John Fund asked if this was the flyer that got Thad Cochran elected:
That flyer is just some of the evidence of disgusting tactics revealed by Charles C. Johnson on his Twitter account in recent days. [Charles C. Johnson is the good guy, not the Little Green Footballs nutcase.] In addition to the racial appeals in this flyer, Charles has also published YouTubes of robocalls appealing to racism, evidence of school districts sending out pro-Cochran emails to teachers, and a host of other evidence of distasteful tactics by pro-Cochran forces.
But it turns out that there are some folks on Twitter who are demonstrating skepticism, not just about where these race-based appeals came from, but about whether the race-based appeals even happened. For example:
The purpose of this post is to provide corroboration that the race-based smears actually happened.
Let’s start with the flyer. Contrary to popular belief, the image reproduced by John Fund wasn’t published first by Charles C. Johnson. It was published on the Facebook page of a Mississippi voter named Pam Pittman Davis:
[UPDATE 6-20-14 6:38 am: Upon further review, it looks like Charles got the image on Twitter before Ms. Davis put it on her Facebook. But Ms. Davis is the one who originally took the photo.]
I spoke to Ms. Davis this weekend. She told me that she was in the parking lot outside her workplace, which is located in a small shopping center, and she saw a young black girl putting the flyers on car windshields. The woman distributing them said: “Don’t forget to vote!” Ms. Davis looked at the flyer and crumpled it up and threw it on the ground in disgust. Then she decided to retrieve the flyer, and took another uncrumpled flyer from the windshield of her friend’s car. (Ms. Davis told me she had voted for Cochran in the past as the lesser of two evils, but is a McDaniel supporter because she believes he would actually stand up for the principles the Republican party claims to support.) She took a picture of the uncrumpled flyer and posted it on Facebook. She took pictures of both sides of the flyer and gave the original to a friend of hers, who gave that to yet another friend, who sent it to Charles. But the image has been on Ms. Davis’s Facebook page since June 25, the day after the runoff election.
I asked Ms. Davis to send me the image of the other side of the flyer. It contains a newspaper article included to show the Tea Party’s attempt to influence the election, as claimed on the reverse side of the flyer:
If you look closely, you can see the ghost of the reverse of the original image.
Another person who saw the flyer was Adrienne Hamby. She has a hard copy, but the newspaper article on the reverse side was missing. She got it from her husband David. I spoke to David and he said that he had received it second-hand and could not remember who he got it from.
ROBOCALL: The following robocall was sent to Charles by a woman who refused to be identified because “they’ll come get my husband’s business.” However, Ms. Hamby told me that she had heard this robocall:
Hello, neighbors. The time has come to make a stand and say “no” to the Tea Party. “No” to their obstruction. “No” to their disrespectful treatment of the first African American president. Next Tuesday, June 24, Tea Party candidate Chris McDaniel is in a runoff against Senator Thad Cochran. If we do nothing, Tea Party candidate Chris McDaniel wins, and causes even more problems for President Obama, and pushes the damaging cuts in funding to our public education system. With your help, we can stop this. Please commit to voting against Tea Party candidate Chris McDaniel next Tuesday. Say “no” to the Tea Party.
Ms. Hamby could not specifically remember where she first heard the call. She did say that she and her husband had received a number of similar robocalls, but had deleted them.
I spoke with another lady who wishes to remain anonymous, but who gave me her name. This lady lives in Hinds County and heard several robocalls that warned voters that if McDaniel were elected, they would lose food stamps and the like. She could not confirm that she had heard this particular robocall, but the content of it is very similar to other calls she had heard. Like most of the people I talked to, she was a McDaniel supporter. She said that she had never been very involved with politics before this race. But she met McDaniel, and liked him. She saw him as an “honest Christian” who believed in “common sense, Jesus, and the Constitution.” This lady is the one who sent the image of the flyer to Charles C. Johnson. She had received it from a friend.
Look: I’m a hobbyist who has a ton of day-job work to do this weekend, and who is located thousands of miles away from these people. But a truly interested reporter who is on the scene could clearly find a lot more. I don’t think it’s possible to credibly doubt that this stuff occurred.
Moreover, I think the question has been rendered moot by the work done at the Daily Mail — which leads us to the important question:
WHO DID IT? My independent research goes merely to the question of whether these robocalls really happened, and whether the flyer was actually distributed. Now that we have shown that all this really did happen, the natural question is: who is behind these flyers and robocalls? According to the Daily Mail, the answer is: Democrat operatives tied to the Haley Barbour super-PAC.
THE ROBOCALL: Let’s start with the robocall we just saw. The Daily Mail says:
MailOnline has learned that ‘Citizens for Progress’ is tied to a longtime Democratic political operative who was paid $44,000 to run racially explosive ‘robocalls’ in the same race.
A political action committee founded by former Republican National Committee chair and former Republican Gov. Haley Barbour made those payments.
. . . .
The political ‘super PAC’ that paid her to run the robocalls is called Mississippi Conservatives, according to National Review.
Haley Barbour, the former governor, founded the PAC, which is now run by Henry Barbour, his nephew.
. . . .
Barbour denied any knowledge of the three radio ads, but acknowledged to MailOnline that his organization had paid Bickers for the phone call campaign.
‘We hired Mitzi Bickers to do paid phones,’ he said Friday via email. ‘If she had something to do with radio ads, I am unaware of it and was not involved with radio ads in Canton.’
‘It’s time to take a stand and say no to the tea party, the call’s script read. ‘No to their obstruction, no to their disrespectful treatment of the first African-American president.’
Bickers did not respond to repeated phone calls seeking comment.
Please process what you just read. An establishment Republican super-PAC paid a Democrat operative to send out a robocall that complained about the Tea Party’s “disrespectful treatment of the first African American president.” This Republican-funded robocall also said that a victory by Tea Party candidate Chris McDaniel “causes even more problems for President Obama, and pushes the damaging cuts in funding to our public education system.”
Once again: Republicans paid for those arguments to be made to voters.
THE FLYER: I recently presented circumstantial evidence of a possible connection to the Haley and Henry Barbour super-PAC. Since then, the Daily Mail has shown that this flyer was put out by a group working with another Democrat operative, who has said he was also working with the Barbour super-PAC:
James ‘Scooby Doo’ Warren, a longtime Democratic political operative, told the Jackson, Mississippi Clarion-Ledger on June 17 that he was directing a ‘get-out-the-vote’ plan that included the robocalls.
He was working, Warren said, with Mississippi Conservatives, the same Haley Barbour-related PAC that funded Mitzi Bickers to produce the racially explosive robocalls. It’s not clear whether he was involved with the radio ads.
Warren also said he was working closely with Bishop Ronnie Crudup Sr., a clergyman whose church created a separate political action committee called ‘All Citizens for Mississippi.’
That group paid to produce and distribute pro-Cochran fliers in African-American neighborhoods, including one that claimed ‘the tea party intends to prevent you from voting.’
Please note that Warren’s admission of working with the Barbour super-PAC was not uncovered by the Daily Mail but rather by the Clarion-Ledger, a newspaper in Jackson, Mississippi, back on June 17.
So while the flyer was not necessarily paid for by the super-PAC (although the possibility cannot be discounted), we do know that the producers of the flyer were working with Warren, a Democrat operative who was by his own admission working with the Barbour super-PAC.
I’ve seen enough. Establishment Republicans were working with Democrat operatives to get Democrats to the polls — using racial scare tactics, and attacking a Republican for not supporting huge expenditures of federal dollars.
There is a sickness in the establishment of the Republican party. I’m not entirely sure what the cure is, but it calls for some kind of strong medicine. Let the debate begin about what that medicine should be.