The Anti-Immigrant Hate Groups Behind Trump’s Commission on Election Integrity

First published on: http://crooksandliars.com/2017/06/anti-immigrant-hate-groups-behind-trump-s

NOTE: No links to hate groups will be given in this article.

Trump is once again threatening to get to the bottom of his claim that the 2016 Election was adrift in voter fraud. A curious accusation considering he was declared the winner, but then that is Trump’s character: make up an issue for his supporters to blame their problems on so that they won’t hold his administration accountable. On May 11, 2017, with what has become the Republicans’ preferred method of enacting laws, he signed yet another executive order titled The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. With this order, he has appointed Kris Kobach, Kansas Secretary of State, to investigate voter fraud in every state of the union.

The appointment of Kobach is a strategic move on the part of both the Republican party and the Trump administration. They have no intention of investigating disenfranchisement of voters but instead are hunting for undocumented persons, felons and those who may be registered in more than one state. Kobach is the creator of the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program (Crosscheck) which to date has identified more than 7 million voters that according to Kobach could potentially be committing voter fraud. Of those 7 million, 4 voters were charged with voter fraud but none were convicted.

Crosscheck claims to use full names, date of birth and the last four numbers of voter’s social security numbers to create their list of ne’er do well voters. But some of the 30 states that have utilized the program have complained that the data is faulty and unreliable. Oregon has even stopped using the program for this reason.

An investigation done by Greg Palast for Rolling Stone found that in Michigan, Arizona and North Carolina the number of voters not allowed to vote because of Crosscheck’s purge was far greater than the number of votes Trump beat Clinton by. In other words, it is highly probable that Clinton would have won those states had Crosscheck not been used by the Republican party in those states. Collectively, 1.1 million voters were purged from the voter rolls during the 2016 Election, yet not a single person has been charged with voter fraud.

Further expert analysis of the data by Mark Swedlund, who lists Ebay and American Express as clients, showed that “the outcome is discriminating against minorities,” and that:

  1. ¼ of matches lacked the middle name match
  2. designations such as Jr. and Sr. were ignored when compiling the list
  3. social security numbers and birth dates did not always match
  4. African American, Latino and Asian names were found on the list in higher percentages
  5. Hispanics had 1 in 6 chances, Blacks had 1 in 9 while Asians had 1 in 7 chances of being on the list

But Kobach claims that Crosscheck is about securing our voting systems and not about racism. We are to believe that it just so happens that minorities, who tend to vote for Democrats, are purged at a much higher percentage than their fellow white voters or Republican voters. He wants us to believe that undocumented persons are willing to risk being discovered and deported just so they can cast a vote. That somehow, minorities are more likely to commit the felony of voter fraud than whites. That people are willing to drive from state to state just to cast more than one vote when few people bother to vote in the first place.

Much like Betsy DeVos’ school choice movement, Kobach’s voter fraud claim is made up right wing propaganda at its best. Kobach has a long history of making money off of stirring anti-immigrant fears and is supported in large part by a web of anti-immigrant hate groups. These groups have weaseled their way into Republican politics, the White House and the congress claiming that they have a major base of public support when, as you will see, they are actually only funded by a handful of supporters. These made up causes swear to be grassroots movements, when in fact they are the result of a few wealthy racists pushing their agendas. It has been said that in Washington D.C., movements like school choice and anti-immigrant fears are referred to as “astroturf” and not “grassroots” movements due to their fauxness.

Faux or not, their impact is real.

Kobach’s History of Immigrant Hate

After graduating Yale law school, Kobach became a White House fellow during the Bush administration and worked in the Justice department under Attorney General John Ashcroft. Kobach was instrumental in creating the Muslim registry after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Since then, he’s been on an anti-immigrant binge.

Kobach discovered that there was money to be made in ramping up unjustified fears of immigrants, specifically Hispanic immigrants. He zeroed in on small towns across the country that had large Hispanic immigrant populations. These towns tended to have agricultural or meat packing companies such as Tyson Foods that hired undocumented workers because they could find few Americans willing to do the back-breaking work. Kobach would then contact the town’s representatives and offer to write anti-immigrant legislation for them. At the same time, anti-immigrant hate groups went to work holding rallies and such to misinform the citizens of the dangers of their “boogeyman” immigrant neighbors.

These towns passed laws written or co-authored by Kobach that fined businesses for hiring undocumented workers, fined landlords for renting without checking their clients’ immigration status, forced school officials to check the citizenship of students and so on. Each and every time, the laws were challenged in court by the ACLU. Kobach would then offer his services as a defense attorney. Not only were these towns losing millions in settlement costs, they were having to then pay Kobach to defend them in court. A win-win for Kobach.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and Think Progress, these small towns were forced to spend over $6.6 million as of 2011 defending Kobach’s unconstitutional anti-immigrant laws. Most were overturned and citizens were then forced to pay for the legal bills and Kobach’s defense fees by increasing their property taxes. Towns like Albertville, AL, Freemont, NE, Valley Park, MO, Hazleton, PA, Farmers Branch, TX, Riverside, NJ and Prince William County, VA were used by Kobach and his anti-immigrant hate groups as test runs to see if they could get such legislation passed. Where they failed, they learned and reorganized.

Anti-Immigrant Hate Groups

The father of the anti-immigrant movement is John Tanton, a retired ophthalmologist. The SPLC has identified at least 13 groups that he is either the founder of or has funded. Most have intentionally innocuous names like Project USA or U.S., Inc., and all claim to be concerned about either national security, voter integrity or overpopulation. They profess to support immigration as long as it’s controlled. Above all, they deny their racist motivations and attack anyone who might even suggest such ulterior motives. The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), founded by Tanton, is currently suing the SPLC for saying it is a racist hate group. But one only has to pull the curtain ever so slightly back to find the racist basis of these organizations and of Tanton himself.

In 2008, the SPLC wrote a comprehensive report on Tanton’s writings that were housed at the University of Michigan’s Bentley Historical Library. Contrary to his claims, the SPLC found he regularly “corresponded and sought out relationships with Holocaust deniers, former Klan Lawyers and leading white nationalists.”

In those letters, he discussed topics such as how to make it a law to sterilize women who were having children out of wedlock, how America is losing its European heritage (white) because of immigrants and his belief that Latinos were unable to govern or run advanced societies. He urged FAIR to follow the anti-Semitic teachings of John B. Trevor and supported a limit on immigration from non-white populations. He maintained contact with Jared Taylor, a white nationalist and founder of American Renaissance and endorsed Peter Brimelow of the VDARE website that promotes writers of anti-anything not white. The papers also showed Tanton has corresponded with the leaders of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CofCC), a more gentile version of the KKK. Letters were found between Tanton and CofCC leader Virginia Abernathy, who described herself as a white separatist and Sam Francis, editor of CofCC’s newsletter The Citizens InformerCofCC opposes all things non-white and influenced Dylaan Roof to murder 9 innocent church parishioners in South Carolina because they were black.

And just when you think it couldn’t get any worse, the SPLC discovered memos Tanton wrote in 1986 that were meant for his colleague’s eyes only. In the memos, Tanton fretted about Latino birth rates being too high and wondered if the white race would hand over control of the U.S. because as he stated, “Latino’s are simply more fertile.” He suggested that the American government would be overtaken by Latinos and pondered about them bringing their “tradition of mordida (bribes).”

The memo’s racist rants are being made by the Trump administration and Republican politicians today. Tanton’s talking points specifically addressed how to make their racist opinions more palatable for politicians and quoted many of the nation’s leading racist writers. Tanton even demanded that English be the sole language of the land; Rep. Steve King (R-IA) recently introduced such a bill. Trump’s tactic of pitting Blacks against Hispanics for jobs can be found in this memo as well.

Funding Behind Anti-Immigrant Groups

In order to create the idea that this anti-immigrant movement is a grassroots movement, Tanton and other leaders have been fudging their membership numbers. The SPLC discovered some of their tax filings that showed their membership to be about half of what they claim. Instead, the majority of funding comes from a handful of very wealthy foundations.

Most of Tanton’s hate group money comes from The Colcom Foundation. It was created by Cordelia Scaife May who inherited her wealth from the Mellon family of the Mellon Bank in Pennsylvania. Cordelia was a fan of eugenics, the science of controlling the breading of humans. Today, most Americans associate eugenics with Nazi Dr. Mengele and falsely assume that it died with the Third Reich. Cordelia was concerned that third-world immigrants would take over the U.S. and donated huge sums of cash to a variety of hate groups. Her family continues to run the foundation and has added the Scaife Family Foundation, the Sarah Scaife Foundation, the Allegheny Foundation and the Carthage Foundation. All of these organizations fund Tanton’s web of anti-immigrant groups. To date they have given him over $100 million in donations.

Other million dollar donors that make up the majority of Tanton’s groups include the Sydney A. Swensrud Foundation founded by the former chairman of Gulf Oil Corporation, the F.M. Kirby Foundation who started Woolworths Company, organizational design theorist Jay Galbraith’s Galbraith Foundation and the W.H. Donner Foundation created by William Donner, founder of Union Steel.

How Tanton’s Groups Support Kobach

In 2004, Kobach became a member of FAIR and its legal counterpart, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) as its counsel. Both of these groups were founded by John Tanton and he is directly involved in their daily functions as can be seen in the internal memos discovered by the SPLC. When Kobach ran for Congress in 2004, a political action committee run by Tanton’s wife, US Immigration PAC, donated $10,000 to his campaign. According to the FEC, donors to the US Immigration Reform PAC are a who’s who of top anti-immigrant, eugenicists and white nationalists such as Tanton himself, Cordelia May and Elizabeth Van Staaveren (Oregonians for Immigration Reform and writer of anti-immigrant blogs). The PAC gives to other fanatical anti-immigrant writers and candidates such as Tom Tancredo, former Colorado representative well known for his racist and anti-immigrant rants, (Tancredo’s successor of anti-immigrant rhetoric in the House of Representatives Steve King (R-IA)) and Peter Grimm, an anti-immigrant conspiracy theorist writer.

Further investigation into Kobach’s failed 2004 congressional run found that Cordelia May donated $4,000 directly to his campaign. Other donors with ties to the anti-immigrant movement included:

  1. Steve Poisner – founder of CA Charter School Association and one time CA gubernatorial candidate.
  2. Tom Tancredo
  3. Doyle and Brenda Mannschreck – Kobach’s in-laws who hired Kobach to sue Nebraska’s Board of Regents for allowing undocumented aliens to use in-state tuition pricing when attending universities.
  4. Eagle Forum PAC – created by Phyllis Schlafly, extreme far right group that opposes all immigration and supports English only laws.


Kansas records for Kobach’s secretary of state races show contributions from leaders of these immigration hate groups founded and funded by John Tanton:

  1. Alfred Doyle – FAIR Board of Advisors
  2. Curtin Winsor – FAIR Board of Advisors
  3. Barnaby Zall – FAIR attorney, US Immigration Reform PAC treasurer and Pro English member
  4. Catherine Engelbrecht – founder of True the Vote that trains far right-wing supporters to stand outside voting polls to find undocumented immigrants voting.
  5. Danielle A. Cutrona – Jeff Sessions’ former chief counsel and Trump transition team member on immigration.
  6. Dino Joseph Druni – FAIR Board of Advisors
  7. Donald Barnett – Fellow at Center for Immigration Studies
  8. Donald Collins – Ex-Chair of FAIR, writer for VDARE
  9. Eagle Forum PAC – anti-immigration and English only supporters
  10. Garrett R. Roe – attorney for Immigration Reform Law Institute
  11. Gary Wagner – anti-immigration blog writer
  12. Henry Buhl – ex-VP of FAIR and founder of Coalition for a Secure Driver’s License
  13. Howard Foster – attorney who writes articles supporting anti-immigration
  14. Isabel Lyman – writer of “The Victims of Illegal Immigration” published by John Tanton’s The Social Contract Press
  15. John Rohe – VP of Colcom Foundation, a member of Tanton’s U.S., Inc. and John Tanton biographer.
  16. Joseph Guzzardi – FAIR Board of Advisors
  17. K.C. McAlpin – president of U.S., Inc., Pro English, ex-director of FAIR and FAIR Board of Advisors.
  18. Lindsey Lyons – former mayor of Albertville, Alabama who helped Kobach pass anti-immigrant laws.
  19. Michael Hethmon – Immigration Reform Law Institute counsel
  20. Michael McLaughlin – spokesman for Utahns for Immigration Reform and Enforcement
  21. Norbert Bikales – husband of Gerda Bikales, Pro English Board of Emieritus and Holocaust survivor
  22. Paul Nachmann – FAIR Board of Advisors
  23. Team America PAC – Tom Tancredo PAC
  24. Robert Vandervoort – ex director of Pro English
  25. US Immigration and Reform PAC – donations come from immigrant hate groups and their supporters.
  26. William A Fields – Center for Immigration Studies and FAIR advisor
  27. Brian Bilbray – former CA representative that thinks he lost election because of undocumented workers voting; lobbied for FAIR.

What the Trump Commission on Voter Integrity is Really About

Members of John Tanton’s hate groups now dominate the Trump administration. As a Vice News article by Tess Owens points out, attorney general Jeff Sessions is a supporter of FAIR and has even been presented awards by the group for his aggressive anti-immigrant legislation. Kellyanne Conway owns Polling Company, Inc. and has done a variety of work for Tanton’s various groups.

Not to be left out, Stephen Miller, friend and classmate of Richard Spencer of alt-right fame, is reported to have close relationships with FAIR members. Julie Kirchner, former executive director at FAIR, was appointed by Trump as chief of staff at US Customs and Border Protection without having any experience in law enforcement or the government’s immigration system itself. Then there’s Representative Lou Barletta, the former Hazleton, PA mayor who worked with Kobach on that anti-immigrant law and was a member of the Trump transition team. Barletta is also a FAIR advisor as well.

Even the disgraced former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, has ties to anti-immigrant hate groups. SPLC reported that he was an advisor for ACT for America, an anti-Islamic group. Trump’s CIA director, Mike Pompeo, has spoken at two of their conventions.

John Tanton’s creation of this web of immigrant hate groups is not illegal. After all, Trump has yet to kill the 1st Amendment of the Constitution. People are free to join and support these groups, and Kobach has not committed any crimes by accepting their financial support or by representing them.

However, Americans need to be educated on who and what is actually behind this anti-immigration movement. The Trump administration would like the country to think this is a grassroots movement, that millions of Americans are behind this effort. As one can clearly see, this so-called movement is simply a well-organized and purposefully connected bunch of hate mongering racists that are creating a fear based following on little evidence so that they can profit financially and gain power.

Study after study has proven that there is no measurable voter fraud being perpetrated by undocumented workers in this country. Even Crosscheck has proven that with not a single conviction. Yet there is plenty of mounting evidence to suggest that Crosscheck and Kobach are actually engaged in violating voters’ rights and denying them the right to representation which is a crime, a felony in fact. Without attorney’s or Democrats willing to fight these groups and their supporters within this administration, expect this blatant disregard and outright violation of voter rights to continue.

Incidentally, Crosscheck is paid for by taxpayer dollars. Citizens are literally paying taxes that are then used to pay for a program that will eventually deny them their right to vote. How is it that one party is allowed to implement a program designed to identify and eliminate the other party’s voters? More importantly, how is that the Democrats ever expect to win another election if they don’t address this issue?

 

How Republicans plan to purge more voters from rolls for 2018 and 2020.

By Jacinta Quesada – This image is from the FEMA Photo Library., Public Domain

Also published on Crooks & Liars and Liberal, Progressive Democrat News. http://crooksandliars.com/2017/02/heres-how-republicans-plan-purge-more

After 9/11, the Bush administration began working on the implementation of a national ID. Its stated purpose was to assist national security agencies in better enabling them to identify terrorists. Though I fail to see how an ID will help them identify terrorists when many attacks in the U.S. are committed by Americans. Nonetheless, the result was a project supported by the conservative think tank, The Heritage Foundation, called the REAL ID Act.

Though the deadline for states to comply has been extended in the past, there is no reason to believe that it will be extended again. About half of the states are already in compliance, and they just happen to be red states. As of January 22, 2018, you will have to have one of these IDs. To obtain this new federal ID, you will need:

  • a valid photo ID or non-photo ID that shows your full legal name and birth date
  • your social security card
  • your birth certificate
  • proof of citizenship (it does not say what this means or why it is needed)
  • two forms of proof of residence such as a utility bill and phone bill

Your state is then required by law to digitally photocopy all of the above documents and attach them to your file. This file is then legally required to be shared with all other states and the federal government to include all government agencies.

Anything that requires a photo ID will require this federal ID. That means you will need one to drive, to fly, obtain a marriage license, to fish, hunt, buy a gun, to rent a car, a hotel room, to buy a cell phone, open a bank account, to apply for a job, buy cold medicine and other prescriptions, go to the hospital, adopt, enroll your kid in school, visit a military base and to visit your representative’s office in D.C. You will also be unable to apply for welfare, food stamps, unemployment, medicaid, medicare or social security without obtaining this new ID.

The REAL ID Act is an unfunded law. This means that states will be required to foot the bill for changing all IDs to federal IDs. And since states are funded by taxpayers, you will have to pay higher fees for those new licenses and ID cards. If you are like me, you will also have to pay for this new ID even though your current one is not expired.

For the most part, the new IDs will look similar to your old one and contain the same information. The difference is in the bar code. All your information will be stored in this bar code to include every time it was swiped and where. The federal government will know every time you rent a hotel room, where and for how long. They will know if you own guns, how many and of what type. The federal government will know what type of meds you take and why. They will be able to track your purchases and movements each and every day.

The real purpose of the REAL ID Act:

At the moment, feds are claiming they won’t be used for voting, but then why collect information on your citizenship if it’s not going to be used for voting purposes? And like I said, most terrorist attacks in the U.S. have been committed by U.S. citizens. Make no mistake, this is one of the main purposes of this federal ID. It was put forth by the party that claims to want less government, less regulations and red tape. But that is only for their businesses and not for citizens. When it comes to voters, the Republican Party and The Heritage Foundation have long touted that less voters means more republicans win.

Mark my words, this is how they will purge voter roles in 2018 and 2020. The 2018 midterms are in November so this ID could be required for that election. The poor, elderly, and minority voters will not be allowed to vote because they could not obtain these new federal IDs. All this time, we thought the closing of DMV centers in black and poor districts was to make it hard to register to vote. That may have been a side benefit, but the actual purpose was to make it as difficult as possible to obtain these new IDs that will be required to vote.

Welcome to the United States of Not So Free After All.

To see if your state has yet complied, go to https://www.dhs.gov/real-id-enforcement-brief.

How to Beat Republicans at Their Own Game

I’m worn out. Trying to keep up with *45 and every ludicrous policy that comes out of his mouth or his stubby little fingers is exhausting. Then add to that his army of evil minions and the greedy, power hungry Republicans in the legislature that would sell not only their souls but their first born to maintain power, and we liberals are starting to feel like we’re swimming upstream with a tractor tire tied to our legs. And they just keep adding to that weight. From nominees that have numerous conflicts of interest and Republican attempts to hide them by limiting the confirmation process, to immigration bans on Muslims, pulling funding from women’s health programs, Russian hacking, *45’s tax returns, violations of Emoluments Clause, pay for play schemes and…and…ughhhh! I need a Valium and a latte.

It’s almost as if they planned it this way. Hmmmm? What to do. What to do.

When I remove my emotions, my anxiety from the onslaught, I see one thing. Regardless of what the opposition is doing, we are being forced into a defensive, reactionary position. This is not a good place to be in since it inhibits action and growth. When you are in this position, all of your energy goes to trying to hold the line. Nothing is left over for a proactive, forward thinking strategy.

Don’t get me wrong. There is a need to work the defensive line. We have to have a defense. Marching for women’s rights and immigrant rights is fundamental to who we are as Democrats, liberals and progressives. It is vital to loudly address the blatant abuse of power we find ourselves in today. Protesting is an American right. It is the one thing politicians are forced to listen to. Consistent, vocal and demonstrative protests force action. Republicans can pass all the laws they want and hide in their offices disconnecting their phones, but they cannot stop the protests. They cannot stop thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of protesters. Let them try. And when their jails are full, they’ll be thousands more to take their place. Besides, being arrested for protesting is on my bucket list anyhow.

By FrigeEnterprises – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

But like any decent sports team, we have to develop an offensive strategy as well. Plus, marching and protesting isn’t everyone’s bag of chips. Some are afraid to protest publicly, and rightly so. We are just steps away from local police becoming immigration agents. If you are not white, public protesting can have a significant risk. Yes it is racist and wrong, but that is the fact of where we are in this country right now.

If you find being on defense all the time too stressful, join the offense. It might not be as sexy as marching with thousands of people, but it is equally if not more important. This is the grunt work that takes dedication and commitment.

The number one most important task for our offensive strategy has to be voting. Nothing will change if we don’t regain control of at least one of the legislative houses. Ideally of course we want both. We must hold our currently elected officials responsible for maintaining a defensive position in regards to new voting restrictions. Any and all laws regarding voting rights put forward by Republicans will be met with a strong, united Democratic front.

The second part of the plan, the offensive part, involves getting Democrats out to actually vote. Since Republicans have rigged the system to disenfranchise our base, we have to construct a plan that works within their regulations. It is the Democratic Party’s responsibility, their mandate, to invest in a plan to make this happen. Districts where disenfranchisement has occurred must be identified. This is more than just sitting at the mall registering voters. Many of these districts, thanks to Republicans, only allow voters to register one day out of the month at a facility that is hundreds of miles away. Add to that ridiculous requirements of multiple forms of identification and other obstacles, and many voters just cannot make registration happen.

I am reminded of how civil rights workers ensured that African Americans were registered to vote in the south during the 1960’s and 1970’s. Today is no different. They worked within the system as it were and so will we today. Starting now, not next year, Democrats have to start organizing to get these people registered to vote. This means volunteers educated in what the registration requirements are for that state, and they must in turn inform voters of said requirements. A combination of using voter rolls and going door to door will identify those in need of assistance. Should voters not be able to get to the registrar of voters, the party will be required to provide assistance. I imagine a volunteer driving a van of those prospective voters on that one day out of the month. If a state law requires a state ID to register to vote and the voter cannot afford the fee, it could be paid for by donations from party members.

The Democratic Party must also develop a plan in regards to Republicans stripping liberal leaning districts of voting polls and actual voting machines. Legislatively our leaders must start putting forth two bills in regards to these blatantly prejudicial laws:

  1. A federal law requiring districts maintain a predetermined amount of polls and working machines per the percentage of voters within those districts is mandatory.
  2. A federal law is needed stating that any registered voter in line before posted closing hours is allowed to vote.

I realize these are not likely to pass the current Congress. However, I believe in the strategy of submitting bills regardless of their likelihood of passing. This will inform the American voters what exactly the Democratic Party stands for. It will also show them that the Republican Party does not want Americans to vote. Start calling and visiting your representatives and local Democratic Party office. Demand that they start submitting these two bills.

On election day 2018, “follow through” is the name of the game. Volunteers and organizers must be prepared to get people to the polls even if that means driving them there. They must also have a team in place at polling sites in these troubled, Republican manipulated districts. Any and all reports of voter disenfranchisement must be documented.

Go to your local Democratic Party office an volunteer to register voters.

Once we win back the legislature, we can begin the offensive strategy to undo all the damage *45 and the Republicans have done.