The Inspector General for the Dept. of Homeland Security has just announced he will not investigate whether or not Acting Secretary Chad Wolf and his “deputy,” Ken Cuccinelli, are serving in their federal government roles illegally. A federal judge on Friday ruled Wolf’s appointment by President Donald Trump was “likely” illegal. In March a separate judge ruled Cuccinelli’s appointment is also illegal.
Cuccinelli’s official title is “Senior Official Performing the Duties of the United States Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security.”
In August the Government Accountability Office issued a report stating the appointments were invalid, in violation of federal law, and both were ineligible to serve.
President Donald Trump refused to act on that report and the Acting DHS general counsel, Chad Mizelle, responded to the report, labeling it “erroneous” and saying it should be withdrawn. Trump soon after nominated Wolf to be the permanent DHS Secretary.
Calling it “a bitter inter-branch disagreement,” as CNN reports, on Tuesday DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari refused to take up the issue. He says that although there were “troubling aspects” of the DHS report, it “would be pointless” to investigate.
“Neither GAO nor DHS OIG can issue a binding determination on that issue, but a federal court can and probably will,” Cuffari said in a letter to Democratic Reps. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi and Carolyn Maloney of New York.
Democrats are calling for Wolf and Cuccinelli to resign.
Image by Dept. of Homeland Security via Flickr
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Busted: Republicans Caught Conspiring to Commit Election Fraud in Crucial Pennsylvania
President Donald Trump is often criticized for psychological projection, where his guilty conscience accuses his opponents of committing his own schemes.
Trump has been arguing that there was widespread voter fraud, but without providing any evidence.
Republicans may have just provided such evidence in a way that backfired spectacularly.
“Hours before President Donald Trump went on national television Thursday to declare the inherent illegitimacy of ballots received after Nov. 3, local Republican officials recruited volunteers to call Pennsylvania voters and urge them to get their ballots in by Friday—three days after Election Day,” The Daily Beast reported late Thursday evening.
“The request, election lawyers say, appears to flagrantly run afoul of state law. Under Pennsylvania law and a recent state Supreme Court decision, absentee and mail-in ballots are valid as long as they were postmarked by Election Day and received by Nov. 6. Any Trump supporter who sends in their ballots either Thursday or Friday would not have it postmarked within the acceptable deadline—creating the precise situation that the president himself has deemed fraudulent and corrupt,” The Beast explained.
“The email, which was sent by the group Kenosha For Trump and forwarded to The Daily Beast, said it was marshaling the effort on behalf of Trump Victory, the committee established by the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee to run the field program for the president’s re-election,” The Beast noted.
The Beast interviewed Jonathan Diaz, the chief counsel for the Campaign Legal Center.
“This seems like encouraging people to improperly submit ballots that should not be counted,” Diaz noted. “That would be exactly what the president and his campaign are accusing Democrats of doing.”
Attorney Ben Geffen of the Public Interest Law Center in Philadelphia wondered if there might be a darker motivation.
“I wonder if they’re doing this in hopes of slipping one through and then waving it around as an example of the flawed process,” Geffen said. “The real story is, it sounds like the Trump campaign is promoting cheating.”
Law professor and election law expert Rick Hasen weighed in on Twitter:
This is some really 4th dimensional chess stuff: solicit PA Republicans to commit voter fraud to make the election look fraudulent to cause courts to throw out election results—after using the Supreme Court to force late ballots to be segregated so that can’t happen. LOL https://t.co/g6DC6laKZ2
— Rick Hasen (@rickhasen) November 6, 2020
EXCLUSIVE: Local Republican group pushes Pennsylvania voters to cast their ballots… AFTER the election. https://t.co/UHfDm3ExJI
— Noah Shachtman (@NoahShachtman) November 6, 2020
DeJoy Delivers Stunning Response After Failing to Meet Judge’s Contempt Deadline on Hundreds of Thousands of Ballots
A federal judge earlier on Tuesday ordered Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to have postal inspectors sweep USPS facilities and find 300,000 election ballots across the country that have been scanned into the postal system but not delivered to election authorities.
If the ballots are not delivered today, Election Day, in most cases they will not be counted.
DeJoy has just said he was “unable” to meet the judge’s order to have the ballots located and processed by 3 PM, he said. Instead of displaying any sense of seriousness about the ballots or his job performance, he offered up a stunning response.
In short, DeJoy, through his USPS attorneys, told Judge Emmet Sullivan that they couldn’t meet the deadline because doing so would have disrupted postal inspectors’ other work. As if on Election Day there is anything more important than getting all ballots delivered so they can be counted.
But not only did he say they were just too busy to meet the judge’s orders, they didn’t realize, he claims, the judge had put the deadline in place.
“Defendants were unable to accelerate the daily review process to run from 12:30pm to 3:00pm, without significantly disrupting preexisting activities on the day of the Election,” the USPS said in its response to the Judge, adding the deadline was something they “did not understand the Court to invite or require.”
BREAKING: USPS fails to meet deadline set by U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan to sweep facilities and immediately deliver remaining mail ballots. As of this week, USPS said there were some 300,000 ballots that lacked a delivery scan pic.twitter.com/5ODluNmk0Z
— John Kruzel (@johnkruzel) November 3, 2020
DeJoy also said: “There are only one or two Inspectors in any one facility, and thus they do not have the ability to personally scour the entire facility. Indeed, doing so would be impractical (given the size of that facility) and would take them away from their other pressing Election Mail-related responsibilities, as detailed above.”
One of the nation’s preeminent voting rights experts, Ari Berman, said minutes ago, “Louis DeJoy should be held in contempt of court & face criminal charges for obstructing an election if these ballots are not delivered on time.”
Mail delays got worse closer to election, at same time GOP courts gave voters less time to return ballots. This is unconscionable https://t.co/xgsEYw3Qnw
— Ari Berman (@AriBerman) November 3, 2020
Election law expert Rick Hasen:
— Rick Hasen (@rickhasen) November 3, 2020
Former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner, now an NBC News and MSNBC legal analyst:
Please read: Judge Emmet Sullivan ORDERED a full “sweep” of postal facilities, ORDERED the delivery of all ballots and ORDERED the “defendants” – that would be Louis DeJoy and company – to certify that “NO BALLOTS WERE LEFT BEHIND.” Let’s remember these words from Judge Sullivan. pic.twitter.com/V2x3xZcMQg
— Glenn Kirschner (@glennkirschner2) November 3, 2020
Gov’t. Ethics Expert Goes Ballistic After Trump Campaign Sets Up ‘War Room’ in Taxpayer-Funded Federal Building
Former Director of the United States Office of Government Ethics Walter Shaub is going ballistic over news from The New York Times that the Trump re-election campaign has set up a “war room” inside a taxpayer-funded federal government office building. The move could possibly be a violation of federal law.
Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman broke the news on Election Day.
In a rare response, Shaub exploded on Twitter, attacking the head of the United States Office of Special Counsel, Henry Kerner, who is supposed to be investigating and prosecuting violations of federal law that occur inside the federal government.
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) November 3, 2020
The Eisenhower Executive Office Building is close to the White House. It’s not known where in the EEOB the “war room” has been set up. (Photo of Trump in EEOB’s Indian Treaty Room.)
Economist David Rothschild weighs in:
So. Fucking. Illegal. Make the “Hatch Act of 1939, An Act to Prevent Pernicious Political Activities” Great Again. https://t.co/22KSkqmx1q
— David Rothschild (@DavMicRot) November 3, 2020
Executive Director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW):
The misuse of government resources to support the President’s re-election, potentially in violation of the law, continues even into Election Day. https://t.co/XGA6aBNAOE
— Noah Bookbinder (@NoahBookbinder) November 3, 2020
Former Senior Advisor to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and former Special Assistant to President Barack Obama:
I worked in this building for a good part of my adult life. If I had been caught doing this I would have been fired on the spot, because it would have been blatantly illegal, as I’d been trained on every six months by White House Counsel. https://t.co/vMM7yrHm3M
— Jesse Lee (@JesseCharlesLee) November 3, 2020
PrioritiesUSA Senior Strategist and Communications Director:
Ah yes, the taxpayer funded campaign war room https://t.co/P1lTsecKeH
— Josh Schwerin (@JoshSchwerin) November 3, 2020
Popular Information founder:
This seems illegal. https://t.co/kT9ZVfLfcP
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) November 3, 2020
UPDATE: 3:22 PM ET –
Shaub has just responded to Haberman’s follow up, in which she reports the ethics office within the White House counsel’s office allegedly approved the arrangement.
Shaub isn’t having it, calling their opinion “meaningless.”
The ethics office is staffed by White House attorneys in the WH Counsel, which wrote a letter to OSC, the Hatch Act agency, in 2019 insisting that the Hatch Act didn't apply to presidential appointees and defending Kellyanne Conway. Their opinion is meaningless. https://t.co/aLkX3qtqUt
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) November 3, 2020
Image: The Indian Treaty Room in the East Wing of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building (EEOB) of the White House. Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian via Flickr
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