Ex-Lobbyist Convicted For Corruption Is GOP's New 'Voter Fraud' Expert

A former lobbyist convicted in the Jack Abramoff congressional lobbying scandal has found a new line of work while still on probation: becoming a spokesman and self-appointed expert on allegedly rampant illegal voting by Democrats, according to an excellent report by Ryan Reilly in Talking Points Memo.

The ex-lobbyist, Horace Cooper, has authored a 'paper' for the right-wing National Center for Public Policy Research that recites a litany of instances where Democrats allegedly impersonated voters or thousands of non-citizens were on voter rolls. Needless to say, Fox News has treated this report as serious scholarship.

In fact, it's trash and typical of the right-wing echo chamber, where old allegations that were never proven are recycled and recited anew--such as claim by the Colorado secretary of state that more than 10,000 non-citizens are on his state's voter rolls. That assertion was debunked by the Denver Post. Another similar assertion is from New Mexico's secretary of state, who claimed that 10 percent of the ballots cast in that state contained 'irregularities.'     

This playbook is nothing new. In 2004, I was at a congressional field hearing in Ohio when an activist Republican lawyer, Thor Hearne, appeared on behalf of a new organization that nobody had ever heard of--The American Center for Voting Rights. He presented the House Administration Committee's GOP chairman Bob Ney (who later was run out of office in a corruption scandal) with a thick document alleging Democrat-perpetuated voter fraud.

At the time, no other voting rights organization in the country--in any party--claimed that voter fraud was a problem. Hearne, with the help of Karl Rove, created the ACVR to make a 'case' for policing the process, which is a time-tested euphemism for creating barriers for voters who are likely to support your opponent. Most of Hearne's voter fraud examples were later debunked, but as we see today the right's beliefs about voter fraud persist despite an extensive factual record to the contrary.

Horace Cooper is now retracing Hearne's footsteps and claiming that stricter voter ID laws will protect low-income voters and communities of color. Only in American politics can an convicted lobbyist in a bribery scandal resurface as peddler of debunked political myths and be given national airtime on television--on Fox News.

As Reilly writes, "Cooper may not have any expertise on voter fraud, but he does know a thing or two about falsifying documents." 

AlterNet / By Steven Rosenfeld

Posted at August 3, 2012, 10:21am