Election Nullification II: Speaker of House had Special Source for Election “Certification”
California Assistant Secretary of State for Elections Tells House Clerk, it’s all good!
By Michael Collins
“Scoop” Independent Media
What would you think if you heard that a Member of Congress was sworn in prior to the official certification of his hotly contested and controversial election?
Would it matter to which political party the Member of Congress belonged?
On August 25, 2006, "Scoop" revealed that there was something very wrong with Brian Bilbray’s swearing in as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Republican Bilbray allegedly defeated Francine Busby in a close and controversial special election in California’s 50th Congressional District. There were immediate cries of foul and demands for both an investigation and a recount. The problems were well publicized before the swearing in.
Nevertheless, this sequence
June 6 - unofficial results announced with Bilbray over Busby by a few thousand votes, followed by immediate public protests;
June 13 - Speaker Hastert swears in Republican Bilbray on the House floor and Bilbray becomes a Member of Congress; and,
June 30, 2006 - 17 days after Bilbray was sworn in as a member of the House, Mikel Haas, Registrar of San Diego County, officially completed the audit of election results required for certification, and officially certifies the election of Bilbray over Busby based on 163,931 total votes.
The problem with the sequence is simple to spot. The swearing in of Bilbray occurred a full 17 days before the election became official as a result of the San Diego Registrar’s certification of results. The question raised in the previous article was, how could Speaker Hastert swear in Bilbray without notification that the election results were official? We have an answer.
Speaker Hastert’s Special Source on “Certification”
The swearing in ceremony for Republican Brian Bilbray, alleged winner of the California 50th District special election on June 6, 2006, was tucked in between actions to commend Canada for its renewed commitment to the war on terror. The Congressional Digest for that day contains a remarkable revelation; the source that the Speaker of the House used to justify the official induction of Bilbray.
Oath of Office--Fiftieth Congressional District of California: Representative-elect Brian P. Bilbray presented himself in the well of the House and was administered the Oath of Office by the Speaker. Earlier the Clerk of the House transmitted a facsimile copy of the unofficial returns of the Special Election held on June 6, 2006 from Ms. Susan Lapsley, Assistant Secretary of State for Elections, California Secretary of State Office, indicating that the Honorable Brian P. Bilbray was elected Representative in Congress for the Fiftieth Congressional District of California.
Here (statement only) or here (full record)
Bilbray, it would now seem, was not sworn in without forethought, as though there were no issues involved. Somehow, the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives received notification from Republican Bruce McPherson’s Assistant Secretary that Bilbray “was elected Representative in Congress.”
This may come as news to the legal team fighting the recount in San Diego Superior Court. They have asserted that the recount is irrelevant because Federal authority supersedes state authority as a result of the June 13th swearing in of Bilbray. This logic was confirmed in a letter to San Diego Superior Court by Paul Vonivich , counsel for the House Committee on Administration. In that letter, he acknowledges the sequence of events and asserts that the swearing in makes moot any recount based on superior federal authority in congressional elections.
Now we find out that that swearing in was based on the confirmation provided by a state government official. This strongly implies that the Congress actually recognized state authority to determine that the election outcome was official.
A careful look at the statement in the Congressional Digest reveals some interesting assumptions and perhaps careful planning. The Speaker, Hastert, administered the oath based on word from California’s Assistant Secretary of State for Elections that Bilbray “was elected Representative in Congress.” Several assumptions are embedded in this statement. First, Hastert knew that he needed an authority to justify the election as official. Second, he relied on state authority, Susan Lapsley specifically. Third, Hastert knew that there were only “unofficial results,” because those are clearly referenced yet he accepted the word of the Clerk that Lapsley had made the call that Bilbray “was elected Representative in Congress.” Finally, Lapsley, who has no official status in San Diego County where the election was held, used “unofficial results” to convey to the court that Bilbray was elected.
The “Scoop” August 25th article generated significant public outcry. There is now a campaign to challenge Speaker Hastert’s role in the San Diego election. This web page provides a rationale based on the premature swearing in and a recent Zogby Poll that showed 92% of Americans insist on the right view election results and raise questions. The site, Say No To Another Election Theft Before Fall Midterms: Recall House Speaker Hastert For Interfering With Local Elections, went up today and is reportedly receiving significant activity. The site quoted the initial “Scoop” article, noted the disregard for procedure and law, and linked the struggle against election fraud in the United States with protests in Mexico, the, site of a highly questionable presidential election.
According to the official record of the U.S. House of Representatives, we had a Speaker of the House swearing in a new Member of Congress from San Diego based on the word of an Assistant Secretary of State in Sacramento. That state of California official reportedly verified the San Diego election as official in a communication to which the “unofficial results” were attached.
At the same time, we have a legal team representing the Registrar of San Diego County challenging a suit by citizens which seeks to open up the election records and perform a recount. The San Diego Registrar is refusing to conduct a recount based on the supremacy of federal authority, namely the House’s prerogative to swear in new members. The Registrar argues that the June 13 swearing shows federal supremacy.
Now, from the actual record of the swearing in, we discover that the Speaker and Congress actually relied on a politically appointed California state official whose authority was used to determine that the election results were official. That state official has no authority for elections in San Diego County.
The only consistent thread that runs through the entire affair, the swearing in of a candidate before an electron controversy was settled, is that each and every point in the decision making process, the decisions are dominated by Republicans or officials under the control of Republicans. The process is not flawed because of this particular partisan label, it’s flawed because it violates the expectations of a free people to have their elections taken seriously by those it elects, regardless of their party.