‘Legislative terrorists’: Far-left Democrats push Pelosi to strip Israel aid from funding bill

Far-left Democrats, including members of the “Squad,” successfully pressured House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday into stripping military aid to Israel from a bill to keep the federal government open past Sept. 30. 

Progressives opposed an attempt by Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, to include more than $1 billion for Israel’s Iron Dome within the stopgap government funding measure the House is set to pass Tuesday. 

The missile defense system, which Israel increasingly has relied on against Islamist efforts to kill its civilians, intercepts short-range rockets fired from as far away as 40 miles.

Far-left Democrats argued that they could not back the funding bill if it included military aid to Israel, accusing the Jewish state of perpetrating genocide against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. 

“Let Israel end the blockade, end the occupation, and end apartheid,” the Council on American-Islamic Relations said in a statement. “Until then, American taxpayers should not give the Israeli apartheid government another dime in military aid, much less another billion dollars thrown into the budget at the last minute.” 

Moderate Democrats, like Rep. Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, opposed the push to strip funding, arguing that the Iron Dome was vital to the security of Israel and its people. 

“The Iron Dome protects innocent civilians in Israel from terrorist attacks, and some of my colleagues have now blocked funding it,” said Mr. Gottheimer. “We must stand by our historic ally — the only democracy in the Middle East.”

Given that Democrats narrowly control the House, Mrs. Pelosi cannot afford to lose more than three members on a vote. 

That reality forced the speaker to acquiesce to the progressives, who had more votes against funding the Iron Dome than moderates had in favor. 

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, Connecticut Democrat and Appropriations Committee chairwoman, said that stripping $1 billion from the stopgap measure for Iron Dome would not “interrupt” funding for the program. 

Instead, she said Democrats would work to insert the money into the annual defense spending bill, where it is likely to receive bipartisan support. 

“The Iron Dome will be included in the final, bipartisan and bicameral fiscal year 2022 Defense bill,” said Ms. DeLauro.

Progressive Democrats have long attempted to defund federal support for Israel. Earlier this year, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan introduced legislation that would prevent the Biden White House from selling more than $753 million in precision-guided weapons to Israel

Republicans say the schism among Democrats over the Iron Dome underscores the difficulty Mrs. Pelosi has in keeping her majority together.

“I have heard that they are in complete disarray right now over these initiatives,” said Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama, the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee. “There are problem children on the Democrat side, just [like] we have problem children on the Republican side, that are looking for any excuse to be against anything defense-related.” 

Mr. Rogers added that the tactics far-left Democrats used to force Mrs. Pelosi to strip funding for the Iron Dome were reminiscent of the terrorist groups that would benefit most from the move. 

“They’re legislative terrorists, who don’t mind killing the hostages,” said Mr. Rogers. “These bills are the hostages … they’re not here to govern and make things happen.”

The dust-up over Israel came as House Democrats prepared to vote on a short-term funding measure to keep the government open past Sept. 30. 

Mrs. Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, plan to link the stopgap measure to a suspension of the federal debt ceiling. Democrats say that suspending the cap on how much the federal government could borrow to pay for expenditures, like bureaucratic salaries and Social Security, was needed to avoid a default on U.S. debts.

“Since 1960, the debt ceiling has been raised approximately 80 times under both Republican and Democratic administrations and under both unified and divided government,” said Mr. Schumer. 

Republicans say that if Democrats are content to pass President Biden’s $3.5 trillion spending bill on party-line votes, they should be responsible for raising the debt ceiling to make that spending possible. 

“What we’re not prepared to do is to relieve the Democratic president, the Democratic House and Senate from their governing obligation to address the deficit,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican. 

Mr. McConnell is urging Democrats to deal with the debt ceiling using budget reconciliation. The process, which Democrats are using to pass Mr. Biden’s $3.5 trillion package, allows some spending and tax measures to avoid a filibuster and pass with a simple majority of 51 votes. 

Democrats are unwilling to entertain the idea as it would for them to specify a new, higher ceiling. Many, especially vulnerable Democrats already facing tough reelection bids, don’t want to be on record for raising the federal debt above the current limit of $28.5 trillion. 

Given that reality, Democrats have coupled the debt ceiling increase with funding for the federal government and emergency disaster relief. They hope the mash-up will be enough to pressure Mr. McConnell and Republicans to capitulate.  

Republicans say the Democratic brinkmanship could just wind up shutting down the federal government and causing the U.S. to default on its debts for the first time in federal history. 

“You know you don’t have the votes in the United States Senate,” said Rep. Tom Cole, Oklahoma Republican. “If any of you think you’re going to break Mitch McConnell on this, good luck with that.”

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Democratic lawmakers attempt to revive eviction moratorium despite legislative, legal setbacks

Democratic lawmakers are attempting to reinstate an eviction moratorium, despite the previous one lapsing without any congressional intervention.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) introduced legislation Tuesday that would implement an eviction ban via the Department of Health and Human Services.

According to the Associated Press, the bill would direct the HHS Secretary to institute an eviction moratorium due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases. This new law would also revise current federal law by permanently granting this type of authority to HHS to implement during times of a national health crisis. 

The Supreme Court’s conservative majority at the end of August allowed evictions to resume across the United States, barring the Biden administration from enforcing a temporary ban ordered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“This pandemic isn’t over, and we have to do everything we can to protect renters from the harm and trauma of needless eviction, which upends the lives of those struggling to get back on their feet,” Warren said in a statement. “Pushing hundreds of thousands of people out of their homes will only exacerbate this public health crisis, and cause economic harm to families, their communities, and our overall recovery.”

Bush, who has long advocated for the continuation of the eviction moratorium, said the recent surge in cases from the Delta variant is reason enough to institute a new moratorium.

Eviction filings have steadily increased since the end of the moratorium, but experts don’t expect a surge of evictions until later this year.

The bill has gained the support of over two dozen Democratic lawmakers so far.

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North Carolina legislation requiring legislative approval of lawsuit settlements heads to Cooper

A bill that requires legislative leaders to sign off on lawsuit settlements involving the North Carolina General Assembly is on its way to Gov. Roy Cooper.

Senate Bill 360 targets collusive settlements, also known as settle-and-sue cases, that challenge the state’s laws or constitution. The legislation was filed in response to a legal settlement that changed election the rules ahead of the November election.

According to law, when the state is named in a lawsuit, the governor represents the executive branch, and the General Assembly leadership represents the legislative branch.

“No public servant is immune to the need for checks and balances,” House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, said in a statement. “When the Speaker of the House and President Pro Tempore of the Senate are named as parties to a lawsuit, they must be involved in any settlement agreements. Our current attorney general has repeatedly excluded the General Assembly in settlement agreements, often choosing politics over his duty to defend our state constitution.”

The House approved the measure, 58-47, on Wednesday. It was approved by the Senate, 28-21, in April.

Backers of the bill said North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein and the state election board’s September 2020 settlement with the North Carolina Alliance for Retired Americans and seven voters was a collusive settlement.

The plaintiffs sued the state for changes in the voting process to protect older voters from the spread of COVID-19.

Republicans said the agreement was made in secret, without the knowledge of two of the defendants, Senate Leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, and Moore. They also argued the settlement was unconstitutional since it changed state law after previous failures to change similar rules. Republicans, including former President Donald Trump’s campaign, challenged the settlement up to the U.S. Supreme Court.

State Board of Elections Executive Director Karen Brinson Bell and Democratic lawmakers argued the settlement changed election rules, not laws. Democrats also called the bill a legislative overreach since it aims to take the election board’s decision-making power away.

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Biden, Pelosi, and Schumer Discuss Next Steps in Advancing Democrats’ Legislative Agenda

President Joe Biden met with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday about advancing what Democrats are calling their Build Back Better Agenda, including the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package which expands the federal government and the smaller $1.9 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill.

The White House said the three had a “positive discussion.”

“The three discussed their ongoing coordination and outreach around making the case for building an economy that delivers for the middle class, and those seeking to get there, and not just those at the top by passing an historic tax cut for middle-class families and small businesses while cutting the costs of prescription drugs, care for children and older Americans, education, housing, and healthcare while tackling the climate crisis,” the White House said in a readout of the conversation.

“They also reaffirmed that, as we act at this crucial moment to ensure working families are dealt back into our economy, it is only fair that we pay for these tax cuts and investments by repealing the Trump tax giveaways to the wealthiest Americans and big corporations, who often pay little to nothing in taxes,” the readout said.

Pelosi joined the two virtually from England where she traveled this week to participate in the G7 Heads of Parliament Conference, which began Friday, in Chorley, England.

Speaker Pelosi also spoke to students at Cambridge University on Thursday and told them that while the bipartisan infrastructure bill negotiated by Biden with a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators is good, it does not get to the heart of their agenda, which is economic and climate “justice.”

“And it’s a triumph for the President that he got a bipartisan bill, but we have to have much more on climate and the reconciliation bill, or else in my view, we would be in dereliction of duty, to not be thinking of how you build back better,” said Pelosi. “So, again, as I said in my opening remarks. So much of what we do has to be about justice. And with these bills, it’s about economic and environmental justice so we’re very excited about it so that’s what I’m on the phone living with all night.”

Pelosi told the students her committee leaders were given a short timeline to have their portions of the budget reconciliation package written and ready for advancing and they have.

“But we’ve met our goal. Our goal was by September 15 to have our bills written, and they are, and now we just have to reconcile with the Senate, because, they have different rules, and we hope to be on schedule for it all.”

President Joe Biden speaks during an event with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (L) and United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson (R) in the East Room of the White House in Washington, on Sept. 15, 2021. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Biden and Schumer joined Pelosi by phone while Pelosi was overseas meeting with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The White House readout also said the three discussed passing a continuing resolution to fund the government before funding runs out at the end of September as well as actions that can be taken to raise the debt ceiling.

Biden has urged Congress to raise the debt ceiling in a bipartisan effort, but Republican leader Senator Mitch McConnell says they will not help Democrats spend money the U.S. does not have, especially since Americans are already feeling the effects of inflation.

“No, Republicans won’t have any input into the massive, reckless taxing and spending spree that will stick middle-class families with higher costs, lower wages, and a socialist country they didn’t vote for,” McConnell said of the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget bill. “But Democrats do want Republicans’ help with one thing. They want us to help raise their credit limit to make it happen! They want us to help clear the path for their partisan, job-killing agenda which we oppose.”

He went on to say, “Let’s be clear. The debt suspension that just expired in August automatically covered the borrowing that had accumulated before that date. This is a discussion about the future. This isn’t the last four years when we were reaching bipartisan government funding agreements, bipartisan appropriations, and bipartisan COVID bills. Democrats are making different choices. They want to make policy all by themselves. So, they can come up with the financing on their own as well,” McConnell said.

“The Democratic leaders have every tool and procedure they need to handle the debt limit on a partisan basis, just like they are choosing to handle everything else,” McConnell concluded.

Meanwhile, Democrats say it is both party’s responsibility and that over $5 trillion of that debt was added under former president Trump.

“These are bipartisan responsibilities, especially given that a substantial debt was run up during the previous administration in pursuit of COVID relief and other measures, that received bipartisan support,” the administration said, according to the readout. “Any suggestion by Republicans that they will shirk their responsibility is indefensible.”

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Joint legislative committee examines Tennessee bail reform

The use of cash bail has gotten significantly higher over the past 30 years, said Jasmine Hess of the Vera Institute of Justice.

As recently as 1990, more than two-thirds of people charged with felonies in the U.S. were released without cash bond, Hess said. In Tennessee in 2019, however, 25 counties reported they did not release any of those in jail on signature bonds instead of cash.

Hess was one of 25 presenters who addressed the Joint Senate Judiciary and House Criminal Justice Committee to Study Bail Reform, which heard more than nine hours of testimony over two days of meetings on the topic this week.

“Money bond is not supposed to be the default response,” Hess said. “That is what has been happening.

“It can make people more likely to rely on the safety net. It can make someone more likely to be re-arrested. If someone has money bond set in their case and they sit in jail even for a short amount of time while their grandmother or their husband or their parents scrape together the money to bail them out, not only does that cost counties, but the collateral consequences are increasing the longer they sit trying to come up with that money,” Hess said.

The committee heard testimony on how bail affects jail populations, data on pretrial releases on bond and prior case law and how closely Tennessee’s judges are following state law.

“What we know is that, if there are changes to be made in this system, it’s not one big thing,” said Rep. Michael Curcio, R-Dickson, co-chair of the joint committee. “What I’ve learned is that it’s probably a million little things. We want to review how our process is supposed to work now under current law and, if we see deviations from that across the state, it’s important to compare that back.”

General Sessions Judge Lynda Jones said there is a “huge difference” in how the court systems work in Davidson County surrounding Nashville compared with rural counties, which sometimes can share a judge or have someone besides a judge, such as a court clerk, assigning bond. She called bond a “nuanced, complicated issue.”

“Please remember that, whatever you decide, people of color have been disproportionately impacted for generations,” Jones said. “Numerous studies have showed that wealthier people are more likely to be exonerated on pre-trial while people in poverty have more convictions and would remain in jail and plead guilty more often simply to get out of jail.

“They can lose their employment after only three days of work. Misdemeanors are considered minor offenses so why are people in jail waiting on a misdemeanor offense?”

Rep. Vincent Dixie, D-Nashville, asked several of the presenters their thoughts on algorithms used to determine bail based on risk factors. Hess and others believe that they can be biased against those with lower incomes.

David Connor of the Tennessee County Services Association said 4,000 people were in Tennessee county jails at the end of July awaiting trial on misdemeanor charges, while there were 10,000 in on felony charges.

“That’s costing counties approximately $16,000 a year for counties to operationally have that bed,” Connor said. “So, we are spending more operationally than we are on kids for our K-12 school system, for the most part.”

Connor said around one-third of Tennessee counties have built or expanded jails in the past 10 years with more in the process of expanding, while an increasing percentage of those being housed are pretrial holds.

“We seem to be going in the opposite direction as a lot of places,” Connor said.

Some solutions presented included a text message reminder system for court dates, such as the one currently used by the Davidson County Sheriff, instead of using cash bail.

Jenna Bottler of the Justice Action Network said the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled “excessive bail” is considered bail that is higher than “reasonably calculated to fulfill the purpose of assuring the presence of the defendant.”

Bottler said the data showed increased recidivism, or odds of a return to jail, when defendants who don’t need to be held are held on cash bail.

While the committee is looking at potential statute changes, Rep. William Lamberth, R-Portland, said it was clear the state’s statutes have been deemed constitutional, and a larger issue might be how courts are following the laws.

“Over and over and over again, for decades, our statutes have been upheld,” Lamberth said. “If there is a way to get that message out there, I am all for it. The application of it has lagged behind.”

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Pennsylvania governor recalls secretary nomination amid legislative election probe

Gov. Tom Wolf recalled his nomination for acting Secretary of State Veronica Degraffenreid on Monday after alleging that Senate Republicans would not vet her fairly amid the chamber’s controversial election investigation.

“It is clear that instead of providing advice and consent on my nominee for Secretary of the Commonwealth, they instead plan on using her confirmation as an opportunity to descend further into conspiracy theories and work to please the former president [Donald Trump] by spreading lies about last year’s election, instead of working together to address real issues facing Pennsylvanians,” Wolf said in an emailed statement to reporters on Monday.

The administration pointed to a series of hearings scheduled before both the Senate State Government and Intergovernmental Operations committees that will delve into concerns raised about the integrity of the November 2020 election as proof of the lawmakers’ true intentions.

The latter committee will meet Wednesday — at the insistence of Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R-Bellefonte) — to vote on whether it should subpoena the Department of State for documents and testimony regarding its election administration practices.

Corman has long blamed the department, led by former Secretary Kathy Boockvar until February, for offering contradictory and confusing guidance to county officials in the days before the election that led to a disparate application of the rules statewide. He and other Republicans said the investigation isn’t about overturning results, but rather will help them fine-tune the state’s election laws and restore their constituents’ faith in the process.

He also pointed to other “colossal failures” from the department — including a botched constitutional amendment and the insertion of “misleading language” into proposed ballot questions about the governor’s emergency powers — as raising just some of “the many legitimate questions” senators have about the agency’s performance over the last year.

“We have the constitutional responsibility to provide advice and consent, not to be a rubber stamp for the administration,” Corman said. “There would not be a need for many of these hearings if they did their jobs fairly and honestly.”

The subpoena threat follows months of internal struggle among Senate Republicans about how best to proceed with an Arizona-style forensic election audit in Pennsylvania. Degraffenreid sent a directive to all 67 counties in July warning them against allowing unauthorized access to their voting equipment. Doing so, she said, will trigger decertification of the machines and cost counties millions in replacement fees.

Wolf said Monday the investigation is nothing more than a campaign of lies and misinformation “all in service of protecting Donald Trump’s feelings about his election loss.”

“Just last week, Senator Corman appeared on Steve Bannon’s radio show to accuse acting Secretary Degraffenreid of hiding something, threatening subpoenas for noncompliance before she had the opportunity to even respond,” he said. “These smears on a dedicated public servant are desperate and utterly baseless.”

Degraffenreid, he added, served as director of election operations for the North Carolina State Board of Elections, where she led efforts to modernize that state’s voter registration system and its election administration. She also worked for the North Carolina Department of Justice where she “specialized in redistricting and election-related litigation.”

“It is clear that the Senate Republicans have no intention of having a rational conversation about the leadership of the Department of State or our election systems,” Wolf said.

Corman noted that even though the administration recalled Degraffenreid’s nomination, the Senate “is under no obligation to honor that request.”

“The acting secretary’s threats against counties and her refusal to participate in bipartisan election hearings will be considered by the Senate Republican Caucus as we plan how to proceed with her nomination,” he said.

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Third Texas special session to begin Sept. 20 with five legislative priorities

Gov. Greg Abbott has called a third special legislative session to convene Sept. 20 with five priorities for the legislature to address.

Each special session is 30 days, and the governor can call sessions consecutively for as many months per his discretion, according to the state constitution.

Notably, this session the legislature will begin redrawing congressional maps to accommodate an additional two seats Texas will receive due to its increased population. Hearings began this week to start the process ahead of the special session.

“The Texas Legislature now has the opportunity to redraw legislative and congressional districts in accordance with the new census numbers,” Abbott said in a statement. “In addition to redistricting, there are still issues remaining that are critical to building a stronger and brighter future for all Texans.”

Redistricting involves the legislature passing bills to divide Texas into districts used to elect members of the Texas House of Representatives, the Texas Senate, the State Board of Education, and the U.S. House of Representatives.

Among the other agenda items are two that didn’t pass during the second special session. They include the legislature providing input on how Texas will spend billions of dollars in federal money it received through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The funding will go toward health care, nursing homes, vaccine administration, education and many COVID-related programs.

Another measure that didn’t make it through previous sessions was SB29, which relates to prohibiting students from competing in University Interscholastic League athletic competitions designated for the sex opposite to the student’s sex at birth.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who leads the Senate, asked for the bill to be included in the special session. The bill failed in the House after Speaker Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont, appointed a Democrat who opposes the bill to chair the committee overseeing it. Rep. Harold Dutton, D-Houston, chair of the Public Education Committee, prohibited the bill from making it out of committee.

“We still have unfinished business to complete on the Fair Sports for Women and Girls Act,” Patrick said. “The Senate has passed that bill four times, and it has failed in the House.” Prior to Labor Day weekend, Patrick asked the governor to add the bill to the special session, saying then, “we will pass it again.”

Last month, in the wake of controversy surrounding vaccine mandates, the governor said he would add the issue to the special session agenda, saying vaccination requirements has traditionally been decided by the legislature.

On August 25, Abbott issued an executive order maintaining the current policy prohibiting the mandating of any COVID-19 vaccinations by any government entity in Texas. He also said the legislature should determine whether any state or local governmental entities could mandate individuals to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and, if so, what exemptions should apply.

“Vaccine requirements and exemptions have historically been determined by the legislature, and their involvement is particularly important to avoid a patchwork of vaccine mandates across Texas,” he said.

The final legislative item on the list is similar to SB 474, which passed the regular legislative session but was vetoed by Abbott. It concerns the unlawful restraint of a dog.

Notably absent from the third special session agenda is a legislative priority Abbott added to the second session: passing legislation to reform quorum requirements so that no future legislature could be hijacked by politicians who break quorum.

Former state legislator and Dallas businessman Don Huffines, who is running against Abbott in next year’s gubernatorial primary, said after a 140-day regular session and two 30-day special sessions that the legislature still failed to pass several conservative reforms voters elected them to pass.

He’s called on the legislature to address 20 issues, including providing substantial property tax relief, reforming the Texas Disaster Act of 1975, ending corporate welfare and taxpayer-funded lobbying, imposing term limits, passing quorum reform legislation, building a physical wall along the entire Texas border with Mexico, among others.

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Evidence of Legislative Corruption in Washington State: Skagit County Election Integrity Group Calls for Forensic Audits

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All eyes are on Arizona, yet the fight for honest elections is raging not only in the battleground states. From New Hampshire to Colorado, election integrity groups are rising, even among the Democratic strongholds such as Washington State.  

On August 29, in the rural town of Burlington, situated in Skagit County on the western side of the picturesque Evergreen state, a burgeoning group of Washington lawmakers convened to address what happened in Washington’s November 2020 elections.

The Skagit County Public Hearing on Election Integrity, a free event that lingered well into the Saturday-night dinner hour, drew in more than 500 concerned citizens and featured a panel of elected officials, including Washington State Representatives Vicki Kraft (R-Vancouver), Jim Walsh (R-Aberdeen), Rob Chase (R-Liberty Lake), Bob McCaslin (R-Spokane Valley), and Robert Sutherland (R-Granite Falls).

Several election-integrity experts were also present, notably mathematician Dr. Douglas Frank and cyber-engineer Draza Smith, both of whom exposed widespread voting irregularities in the national and local 2020 elections.

Bill Bruch, chairman of the Washington State Republican Party Election Integrity Committee, who was defeated by his Democrat opponent in the 2020 race for State House Representative by a narrow margin of 738 votes, organized and emceed the event, telling The New American that the program was “a lot of work and very controversial.”

Washington is one of five states that now conducts elections solely via mail-in voting. The others include Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, and Utah.

The argument that mail-in voting crushes any possibility of ever having secure and free elections is shared by many in the state. Yet, as Bruch commented:

I don’t think there’s any chance for mail-in voting stopping. But this is where we can make gains nationwide, to say [to other states], don’t do this!

We need to get the legislature and the governor to change the law, which went into effect in 2011, but with a Democrat supermajority, it’s impossible. Without a county auditor on our side, it’s impossible.

Democrat operatives know that is the strategy. But now they know they are being caught cheating.

The Courage to Expose the Fraud

Several whistleblowers gave their testimonies on Saturday, shining light on overwhelming evidence of corruption at the state level, exposing agencies such as the Department of Licensing (DOL) and the incompetence of current policies in place in county elections processes. They also focused on the failures of county auditors to take swifter action to prevent fraud and to tighten election rules to ensure cheating is an all but impossible task.

Former Skagit County Prosecutor K. Garl Long, in an interview with whistleblower Patti Johnson, asked the retired, 19-year DOL service representative how her work has been impacted by the state’s Motor Voter Registration law, effective July 2019–September 2023. This law allows anyone obtaining a Washington State driver’s license the opportunity to register to vote.

According to state law, Johnson was required to register people to vote. When asked if she was required to check if the person was eligible to vote, she said, “We weren’t allowed to do that,” adding “we would have documents in front of us, and we knew they [the applicants] weren’t American citizens. They weren’t eligible to vote, and if we asked them the question, ‘do you want to be eligible to vote?’ and they said yes, we were required to click the box and they were registered to vote.”   

Johnson explained that in the fall of 2018, a new system was put in place that had the voter registration box checked automatically. Moreover, driver’s license applicants could register multiple addresses with the DOL. Proof of U.S. citizenship was not required, and, according to Johnson, the agency waffled on policies requiring proof of address. “At times, they [applicants] did have to prove their addresses; at times they didn’t have to prove their addresses, mostly they didn’t have to prove their addresses.” she said.   

In addition, Johnson shared stories of felons registering to vote, urged to do so by DOL supervisors, and that the motor-voter law allowed for later and later voter registrations. She described how during the 2020 presidential election people flooded the agency at the last minute to register to vote. “This has never happened in any election that I have seen, and I’ve been with the agency 19 years,” said Johnson.

Today’s Mob Law

Lackadaisical training and selective enforcement of policies, explained Johnson, are responsible for the shoddy registration system. Johnson complained regularly and often to her supervisors, but she was told it wasn’t her job to check an applicant’s citizenship; that was the job of the auditor.

Asked why she decided to come forward now, Johnson said, “during all those years I watched this stuff happen, [if I would have spoken up,] I would have been fired, I would have felt the wrath of talking about it.” Expressing an urgency to clean up Washington voter rolls, Johnson said, “I don’t believe that the DOL should be the agency registering people to vote. It’s not my job to figure out who is a citizen or not.”

Another brave whistleblower, San Juan County Election Official Rene Polda, told The New American that “it’s very concerning that a computer counts all of our ballots and that no humans do it…. I realized that many people probably don’t know how our elections are done, and they should. I have contacted Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman’s office [with my concerns], but they have told me everything was fine.”  

A resident of Friday Harbor, Polda volunteered during the 2020 general election to oversee the elections process in San Juan County, serving on the “A-team” group of volunteers, traditionally equally represented by both Republicans and Democrats.

“Several years ago,” explained Polda, “Democrat election officials would count the Republican official’s counted pile of ballots, and the Republicans would count the Democrat’s group of ballots. Today, all the A-te

am does is open the envelopes and feed ballots into the electronic voting machines to be scanned.”

“He who controls the computers controls the results of the elections right now,” said Polda, who recommends a return to hand-counted ballots. “It’s more difficult and more complex, but it would be less corruptible and it’s worth it. Otherwise, why vote?”

Polda doesn’t think the local clerks are the problem. “I don’t think they are intentionally trying to cheat. Supervisors were very confident in the competency of the computers counting the ballots…. [However,] convenience does not always equal transparency. If we don’t have honest and fair elections, we don’t have a United States.”

Skagit County canvasser volunteer Nancy Oczcowitz, and former Washington state assistant auditor Jenni Kammeyer presented their findings, followed by a Q&A from the panel of legislators and Skagit County commissioner Rob Wesen.

Oczcowitz reviewed thousands of citizen affidavits involving potential voter fraud. Kammeyer delved into the private funding of elections by Big Tech giants such as Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan, as well as the poor transparency of elected officials and the impact of House Bill 1068, legislation that exempts election-security information from public-records disclosure, effectively halting investigations into any organization pouring millions into so-called election grants.  

Washingtonians Need a Wake-up Call

The resounding message throughout the evening was for Washingtonians to rise up and equip themselves with the knowledge and the tools that will help restore election integrity at the state level. Computer-based voting cannot and should not be trusted. Ultimately, as long as mail-in voting is the only option to vote in this state, election integrity is impossible. Changing this voting law is imperative. Americans must demand honest elections but also heed the 45th president’s advice: Get out and vote, yet continue to fight for reforming a flawed system.

The next election-integrity hearing in Washington State is tentatively scheduled for October 9, in Spokane. Visit the website of the group Washington Election Integrity for details.

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Illinois Republicans ask Pritzker to veto legislative maps

Illinois Republicans want Gov. J.B. Pritzker to veto the legislative maps Democrats passed this week.

Maps drafted in May were passed by majority Democrats at the statehouse. Despite calls from civic groups asking that lawmakers wait until the final Census data was released, Gov. J.B. Pritzker enacted the maps. Republicans criticized the governor for going against his campaign promise to veto partisan legislative maps.

Democrats said they drafted and passed maps based on estimates to meet a constitutional deadline of June 30 for the legislature to act. Final data from the Census wasn’t released until mid-August, months tardy because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A special session to revise the maps was held Tuesday in Springfield. A status hearing was held Wednesday in the federal lawsuit Republicans filed this summer challenging the legislative maps.

House Deputy Minority Leader Tom Demmer, R-Dixon, noted on the House floor Tuesday Illinois’ population decline. Those remaining, he said, were left out of the process to draw new political lines for the next ten years by the Democratic majority in the House.

“Seventy-three people went behind that closed map room door and 12,812,435 other Illinoisans were literally shut out,” Demmer said.

But there’s one person Republicans say can block the maps: Gov. J.B. Pritzker. They’re again urging the governor to abide by a campaign promise to veto maps drawn by politicians.

“I hope that Gov. Pritzker rights your wrong with a veto of this politician-drawn map, but unfortunately given the recent history I’m not confident of that, because this Democrat majority continues to prove over and over again that you care more about your personal power than the people you represent,” Senate Minority Leader Dan McConchie said on the Senate floor.

Pritzker’s office didn’t return messages seeking comment.

Senate President Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, said all Republicans have done is sue Democrats.

“We’ve never seen any of your plans, we’ve never seen any of your maps produced by the minority party,” Harmon said. “Where are those maps?”

Republicans say they didn’t draft maps in May because final Census data wasn’t available. They also contend it’s beyond the June 30 deadline for lawmakers to act and a bipartisan commission must take over the process.

Change Illinois Executive Director Madeleine Doubek said in a statement the organization hopes the courts will “force the correction of lawmakers’ callous political mapping calculations.”

“Twice in a matter of months, Illinoisans have seen their overwhelming pleas for independent and transparent mapmaking utterly ignored by those elected to represent them,” Doubek said. “Their maps make a farce of democracy and their mapmaking process was a charade. Illinois lawmakers have effectively demonstrated the clear and compelling need to end gerrymandering once and for all.”

Democrats said the maps are fair, in bounds and represent the diversity of the state.

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Hochul working with New York legislative leaders to call special session on eviction moratorium

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said Friday afternoon that she’s in talks with state legislative leaders to call a special session to address a U.S. Supreme Court ruling Thursday on eviction moratoriums.

“I am in talks with the Senate Majority Leader and Assembly Speaker to call a special session to address the impending eviction crisis, given the Supreme Court’s decision,” Hochul said in a statement. “Our teams will be working through the weekend to address how best to deliver relief to renters and homeowners in need as quickly as possible.”

Late Thursday, the Supreme Court justices ruled, in a 6-3 decision, that the Biden administration’s national ban on evictions was unconstitutional. The unsigned decision said that it was up to Congress to decide whether to issue a moratorium.

New York’s state eviction ban is set to expire Aug. 31. The ban was implemented in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic as workers were advised to stay home to avoid spreading the virus and companies issued layoff notices while the economy largely shut down.

Since then, the economy has largely reopened, although some sectors are still struggling, but thousands of renters who benefited from the eviction moratoriums may be unable to pay their back rent once the moratoriums expire. Congress has provided billions of dollars for rental assistance, but in many states – and in New York especially – that money has been trickling out slowly , leaving many renters in jeopardy of being evicted.

Landlords have also suffered during the eviction moratorium as many renters could not or chose not to pay rent, and New York Republican leaders sent a letter Friday to Hochul and other state officials urging the administration to take steps to address the delays in issuing rental relief funds.

“Senate and Assembly Republicans have for months been urging the previous Governor’s office and Majority Democrats to release these vital funds to assist both tenants and landlords,” Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt said in a news release. “The new Governor recently said that she is ‘not at all satisfied’ with the rent relief program, and that distributing the funds would be a top priority for her administration. I agree, and urge the new administration to make these funds accessible.”

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., joined a group of other Democratic lawmakers in sending a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urging them to take up a bill for a renewed national moratorium on evictions.

“Millions of people who are currently at risk of eviction, housing insecurity, or face becoming unhoused desperately look to their elected representatives to implement legislation that will put their health and safety first and save lives,” the group of lawmakers said in a statement. “As your fellow colleagues, we implore you to act with the highest levels of urgency to advance a permanent legislative solution in a must pass legislative vehicle in order to extend the life-saving federal eviction moratorium for the duration of the deadly global health crisis.”

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