PHOENIX - Arizona, at the forefront of last year's effort among state legislatures to require eligibility documentation for candidates seeking office, is returning to the controversy with a proposal by Rep. Carl Seel, R-Phoenix, requiring candidates to sign an affidavit affirming they meet the legal requirements.
The plan was promoted in a news conference yesterday attended by Sheriff Joe Arpaio, whose Cold Case Posse earlier this month detailed how the evidence regarding Barack Obama's eligibility documentation indicates both forgery and fraud.
In addition to requiring a signed affidavit from candidates, Seel's proposal would authorize any citizen with legitimate concerns over a candidate's eligibility the legal standing to challenge it in court.
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The Arizona proposal is similar to a Georgia provision that requires "every candidate for federal" office who is certified by the state executive committee of a political party or who files a notice of candidacy "shall meet the constitutional and statutory qualifications for holding the office being sought."
This year, several individuals challenged Obama's candidacy in Georgia, introducing evidence during a two-hour hearing before an administrative law judge. However, Judge Michael Malihi threw out the evidence and ruled in favor of Obama, who, along with his attorney, snubbed the state system and refused to show up for the hearing.
That ruling now is pending before the state Supreme Court, which has yet to hear arguments in the case.
The new plan in Arizona, where Gov. Jan Brewer last year vetoed a bill to require eligibility documentation, would impose a penalty for perjury on those who sign a qualification statement but were found later to be ineligible.
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The bill, HB2480, has passed the Senate Government Reform Committee.
Arpaio was at the news conference to urge legislators to advance the measure.
"Something has to be done," he said, citing a lack of cooperation from other law enforcement agencies as well as a "blackout" by major media across the U.S.
He commended the legislation's sponsors and supporters for their "fortitude" to go public with the issue.
Mike Zullo, Arpaio's lead investigator into the Obama controversy, said the evidence reveals that Obama's documentation is "constructed and presented for a purpose."
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"That purpose was to deceive," he added.
He noted that Obama's Selective Service registration card also appears to be manipulated and that a conviction for such an offense could bring a penalty of five years in prison.
The Western Center for Journalism recorded the news conference and posted it online:
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Seel noted that other lawmakers are trying to prevent the bill from even heading to a vote, and an attorney working in the Georgia case explained that it is not the first opposition to develop.
Van Irion of Liberty Legal Foundation said the Georgia Supreme Court's rejection of his request for a delay in the certification of primary election results, despite compelling evidence, proves "that Georgia law does not apply to the powerful."
"Put another way, Georgia laws are enforced against the powerless by the powerful, but when the powerless try to have the laws applied to the powerful the courts protect the powerful," he said.
"This is worse than anarchy. With total anarchy everyone knows that the powerful rule. With anarchy everyone understands that the only rules are the rules that the powerful want to enforce, when the powerful want to enforce them. What we have in Georgia is a system of laws and courts that appear to be fair and claim to be impartial, but in reality the purpose of the laws and courts is to deceive the people into thinking that justice is possible. The laws and courts are a sham. The courts serve to disguise the one-sided enforcement of the law."
He noted that court officials appeared to actively work to obstruct his case, even to the point of refusing to file a motion when his foundation paid a $1 fee to the wrong clerk.
Arizona's new bill would allow citizens to raise a challenge, instead of putting the burden of evaluating documentation from a candidate on the secretary of state, as last year's proposal specified.
This year's bill also applies to "any" candidate.
Seel said nothing could be more nonpartisan than assuring voters that the candidates on the ballot are eligible for the positions they seek, but Democrats in the legislature have opposed it, viewing it as a challenge to Obama during an election year.
Last year, more than a dozen states considered such legislation.
As WND has reported, there exists virtually no mechanism in the U.S. for investigating whether or not a presidential candidate meets the Constitution's Article 2, Section 1, "natural-born citizen" requirement.
Earlier, New Hampshire became the only state to successfully sign into law a bill clarifying eligibility requirements.
But New Hampshire's H.B. 1245, signed by Democratic Gov. John Lynch, merely requires a statement under penalty of perjury that a candidate meets the qualification requirements of the U.S. Constitution, similar to what the political parties already send to states regarding their candidates.
Most of the efforts of the other states ultimately were ignored or tabled by opponents of any proposed legislation to ensure candidates meet the qualifications for their offices.
At the time, Pennsylvania State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, the Republican author of the plan in his state, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, "I wouldn't say [the bill] is specifically in response to Obama," but instead stems from the lack of documentation required for candidates.
"As we know, legitimate questions periodically arise regarding the qualifications of a candidate for public office. What better way to resolve such questions than to require candidates to provide proof of their qualifications at the time they file their nomination petitions or nomination papers," Metcalfe wrote in a memo seeking co-sponsors for his bill. "I believe that this process is one of the many steps that we can take to restore the faith of the voting public in the electoral process."
Among the bills last year:
Arizona: House Bill 2177, which would have required a candidate to submit to the Arizona secretary of state a long-form birth certificate or various other birth proofs in case the candidate doesn't possess such a document, made it further in the process than any of the other bills, save New Hampshire's.
As WND reported, the measure passed through the Arizona Legislature but was vetoed on April 18 by Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, who said, "I do not support designating one person as the gatekeeper to the ballot for a candidate, which could lead to arbitrary or politically motivated decisions."
Connecticut: SB 291, which would have required candidates to provide "an original birth certificate," was referred to the state Senate's Joint Committee on Government, Administration and Elections, where it remained.
Georgia: HB 37, submitted by State Rep. Bobby Franklin, would have required only that candidates provide "original documentation" demonstrating eligibility. On Jan. 24, it was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee, where the state's online records don't even list the bill as having been placed on the committee's agenda.
Indiana: Sen. Mike Delph proposed SB114, which would have required candidates for president and vice president to produce their birth certificates. It as assigned to committee, where it remained.
Iowa: SF 368, proposed by Sen. Kent Sorenson, would have required birth certificates be filed for presidential and vice presidential candidates. It was referred to committee on March 2, subcommittee on March 3, and there it remained.
Louisiana: Rep. Alan Seabuagh and Sen. A.G. Crowe were assured of their governor's signature if they could pass HB 561, which would have required not only those seeking the presidency, but also those seeking election to the U.S. House and Senate, to submit "an original or certified copy of the candidate's birth certificate that includes the date and place of birth, the names of the hospital and the attending physician, and signatures of the witnesses in attendance," among other affidavits verifying residency and eligibility requirements.
HB 561 was referred to House and Governmental Affairs committee on April 25, and nothing has happened on it since.
Maine: LD 34, which would have required candidates for nomination by primary election or petition to provide copies of their birth certificates and driver's licenses, was killed by unanimous vote in committee on March 17. It is now listed as "dead" in the state's Senate files.
Missouri:HB 283, which would have required only "proof of identity and proof of United States citizenship," was given a public hearing on March 1, but was never placed on the legislative calendar.
Montana: Rep. Bob Wagner's HB 205 would have required presidential candidates to file a copy of their birth certificate as well as "documentary proof" of citizenship and residency. The bill died in committee on April 28.
Nebraska: Sen. Mark Christensen's LB 654 sought not only proof of birth, but harkens back to 18th century Swiss philosopher Emmerich de Vattel, who defined natural-born citizenship around the time of the writing of the Constitution as "those born in the country, of parents who are citizens."
LB 654 would have required a candidate seeking the presidency to not only provide a copy of his or her long-form birth certificate, but also proof of his or her parents' citizenship at the time of the candidate's birth and a signed affidavit affirming, "I was born a citizen of the United States of America and was subject exclusively to the jurisdiction of the United States of America, owing allegiance to no other country at the time of my birth. On the day I was born, both my birth mother and birth father were citizens of the United States of America."
The bill was referred to the Nebraska Senate's Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, where it remained.
Oklahoma: State Sen. Rick Brinkley's SB 91 came very close to becoming law.
SB 91 would have required that all candidates – not just those for president – shall "provide proof of identity and eligibility to hold the office." It requires the secretary of state to write up rules to specify the documentation that will be required and mandates that the documents be made available for public inspection.
Referencing Oklahoma voters' strong support for State Question 746, a voter ID ballot measure approved last year, Brinkley said it was sensible that candidates meet the same minimal requirement.
"In November, 74 percent of Oklahoma voters were in agreement that they should have to show an ID and prove who they were and that they were eligible to vote," said Brinkley, R-Owasso. "I believe the voters would agree that those on the ballot should have to do the same thing."
Though a version of Brinkley's bill passed in both the Oklahoma House and Senate, a series of amendments ultimately doomed it.
Pennsylvania: HB 1350, introduced by State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, would have required presidential candidates to provide "proof" of natural-born citizenship.
HB 1350 was referred to House State Government committee, with no action listed, even though Metcalfe is majority chair of the committee.
Tennessee: SB 0366, introduced by Sen. Mae Beavers, also took up the issue of allegiance in the definition of "natural-born citizen," and would have required both "an original long form birth certificate that includes the date and place of birth, the names of the hospital and the attending physician and signatures of the witnesses in attendance" and "a sworn statement attesting that the candidate has not held dual or multiple citizenship and that the candidate's allegiance is solely to the United States."
SB 0366 was referred to committee on Feb. 10, and has remained dormant since.
Texas: HB 295, proposed by Rep. Leo Berman, would have added to the state election code the provision: "The secretary of state may not certify the name of a candidate for president or vice-president unless the candidate has presented the candidate's original birth certificate indicating that the person is a natural-born United States citizen."
It includes an effective date of Sept. 1, 2011, in time for 2012 presidential campaigning.
Berman told WND he's seen neither evidence nor indication that Obama qualifies under the Constitution's requirement that a president be a "natural-born citizen."
"If the federal government is not going to vet these people, like they vetted John McCain, we'll do it in our state," he said.
HB 295 was stuck in committee.
There also was, in Washington, D.C., U.S. Rep. Bill Posey's bill H.R. 1503, which stated:
"To amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to require the principal campaign committee of a candidate for election to the office of President to include with the committee's statement of organization a copy of the candidate's birth certificate, together with such other documentation as may be necessary to establish that the candidate meets the qualifications for eligibility to the Office of President under the Constitution."
The bill also provided:
"Congress finds that under … the Constitution of the United States, in order to be eligible to serve as President, an individual must be a natural-born citizen of the United States who has attained the age of 35 years and has been a resident within the United States for at least 14 years."
Though it had more than a dozen sponsors, Posey's bill died at the end of the Congress.