A criminal investigation regarding a video sting reported by WND that caught the field director for Democratic Rep. Jim Moran’s campaign in an apparent conspiracy to commit election fraud has been initiated by the Arlington County Police Department in Virginia.
Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck told WND that the department has been made aware of the video sting conducted by James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas and launched the investigation just an hour ago.
“Our detectives assigned to the case will probably reach out to the video producers,” he told WND.
The investigation could lead to prosecution by the commonwealth attorney, Theothani Stamos.
As WND reported, Patrick Moran, the son of the congressman, resigned Wednesday after the video 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.
A spokesman for Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli told WND yesterday that his office would need a request from the local commonwealth attorney or a unanimous vote of the state Board of Elections to take on the case.
Sternbeck said the Arlington County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office has been made aware of the video.
He said the police department learned of it yesterday through media reports.
Patrick Moran is being investigated for a possible “election offense,” Sternbeck said.
He acknowledged that the investigation could result in a charge of conspiracy to commit voter fraud.
It’s possible, he said, that any decision to prosecute could take weeks, which would mean the next announcement about the case from his office might come after the Nov. 6 election.
Yesterday, Cuccinelli’s office accepted another election case and called for legislation that would give him concurrent authority with local state attorneys to “investigate and prosecute election law violations without awaiting a formal request from any other entity.”
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.
Just a joke?
WND made numerous attempts to obtain comment from Patrick Moran and his father’s campaign but received no reply.
In a response to Politico, Moran insisted the whole interchange with the undercover reporter was a joke to him. He explained that he stepped down “because I do not want to be a distraction during this year’s critical election.”
He asserted “at no point have I, or will I ever endorse any sort of illegal or unethical behavior.”
“At no point did I take this person seriously. He struck me as being unstable and joking, and for only that reason did I humor him,” Moran said.
“In hindsight,” he said, “I should have immediately walked away, making it clear that there is no place in the electoral process for even the suggestion of illegal behavior, joking or not.”
The campaign issued a statement saying Moran “is well-liked and was a well-respected member of the campaign team.”
“This incident, however, was clearly an error in judgment. The campaign has accepted Patrick’s resignation, effective immediately.”
Jim Moran, 67, a controversial figure in Congress, 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.
His son was videoed by the undercover reporter Oct. 8 at the Cosi Restaurant in Arlington, Va., just across the Potomac River from the nation’s capital.
The Project Veritas video shows the undercover reporter posing as a citizen concerned that the Democratic Party might lose power in the upcoming Nov. 6 elections. The reporter explains to Moran that he had been apolitical but got his girlfriend pregnant and was concerned about the political threat to the funding of “reproductive services.”
The reporter, who approaches Moran at the restaurant, says he has a friend who found the names of 100 Virginia residents who have been registered the past three elections but have not voted.
Moran initially thinks the reporter’s intent is to offer the registered voters a ride to the polling place on Election Day to ensure they cast their ballots.
But the reporter states he and his friend actually want to vote in the name of the Virginia residents.
The conversation goes like this:
Reporter: There are 100 people who don’t vote. He’s looking for two guys to help him with. …
Patrick Moran: Crank it out?
Reporter: Yes. He’s got a van and he and me were going to go around. …
Patrick Moran: Rally these people up and get them to the polls.
Reporter: Well, he was actually going to get in a van and vote for them.
Patrick Moran: Ohhhh
Reporter: I know, but –
Reporter: It’s scary, but I’m not. … I don’t want to lose, and I’m frightened.
Patrick Moran: Yeah.
Later, Patrick Moran explains to the undercover reporter that new state voter ID laws will make his effort more challenging.
In Virginia, a new law requires identification but allows a broad range of forms of verification, including utility bills, bank statements and library cards.
Moran suggests creating fake utility bills to serve as voter ID. But he warns that there will be “a lot of voter protection” at the polling places to enforce the identification laws.
“So, if they just have the utility bill or bank statement – bank statement would obviously be tough … but faking a utility bill would be easy enough,” Moran says.
The reporter asks: “How would you do that?”
“I mean, I would just find, I don’t know,” Moran replies. “I guess. …”
“Microsoft Word and type it up,” offers the reporter.
“Yeah, something like that,” says Moran.
Moran emphasizes that the poll workers will be “trained up” on the new law to protect voters and “be cracking down.”
If there’s any trouble, he says, an Obama for America lawyer, or another Democrat lawyer, will be on hand to provide help, he said.
“You’ll have somebody in house, that if they feel that what you have is legitimate, they’ll argue for you,” Moran says.
But he warns the reporter that the utility bill has “got to look good.”
Later, at the Arlington County Democratic Party office, Moran advises the reporter to contact the registered voters on the list to make sure they don’t plan to cast a ballot Nov. 6. He suggests obtaining the information by posing as a pollster.
As WND reported, earlier this month O’Keefe’s team captured on video a regional director of the voter mobilization group launched by Barack Obama, Organizing for America, helping an undercover reporter vote for the president in two states.
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.”
The group’s previous effort in Texas, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut shows Obama campaign workers, including Organizing for America Regional Field Director Stephanie Caballero, helping people who declare they want to commit election fraud. The investigation was inspired by a column by WND columnist Chuck Norris.
Caballero was fired shortly after the Project Veritas video was released.
Media requests to interview James O’Keefe can be made via [email protected]