October 24, 2012; Source: Politico
Maybe Patrick Moran, the 23-year-old son of Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), should have paid attention to Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” undercover video. Watching what you say ought to be de rigueur for people in politics, including for young Moran, who was serving as the field director of his father’s reelection campaign.
A video, recorded by right-wing videographer James O’Keefe and his Project Veritas operation, shows Moran talking about how to forge documents to enable people to cast fake ballots with a fake campaign worker that Project Veritas had planted for this sting operation. Apparently, the forgeries would allow people to vote in place of 100 Virginians who Moran said were unlikely to show up at the polls. You can watch the video here:
Sign up for our free newsletters
Subscribe to NPQ's newsletters to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.
Moran, whose uncle is head of the Virginia Democratic Party, never tells the would-be campaign volunteer that faking a voter’s identity is wrong and in fact suggests, according to the video, that the undercover Project Veritas staffer could use forged utility bills as proof of eligibility, though warning that they would have to “look good.” In the video, Moran even suggests that the campaign worker pose as a pollster to determine whether the unlikely voters really don’t plan to show up at the polls.
Although Moran has since resigned from the campaign, he has said that the fake “campaign worker” appeared unstable and he was only “humoring” the person. The campaign says that Moran is a good kid but made an error in judgment.
This is a big-time error. Moran’s actions play right into the right wing meme about voter fraud through voter impersonation. This is just what was not needed—to turn a “virtually nonexistent” crime into an issue that will be widely reported throughout Republican campaigns. It is a little like the videos about ACORN, which exposed some errant ACORN staff and turned the incidents into a cause that led to ACORN’s collapse.
Earlier this year, in North Carolina, O’Keefe saw an attempt to show how easy it is to fake voter IDs blow up in his organization’s face, so it’s not like O’Keefe has been covering up his intentions. In fact, voter fraud is featured prominently on the Project Veritas homepage. O’Keefe describes Project Veritas, a 501(c)(3), as an investigative reporting outfit, but it operates more like a political dirty tricks outfit—less Woodward and Bernstein and more Segretti and Colson. But you would think that the Moran family, as politically experienced a clan as any, would be smart enough not to humor anyone with thoughts about voter fraud. It’s not humorous when the voting rights of millions of people are at stake. –Rick Cohen