Saturday, October 13, 2007

Plausible deniability in paying for votes?

Bloggers were quick to post thoughts about the latest gaffe by Parents for Choice in Education (PCE), although PCE claims the organization had nothing to do with a letter offering payment to "motivated" persons who "deliver" pro-voucher voters.

Utah Amicus, Accountability First, One Utah and Democracy for Utah all had excellent posts on the revelation.

Both the Salt Lake City Tribune and Deseret News reported the story.

And, in both, PCE claims it had nothing to do with the letter, despite the fact that two PCE staffers were listed as contacts for "motivated" volunteers who would get cash for every pro-voucher voter who voted.

As Tiffany Erickson reported in the News:

"The Free Capitalist Project sent out e-mails earlier this week looking for "advocates" who could earn $250 for securing 25 names of voters who committed to vote for Referendum 1. They could earn $10 for every additional name after that.

"The group also claimed they were working on behalf of Parents for Choice in Education, something PCE said Thursday was false.

"We are looking for staffing in the next month to help us out in the community, but it is not what was stated in that e-mail," said Leah Barker, spokeswoman for PCE. "Some groups, they just want to help, but this was really misrepresenting what we are looking for."

Not associated with PCE? Given its history of not playing by the rules, I wondered, so did a short search.

And, I found this, apparently posted on Oct. 11 at 11:36 p.m. by someone named Jim who posts responses for questions posed to Rick Koerber of the Free Capitalist Project. I am pasting it below just in case this post is taken down.

"I spent most of today working on a commitment I have made to help a friend outline and solidify the unique process his company offers to clients. Most of the Evening was spent strategizing on the campaign. I talked with Mr. Wark and his group will be creating an template e-mail that I will be using with several business owners who have client lists that they would like to contact in support of the Utah Vouchers."

Now I am not sure if Jim was the author, or if he was posting for Mr. Koerber.

What I do know is that Elisa Clements of PCE told the Tribune in a story published August 30,2007 that her organization was hiring Steve Wark, a political consultant from Las Vegas.

"Parents for Choice is getting outside help in organizing its grass-roots campaign from Steve Wark, a Republican political consultant in Las Vegas, Clements confirmed."

So, Jim, or Rick, posted on Oct. 11 that he spent the evening working on the campaign and e-mail templates and consulted with a Mr. Wark, and PCE said they were hiring a Steve Wark from Las Vegas, yet PCE had nothing to do with the offer to pay for pro-voucher votes? Hmmm.

P.S. After I posted this, I got the KVNU information that you can check out here. Seems one of the authors of the e-mail points the finger at PCE.

"I just got off the phone with Brandon Dupuis, the author of the email. He says the cash for votes program was not his brainchild, but that of PCE. He says PCE contacted him with the program and that the cash for the votes was to be provided by PCE. Though he wouldn’t tell us who his contact for the progam is at PCE, Dupuis maintains that the PCE votes for cash program is both legal and ethical."

Hmmmm again.

No comments: