Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Swift Boating the CA Vote

Via Digby, it seems the California ballot initiative that would change how that state awards its 55 electoral votes has ties to Texas Swift Boat smear moneybags Bob Perry.

Imagine that. The departure of Karl Rove et. al. has not seen the demise of the “Texas mafia,” after all. Instead, as many folks warned, they’ve moved their operations underground.

For those who don’t know, California currently awards its electoral votes in presidential elections the same way virtually every other state in the country does: to the statewide winner. Under a new proposal that would help Republican presidential candidates, the statewide winner would get two votes and the rest would be distributed based on congressional district.

Supporters claim this will usher in a “new era of fairness.” Huzzah. Except, with Perry’s financial backing, it now seems to carry the stench of GOP partisanship:
LOS ANGELES – Lawyers behind a California ballot proposal that could benefit the 2008 Republican presidential nominee have ties to a Texas homebuilder who financed attacks on Democrat John Kerry's Vietnam War record in the 2004 presidential campaign.

Charles H. Bell and Thomas Hiltachk's law firm banked nearly $65,000 in fees from a California-based political committee funded almost solely by Bob J. Perry that targeted Democrats in 2006. Perry, a major Republican donor, contributed nearly $4.5 million to the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth that made unsubstantiated but damaging attacks on Kerry three years ago.

The Perry-financed committee in California, the Economic Freedom Fund, continued to spend money this year, mostly on legal expenses tied to an ongoing legal dispute in Indiana over phone calls made to voters in 2006. It lists the Sacramento law office's address as its home and its Web site directs contributions to the firm, Bell, McAndrews & Hiltachk. In addition, Bell serves as the committee's treasurer.

Isn’t that cute. Another phony “grassroots” organization with the name “freedom” in it. The Republicans are good at creating these fake organizations; another one I like is Move America Forward, the GOP front group founded by Howard Kaloogian and Melanie Morgan to attack Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11.” They still con the gullible media into covering their pro-war “truth tours.”

Anyway, it will be interesting to watch this California electoral debate, particularly because of the money issue.

Then again, with the housing bubble bursting, maybe Bob Perry should be focusing more on his own business, and leave politics alone for a while.