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A lawsuit was filed Thursday by a Texas businessman who claims he was forced to funnel $75,000 in secret payments to Sen. Norm Coleman's (R-MN) wife, Laurie Coleman. The businessman, Paul McKim, filed suit against ardent Coleman supporter Nasser Kazeminy, who owns nearly half of McKim's oil-rig company. Sen. Coleman is in a tight race for re-election with Al Franken. (Politico)

It was all trick and no treat for embattled Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons (R), who issued an official statement yesterday that he would be hosting Sarah Palins' parents at the governor's mansion for Halloween. The scandal ridden Gibbons has thus far been snubbed by the McCain campain -- a trend that looks to be continuing. Unfortunately for Gibbons, the McCain campaign denied that Palins' parents would be attending. (Las Vegas Sun)

Newly filed court documents give details of former VECO CEO Bill Allen's first interview with the FBI in August, 2006. The documents show that Allen gave favors to two former state reps. and a state sen. who may or may not be under investigation. Allen, who was the linchpin in Sen. Ted Stevens' (R-AK) conviction, however, said that Rep. Don Young (R-AK) could not be bought. (Anchorage Daily News)

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Add Pennsylvania to the list of states where GOP voter suppression efforts are going down in flames.

A state judge yesterday declined to support a grab-bag of a lawsuit filed by the party, which had sought to require ACORN both to turn over a list of the 140,000 voters it says it has registered, which could have made it easier for the GOP to challenge voters at the polls.

The suit also sought, among other things, to force ACORN air public-service announcements reminding first-time voters that they must bring identification to the polls, and to compel the state to provide more provisional ballots.

According to the Associated Press, the judge, Robert Simpson Jr., said "he was not convinced that the party and its fellow individual plaintiffs can ultimately prove their allegations that ACORN is fostering voter-registration fraud and that the state's election system lacks the safeguards to stop it."

Another one, apparently, bites the dust.

Remember Deborah Honeycutt? The little-known Republican running for Congress in a Democratic stronghold down in Georgia who used a shady direct-mail company to raise national money for her long-shot candidacy?

Well, Honeycutt -- who lost by 38 points last time around -- is giving Democratic incumbent David Scott a little run for his money.

CQ Politics today changed the race from "Safe Democrat" to "Democrat Favored" after recent polls gave Scott just a five point lead over Honeycutt.

And there seem to be a few familiar factors at work in Honeycutt's rise in this heavily Democratic district.

Scott's campaign alleges that Honeycutt is concealing her party affiliation -- she fails to identify as Republican on her literature and some of her mailers reportedly bear the name "Democrats for Good Government," though Honeycutt denies knowledge of the group -- causing voters to mistake her for a Democrat.

Second and perhaps, most familiarly, Democrats point to her high fundraising numbers. Despite running as a virtual unknown, she's raised $4.7 million through Oct. 15 -- a staggering number compared to Scott's $1 million.

But unlike Scott, Honeycutt has raised her money primarily through direct mail company BMW Direct which gobbles up most of the proceeds in fees. When we wrote about her in July, Honeycutt had raised $1 million in the second quarter -- and spent $736,000 in fees to BMW Direct. The real surprise here is that Honeycutt has manged to do anything with a campaign that's burning through such huge portions of its donations.

The phony flier that surfaced recently in Virginia, instructing Democrats to vote on Wednesday November 5th, has drawn the attention of House Judiciary Chair John Conyers.

As we wrote Monday, the flier, which surfaced in largely African-American areas of the Hampton Roads region, is designed to look like an official communication from the state board of elections, even reproducing the board's logo. It informs readers that becasue of expected high turnout on election day, November 4th, Democrats have been asked to vote November 5th.

Election day, of course, is November 4th for everyone.

Conyers wrote to Attorney General Michael Mukasey, asking him to take action. Conyer's letter points out that, because there are legitimate concerns in Virginia about over-crowded polling places, and because the flier is designed to look like it comes from the state election board, it "has enough of a ring of truth to confuse voters and suppress turnout."

The letter goes on to call the effort "an echo of the darkest days of our struggle for civil rights."

Virginia election officials have said that state police are already looking into the flier's provenance.

Wisconsin's Governor Jim Doyle called out Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen's latest attempt at voter suppression as an "obvious Republican strategy."

Earlier this week, Van Hollen -- a Republican -- announced that he would be sending more than 50 state prosecutors and law enforcement agents to monitor polls on Election Day.

From the AP:

Governor Doyle says the attorney general has no authority to supervise elections in Wisconsin and questions what power the special agents would have if they observe a problem.

The governor says the plan is part of an "obvious Republican strategy" to raise questions about the validity of the vote.

Even though he's now a convicted felon, Sen. Ted Stevens is not without friends.

The so called "Lion of Alaska," returned home yesterday to a rally in his honor in the airport that bears his name.

Approximately 500 supporters greeted Stevens with the chant "We trust you," Anchorage Daily News reported.

Some attendees wore shirts bearing the slogan, "F*#@ the feds, vote for Ted."

"Anyone who thinks you can get a fair trial in the heart of liberalism, Washington, D.C., is smoking dope. He was railroaded," Mark Kelliher, a retired engineer told the ADN expressing the distrust many Alaskans place in "outsiders," or non-Alaskans.

Members of Alaska's political elite also attended, including Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who urged the crowd to get friends to work and vote for Stevens and joined the elder senator in a little jig on stage.



We're not sure, but we think this might rival the biker gang escort Stevens got when he returned to Alaska after his indictment this August.

More pictures from the rally after the jump.

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We're late to this, but Pat Rogers -- the lawyer tied to the New Mexico GOP, who has been accused in a federal lawsuit of being behind a plan to intimidate voters -- has denied that he broke the law.

"I have not violated any law and Mr. Romero has not violated any law," Rogers said yesterday evening when reached by the Associated Press.

Rogers was referring to Al Romero, a private investigator. According to a lawsuit filed earlier this week by MALDEF, a group that advocates for the rights of Hispanics, Romero went to the homes of several Hispanic voters in Albuquerque to question them about their right to vote. The daughter of one of the women has said that Romero told her he was working for Rogers.

The visits were reported last week by TPMmuckraker and others.

Speaking yesterday to the AP, Rogers continued: "The lawsuit contains serious accusations that have no basis in law or fact. The suit is filed and advertised before the upcoming election for obvious purposes." He did not elaborate.

It's noteworthy that Rogers did not deny hiring Romero to contact voters about their eligibility -- as he did not when asked last week by the New Mexico Independent.

Reached this afternoon by TPMmuckraker, Rogers declined to discuss the case, saying he was too busy working on the election.

Yesterday we posted a quick round-up of the various voter-suppression schemes being pushed by Republicans in swing states around the country. And after looking at the list, one thing quickly becomes clear: most of the efforts have failed.

There's no one grand unifying theory for why that's true.

In some cases, the courts have rejected GOP efforts to make voting harder:

  • In Indiana, for instance, a Superior Court judge declined to support a GOP bid to shut down early voting centers in Democratic-leaning cities in Lake County, and the state Supreme Court chose not to immediately intervene.


  • In Wisconsin, a suit brought by Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen -- which he later admitted had been requested by the Republican Party -- seeking to force the state election board to re-confirm all newly registered voters was thrown out by a county court.


  • In Michigan, a federal appeals court today blocked the Republican secretary of state, Terri Lynn Land, from throwing 5,500 newly registered voters off the rolls because their registration cards were returned as undeliverable, after voting-rights groups sued.


In other states, Democratic state officials or voting-rights advocates have held the line:

  • In Nevada, Secretary of State Ross Miller denied a request from the state GOP to require voters to cast provisional ballots if they fixed mistakes in their voting information at the polls.
  • In Colorado, a bid by Republican Secretary of State Mike Coffman -- who himself is running for a seat in the U.S. House -- to purge 14,000 voters from the rolls was only partially successful. After voting-rights groups sued, a settlement was reached yesterday allowing the voters to cast provisional ballots. According to the Rocky Mountain News, those ballots would "be presumed to be valid unless state and county officials prove otherwise." A lawyer for the voting-rights groups called the deal "a win-win."

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Here's what could be the latest Republican voter intimidation scheme:

Larry Johnson of St. Paul, Minnesota, says that he received a phone call from a woman who claimed to be from the secretary of state's office working on voter fraud, reports the Associated Press. The woman asked about his voting record, said Johnson.

In a sworn affidavit, Johnson said the woman then told him she was working with Jeff Davis, who runs a socially conservative group, Minnesota Majority, that has been stoking fears of voter fraud lately.

Mark Ritchie, the state's Democratic secretary of state, said he has asked county and federal prosecutors to look into the call as possible voter intimidation.

In a statement posted on Minnesota Majority's website, Davis denied the claims of intimidation, but admitted:

Minnesota Majority has been conducting research into what appear to be inconsistencies in Minnesota's voter rolls. Voters with apparent duplicate registration records have been contacted by Minnesota Majority volunteers with a simple request to confirm the accuracy of their voter registration information. We believe these research activities to be in complete compliance with all state and federal laws.


The Department of Justice is currently looking into claims of voter intimidation in New Mexico, allegedly engineered by a lawyer connected to the state Republican Party.

Some stuff their bras with tissues, but for Massachusetts State Sen. Dianne Wilkerson, it was hundred dollar bills. The scandal surrounding the Democratic lawmaker who was arrested and charged Tuesday with accepting $23,500 in bribes, has now expanded to include three Boston City Council members, the state senate president and several state liquor board officials. (ABC News)

Count one in the win column. Despite being a convicted felon, Sen. Ted Stevens will be allowed to vote in the election on Tuesday. (The Hill)

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) disputed the claims leveled by the Chicago Tribune yesterday, that he had received a loan of $200,000 from a real estate contractor, then urged the Chicago mayor to allow that developer to convert the Chicago West Side into a residential and commercial zone. Gutierrez called the transaction "fully disclosed and transparent" and stated that his role in the re-zoning was minimal. (Chicago Tribune)

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