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Seems like whether it's on the streets collecting petitions, or all the way up to the White House, the Republican Party is full of nothing but crooks, crack-heads and ho's. This is how young Karl Rove got his start too.

People registering to vote or signing petitions at Orange County shopping centers are entrusting their personal information to unregulated signature gatherers, some with rap sheets for child molestation, prostitution, methamphetamine use and immigrant smuggling, an Orange County Register investigation found.

Some of these workers also are suspected of falsifying voter registration cards, sparking a rare joint investigation by state law enforcement and election officials. Authorities announced the probe in April after an investigation by the Register found that more than a hundred Orange County registrants were switched to the GOP without their consent.

"Half the (petitioners) are crack- or meth-heads. It's to get cash for their next fix," said Lynn Litheredge, a petition and voter registration circulator from Las Vegas who has worked on and off in Orange County for two years. In a world where new Republican registrations pay up to $8 apiece and each name on a petition brings at least $1, signature gatherers have grown creative in chasing down the ka-ching. The industry is especially hot in California, where petition drives tripled in recent years in an effort to take democracy to the streets.

For instance, California petition circulators and their bosses earned $980,000 for the 713,787 signatures gathered to put a child- molestation initiative on the November ballot.

Ricker said he counsels his gatherers not to lie or commit fraud, but he allows them to use their skills of salesmanship. He said there is nothing wrong with ardently asking voters to mark themselves as "Republican" so the gatherer can get a "bonus." It's up to voters to understand they are changing their political party.

"I'm an honest man, and I run an honest program," he said. "By the same token, it is my mission to maximize productivity. I can't help it if people are stupid."

In a world where new Republican registrations pay up to $8 apiece and each name on a petition brings at least $1, signature gatherers have grown creative in chasing down the ka-ching. The industry is especially hot in California, where petition drives tripled in recent years in an effort to take democracy to the streets.

For instance, California petition circulators and their bosses earned $980,000 for the 713,787 signatures gathered to put a child- molestation initiative on the November ballot.

Ricker said he counsels his gatherers not to lie or commit fraud, but he allows them to use their skills of salesmanship. He said there is nothing wrong with ardently asking voters to mark themselves as "Republican" so the gatherer can get a "bonus." It's up to voters to understand they are changing their political party.

Ricker said it's OK to hire ex-criminals to collect sensitive information, as long as they no longer break any laws.

"People pay their debt to society. (They) make mistakes, and they pay for their mistakes," he said. "I don't think I have any murderers in my crew."

Ricker's crew does include 23-year-old Jessica Sundell, a former methamphetamine addict and ex-prostitute who went by the street name "Cupcake."

Eight people registered by Sundell complained to local election officials or the Register, including Tamara Vravis, 37, of Anaheim. Vravis said she was switched from the Democratic Party to Republican without her consent.

Vravis learned from a reporter that she had also given her personal information to someone once saddled with a $50-a-day meth habit.

"I'm not happy right now," Vravis said. "I will never sign another petition."

"Maybe the work pool we had to pull from aren't the best people you want out there," said Randall, who fired two signature gatherers because they "weren't the quality of the people that I felt should be out there representing the Republican Party."

Randall's standards come despite his own past: He pleaded guilty in 2002 to molesting two girls under the age of 14, one of them the daughter of an associate in the petition business.

As nomadic as petitioners may be, Paul Daniel Delaney isn't going anywhere.

He is in federal prison for his side job: transporting illegal immigrants across the border.

A regular in the Orange County petition scene, Delaney was caught in September 2005 trying to sneak a woman who was eight months pregnant into the United States from Tijuana. He had bolted her into a small compartment behind the seats of a 1985 Mazda RX-7 with no license plates.

The woman, who was discovered by the Border Patrol, said Delaney charged her $3,000 to smuggle her. He later pleaded guilty and is serving an 18-month sentence.

Before he was incarcerated, Delaney gathered registrations and sold them to the highest bidder, who in turn would sell them to the appropriate political party.

http://www.ocregister.com/...

Originally posted to William Domingo on Sat May 27, 2006 at 08:11 PM PDT.

Poll

Is the Republican Party full of crooks?

84%21 votes
16%4 votes

| 25 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Fair use? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kraant

    That's an awful long piece of article - roughly what percentage is it?  Also, you're not supposed to do diaries that are simple cut-and-pastes, which is pretty much what this is.  

    If you want to keep it up, you should probably add some commentary and cut some of the article.

    May 27, 2006. May still be cranky and/or incoherent due to being in significant (down from excruciating) pain and/or doped up.

    by Laura Clawson on Sat May 27, 2006 at 08:15:10 PM PDT

  •  The Overton Window (0+ / 0-)

    I agree with MissLaura that there is too much story and not enough analysis.

    However, I recognize that this story represents an easy access site for policy, in terms of the The Overton Window presented by Joshua Trevino over at Swordscrossed and discussed in there is no spoon's diary Why the Right-Wind Gets It--and Why Dems Don't, the updated one. I do think the Overton Window can be used as a particular tactic in Conservative party tactics.

    In lieu of a popular initiative or problem arising from general concern of the public, one could insert some particular policy for $1M. In the present political accounting, that ain't much. Policy - the recognition in the public eye regardless of how it is perceived in the general public eye - is the first step toward the next, popularity. This tactic is pretty cheap one to get something into the political conversation.

    Throw in a corresponding propaganda/advertising capmpaign and coached responses and pretty soon someone on Fox News and Limbaugh that that it is absolutely valid, usually expressed in whatever simple redeeming quality it might have (and not expressing the context or downside and costs).

    The Republicans are using the cheapest labor they can find and seemingly very few whose testimony could be reliable facing a tough cross examination. However, we really never know of how wide the range really is - there's a certain amount of people desperate for money at any given time and that doesn't mean they have a checkered past.

    The Republicans pay by inducements/incentives which are ambigious. They could always blame the person doing it: "I'm an honest man, and I run an honest program," he said.

    "By the same token, it is my mission to maximize productivity. I can't help it if people are stupid."

    That's the poster's emphasis and that's a valid point. There is a rationality to this, creating a ready alibi/spin.

    •  I see a different angle in the info provided (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      walkshills

      in this article. Yes the GOP is full of crooks. Crooks lie. Crooks seek out other crooks as coconspirators/henchmen, because they, too are guilty, and won't rat out, and can be relied upon to lie about what they're up to. The GOP has to hire crooks because they are committing crimes. Honest people either would refuse, or would turn them in. Isn't this, and the other incidents we know about enough evidence of a pattern of election tampering/fraud? Shouldn't this be enough for a RICO suit? How long can they get away with saying that this or that operation was acting on its own? They spent a lot of money paying for the legal defense of the NH phone-jammers, hoping for a single case of vindication that they could wave, when other cases see the light of day - and they lost, at which point they stopped paying for the jammer's appeal, leaving him to 'do his time.' So, once the guy actually gets convicted, they drop him like a hot potato. You can bet they'll be distancing themselves, denying they spent millions on his defense.

      The boss telling the hirelings DON'T do anything illegal is like Don Corleone saying DON"T rub out (insert name of hittee here). Only addicts and criminals are of a mind to understand exactly what the boss means, and deviously carry out the fraud, while simulating good intentions. The GOP knows this, because it is how they operate.

      The Dems really should use this and the other similar incidents. They could make PSAs warning people about these schemes, with an ID-theft angle, but with the clear inuendo that it's also part of a scheme to rob you of your vote.

      I see the registration-flipping activity in CA as part of the same scheme that replaced Gray Davis with Ahnold: it's the electoral votes, stupid. They have to disenfranchise Dems, and install Diebold DREs. They got Kenny Boy to extort CA by cutting off its electricity, thus terrorizing the people into electing Ahnold as their knight in shining armor. You've got to admit the GOP is good at using psychology to manipulate people.

      •  Voter Beware (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Halcyon

        I see what you're saying and agree this is part of a pattern to disenfranchise voters and agree that making

        PSAs warning people about the schemes, with an ID-theft angle, but with the clear inuendo that it's also part of a scheme to rob you of your vote.

        should be done and the more that can be tied in with the range of tactics Republicans do employ would be powerful. Voter Beware: Someone wants to steal your precious Constitutional right!

        My angle was up the ladder a bit with the process of introducing policy, but they are both part and parcel of disenfranching the American people.

        I don't know about the illegality of such actions, but legal eagles here need to look-see for sure. This whole diary much need to be re-written to include such analysis and connections in a more expansive form with the given base info.

  •  I recommend this diary, despite it's weaknesses (0+ / 0-)

    in how it was written as pointed out helpfully for improvement by the above posters, I think this topic is of great importance. The despoilment of voter registration is part of the vote fraud issues that need a lot of work and attention in order to win back Congress and the Presidency.

    Therefore, I recommend.

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