- Category: Opinion
- Written by Mendi Brunson
In the South Texas Voter Fraud editorial series, I did not tell the story of what happened to the evidence we had collected for a reason: the current 2014 primary election. It was important that readers not confuse the intent to inform the public and motivate action vs. trying to sway any outcome in the current election. I’m not here to take sides. Fraud is fraud no matter who is doing it.
So, the rest of the story…
Step 1: Who do we take the voter fraud documentation to once it’s gathered? The district attorney for the county in which the election is held is the proper official to investigate and to bring it to trial, if necessary.
When our group was well underway with going through the election documents, analyzing and categorizing what we found, and while individual witnesses to events were preparing affidavits, I requested a meeting with Hidalgo County District Attorney Rene Guerra. Then County Clerk J.D. Salinas, who was very cooperative and supportive of our efforts, arranged a meeting in his office for the three of us.
South Texas Voter Fraud Series
The meeting was brief and to the point. I asked Guerra why these types of issues were not being investigated. He had multiple reasons to not do so and stated these points in the following order:
- He said he would not investigate voter fraud issues.
- He said he was not going to interview some elderly man who claimed he had been lifted out of his bed in the middle of the night by aliens to go vote against his will.
- He said he did not have the staff or financial resources to investigate it.
- He said that if I wanted it investigated to go to the Hidalgo County Commissioners Court and get the funds approved to provide staffing to do it.
What’s wrong with this picture? I’ll let the readers ponder the answer for a bit, but I do have an opinion at the end.
Step 2: When the district attorney and his office are the first line of defense for the electorate to seek relief in voter fraud matters, and that elected official refuses, the electorate can then take the complaint and evidence to the state’s attorney general. At that time, John Cornyn held the position.
That hefty, 12-inch stack of copies and affidavits we gathered was personally handed to Cornyn on one of his trips to the Valley. He then turned it over to an investigator attached to the attorney general’s office.
I received a phone call from the very nice, polite investigator who had received the documents. He told me he saw what we saw in the documentation, he understood the problems that were going on in South Texas, but said that they did not have the manpower to investigate the issues. He explained the handful of murder cases they were investigating was taking up their time. Again, it was coming down to time, manpower and money.
I mean no disrespect to the families of the victims in those murder cases, because the surviving relatives become victims, also. It’s a terrible tragedy to endure. Those cases should definitely be investigated and pursued. But, voter fraud impacts the lives of everyone—not just the individuals upon whom it was perpetrated. The outcome of elections touches all who live under the decisions of those elected to office. It is no less important to address the crime of voter fraud than it is to enforce the other laws of the land against murder, rape, illegal drug trafficking and drug use, embezzlement, theft of property, etc.
If it is not important, then why do the election laws exist?
So, you have two levels of government making the same complaint: money, time and lack of staffing. While one seems to not acknowledge that voter fraud issues exist, the other does.
With Guerra’s first response to my query, he was unyielding and did not even inquire what we had found before blurting out the second point about the elderly man. I personally felt the statement to be condescending to his constituency generally.
As to the third and fourth points, was he somehow acknowledging that there was, indeed, a problem? If so, it was not my responsibility, or any other constituent’s, to petition the county judge and commissioners for more funds to beef up the staffing at the district attorney’s office. That was his job, but we would have supported him in it if necessary.
Just this week of March 17, the Hidalgo County district attorney’s office requested the impounding of machines and election records to investigate allegations of vote tampering in the 2014 Democrat primary. The action was initiated by the complaints of several individuals running for various offices in the election.
This is one time the office of the district attorney should not be involved in the investigation. Guerra should have recused himself and his staff from initiating this action. There is a direct conflict of interest due to his own lost race in this primary. It would have been far more wise and appropriate to have turned it over to the office of Attorney General Greg Abbott to request the court order to impound the documents and to investigate the allegations. If the request came directly from Guerra, Abbott would have taken it very seriously as one legal authority to another.
This whole scenario of impounding these records raises a lengthy list of questions related to what is now going to be an unhealthy environment of who is handling and reviewing these records. It will continually raise allegations of missing documents and altered records. It becomes the case of who is the fox and who is the henhouse. Even the appearance of possible impropriety has to be avoided to not cast doubt on the process.
From where does his department now get the money, time and manpower to do this? Where has equal consideration been shown to countless numbers of individuals for decades who were seeking due justice from oppression in their communities through the district attorney’s office?
Every, single office holder sits in an elected position. In our current culture of politics, each elected person is afraid to upset the apple cart. They are all in the cart holding onto their apple.
Under the current circumstances, if Attorney General Abbot, a Republican seeking election to become governor, were to take on this case, he has to deal with the negative backlash by Democrats across the state. In the usual pattern of party politics, the Dems would scream “sour grapes” that a Republican was playing political games to undermine and manipulate a county’s Democrat primary. But, if Abbott is going to do the job to which he was elected, he would need to pull up his bootstraps and just “do it.”
These games are loosely called “politics as usual” to dumb down the significance of what is happening, but these “politics” impact people’s lives. It’s an ultimate “Catch 22” and a lose/lose situation for all of us.
To reiterate my position in previous weeks: The politicians are the problem. We, the people, are the answer. It’s time to create a new paradigm.blog comments powered by Disqus