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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

 
Swift Balloting 2008

by digby

In case there's anyone who doubts that this gambit to change California's electoral college votes is anything but a standard, GOP dirty trick, this should put them to rest:

Lawyers behind a California ballot proposal that could benefit the 2008 Republican presidential nominee have ties to a Texas homebuilder who financed attacks on Democrat John Kerry's Vietnam War record in the 2004 presidential campaign.

Charles H. Bell and Thomas Hiltachk's law firm banked nearly $65,000 in fees from a California-based political committee funded almost solely by Bob J. Perry that targeted Democrats in 2006. Perry, a major Republican donor, contributed nearly $4.5 million to the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth that made unsubstantiated but damaging attacks on Kerry three years ago.

The Perry-financed committee in California, the Economic Freedom Fund, continued to spend money this year, mostly on legal expenses tied to an ongoing legal dispute in Indiana over phone calls made to voters in 2006. It lists the Sacramento law office's address as its home and its Web site directs contributions to the firm, Bell, McAndrews & Hiltachk. In addition, Bell serves as the committee's treasurer.

Hiltachk has been pushing a proposal to revamp the way California awards its electoral votes, a change Democrats claim would rig the 2008 race. He and Bell are the sole officers of a new political committee, Californians for Equal Representation, that is raising money to place the plan on the ballot in June.

Their success could hinge on whether they get the financial backing to collect more than 400,000 petition signaturesneeded to qualify the proposal for the ballot. And while Perry has not donated to their cause, his wealth and connections make him a potential financier for a drive that could cost more than $1 million. Running a statewide campaign would cost millions more.

Democrats are working to defeat the effort and already have lined up supporters such as Hollywood producer Stephen Bing, whose credits include the 2000 "Get Carter" remake with Sylvester Stallone.

Supporters say the vote-change plan could open a new era of fairness in presidential contests. But the law firm's link to Perry and other Republican candidates and causes will make it difficult to separate the proposal from partisan politics.

Bell, McAndrews & Hiltachk is one of the most politically involved law firms in the state. According to a news story on its Web site, Bell keeps a life-sized cardboard image of President Bush in his office. Federal records show the firm does legal work for a host of political committees, most with Republican or business ties.



They really couldn't be more obvious.

I suspect this is as much mind fuck as anything, and perhaps a simple desire to force Democrats to spend money on something they don't want to spend it on, but you cannot take that for granted. These people have no compunction about cheating. They've shown that. Look what it got us in 2000. And if they succeed again, the press will just laugh and giggle about haircuts and cleavage and tell everyone to get over it. Just like last time. And the time before. And the time before that.


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