King Street Patriots aim to recruit 1 million volunteers to monitor 2012 elections
On the heels of the Texas House’s recent passage of the voter photo identification legislation, Houston tea party group King Street Patriots rolled out its voter integrity initiative True the Vote to the nation this weekend.
At the close of the summit, KSP president Catherine Engelbrecht said her group aims to mobilize teams of three people to oversee each voting precinct in the country, totaling roughly 1 million tea party volunteers nationwide by the 2012 presidential election.
“True the Vote in 2012 will make a difference we can’t even fathom,” she said.
Representatives from more than 25 states attended the two-day national summit in Houston to receive training and information about the conservative organization’s efforts to combat voter fraud. While KSP claims to be politically neutral, speakers – including conservative media pundit and author Andrew Breitbart and former Federal Election Commissioner Hans A. von Spakovsky — made clear that they support the group’s efforts because of their sharp opposition to the left.
KSP is a 501(c)4 nonprofit, while KSP/True the Vote has applied for 501(c)3 nonprofit status.
Lodging a rhetorical attack against Democrats, Breitbart argued, “liberal policies have destroyed African-American communities,” alleging the Democratic Party is guilty of an “unspeakable crime” to those communities, while refuting accusations that tea partiers are adversaries to African Americans.
“We’ve allowed our institutions to be taken over by mischievous cultural Marxists,” he said. “The basic observation we’ve discovered is that the media is our enemy. We the tea party are guilty until proven innocent.”
“The mainstream media proclaim we are enemies of black people in the country––those are fighting words,” he said.
Breitbart, who is founder of several media websites, a Washington Times commentator and TV pundit, received scathing criticism after posting a heavily edited video misrepresenting statements by former Department of Agriculture official Shirley Sherrod, which led to her forced resignation.
Taking shots at the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Breitbart applauded the efforts of Republican U.S. Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) and GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain, who have both recently made inflammatory comments regarding Muslim Americans.
“I want Allen West leading this country. I want Herman Cain to lead us too. Those guys have more courage in their thumbs than the entire Republican Party,” Breitbart said, after disparaging the leadership prowess of U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas). During a recent hearing targeting Muslim “radicalization,” Jackson Lee, whose inner-city Houston district has been the target of KSP efforts, stood out as a vocal critic of the series of hearings by U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.).
Crediting himself with the co-creation of The Huffington Post, Breitbart delved into his recent demotion from the blog’s front page, defending his racially charged ad-hominem attacks against former White House adviser Van Jones. (The entry was found so demonizing by ColorofChange.org, the group circulated a petition to erase Breitbart from the blog’s home page, collecting more than 43,000 signatures.)
The politically incendiary pundit subsequently labeled Peter Dreier, a former adviser to Pres. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, as a “left-wing freak-show agitator-creating czar” with a “Marxist-communist mindset,” and classified Obama, alongside Cuba and the former Soviet Union, as “totalitarian.”
Other speakers, like von Spakovsky and former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) also evoked partisan hostility. Spakovsky drew attention to what he perceives as widespread “inadequacies of the voter registration system […] no matter how much people on the left say it’s not true,” while decrying the “liberal organizations that infest D.C.” in order to “fight against having integrity in elections.”
Now a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, von Spakovsky’s FEC nomination was thwarted after a letter penned by former staffers at the U.S. Department of Justice, where von Spakovsky previously worked, accused him of repeated efforts to intimidate staff and described him as the “point person for undermining the Civil Rights Division’s mandate to protect voting rights.” Unable to secure confirmation, von Spakovsky’s nomination was withdrawn in 2008.
Coleman, who lost his 2008 reelection campaign to U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) after a lengthy legal battle, vocalized lingering doubts about the poll process, saying he still “believes there remain serious questions about how the recount was conducted.”
The national summit follows the group’s statewide conference, held in January and reported on by the Texas Independent. Speaking at both events were Anita MonCrief, the self-described “ACORN whistleblower” and former DOJ attorney Christian Adams, who accused the DOJ of racial bias and eventually resigned from his post over alleged voter intimidation by the New Black Panther Party. MonCrief is a spokesperson for conservative group American Majority, publisher of right-wing website EmergingCorruption.com and leader of the new Crispus Attucks Tea Party in Houston, the first minority tea party group in Texas. Conservative author and columnist John Fund spoke to the national audience as well.
KSP’s Engelbrecht, whom Breitbart compared to tea party politicians Michele Bachmann and Christine O’Donnell, said KSP aims to launch a “full-scale collaboration” among states, calling on some 27 tea party leaders across the nation to adopt the True the Vote initiative in their respective states.
“It’s not about party or politics– it’s always been about principle,” Engelbrecht said. “This is not a partisan thing.”
Read the Texas Independent for previous reporting on King Street Patriots and True the Vote.
[Editor's note: The first version of this story incorrectly identified Pete Rouse as the Barack Obama adviser criticized by Andrew Breitbart. Breitbart actually criticized former Obama campaign adviser Peter Dreier as a “left-wing freak-show agitator-creating czar” with a “Marxist-communist mindset." The story was corrected at 7:20 p.m. Eastern time .]
(Image via kingstreetpatriots.org)