A voter fraud investigation in Indiana has expanded to include nine counties, the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reported Wednesday. And at the center of the investigation is a voter registration organization backed by a Democrat insider and former Bill Clinton staffer.
Indiana State Police raided the “Indiana Voter Registration Project” in Indianapolis after they received a tip last week that hundreds of records may contain fake names, addresses and dates of birth.
Barry Schust, Allen County’s Republican voter registration board member, said about 1,000 forms from the group were submitted to the local office. About 150 had addresses that weren’t in Allen County, he said, and more than half of the forms “had some form of issue.”
“There’s many that are incomplete or nearly illegible, and a major (concern) is where you write the driver’s license or state ID number or Social Security number,” Schust said.
“There’s an option to check ‘none,’ but it’s a rare occasion to be a citizen and have neither,” he said. But on many of the forms, “none” was checked, he said.
Copies of the group’s forms were turned over to state police Tuesday morning, Schust said.
Also Tuesday morning, state police detectives raided the Indiana Voter Registration Project’s office in Indianapolis and announced that an investigation that began in August had expanded from Hendricks and Marion counties to include Delaware, Hamilton, Hancock, Johnson, Lake and Madison counties, in addition to Allen County.
“The expanded number of counties involved leads investigators to believe that the total number of potentially fraudulent records may be in the hundreds, thus creating a potential to disenfranchise many voters” who thought they were legitimately signing up to vote, a state police news release said.
Victims may not discover the fraud until they go to vote, and that would result in them having to cast a provisional ballot, the news release said.
Investigators said the potentially fraudulent information included a combination of made-up names and addresses, real names with made-up or incorrect addresses, and false dates of births with real names as well as “combinations of all these examples” and, possibly, other irregularities.
Police said that the “changed voter registration forms” could cause legitimate voters to be turned away on election day because their registration won’t match who they are or where they live.
The shadowy “dark money group” behind the Indiana Voter Registration Project is Patriot Majority USA, which is run by Craig Varoga.
Patriot Majority, a nonpartisan charitable organization, is not required to disclose its donors. However, the newspaper reported the group is run by Craig Varoga, described as a liberal Democratic strategist and staffer on former President Bill Clinton’s 1996 national campaign who now runs several organizations affiliated with Patriot Majority and funded primarily by labor groups.
Patriot Majority had more than $30 million in contributions in 2014, its last reportable year, with more than $8 million from one undisclosed donor, the newspaper reported.
Varoga told the newspaper that Indiana was chosen for a registration drive because the state had the lowest voter turnout in the nation in the 2014 election.
The state is also in the midst of hotly contested races for governor and the U.S. Senate.
Varoga told the Star the group has turned in about 40,000 registrations, but he declined to say where canvassers were operating.
Varoga accused Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson, who is a Republican, and the state police of waging a politically motivated investigation, the Star reported.
Varoga released this racially charged statement on behalf of the Indiana Voter Registration Project:
“After all is said and done, when this partisan investigation finds no wrongdoing by the organization, Connie Lawson and the Indiana State Police will have prevented 45,000 African Americans from voting in this year’s elections. That is why today we reported their outrageous actions to the Department of Justice.”
The investigation is ongoing and may take several more weeks or months, police said.
According to this glowing Politico profile, Craig Varoga is “credited with the hard-nosed execution of the independent-expenditure campaign” that helped then Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) keep his seat in 2010. So we have him to thank for that.