Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is aware of the undercover video that captured Democratic Rep. Jim Moran’s campaign field director conspiring to commit voter fraud, but by law, he cannot act without a formal request from another entity, the AG’s spokesman told WND.
Cuccinelli, nevertheless, has voter fraud on his radar, agreeing Wednesday to accept another election case and calling for legislation that would give his office concurrent authority with local state attorneys to “investigate and prosecute election law violations without awaiting a formal request from any other entity.”
As WND reported, Patrick Moran, the son of the congressman, resigned Wednesday after a video by James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas showed him advising an undercover reporter how to fraudulently cast ballots in the name of registered voters by forging utility bills and relying on the assistance of Democrat lawyers.
Project Veritas is known for its hidden-camera probe of the controversial national community organizing group tied to Obama, ACORN.
Meanwhile, former Federal Elections Commission member and Justice Department official Hans von Spakovsky told WND after seeing the video that both the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia and Cuccinelli’s office should investigate.
“Under federal law, attempting to solicit fraudulent votes is a federal felony, and it appears that is exactly what may have happened in video,” he said.
Von Spakovsky, who was nominated to the FEC by President George W. Bush in 2005, previously served as a counsel in the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, where he focused on voter eligibility and voter fraud. He led the department’s approval of a Georgia law requiring voter ID that was opposed by Democrats who believed it would disenfranchise African-American voters.
He praised O’Keefe’s undercover work.
“He’s doing a service, because he is pointing out the vulnerabilities in our system,” said von Spakovsky, now a senior legal fellow with the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.
Patrick Moran announced his resignation Wednesday afternoon insisting he was only trying to “humor” the undercover reporter but decided to step down, anyway, “because I do not want to be a distraction during this year’s critical election.”
Jim Moran, 67, is a controversial figure in Congress who has been criticized for his collaboration with Islamic leaders with ties to terrorism. In 2003, Moran, then a regional whip in the House of Representatives, was punished by House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi after he suggested Jews were responsible for the push for war against Iraq.
‘Will not be tolerated’
Cuccinelli’s communications director, Brian Gottstein, explained to WND that under Virginia law, the attorney general’s office cannot open an investigation without a unanimous request from the State Board of Elections or a request from a local commonwealth’s attorney or a local electoral board.
Gottstein said Cuccinelli’s statement earlier Wednesday regarding another allegation of voter fraud applies to the Patrick Moran case.
“Violations of election laws will not be tolerated in the commonwealth,” Cuccinelli said. “Citizens must feel confident that one of our most precious rights — the right to vote — is protected and that the electoral process is a secure and democratic one. We will do everything we can to ensure that.”
In the other case, the Virginia State Board of Elections held a special meeting Wednesday and requested Cuccinelli’s office look into allegations of voter registration dumping in Rockingham County.
Cuccinelli promised his office would perform a thorough investigation.
“In performing our duties in this matter, we look forward to working with local authorities and the state police to root out any and all violations of law that may have occurred.”
Cuccinelli’s office said the attorney general supports legislation that “would allow the Office of the Attorney General to work across all jurisdictions with law enforcement and local prosecutors to investigate and punish violators.”
The commonwealth attorney for the city of Arlington, where Patrick Moran was videoed, Theothani Stamos, did not reply to WND’s request for comment.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s press secretary, Jeff Caldwell, told WND Wednesday afternoon the governor had not seen the Project Veritas video “and would have no reaction at this time.”
Von Spakovsky, who has been accused of helping generate “the myth” that voter fraud is widespread, noted O’Keefe has issued many other videos that expose various kinds of voter fraud.
“If this was a one-time incident,” von Spakovsky said, “then in all the other undercover videos he has you would expect that the campaign officials, the party officials, would be sitting there and saying to the party operative, ‘Look, you can’t do that. That’s illegal. I won’t be a part of it. We’re not getting that.’
Instead, he said, “We’re getting party and candidate operatives, one after another, saying, “Oh sure, how can I help you break the law and help our candidates?'”
This year, Project Veritas says it has been conducting an ongoing series of investigations in more than a dozen states “demonstrating the ease with which election fraud can be committed and legitimate voters can be disenfranchised.”
As WND reported, in Houston earlier this month, Organizing for America Regional Field Director Stephanie Caballero was fired shortly after Project Veritas released a video that showed her helping people who declared they wanted to commit election fraud.
Von Spakovsky said the Project Veritas videos are reflective of cases he has researched, including one two weeks ago in Vernon, Calif., in which a judge threw out an election result after determining that voters included people who didn’t live in the jurisdiction where they were registered.
He said vote fraud is a bipartisan endeavor, carried out by both Democrats and Republicans, but Democrats are the perpetrators in most of the cases.
Sometimes, he said, it’s Democrats stealing votes from other Democrats.
He noted, however, a recent instance of Republican fraud in which county officials in Kentucky were convicted of buying votes.
He pointed out the particular vulnerability of Virginia’s voter ID law, which, unlike Georgia’s or Indiana’s, does not require a government-issued photo ID.
“There’s a whole long list of documents that can be used, including utility bills, and the whole video has them basically saying, ‘Wow, it’s really easy to create a utility bill with Word on a computer.”
Von Spakovsky noted a 2008 U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding Indiana’s photo-ID voter law made the point that voter fraud can spell the difference in a close election.
“I’m afraid that in a really close election, there are people who might be tempted, in fact, to commit fraud to ensure that their candidate wins,” he said.
Along with requiring a photo ID, von Spakovsky said, states should require proof of citizenship when individuals register to vote.
He also said felons should be prevented from illegally voting by ensuring a statewide, computerized voter registration databases is doing regular data-matching with state corrections records.
Arizona passed a law requiring proof of citizenship to register, but it was ruled invalid by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Earlier this month, however, the U.S. Supreme Court accepted the case for review.
Von Spakovsky said Georgia’s proof-of-citizenship law, which has been implemented for two years, has effectively prevented non-citizens from registering.
Media requests to interview James O’Keefe can be made via [email protected]