North Carolina election officials are looking into voter fraud after a crosscheck of registration databases found that 35,570 voters who cast ballots in 2012 may have also voted in other states in the same election year:
State Board of Elections Executive Director Kim Westbrook Strach said North Carolina’s check found 765 registered North Carolina voters who appear to match registered voters in other states on their first names, last names, dates of birth and the final four digits of their Social Security numbers. Those voters appear to have voted in North Carolina in 2012 and also voted in another state in 2012.
The crosscheck also found 35,570 voters in North Carolina who voted in 2012 whose first names, last names and dates of birth match those of voters who voted in other states in 2012, but whose Social Security numbers were not matched.
“A lot of states don’t provide last four SSN, or they don’t have that information,” Strach explained.
Additionally, the analysis found 155,692 registered North Carolina voters whose first and last names, dates of birth and final four Social Security number digits match voters registered in other states but who most recently registered or voted elsewhere.
The crosscheck is limited to the 28 states that participated in the Interstate Crosscheck program, so it’s quite possible that there more instances of double-voting in North Carolina that are going unnoticed.
Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has been making headlines with his comments on the Senate floor. Calling citizens liars, acting on behalf of the Koch brothers was round one, followed by a denial that he’d ever said that.
While generally despicable, this sort of commentary from Reid is not uncommon. Some might explain it away by pointing out that he’s getting old, and has been in Washington for too long. This sort of situation definitely makes a case for term limits, however that’s a debate for another time.
No, perhaps it is time to revisit a time-honored portion of the Constitution that Senators and Representatives have enjoyed — arguably has kept quite a few, like Reid, from facing legal issues over statements they have made.
Article I, Section 6 of the Constitution protects them from facing legal action for statements that they make on the floor of either house. While it’s idealistic to think that the Framers intended this to prevent problems arising from unintentionally erroneous statements, that probably wasn’t the case. Even then, politics was a blood sport, so they wanted the freedom to beat each other verbally without any restrictions against lying about each other — or the public.
Reid, if one does not buy senility or insanity as an excuse, has been trying to elevate this practice of fibbing on the floor to an art form. His latest target was fellow member Tom Coburn, and Reid definitely is reaching for new depths with this one. Coburn is a medical doctor and is battling cancer.
There is some good news and bad news for Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) in the latest SurveyUSA poll out of North Carolina. Her approval rating has rebounded slightly, but she trails each of her potential Republican challengers.
The good news for Hagan is that SurveyUSA shows her approval rating on the rebound, though slightly. The poll, conducted from March 27-31, finds that 38% of North Carolina voters approve of her job performance, up from 34% in mid-March.
Hagan’s numbers improved across party lines with the biggest jump coming from independent voters, though she’s still underwater among this bloc (35/49). Her negatives, however, are still high. Fifty percent (50%) disapprove of her job performance, a slight drop from the 54% recorded in the previous poll.
The bad news for Hagan is that she trails each of her Republican challengers among likely voters, though most of her potential opponents are within the poll’s 2.6% margin of error.
State House Speaker Thom Tillis, the frontrunner for the Republican nomination, leads Hagan by a razor-thin, 1-point margin (46/45). Greg Brannon (47/45), Heather Grant (46/44), and Ted Alexander (46/44) each lead the Democrat by 2 points. Mark Harris holds a 4-point lead over Hagan (46/44), the largest among her Republican challengers.
The mid-March poll didn’t pair Hagan against her Republican challengers.
Tillis still holds a lead among Republican primary voters, though his support dropped since the last poll, from 28% to 23%. Brannon takes 15%, the same as the previous poll.
Facing questions from reporters on Monday about Obamacare enrollments, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney defended the administration’s inability to come up with the number of paid premiums. But there was one particular part of his comments that stood out.
“We are talking about private insurance. This is not a government program,” Carney told reporters. “The contract that you sign if you get health insurance through Healthcare.gov or through a state marketplace is a private contract between you and an insurance company.”
PolitiFact named statements that Obamacare is “a government takeover of healthcare” as its “Lie of the Year” for 2010. The fact checker, however, only examined the statement through the most basic lens.
“‘Government takeover’ conjures a European approach where the government owns the hospitals and the doctors are public employees,” Bill Adair and Angie Drobnic Holan wrote in December 2010. “But the law Congress passed, parts of which have already gone into effect, relies largely on the free market.”
It’s true that the Obamacare relies on private insurance companies participation in the state and federal exchanges. It’s also true that enrollees are entering into private contracts with insurers for coverage. But that doesn’t mean that Obamacare isn’t a government program.
Individual mandate: In a true free market, individuals decide for themselves if a product or service best suites their needs. Taking the politically convenient loopholes out of the equation, the individual mandate exists to coerce Americans into purchasing health plans.
In a 5 to 4 decision, the Supreme Court struck down aggregate limits on how much an individual can give to candidates and committees in an election cycle.
Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote the plurality-backed opinion, noted that the “case does not involve any challenge to the base limits,” meaning that individual-to-candidate contribution limits still apply. Those limits were upheld in Buckley v. Valeo (1976), which, the opinion states, “serv[e] the permissible objective of combatting corruption.”
“We conclude, however, that the aggregate limits do little, if anything, to address that concern, while seriously restricting participation in the democratic process,” wrote Roberts. “The aggregate limits are therefore invalid under the First Amendment.”
Before McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, an individual could give up to $48,600 to candidates and another $74,600 to political action committees and/or political parties in each election cycle. Shaun McCutcheon, a businessman from Alabama, challenged the caps on political giving, arguing that the limitations were a violation of his free speech rights.
Roberts concedes that the federal government has a “strong interest” to combat corruption, but he goes on to explain that “this interest must be limited to…quid pro quo corruption.”
Image credit: Ellen Carmichael
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) rolled out House Republicans’ FY 2015 budget proposal yesterday. The latest iteration of the “Path to Prosperity” seeks to balance the federal budget in a decade, reform Medicare, and repeal Obamacare.
“This is a plan to balance the budget and create jobs, and it builds off a simple fact: We can’t keep spending money we don’t have,” Ryan said in a statement from the House Budget Committee. “This budget provides relief for families. Too many Americans struggle to make ends meet, while Washington continues to live beyond its means. It’s irresponsible to take more from hardworking families to spend more in Washington.
“Today’s proposal—The Path to Prosperity—shows that it’s not too late to tackle our country’s most pressing challenges,” he continued. “By cutting wasteful spending, strengthening key priorities, and laying the foundation for a stronger economy, we have shown the American people there’s a better way forward.”
Yesterday’s FCC meeting was unabashedly pro-cable and anti-broadcaster. The agency decided to prohibit television broadcasters from engaging in the same industry behavior as cable, satellite, and telco television distributors and programmers.
The resulting disparity in regulatory treatment highlights the inherent dangers in addressing regulatory reform piecemeal rather than comprehensively as contemplated by the #CommActUpdate. Congress should lead the FCC by example and adopt a “clean” approach to STELA reauthorization that avoids the agency’s regulatory mistakes.
The FCC meeting offered a study in the way policymakers pick winners and losers in the marketplace without acknowledging unfair regulatory treatment. It’s a three-step process.
- First, the policymaker obfuscates similarities among issues by referring to substantively similar economic activity across multiple industry segments using different terminology.
- Second, it artificially narrows the issues by limiting any regulatory inquiry to the disfavored industry segment only.
- Third, it adopts disparate regulations applicable to the disfavored industry segment only while claiming the unfair regulatory treatment benefits consumers.
The broadcast items adopted by the FCC yesterday hit all three points.
The FCC adopted an order prohibiting two broadcast television stations from agreeing to jointly sell more than 15% of their advertising time using the three-step process described above.
When President Barack Obama stood before the media to defend NSA’s surveillance programs in June, his words reassured Americans that federal agents were not listening to their calls and that the content of their emails was not being read. He stated that the only thing that the agency was actually doing was to look at the duration of calls and specific phone numbers.
By suggesting that the NSA was not capable of examining the contents of emails and calls, President Obama misled the population, or at least that’s what a letter written by the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, has confirmed.
According to the letter sent to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), the NSA used legal authority to obtain data and search for Americans’ details within the agency’s database. According to Clapper, the queries into details pertaining to US persons that were used to obtain further information on non-US persons were carried out lawfully. All procedures were reportedly consistent with what FISA court had already approved.
According to Clapper’s letter, looking for specific data on foreigners by performing searches that made contents of emails and phone records of US persons accessible is also consistent with the fourth amendment.
Section 702 of the FISA Amendment Act covers most of the bulk collection of records carried out by the NSA. According to Clapper’s interpretation of the Section 702, agents can collect data pertaining to phone or email of US persons without an individual warrant. This procedure takes place when agents have reasons to belief foreign persons are holding the communications as well.
DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) says “there’s no specific bill” that would “fix” the issues with Obamacare. In fact, she says there are no glaring problems with the law that come to her mind.
In a segment yesterday on MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown, host Chuck Todd asked Wasserman Schultz for an example of problems she would address legislatively, or, as the host said, “Give me a bill right now you would introduce to address a problem.”
“Well,” the DNC chair said, “there’s no specific bill, actually, right now that I would [introduce].” Todd followed up asking, “You don’t view, there’s a legislative problem, do you, that needs to be fixed?”
Wasserman Schultz claimed that the issue with addressing problems with the law is because Republicans won’t sit down at the table with the Obama administration and congressional Democrats. That’s an ironic comment. Democrats passed Obamacare without Republican support in both the House and the Senate.
American Commitment is calling out Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) for his hypocritical attacks on libertarian-leaning billionaires who have engaged in the political process. The conservative action organization has produced a new ad that ties Reid to Tom Steyer, a big-dollar Democratic donor aiming to bring down the Keystone XL oil pipeline:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is accused in a new ad of hypocrisy when it comes to decrying the influence of billionaire donors in politics.
“The hypocrisy of Harry Reid disparaging successful Americans on the floor of the U.S. Senate, while he helps Democratic senators collect campaign contributions from shadowy, dirty energy billionaires is astonishing,” Phil Kerpen, the president of American Commitment, said in a statement. “If Harry Reid believes anything he says, he should stand up to the Steyer brothers and help the American people by supporting the Keystone Pipeline and opposing new energy taxes that only benefit special interests.”
A spokesman for the group told The Daily Caller that the $50,000 ad campaign will run online starting Tuesday in battleground Senate states like Louisiana, North Carolina, Arkansas and Michigan. These states are places where the Democratic Senate Majority super PAC is attacking the billionaire Kochs for pouring money into groups that are running ads against liberals.