Elections

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  • Like clockwork: Conservatives return to baseless voter fraud allegations

    ››› ››› KAREN FAMIGHETTI

    Continuing a pattern in which media conservatives stoke fears about election fraud by Democrats, Bill O'Reilly baselessly raised the specter of voter fraud in Washington state and Illinois in the midterm elections. In fact, voter fraud occurs infrequently, and many of the past claims by the conservative media that election fraud took place have been false.

  • Gasparino becomes third Fox Business personality to debut a 2010 election platform

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    Appearing on Fox News' Happening Now, Fox Business' Charles Gasparino explained what he felt should be the criteria for voters to make their electoral choices this November:

    Gasparino says that while he doesn't "endorse parties," voters should support candidates who voted "against the bank bailouts" and "believe we should have lower taxes," and let markets run the show, not government run the show." This makes Gasparino the third Fox Business hostto lay out a platform that details how he feels voters should make their decisions this fall.

    A few days ago Fox Senior VP for Business News Neil Cavuto debuted his "2010 Platform," while Fox Business anchor David Asman has been asking guests to sign on to the "Scoreboard Pledge." All three platforms are of a conservative nature, asking for such initiatives as "no new taxes" (Asman), "lower taxes" (Gasparino), and "raising retirement age for Social Security" (Cavuto).

  • UPDATED: Fox News ethics watch: Does Palin have a presidential endorsement quid pro quo in place?

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    On August 20, Sarah Palin endorsed Joe Miller in the Alaskan Republican senatorial primary, which Miller went on to win.

    Yesterday, Alaska-based progressive blogger Jeanne Devon released what she said was a leaked e-mail from Sarah Palin's husband Todd to Miller and Sarah Palin PAC treasurer Tim Crawford. In the e-mail Palin appears to respond negatively to Miller's non-answer after Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace asked him during a September 19 interview, "Do you think that Sarah Palin is qualified to be president, and would you like to see her run?"

    In the e-mail, Palin says:

    Hold off on any letter for Joe. Sarah put her ass on the line for Joe and yet he can't answer a simple question "is Sarah Palin Qualified to be President". I DON'T KNOW IF SHE IS.

    Joe, please explain how this endorsement stuff works, is it to be completely one sided.

    This raises a few questions and concerns about Sarah Palin and her role at Fox News. For instance, here is Palin touting Joe Miller during an August 30 appearance on Fox News' Hannity:

    The e-mail from Todd Palin, if authentic, seems to confirm that Sarah Palin is at least doing some early work towards running for president in 2012, while being employed by and regularly appearing on Fox News as a political analyst. At the same time, Palin is promoting candidates like Miller on-air at Fox, and according to the email, her husband at least seems to expect that when asked (by a Fox anchor) if Palin is qualified to be president, they should be answering in the affirmative.

    If that's the case, it would mean Fox News is employing and promoting a presidential candidate while also providing a forum for endorsements of Palin by candidates she promotes on Fox News. There isn't any way such an arrangement could remotely be considered ethical.

    And it gets even worse. According to conservative blogger Robert Stacy McCain, a source "close to Palin" suggests that the e-mail was leaked from within the Miller campaign by what McCain calls "Huckabee loyalists" in order to discredit Palin. That would be Mike Huckabee, possible 2012 presidential candidate... and Fox News analyst/host.

    Combined with Fox parent News Corp.'s donations to the Republican Governors Association and the Republican-leaning Chamber of Commerce, this is ethics quicksand.

    UPDATE: In a release to The Weekly Standard, Todd Palin confirms the authenticity of the e-mail.

  • Campaign finance watchdogs target Rove's GOP slush fund

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Campaign finance watchdogs Democracy 21 and the Campaign Legal Center are asking the Internal Revenue Service to investigate whether a GOP slush fund promoted by Fox News political analyst Karl Rove "is operating in violation of its tax status because it has a primary purpose of participating in political campaigns in support of, or in opposition to, candidates for public office."

    The campaign group, Crossroads GPS, is the tax-exempt 501(c)(4) wing of American Crossroads, which Rove helped organize. Rove has reportedly been "pitching" the group to "wealthy conservative benefactors around the country."

    In their letter to the IRS, top executives at Democracy 21 and the Campaign Legal Center write:

    The status of Crossroads GPS as a section 501(c)(4) entity allows its donors to evade the public disclosure requirements that would apply if the organization was registered as a section 527 political organization. Section 527 groups are organizations that are "primarily organized and operated" to engage in political activities. By contrast, Section 501(c)(4) organizations are not permitted to be "primarily engaged" in activities to influence elections. They are not required to disclose their donors.

    If, in fact, Crossroads GPS is impermissibly operating as a section 501(c)(4) organization in order to conceal its donors from the American people, the IRS has an obligation to take steps to protect the integrity of our tax laws and to make clear that such abuses will not be permitted in future elections.

    Politico's Ken Vogel notes the letter in an article today detailing how Rove's groups have announced a "massive $4.2 million ad buy," of which "nearly 75 percent" has been paid for by "undisclosed donors."

    The groups aren't partisan, and they don't mess around. In their press release, they note:

    Following the 2004 election, Democracy 21 and the Campaign Legal Center took action against section 527 groups for violating the campaign finance laws. Democracy 21 and the Campaign LegalCenter called for an investigation of two pro-Democratic 527 groups, ACT and the Media Fund, the two biggest spending 527 groups in the 2004 presidential election.

    In response to FEC complaints filed by Democracy 21 and the Campaign Legal Center against the two 527 groups, the FEC entered into conciliation agreements that found that the 527 groups, combined, had spent more than $150 million illegally in the 2004 presidential election. Both groups paid substantial civil penalties to the FEC

    Of course, such penalties, if they are imposed on Crossroads GPS, will likely come long after the 2010 elections are already over.

    It will be interesting to see if Fox chooses to ignore this story altogether, or bring Rove on to spin for his group.

  • Glenn Beck now running his own GOTV operation

    ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Over the past few weeks, Glenn Beck has used his Fox News show to urge his audience to vote and to "[g]et your friends and neighbors to go in record-breaking numbers to vote," warning them of terrible consequences if they failed to do so.