As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Dirty Tricks Initiative - Giuliani Campaign In Trouble?

A top official of the effort to steal up to 20 electoral votes in California sent out an email to supporters of the Rudy Giuliani campaign asking them to sign petitions to get the measure on the ballot. This could be a violation of federal election law, which prohibits coordination between Presidential campaigns and separate ballot issues. Top of the Ticket has the latest.

The missive, obtained by The Times' Dan Morain, is addressed, "Hello Fellow Rudy Supporter!" Its author, Tony Andrade, is a Republican activist who helped draft the electoral college initiative. Previously, he was among those who helped place the ultimately successful recall of Gov. Gray Davis on the ballot in 2003 [...]

Chris Lehane, a Democratic activist who is organizing the campaign to block the measure, said of the Andrade e-mail: “It sounds like something that the Federal Election Commission and Department of Justice will be very interested in seeing.”

Maria Comella, spokeswoman for Giuliani’s White House bid, previously has stressed that neither he nor his campaign has had anything to do with pushing the ballot initiative.

It's unclear how Andrade would have gotten a list of Giuliani supporters in California without some form of coordination. The initiative's new backers, most of them connected to Giuliani in one way or another, are running from this as fast as possible.

Veteran GOP strategist Ed Rollins, who is overseeing the attempt to put the initiative before voters, distanced himself from Andrade’s note.

“None of us has anything to do with any [presidential] campaign; we understand the law very, very well,” Rollins said. Pledging to try to “make sure that [the e-mail] gets stomped,” Rollins added, “We need to be very sensitive to the fact that people have speculated that this is part of the Giuliani campaign.”

The email included a link to the petition and asks signers to get 10 other people to sign it as well. A campaign confident in their ability to get the necessary signatures wouldn't rely on an email ask, and they certainly wouldn't come this close to violating election law.

This is not the first time that a link has been uncovered between the Giuliani campaign and the dirty tricks initiative. In fact, almost every connection we've seen has gone in this fashion. You'll remember that the first incarnation of the measure was derailed when a murky donation from a shell group in Missouri was eventually traced to Paul Singer, Giuliani's northeast finance director.

These are serious charges, and the Federal Election Commission needs to address them immediately. Steve Benen has more.

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