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This is to keep Vikingkingq's breaking news story breaking.  Summary: a Republican political operations group known as Arno Political Consultants has gatherers collecting signatures while lying to the signers.

The Contra Costa Timesreports* that Art Torres is on it:

SACRAMENTO -- State Democratic Party Chairman Art Torres on Thursday asked Attorney General Jerry Brown to investigate what Torres called fraudulent "bait and switch" tactics to deceive voters into signing a petition to place a Republican-backed Electoral College measure on the ballot.

First, here is Vikingkingq's update.  And here is the story from the Daily Nexus.

There been some traction with this, lets keep it up.  I will be going outside soon to look for signature gatherers, and will report them if I find any.  Something to do this weekend!

Here are other blogs covering the story:


Here are MSM outlets that have jumped on it

Contra Costa Times

Not a whole damn lot, is it?

California Progress Reports on a related story, misuse of signature lists from the recall election:

In a story printed in today’sSacramento Bee, Republican Congressman Darrell Issa is said to be "sending out letters to the same voters who signed the recall position in 2003".

But that’s against the law. California Elections Code 18650 states clearly that, "No one shall knowingly or willfully permit the list of signatures on an initiative, referendum, or recall petition to be used for ANY PURPOSE other than qualification of the initiative, referendum or recall". [Emphasis added] Violation of this section is a misdemeanor.

That’s pretty clear, isn’t it? Wouldn’t you expect a Member of Congress to know the law? Well, maybe we can’t expect a Republican Member of Congress to obey the law??

Poor Darrell Issa, perhaps someone should fact-check his resume.  I wonder if he ever figured that his recall would put exactly the WRONG kind of Republican in the Governor's condo.

Okay, I'm drifiting.  Please post links to any good reportage of this issue.  

[*Updated to fix link, if anyone is still reading this.]

Originally posted to Hjiorst on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:57 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Bravo (16+ / 0-)

    That is absolutely fabulous news.

    We have only just begun and none too soon.

    by global citizen on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:58:42 PM PST

    •  With Jerry Brown and Torres on the case (13+ / 0-)

      We should get a lot of media coverage and attention.  I'd like to see Arno run out of California.

      Things are going to get a lot worse before they get worse. ~ Lily Tomlin

      by vigilant meerkat on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 03:00:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Withdrawal of Petition Signatures (5+ / 0-)

      Secretary of State - CA

      Petition Signatures

      Only persons who are registered, qualified voters at the time of signing are entitled to sign the petition. A person can only sign a petition that is being circulated in his or her county of registration. If the petition circulators are registered voters, they may sign the petitions they are circulating (§§ 102, 105, 9021). Each signer must personally place on the petition his or her signature, printed name, residence address (or physical description of the location if there is no street address), and the name of the incorporated city or unincorporated community (§ 100). None of the above may be preprinted in the petition. Each signer may sign an initiative petition only once (§ 18612).

      Withdrawal of Signatures

      Any voter who has signed an initiative petition may withdraw his or her name by filing a written request for the withdrawal with the appropriate elections official prior to the date the petition is filed by the proponent(s) (§§ 103, 9602).

      Criminal Penalties

      The Elections Code imposes certain criminal penalties for abuses related to the circulation of initiative petitions. It prohibits circulators from misrepresenting the purpose or contents of the petition to potential petition signers, intentionally making a false statement in response to a voter's inquiry as to whether the circulator is a paid signature gatherer or a volunteer (§ 18600), and from refusing to allow prospective signers to read the initiative measure or petition or Attorney General's summary (§§ 18601, 18602). No person may offer or give payment or anything of value to another in exchange for signing an initiative petition (§ 18603). The code also makes circulators, signers, and others criminally liable for signing or soliciting to sign false, forged, fictitious, or ineligible signatures and names (§§ 18610-18614). The law provides criminal penalties for persons, including public officials, who make false affidavits (for example, the circulator's declaration is an affidavit), returns, or certifications concerning any initiative measure (§§ 18660, 18661).

      Circulating petitions within 100 feet of a polling place or an elections official's office on election day is prohibited (§ 18370(a)). The law prohibits any person from soliciting or obtaining money or anything of value to aid in unlawfully stopping circulation or the filing of an initiative measure (§§ 18620-18622). It also prohibits any person from stealing petitions and from threatening petition circulators or circulators' relatives with the intent to dissuade them from circulating the petition (§ 18630, 18631). Any person who is paid by the proponent(s) to obtain signatures on any initiative petition is subject to severe penalties for refusing to surrender the petition to the proponent(s) for filing (§ 18640).

      It should be noted that the petition or list of signatures may be used for no purpose other than the qualification of the initiative measure. This requirement prohibits using the names and addresses on petition sections for a mailing list for fundraising or other purposes (§ 18650).

      Secretary of State - CA

      I'm not going anywhere. I'm standing up, which is how one speaks in opposition in a civilized world. - Ainsley Hayes

      by jillian on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 04:34:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It says you have to request your (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        global citizen

        name be removed PRIOR to the signature gatherer filing the petition. This doesn't leave much time to get the word out.

        The surer way to void these signatures is testimony and video evidence that the petition language in question was obscured and not explained to the signees. The clause which says one only signs a petition once can be used effectively. Audio evidence of the signature gatherers instructiong people 'you have to sign four times' without indicating that one is signing four different petitions should throw enough doubt onto this to throw all of the signatures into enough of a gray are to hopefully void this petition, and the Howie Rich eminent domain petitions as well.

  •  Theses rethug operatives are relentless (7+ / 0-)

    You can never turn your back on them, not even for a minute, and you can never ever believe what they say; you must always read between the lines and look for the hidden message.  I'm hoping Jerry Brown jumps on this and turns into a media magnet.

    Things are going to get a lot worse before they get worse. ~ Lily Tomlin

    by vigilant meerkat on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:59:29 PM PST

  •  Did you mean to misspell 'Jerry' in the title nt (5+ / 0-)

    . There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fall -- think of it, ALWAYS. Mahatma Gandhi

    by Sacramento Dem on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 03:01:55 PM PST

  •  Hope the State AG follows up on the Issa deal; (5+ / 0-)

    that clearly is an abuse that must be stopped.

  •  If anyone takes the fall (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmo, john07801, xaxado, Seamus D

    it will be the "rogue" petition gatherers, probably contract piece-workers.  The Republican firm which is directing or at a minimum condoning their fraudelent practices will get at most a slap on the wrist.  If there was enough adverse publicity they might change their name ... while getting even MORE lucrative contracts from Republicans eager to cheat and happy to know where such services are available!

    However, the many-headed hydra must be beaten down over and over.  Kudos to those who are jumping on this.  

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 03:06:00 PM PST

    •  And if they were instructed to do this (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      G2geek, lgmcp, Seamus D

      they can pass the buck upwards, and then we add conspiracy.

      Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

      by Major Danby on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 04:16:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You're on to something (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        G2geek, lgmcp, Major Danby, Seamus D

        I am guessing here on the basis of other guesses.
        IANAL here.

        1. It has been presumed that the student signature takers were recruited from Young Repub. Clubs. Which means some of them have political ambitions or at least campaign staff ones. The kind of people who do not want a misdemeanor on their record.
        1. Is it possible that all it takes is  for one person to say I was instructed to X if the police ask or if challenged for there to be a conspiracy charge?

        Whoops, and I just suggested that we not strategize in public.

        But curiosity and hope that rule of law at the state level has led me into temptation.

        The blog made me do it defense.

        I guess I need some perfecting.

      •  the story from Santa Barbara (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        G2geek, Major Danby, Seamus D

        is virtually identical to my experience in Rancho Santa Margarita... right down to the order of the petitions, the non-mentioning of the other ballot proposals... "little John" is out front of the Target store tonight trying to get himself a few more signatures... I spent an hour harrassing him, so my "cover" is blown... but I'm sure somebody can get him to repeat his mistakes and catch it on video...

        oh! that would be sweet! and I'm sure he'd flip like a pancake to save himself.

    •  But the bait and switch tactic (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      G2geek, lgmcp, Hjiorst, Seamus D

      is being used in more than one location.  Kind of hard to say that two sets of rogue petitioners came up with exactly the same rogue idea or roguely connived together without informing their non-rogue bosses.

      The thing to do, like with any criminal investigation, is put pressure on the little guys to go after the kingpin.

      Then RICO the suckers.

      You can't reason someone out of something they weren't reasoned into. - Jonathan Swift

      by A Mad Mad World on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 04:51:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Recommended, but... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pam from Calif, Bernie68

    Can you please change "Gerry" to "Jerry"?

    the third eye does not weep. it knows.

    by mijita on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 03:14:40 PM PST

  •  Yell and scream and jump up and down about this! (3+ / 0-)

    No more Repubican "tactics" in our elections.

    Edwards-Richardson 2008

    by TekBoss on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 03:26:07 PM PST

  •  If you've had this happen to you... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Mad Mad World, Seamus D


    I'm not going anywhere. I'm standing up, which is how one speaks in opposition in a civilized world. - Ainsley Hayes

    by jillian on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 03:28:17 PM PST

  •  We're going to have something (7+ / 0-)

    VERY big on this on Calitics & Courage Campaign, soon.

    D-Day, the newest blog on the internet (at the moment of its launch)

    by dday on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 03:33:44 PM PST

  •  Issa Should know something about this - (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pam from Calif, EvilPaula

    lest we forget - he and his money (paying for sigs to be collected) were behind the recall that put Arnold in power ... just say'n

    "red hair and black leather, my favorite colour scheme" - Richard Thompson

    by blindcynic on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 03:54:15 PM PST

  •  tip jar? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sacramento Dem

    Please correct Jerry Brown's name. Thanks

    California State Flag

    Great Seal of California

    Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official... ~Theodore Roosevelt

    by Pam from Calif on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 04:07:27 PM PST

  •  Can they move to malls? (0+ / 0-)

    or inside univ. buildings?

    Does the law allow it, 'cause they have to know that their m.o. has been revealed?

    In fact, should you brave wonderful CA people be strategizing in public?  

    Just an idea.

  •  Good to (0+ / 0-)

    see this story beginning to catch hold. Let's hope it gains traction over the weekend.  Thanks for the post.

    Common Sense is not Common

    by RustyBrown on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 05:05:17 PM PST

  •  same tactics in OC (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kurt, BlueStateRedhead

    I contacted the Sec. of State, election fraud division today... he said they are getting some calls.

    My encounter was almost identical to the one described above. Approached, registration bonafides inquired about, told I was signing for a children's cancer hospital and asked to sign "multiple copies", ability to view the other copies obscured by clipboard and rubber band.

    After discovery, signature gatherers go off on eminent domain lecutre series.

    Swung thru the Target parking lot in Rancho Santa Margarita on the way home. Seems I musta scared the one kid, Travis off, but his buddy, John is still out front in his little red and white beanie with his clipboard.

    If there is anyone in the area with a conceable camcorder and a couple kids (they seem to hit them first and fastest), I'd almost bet you'd get the basic BS approach.


    I didn't chase the kid off today because I thought it might help if we could catch 'em in the act, but I simply don't have the equipment to get the job done.

    •  Equipment needed: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      exNYinTX, G2geek

      One basic camcorder
      One basic wireless lapel (or lavalier) microphone.
      (thats the expensive item, but some of you must have?)

      Put the mic on an ordinary person, hide the pickup, say inside the cuff of a long sleeve shirt, about 1/2 inch below the opening.  Tape it down, such that when you're holding their clipboard or pen, you can point your arm in the general direction of their mouth. Get as close as possible!  

      The trick is to not get fabric moving over the mic!  Be creative, figure out a way with whatever clothes you got.

      One person (or team) operates the camera with microphone receiver connected.  Get the video recording from a distance.  If you can't hide securely and comfortably, then do it in the open.  Pretend to be videotaping someone else (like your kids?), but as your operative approaches the petitioners, casually get them in frame.  Don't try too hard to get a great shot if it will blow your cover.  You can then pan away, put the camera down, just keep it recording.  Act like you don't understand your camera.  The audio is the real evidence.

      Get what you need and try to get two or three examples, if possible.  A dozen examples is better than one poorly recorded example and a big confrontation.

      If they or anyone asks you what you're doing, admit it, but don't back down.  It's your right to cover this news.

      Then, if you're satisfied, or once you're exposed, try to get a closeup of the petitioners, get their voice and face on tape at the same time, ask them directly what they're doing, do anything to get THEM to talk.  You do only prodding and asking.  THEY are the news.

      I don't have a wireless mic, but I'm going to try to rig something up.

      •  Taping w/o permission (0+ / 0-)

        IANAL and can't look it up right now, but think I remember that it is illegal to tape someone without their permission, at least in certain states.

        Based on memory alone:
        In Maryland, where one Linda taped her conversations with one Monica in 1998. (She got off, but boy did we suffer).

        In Florida,there was the couple who picked up the Republicans strategizing on their police scanner and gave it their Democratic Congress critter, who got in trouble for disseminating it...

        And while on the subject of strategizing, it has been discussed in response to DavefromQueens yesterday, when planning a legal action, it may be better not to strategize in public. Although Dave went on unperturbed....

        •  generally applies to telephone calls (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          In many states you have to get "2-party consent" (the other person's permission, on tape) before you can record a phone conversation.

          CAlifornia is one of those states.

          I know this stuff well (telephone systems engineer here).

          However I'm not aware of laws that require consent before recording a live conversation.  Though frankly I wish there were such laws, with possible exception for press investigations of criminal conduct or official malfeasance etc. etc.  

          •  Public events, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            including simply events that occur in a public space, are legal to record in any way by any person.  One need only to not harrass or impede, etc.  

            Now, I am unsure if this is true for secret recordings, but I believe it is.  How else would the occasional local TV news crew bust the local whore house with hidden cameras?  I don't believe journalists enjoy special privileges in this department.

            Any attorneys reading?

      •  Use a cellphone in speakerphone mode (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        (telephone systems engineer here...)

        Personally I dislike cellphones because the sound quality is typically crappy.

        However, many cellphones have decent handsfree speakerphone capability, and the pickup is surprisingly sensitive.  (Sensitive because the compression algorithms used on cellphones boost "background noises" like crazy; ever notice how when you're talking to someone who's walking on the street, background noises, vehicles, and especially sirens, are piercingly loud?  Read on, friends, as we're about to turn this particular bug into a feature!)

        What to do and how to do it:  

        Get two cellphones (for example yours and a friend's), we'll call them X and Y.  Cellphone X needs to have a hands-free speakerphone mode, and cellphone Y needs to have a headset jack (typically a 2.5 mm. jack).  Now go to Radio Snack and get a "stereo" patch cord that plugs into the headset jack.  The other end of the cord will plug into the stereo audio input of your video recorder.  

        The reason for this setup is that a conventional headset uses three wires: common, transmit, and receive.  You plug this into a stereo audio input and the transmit side is connected to one channel of stereo, for example Left, and does exactly nothing; but the receive side has the incoming audio from the cellphone, and it's connected to the other channel of stereo, for example RIght, and so the RIght channel ends up being the place where the audio from the cellphone is recorded.  Or on your system it might be that Left has the audio and Right is silent, but either way this is the simplest way to do this.  The way that gets the sound on both channels requires custom hardware which has to be built from scratch and is thus expensive, this I know from having built some in my day....

        Now you make a phone call from cellphone X, in speakerphone mode, to cellphone Y.  Answer on cellphone Y.  Once you've established communication, plug your patch cord into cellphone Y's headset jack, and the other end into your video camera's stereo audio input.  Now walk around and test the system.  Test it in a noisy outdoor area.  

        To go field with this, you establish the phone call the same way, do a quick test offsite, make sure the audio is being properly recorded on the video camera (play it back and listen carefully to hear if it's intelligible), and then with the connection still open, put the cellphone back in your shirt pocket or otherwise be prepared to innocently carry it into the conversation with the petition signature gatherer.  

        If you have to carry it in the open:  Pretend to be having a conversation with a friend about something other than politics, preferably something silly such as neighbor gossip.  When you approach the signature gatherer, say "Hold on a second, Bob..." and then say to the signature gatherer, "he can wait, hey what'you got here?"  Now the signature gatherer will be ignoring your cellphone and will launch into the spiel.  

        Don't ask questions that will give them a chance to hedge or back down from asking you to sign all four pages (or however many).  Just go ahead and sign or do whatever is the next part of your strategy.  Which might include getting the signature gatherer's name if that's something you can do legally (I don't know, I only design the technical stuff for these projects!:-)

        And then lick your chops as the law swoops down on these people!

        •  Brilliant, but... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          At first I thought this was a good idea, but because it uses a phone it might fall under the rule of taping phone conversations, even if you're recording a public event.  Might be legal, might not...

          BUT, if you did do this, one could also do this with any cell phone on the receiving end on speakerphone, with a good regular mic held right up to the speaker.  Works better than you might think.

          Remember to put the receiving phone on MUTE!  It wouldn't be good to hear your voice coming out of my shirt pocket shouting, "WE GOT THEM!" when I'm trying to be casual.

          Even so, the real mic should be tried, if possible.

          •  yes, though for video... (0+ / 0-)

            Your method is fine if you want to do audio only and do it from a distance, and you can also buy a recorder connector from Radio Snack that matches the audio on the landline to the recording device.

            Acoustic coupling with a tape recorder mic next to a speakerphone speaker will work but you have to not only mute the speakerphone's mic, but also you have to not make any noise in the room where you're recording.  Otherwise your "Whoopie!" will get on the tape and that's not so good when you bring it into court:-)

            The reason for my cellphone-to-cellphone setup was, it assumes your other person is parked in the parking lot and discretely video taping the whole thing through the windshield.  Thus they would need a cellphone to get the up-close audio to go on the video tape.  

    •  are you there, OC? (0+ / 0-)

      If so..what happened the next day? In the papers? Radio?

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