Former F.E.C. official on Reid strong-arming: ‘I’ve never seen anything so blatant’

A former official with the Federal Election Commission, Hans von Spakovsky, blasted the Reid campaign, saying they are clearly engaging in coercion and illegal coordination under federal campaign finance rules. “I’ve never seen anything this blatant,” he told The Examiner. “Most corporations stay far away from this because they know they can get in big trouble if they tell their employees to go out and vote for a particular candidate. That’s a big no-no.”

“There are two issues. The first is illegal coordination. The Reid campaign is specifically asking a corporation with the help of a union to get voters to the polls. It’s what a campaign usually pays for and it’s the equivalent of an illegal contribution,” he said.

The second issue, he explained, falls in federal statute 18 U.S.C. 594:

Whoever intimidates, threatens, coerces, or attempts to intimidate, threaten, or coerce, any other person for the purpose of interfering with the right of such other person to vote or to vote as he may choose, or of causing such other person to vote for, or not to vote for, any candidate for the office of President, Vice President, Presidential elector, Member of the Senate, Member of the House of Representatives, Delegate from the District of Columbia, or Resident Commissioner, at any election held solely or in part for the purpose of electing such candidate, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

“There’s clearly coercion going on,” he said. “They’re setting up a full program to get people to the polls to vote for Reid and going after supervisors who don’t do what they’re told on this.”

The Reid campaign is under fire for emails allegedly sent from a staffer to the management of mega-casino company Harrah’s. The company management, at the urging of the staffer, reportedly has been asking its employees whether they have voted yet, and agitating about Reid’s potential loss as a deathblow to the industry.

“They’re trying to get people to explain why they haven’t voted. This isn’t some general email from a corporation head to his employees saying, “look we have an election coming up, please get out and vote. These emails make clear that they’re getting people out for Reid.”

Such an offense could be punished not just by a year in fines, but also by a year in jail.

“If they have a U.S. attorney out in Nevada who is actually a real prosecutor, as opposed to a political clone who’s not willing to do his job, he’d open an investigation,” he said.

Beltway Confidentialelection 2010SenateUS

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