For decades, Detroit vote fraud has been legendary- if hard to prove.
Under the notoriously corrupt administration of Kwame Kilpatrick, fraud complaints reached a fever pitch in the 2004 presidential election and the 2005 mayoral election with allegations of vote coaching, vote buying, ballot tampering, and dead people voting. In 2004, Republican charges of ballot tampering at Cobo Center led to police intervention.
In 2005, fraud accusations by Kilpatrick’s Democratic opponent, Freman Hendrix, led to a federal judge calling Detroit voting processes illegal and relieving the city clerk of her duties, the Detroit director of elections asking the Wayne County prosecutor to investigate vote buying, and the FBI launching a full-scale, two-year investigation. When the FBI ended its discovery process with no charges, Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley erupted in fury.
“(The investigation) has ended with no charges filed, no employees indicted and former City Clerk Jackie Currie getting away with her office sending out ballots with Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s name already checked. So is that it? Is that good enough?” the Free Press columnist raged.
Yet, this week, when videotape surfaced of former Michigan Republican Party Chairman Ron Weiser accusing the Kilpatrick Administration of vote fraud, the Free Press. . . suggested Weiser was a racist on its Sunday front page.
Echoing similar attacks from the Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer, the Free Press’s hit job on Weiser has nothing to do with racism and everything to do with Weiser’s masterminding Republicans’ successful passage of Michigan right-to-work legislation.
Call it The Empire Strikes Back. Or, more precisely, the Michigan Democratic Establishment Strikes Back.
Weiser and Republican businessman Dick DeVos are credited with spearheading the extraordinary passage of right-to-work in Michigan, the cradle of the United Autoworkers Union. The Democratic establishment, led by The Free Press, Big Labor, and Brewer, raged against RTW which threatens Democratic Party fund-raising by giving workers the right to choose whether to pay union dues (dues that ultimately go to electing Democratic candidates).
The Free Press was particularly outspoken - devoting its front page to strident calls to defeat RTW. In defeat, the Freep and Brewer are now trying to smear Weiser as a racist for telling a Milton tea party group back in August that (funny the videotape, taken by a Democratic Party operative, is showing up just now), without the Coleman Young and Kwame Kilpatrick machines, Mitt Romney had a chance to win Michigan.
“There’s no machine to go to pool halls and barbershops and put those people on buses and then bus them from precinct to precinct where they vote multiple times,” says Weiser on the tape.
Though unproven, Weiser’s comments are not inconsistent with past fraud allegations made by Republicans and Democrats alike in Detroit. Yet, the Free Press - the same paper that lamented that the FBI did not convict on those allegations in the past – is now accusing Weiser of racism (ironically, Kilpatrick accused The Freep of racism for investigating his texting/sex scandal).
The charge is absurd on its face. Businessman Weiser is a so-called “Ann Arbor Republican” – economically conservative with a distaste for the GOP’s more strident social policy wing. “I know Ron Weiser and he doesn’t have a racist bone in his body,” says Matt Davis, an MLive.com columnist and former state GOP employee – who also happens to be African-American.
The Freep’s hit job is consistent with the paper’s partisan 2012 coverage in which it devoted 6 articles in 2 days to Republican Romney’s ill-advised 47 percent comments – while completely ignoring Democrat Obama’s equally outrageous “you didn’t build that” comments about American entrepreneurs.
This time, the Freep ripped Governor Snyder for his support of RTW – but ignored the violence of union thugs who destroyed the hot dog stand of an African-American vendor , Clint Tarver, as they rampaged against right-to-work at the state capitol.
Now that is worthy of a newspaper’s front page.