By Michael McDunnah
The McCain-Palin campaign and the Republican National Committee (RNC) spent the better part of the fall screaming about alleged "voter registration fraud," and to this day the GOP and the right-wing media machine continue to raise the specter of voter registration shenanigans that are somehow undermining the integrity of American elections. Now, after months of reckless invective and fruitless investigations, incontrovertible facts have been admitted in court, and someone has finally been convicted of voter registration fraud.
Fraud did take place in the 2008 election--conducted for, and paid for by, the Republican Party.
The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday evening that Mark Anthony Jacoby, owner of a for-profit group called Young Political Majors (YPM), pled guilty to voter registration fraud in Los Angeles. Brad Freidman of the BradBlog has been keeping tabs on Jacoby for months, and wrote yesterday:
"Jacoby and Young Political Majors were hired by the California Republican Party to head up their voter registration efforts in the state. Jacoby had been arrested for Voter Registration Fraud last October, smack dab during the media's orgasmic heights of last year's phony GOP ACORN "Voter Fraud" hoax, even as Fox "News" (and the other news outlets who similarly fell for the scam) were going wall-to-wall with their unsupported insinuations about voter fraud by ACORN, Democrats and Obama."
Jacoby's YPM firm has been the go-to operation for GOP registration and petition drives in several states. In 2008 the California Republican Party hired YPM to register tens of thousands of voters, paying $7-12 for every Californian they registered as a member of the GOP, according to the Los Angeles Times last fall. "Jacoby's arrest ...came after dozens of voters said they were duped into registering as Republicans by people employed by YPM. The voters said YPM workers tricked them by saying they were signing a petition to toughen penalties against child molesters."
According to the Times, "YPM has been accused of using bait-and-switch tactics across the country. Election officials and lawmakers have launched investigations into the activities of YPM workers in Florida and Massachusetts. In Arizona, the firm was recently a defendant in a civil rights
lawsuit." (In what was perhaps an attempt to define "irony" for the press, the state GOP issued a statement last fall calling the charges against Jacoby "politically motivated.")
Jacoby pled guilty Tuesday to personally lying on his voter registration forms to register at phony addresses in order to collect petitions. (California law requires petitioners to be qualified voters.) The Associated Press reports that, according to the District Attorney's Office, "two felony counts of perjury and one felony count of voter registration fraud were dismissed under the deal." Jacoby was sentenced to three-years probation and 30-days of community service.Clearly, Jacoby's conviction and sentence amount to a slap on the wrist, and, if the widespread allegations of YPM's reprehensible tactics on behalf of the Republican Party are true, further investigation and prosecution is needed. If all the partisan pressure they've brought to bear to pursue baseless allegations of voter registration fraud elsewhere was anything more than political grandstanding, the GOP leaders should clearly turn their attention to putting their own house in order.