Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Behind the Scenes in the Florida Voter Purge

Via digby, Lee Fang tells us who was behind the purge of the voter rolls in Florida.

The plan for the purge, according to a story from the Associated Press, was initiated last year by then-Secretary of State Kurt Browning after a meeting with the governor. Browning said he was motivated by a “Spidey sense tingling” to undergo a massive project to develop the list now being used to send letters to registered Florida voters informing them that they have been flagged as non-citizens. Although both Gov. Scott and Browning have downplayed accusations that the purge is political, a donation from a secret money group may fuel growing suspicions that the effort is partisan.

Just before Browning was selected in 2011 by Scott as Secretary of State, Browning led a group called “Protect Your Vote Inc,” which was set up to oppose fair redistricting. One of the biggest checks to Browning’s organization came from the Center to Protect Patients’ Rights, which gave $100,000 in 2010. At the time of the donation, the source of the money was shrouded in secrecy.


But as Republic Report exclusively reported last month, the Center to Protect Patients’ Rights is part of a universe of front groups financed by David and Charles Koch, the petrochemical billionaires, as well as several other billionaires, as part of an election-influencing effort. New reports this week about the brothers’ strategy indicate that they will now use this constellation of front groups to finance $400 million of a $1 billion campaign in outside money to defeat President Obama and congressional Democrats. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Mitt Romney’s Super PAC, and several nonprofits controlled by Karl Rove, will furnish the other $600 million.

Browning, who resigned as Secretary of State late last year, also relied heavily on funds from the Republican Party of Florida and the Florida Chamber of Commerce, a big business lobbying group, to support his Protect Your Vote organization, which ultimately failed in blocking redistricting reform. Browning is currently pursuing a bid for local office.

Not to get all paranoid or anything, but the Koch brothers are everywhere. They’ve paid into Scott Walker’s campaign in the recall election in Wisconsin, and it’s a foregone conclusion that they’re bankrolling a number of the GOP House and Senate campaigns in Texas and other oil patch states. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were behind the voter purge in Texas. That they’d show up in Florida is no surprise at all; they need a nice place to go to in the winter, and it’s for sale cheap.