serve no purpose.

The Press, with the street artist Shreddi taking matters into his own hands (really; click over and look at his handiwork):

What is it about Eric Dick that gets to you?

Shreddi: I don't think a lot of people have picked up on the fact that politicians use graffiti tactics for their personal gain. Each election year, without fail, we get this illegal political signage jammed all over empty lots, chain-link fences, telephone poles, etc. The problem is, once elected, these politicians persecute the general public for doing the same fucking thing...It's a double standard. It's funny too, because when I pulled down one of these signs, there was another political sign underneath it. So they're even covering each other's tags. I read last year the city spent a million dollars on graffiti cleanup. Politicians could probably cut that number in half if they'd stop posting their mind-numbing graffiti everywhere. Obviously I have no problem with self-promotion, or art in the streets. I have a problem with politicians holding the public to standards they don't abide to themselves. And I don't have anything specifically against Dick....his ballsy sign campaign just stood out.

Lastly, Dick lover Big Jolly:

I kinda like this guy because he isn't afraid to get out there and fight. Oh, and he's also very creative.

Update: Miya Shay, and the videotape.

Update II: In his sneering press release intended as a response to the mayor's enforcement of the ordinance, Dick discloses an endorsement from "The Log Cabin". I am familiar with the Log Cabin Republicans, but does anyone know what "The Log Cabin" is that Dick refers to here? Certainly it's not the maple syrup; could it be that little house in Emancipation Park? Has Dick nailed his campaign signs to its roof?

Is this the same ringing endorsement as the empty lots and utility poles and overhead crosswalks that have also 'endorsed' him? I must admit that I'm not well-versed with all of the changes passed in the recent legislative session with respect to election law: do inanimate objects get to vote now? Do they have to show photo ID if they do?

And if not, then should we alert the King Street/True the Vote thugs to show up at the polls in order to suppress the possible votes of vacant buildings, cyclone fences, weed-filled lots, city rights-of-way, and the like?

When it comes to our freedoms you can't be too scared careful.

I'm concerned that in our habitually low-turnout municipal elections, the boulevard median near my polling place might be able to sway the election. And these days, it just looks a little too brown to ... you know ... be legal.

Friday, October 29, 2010

This week's King Street Thugs update

-- Rep. Borris Miles had an altercation with the True the Vote criminals at the EV poll in Sunnyside.

... Miles said he was there in the first place because a constituent had called to complain about intimidation by poll watchers, including an incident in which a poll watcher bumped a voter. Miles said he spent two hours at the Sunnyside Multi-Purpose Center, 4605 Wilmington, but stayed near the reception desk perhaps 150 yards from the voting machines.

Miles said he witnessed poll watchers speaking to voters, looking over their shoulders as they voted, and walking among the voting machines. He summed up what he saw as: "The Republican/tea party poll watchers that are there intimidating, and the Republican precinct judge allowing it to happen."

-- Sunnyside and Moody Park also saw this flyer distributed.

Miya Shay again with the report:

And more from Isiah Carey:

jobsanger and Juanita Jean have more.

-- Both sides requested the USDOJ send election monitors to Houston next Tuesday.  From Cong. Sheila Jackson Lee's letter to US Attorney General Eric Holder:

"Although there are usually a few isolated occurrences of voter intimidation during the election season, the incidents that took place at polling stations earlier this week appeared to be both organized and systematic. Poll watchers have been reportedly over-stepping the boundaries between observing and interacting in the democratic process by hovering directly behind voters as they entered their votes. The group thought to be behind these acts is known as the King Street Patriots, reportedly tied to some Tea Party activists. The King Street Patriots have deployed poll watchers around the city as they implement their “True the Vote” campaign."

-- County attorney Vince Ryan issued Election Day directives for poll watchers and election judges. From Kronberg:

The first opinion (both links .pdf) says that election officials may "designate lines on the floor to protect voters from poll watcher intrusion."

The second opinion prohibits cell phones, cameras and wifi enabled computers within 100 feet of a polling station.

Electronic devices have ALWAYS been verboten inside the poll, but a King Street Thug poll watcher was observed wearing a 35mm camera around his neck at the Fiesta Mart EV location this week, in clear violation of the Texas Election Code but apparently ignored by the election judge there.

-- The King Street Thugs surrendered some of their paperwork, but it doesn't clear up the mystery of their funding: large, anonymous GOP donors.

Passing the $15,000 hat
The $15,000 hat

Though acknowledging the receipt of over $80,000, the King Street extremists refuse to disclose who contributed the money. Incredibly, the group contends that the funds were raised by “passing the hat” at their meetings.

To put this outrageous claim into perspective, it would take 1,600 people contributing $50 each to raise $80,000 while a group of 400 people would have to contribute an average of $200 each.  According to activist participants, the King Street extremists' meeting space could barely hold 200 people, yet they claim to have raised as much as $15,000 at a single meeting simply by “passing the hat.”

More at Off the Kuff.

-- Lastly, the KS Thugs, Karl Rove, and the US Chamber of Commerce are essentially acting as if Citizens United is settled law.

As a nonprofit 501(c)4 corporation, King Street Patriots (KSP) should be allowed to engage in electioneering without disclosing donors or registering as a political committee, and Texas laws to the contrary are unconstitutional, said the Indiana attorney who put together the pivotal U.S. Supreme Court Citizens United campaign finance case. He placed the burden of enforcing regulations squarely on the Internal Revenue Service.

“(KSP opponents) are trying use Texas law to shut up their opponents, to throw them in jail for talking about issues,” said James Bopp Jr., general counsel for the James Madison Center for Free Speech.

Houston tea party spinoff KSP and its 501(c)3 initiative KSP/True the Vote are the subjects of a state ethics complaint by nonprofit Texans for Public Justice and a lawsuit by the Texas Democratic Party, both alleging KSP has broken state prohibitions against corporate campaign contributions — and that it should be registered as a state political committee and have to reveal its donors’ identities.

“The Supreme Court has consistently held that you cannot require an organization to be a PAC unless its major purpose is to be involved in elections. A c4 lobby group’s primary purpose is to educate and lobby, rather than participate in elections,” Bopp said. “Otherwise the IRS wouldn’t let it be a c4. They would say it’s a 527.”


Bopp, who’s currently challenging campaign laws in at least a dozen other states, said it’s clear to him that Texas laws run afoul of the First Amendment when they require 501(c)4 nonprofit corporations to register separate political committees to report coordinated campaign expenditures.


Basically, the Citizens United decision enabled corporate entities to spend unlimited money advocating for or against political candidates, as long as they don’t coordinate those expenditures with the campaigns. While the ruling did not address in-kind donations, such as hosting one-sided candidate forums, the case may have cleared the way for further challenges to remaining restrictions on corporate political contributions.

“Particularly now that the last barrier on many independent expenditures has been lifted by Citizens United — it was the last one in a chain — there will be a lot more attention paid to exactly what constitutes a coordinated expenditure,” said Justin Levitt, associate professor of law at Loyola School of Law.

In Bopp’s reasoning, the underlying assumption is that KSP is abiding by federal regulations on 501(c)4 nonprofits — namely that the organization’s primary purpose is not electioneering, generally interpreted as meaning the organization spends less than 50 percent of its resources trying to influence election outcomes for or against particular candidates.

As with national Democratic allegations concerning the Karl Rove-linked American Crossroads GPS, also a 501(c)4, the responsibility for discovering whether KSP is devoting the majority of its funds to electioneering would belong to the IRS, whose investigations are generally not very swift or public. There are also questions about how to measure the percent of an organization’s political activity.

It's not settled law, of course, but as long as you have Republicans in Congress and on the Supreme Court, it will be difficult to impossible to change.

That's all the information you should need not to EVER cast a vote for ANY Republican running for ANY office.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Today's updates on the King Street Thugs

US DOJ is investigating:

(T)he Justice Department has interviewed witnesses about the alleged intimidation and is gathering information about the so-called anti-voter fraud effort.

"We are currently gathering information regarding this matter," Justice Department spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa said in a statement confirming the Civil Rights Division's involvement. ...

(First Assistant District Attorney Terry) O'Rourke said (former DOJ Voting Section Chief John) Tanner made a request on Tuesday to have federal election monitors sent to the county. County Attorney Vince Ryan met on Tuesday with the Democratic and Republican chairmen in the county after he received complaints of possible voter intimidation on the first day of early voting as well, the same day the Houston Chronicle printed a story detailing the allegations.

County Attorney Vince Ryan meets with party heads, instructs them to cool off the hotheads:

Responding to complaints that poll watchers were intimidating voters in predominantly minority polling locations, County Attorney Vince Ryan summoned the county chairmen of both major parties to his office Tuesday and reminded them of their responsibility to make sure the observers were obeying the law.

Ryan also announced in the meeting that he has requested a monitor from the Justice Department to observe the voting process in Harris County through Nov. 2.

In a follow-up letter to the county chairmen, Ryan pointed out that poll watchers are entitled to be at a polling location, but cannot be present at the actual polling station when the voter is preparing his ballot and cannot converse with an election officer about the election, except to call attention to an irregularity or violation of the law.

Houston Votes receives threatening e-mails with racist language:

A group trying to register voters in Houston received threats and emails containing racist slurs after being targeted by a local tea party group accusing it of "voter fraud."

In emails obtained by TPM, the group Houston Votes was accused of being "a bunch of white guilt ridden assholes, NIGGERS and greasy mexican spics," "fraudulent Marxist pigs," and "American hating A-holes."

"We received a couple of threats and several harassing e-mails," Maureen Haver of Houston Voters told TPMMuckraker. "There have been several efforts, I think, just trying to race-bait and stir racial tension and part of that I think is just based on what we've received in messaging from them."

"It's really had a chilling effect on our office," said Haver, adding that one of the e-mails was reported to the FBI.

More of the racist e-mails at this link.

Mediaite and this Kos diary have more on how this development -- the inflaming of racial hatred from the Right in this matter -- might shake out in the coming days.

Here's Miya Shay's report from the scene of one of the EV locations. She interviewed a voter who was turned away as well as a True the Vote poll watcher:

Off the Kuff, Dos Centavos, and Bay Area Houston have more.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

More evidence that Republicans can't win on their merits

Merits?! We don't need no steenkin' merits!

-- There's a billboard that went up yesterday here in Houston that says "GOP is the new black." Seriously.

Mary Benton speaks for me:

Someone please show me proof of an African-American stampede toward the Republican Party.

-- In Nevada, a group named Latinos for Reform bought teevee airtime to run an ad on Spanish language stations telling Latinos not to vote.

The ad opens with an attack on the Washington Democrat (sic) powerhouses and tells its viewers failed to deliver immigration reform.

Its (sic) the ending that has Hispanic community leaders outraged:

"Don't vote this November. This is the only way to send them a clear message, you can no longer take us for granted, don't vote."

Anybody of any race who isn't voting is just giving away their power. "If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice."

Update: you can view the ad here. From Sen. Harry Reid's campaign:

The group, led by a George Bush "Pioneer" fundraiser named Robert Desposada, has one goal - to suppress the Hispanic vote in Nevada.

-- And the King Street Thugs continue their intimidation tactics at EV locations around Harris County.

The complaints, he said, came from Kashmere Gardens, Moody Park, Sunnyside and other predominantly minority neighborhoods. The complaints included poll watchers "hovering over" voters, "getting into election workers' faces" and blocking or disrupting lines of voters waiting to cast their ballots. ...

(Spokesperson Hector) DeLeon said the county clerk's office received 14 complaints of alleged voter intimidation at 11 voting locations on Monday, the first day of early voting for the Nov. 2 general election. (Harris County Democratic Party chair Gerry) Birnberg said his office forwarded about two dozen complaints to the county attorney's office.

We already knew that the Party of NO isn't interested in offering solutions, because we know they made the mess we're in today. Why would any right-thinking individual reward failure with more authority?

Because they just aren't thinking right, that's why.

Monday, October 18, 2010

King Street Patriots = vote-suppressing thugs

Update: See? it's already happening.

Harvey Kronberg:


Behavior includes shouting misinformation, standing behind voters as they cast ballots, says TDP's general counsel

In a conference call with members of the press, Texas Democratic Party general counsel Chad Dunn said the Party is receiving on the first day of early voting reports of King Street Patriots intimidating voters at the polls.

Dunn was talking to reporters to share more details on the TDP’s decision to expand a lawsuit against the Green Party to include allegations that the King Street Patriots are operating as an unregistered political committee to benefit GOP candidates.



In separate actions, Texas Democrats and campaign watchdogs Texans for Public Justice claim that the Tea Party affiliated group is operating as unregistered political committee

A campaign watchdog group and the Texas Democratic Party both took action today targeting the Houston-area Tea Party affiliated King Street Patriots. In their separate actions, both groups allege that the King Street Patriots are operating as an unregistered political action committee through its advocacy of conservative candidates and recruitment of poll watchers.

The watchdog group Texans for Public Justice filed a formal complaint with the Texas Ethics Commission while the TDP is amending a lawsuit originally aimed at the Green Party’s efforts to access the ballot this year to include the King Street Patriots’ activities.

From the press release:

The King Street Patriots and KSP/True the Vote are Houston-based non-profit corporations affiliated with the “tea party” movement. TPJ alleges the corporations have used their corporate resources to coordinate and recruit poll watchers on behalf of the Harris County Republican Party. The King Street Patriots sponsored a number of “get to know the candidates” events where just one Republican candidate was invited to attend and promote his or her election. Texas law requires that all candidates for an office be invited to participate in such corporate sponsored candidate events. The Patriots website has promoted block-walking activities to “spread the word on great conservative candidates.” Clarifying who these candidates are, the website listed a number of Houston-area candidates, all of them Republicans.

The KSP/True the Vote group is organizing to stop “widespread voter fraud” in Harris County. A controversial, hyperbolic, 8-minute video on its website features white speakers bemoaning alleged voter fraud. The speakers’ proclaim: “Our voting system is under attack! Voter fraud is helping the Democratic Party! Elections are being manipulated by the radical left! It’s all very, very scary. The fraud is very widespread. This is war!” As a narrator on the video says, “Its people who want to vote twice,” the video shows what appears to be an electoral queue of mostly minority voters. True the Vote leader, Catherine Englebrecht says in the video that the group wants to recruit five poll watchers for every precinct in the county. (The True the Vote video is here:

“The Patriots are breaking the law,” said Texans for Public Justice Director Craig McDonald. “A non-profit cannot legally spend its corporate resources to be an arm of the Republican Party. Sadly, you can use racial fear to recruit white voters to try to suppress minority voting. But a non-profit corporation cannot do so on behalf of a political party and its candidates.”

Savvy Brains readers will note that they read about this story here last week, citing liberally from Patrick Brendel's reporting at the American Independent.

I believe at this point that only a restraining order by a state judge commanding the KSP criminals from ceasing their illegal activity will prevent widespread conflict at polling places in Harris County. Since early voting began today, the potential for KSP criminal activity remains high, now through Election Day.

Again, if anyone tries to prevent you from voting by challenging your voter registration card or identification, ask to speak only to the election judge for clarification. Be reminded of the requirements for voting from Hector DeLeon at the Harris County Clerk's office, by way of Mary Benton's fine blog "On the Beat":

To vote, a person may present one of the following documents: a voter registration card, a driver’s license, a picture identification of any kind, a birth certificate, a U.S. Citizenship or Naturalization certificate, a U.S passport, a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter. First time voters who registered by mail and did not provide their driver’s license number or identification number will need to provide another form of identification other than their voter registration certificate. 

And if anyone challenges your voting credentials, or otherwise attempts to stop you, at any time before you reach the clerk's table at your polling place, call 911 and report their illegal, intimidating, harassing activity to the proper legal authority.

Update II: The Houston Politics blog at the Chron has their story posted.  And Matt Angle at the LSP:

"The King Street Patriots is not a legitimate nonpartisan or nonprofit organization. It is the most extreme and intolerant arm of the Harris County Republican Party. "

"King Street allies like Republican State Representative Dwayne Bohac are already under investigation by the Public Integrity Unit of the U.S. Justice Department for improper campaign activity. Bohac and King Street extremists work to harass, intimidate and suppress voters rather than reason with or win their votes."

Early Voting Wrangle

EV in person starting today and through the 29th at hundreds of locations around the state. Mary Benton has all the information you need for Harris County. And the Texas Progressive Alliance is fired up and ready to vote as it brings you this week's blog roundup.

Off the Kuff has interviews with Linda Chavez-Thompson and Barbara Radnofsky.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme thinks breathing benzene, sulfur dioxide and other pollutants is bad. Why doesn't the TCEQ agree?

The Texas Cloverleaf posts on Blog Action Day about clean water in the Barnett shale.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson points our that there a still many unanswered questions regarding Gov. Perry and a special favor for a mega donor, The drip, drip, drip continues for Perry's mega-donor problem.

The King Street Patriot extremists are breaking the law again in Harris County. A lot more voter suppression and intimidation is in store from these thugs. Brains and Eggs has the details, including the link to the video of TeaBaggin' Jim Murphy (he's going to lose to Kristi Thibaut again) doing the honors.

Neil at Texas Liberal can't imagine that the people of Houston might wish to get rid of red light cameras. Our roads in Houston are already filled with drunks and crazies. Why would we want to make things even worse by making it easier to run red lights and get away with it? Neil urges folks in Houston to vote Yes on Prop. 3 and help keep our streets somewhat less bloody than they might otherwise become.

Intrepid Intern Ali Rawaf and Campaign Finance Curmudgeon Andy Wilson team up at TexasVox to remind you that early voting starts today, Monday, Oct 18, by giving you the sobering truth of who exactly is financing our Congressional midterm campaigns and what special favors they will want if you let their chosen candidates get into office. This is the first in a series -- keep an eye on TexasVox in the next two weeks for more in-depth looks at who's financing the Texas Governor's race, races for Ag Commissioner and Railroad Commissioner, and the Third Court of Appeals-- and maybe others.

Friday, October 15, 2010

King Street Patriots are breaking the law -- again

If you see any of these thugs at your polling place on Election Day -- or, for that matter, at an early voting location -- call the Harris County Sheriff's Department immediately.

A video shows Texas House District candidate Jim Murphy (R) engaging in political speech at a King Street Patriots event to which opponent state Rep. Kristi Thibaut (D) was not invited. In the video, Murphy talks about his candidacy for office, criticizes Thibaut numerous times and appeals to the audience for help with his campaign.

“I think it’s blatant electioneering. What the King Street Patriots are doing as a nonprofit is prohibited under law,” said Craig McDonald, director of nonprofit watchdog Texans for Public Justice. “If they want to do that kind of one-sided politicking, they need to be a political party or a political committee. They can’t hide behind nonprofit laws to do political campaigning.”

KSP is registered with the Texas Secretary of State as a nonprofit corporation, and, according to KSP representatives, is a nonprofit 501(c)4 corporation. A 501(c)4 group does not have to disclose the source of its donations. Violating state campaign finance laws against corporate contributions is a felony that can carry thousands of dollars in fines and years in jail.

They're in league with the outgoing Harris County voter registrar Leo Vasquez, also a violation of the law which has resulted in yet another lawsuit filed against that office. The Harris County GOP is working in concert with them to "train pollworkers". They intend to intimidate and harass voters on Election Day.

Glenn Smith, Stace Medellin, and I have previously documented these violations. What these radicals have already done, however, pales in comparison to what they plan to do in the coming election period.

The video, posted Oct. 6 to by a user named King Street Patriots, opens with text introducing Murphy as a candidate for U.S. House of Representatives District 133. (There are only 32 congressional districts in Texas — Murphy is a candidate for the Texas House.) The text also identifies Catherine Engelbrecht, president of KSP and its 501(c)3 nonprofit True The Vote, and dates the video Sept. 20, 2010.

In the video, Engelbrecht introduces Murphy: “He is, as we all know now, up against Kristi Thibaut” — someone off-screen shouts “ACORN” — and Engelbrecht smiles and says, “Hmmm, really….”
Engelbrecht continues, “Without further ado, let’s bring up our soon-to-be Rep. Jim Murphy.”

Murphy begins his speech by thanking KSP for its work challenging voter applications sent in by nonprofit Houston Votes, a project of Texans Together Education Fund. Thibaut has a leadership position in the organization, and also received $43,000 in political contributions in 2008 from Texans Together’s affiliated political committee, which, unlike KSP, is registered with the Texas Ethics Commission.

In the video, Murphy calls on Thibaut to resign her position with the group, denounce its activities and to “return that tainted money.”

Murphy tells the audience that he lost his 2008 Texas House reelection bid to Thibaut by a mere 453 votes: “But who’s counting?” he jokes. (Murphy actually lost by 497 votes, according to the Texas Secretary of State.)

Murphy introduces his wife to the crowd, as well as his campaign manager Tom Holloway and assistant campaign manager Rachel Nicholson, identifying them by name.

“I point them out because they want you to get to work, and they want to see you after this presentation, so we’ll get to that,” Murphy says before launching into the subject of the Texas Legislature.

At the end of his roughly 30-minute talk, during a Q&A session with the audience, Murphy appeals for their help in electing more Republicans to the Texas House, in order to replace House Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) with someone more conservative.

“We need about another eight Republicans across the state,” Murphy says. “And you have friends in Dallas; you have friends in East Texas; you have friends in Central Texas that can influence these elections, that will give us the numbers we did [before the 2008 elections].”

At one point in the video, after making an awkward joke about heterosexuality and marriage, Murphy laughs and says, “Is this being filmed? You can edit that part out.”

He continues, “We’re among friends.”

The Texas Ethics Commission has a procedure for filing a complaint against this illegal activity as the first step in citizen action. You may call them for more information at 1-800-325-8506.


* Houston tea party group King Street Patriots may risk violating state, federal laws, experts say
* Houston tea party-trained poll volunteers not expecting voter fraud, are prepared to address it, group leader says
* Harris County GOP directs pollworkers to training from tea party group
* Harris County spokesman: Democrats’ $1.5 million voter records request vastly different from tea party’s $1,000 one
* Rabid Dog Briefly Mistaken for Tea Party Candidate (Andy Borowitz)
* Right wing anxiety over voter fraud grows

And an excerpt from that last link ...

Emerging from the resulting hysteria has been a concerted effort among some tea party groups, most notably the one in Harris County, to conduct training sessions for poll workers and recruit volunteers to monitor the polls during election day. This development, in turn, has alarmed voting experts who are less concerned about dead or imaginary people showing up to vote than poll watchers who might unfairly challenge votes because they are partisan or don’t understand the rules of polling places.