Saturday, October 20, 2012

Mike Kelly (R-PA) Tied to Voter Fraud Arrest, Continued Lack of Leadership And Ethics


Brad Friedman--on the case

Colin Small, 23, of Phoenixville, PA was arrested Thursday night for throwing thousands of Democratic voter registration forms away in a dumpster. He now faces eight felony and five misdemeanor counts related to voter fraud. Republicans are always claiming they're looking for voter fraud-- and they finally found it... in the mirror, as usual. According to the Los Angeles Times, Small was “working as a supervisor as part of a registration operation in eight swing states financed by the Republican National Committee,” run by a company called Strategic Allied Consulting (owned by Romney operative and notorious election fraudster Nathan Sproul).  When questions arose about Strategic’s practices, including allegations of “submitting forged forms and of dumping Democratic registrations” in Palm Beach County, Florida, the RNC fired the company, at which point Small and his team were re-hired by the Republican Party of Virginia. Small’s online LinkedIn resume states that he is employed by the Republican National Committee and previously worked for multimillionaire teabagger Mike Kelly, a loudmouthed, self-entitled avatar of Greed and Selfishness.

While working as an intern for Kelly last year, we can only guess what college student Small learned, or, more to the point, did not learn. Predictably, it seems that his experience in this professional work environment did not instill any notion whatsoever of ethics in him. We already knew that this was the most bitterly partisan and unproductive Congress yet, but now we see the effects that our elected leaders are having on the next generation. Kelly and his like-minded staffers must not have taught Small about honesty, integrity, or the principles of democracy, like equal representation, the right to vote, and the right to free speech.

Kelly is focused on a constituency of one, himself. He has millions tied up in oil and gas stocks, so he works tirelessly to push through pro-fracking legislation to line the special interest lobbyists’ pockets and his own. He owns a car dealership that sells Hyundais and Kias, so, of course he pushed for the South Korea Free Trade Agreement. Small’s online resume claims he helped work on the research for the free trade agreements, that means he was witnessing first-hand the self-enrichment schemes of his boss at the expense of American workers and on American taxpayers’ dime.

The current Republican Party does not have any good policy ideas to offer the American people right now. They do not want to come to the table and negotiate new policies that will benefit our country. Instead, they rely on worn-out and discredited ideas like tax breaks for the “job creators,” which is simply a reworked version of trickle-down economics that never reached the middle class. Knowing that they can’t convince voters with these poor policies, they are trying to cheat the election process by predetermining who can and cannot participate on Election Day.

Again and again, Kelly has remained silent instead of showing the courage and moral fortitude to stand up and speak out against the forces in his party who are steering this country in the wrong direction. He did not speak out against Pennsylvania State Representative Mike Turzai when he “spilled the beans” that Voter ID was merely an opportunity to deliver Pennsylvania for Mitt Romney. He remained silent when local Republicans violated free speech and tore down a Democratic group’s billboard in support of his opponent, Missa Eaton. He was also silent when Rep. Todd Akin made his infamous remarks regarding "legitimate rape." This pattern demonstrates Kelly’s lack of ethical leadership and unwillingness to use his office for democratic and just purposes. It is unfortunate that this behavior is now appearing in the younger generation of the Republican Party, as evidenced by Thursday’s arrest.

The arrest goes much further than Colin Small though. It really is a Republican Party-wide issue. This is the party whose standard bearer, Gov. Mitt Romney, hired a paid consultant named Nathan Sproul, who is an almost universally recognized as a “shady” character. Sproul was recently in the headlines for the voter fraud scandal in Florida, where his company had been hired by the Republican National Committee. It is yet to be determined if Sproul owns the company that hired Small, but both are using similar methods to thwart people’s right to vote. Their tactic is to purposefully misrepresent themselves as a non-affiliated pollsters and ask who the potential registered voter plans to support. If the person answers “Obama,” the employee moves on to the next person. If someone answers, “Romney,” then they are offered a chance to register. This allows the employees to register only Republicans in states like Virginia that do not have voters identify their party preference.

If we fail to elect leaders who are not afraid to debate the real issues, who are not afraid to face the voters-- all of the voters-- then we are going to sink into even pettier politics. We have complex problems that need thoughtful debate and aggressive action. It is clear to me that Mike Kelly is not that kind of person, but Missa Eaton IS that kind of leader. If you'd like to help Missa replace Kelly in Congress and help clean up and reform an institution that really needs clean-up and reform, you can find her on this page supporting Prosperity as opposed to the Austerity (Voodoo) agenda being pushed by Paul Ryan and Mike Kelly.

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