"Caught red handed in an election fraud scandal. Jocelyn Benson's former staffer. The methods: fake signatures…phony candidates."
The statement is in reference to Michael McGuiness, a paid staff member of Ms. Benson's campaign for several months during the spring. He was also chair of the Oakland County Democrats. He resigned that post in the summer, some months after he had left the Benson campaign, when he was implicated in a scandal involving the creation of a "Tea Party" for the November ballot which was seen as a trick to draw off possible Republican voters. An aide to the Oakland Democrats, Jason Bauer, had been implicated in fraudulently placing a candidate on the Tea Party ballot without the candidate's knowledge. The issue is now under criminal investigation. There is, however, no evidence at this point that Ms. Benson had any hand in the Tea Party formation. She has also called for a complete investigation into the Tea Party. And McGuiness had left Benson's campaign long before any of this happened.
"Even worse…Benson was responsible for a program accused of training political operatives to fake intimidation."
But there is no evidence directly linking Ms. Benson to the accused program. The issue relates to a national policy Republicans have had for years for voter integrity checks during elections. Democrats have also for years complained that these programs are attempts to intimidate mostly minority voters. The issue took a new twist this year when Michigan Republicans invited Michigan Democrats to participate in their vote integrity project. The specific reference in the ad is to Ms. Benson working for the Democratic National Committee in 2004 on "voter protection" (as she put it in her resume) and to a controversy in Colorado where in 2004 portions of a Democratic playbook that called on Democrats to be pro-active and warn of potential intimidation even if none had occurred. That is not exactly training operatives to "fake intimidation," as the ad says, but it could certainly lead to an implication of faking. But there is no direct evidence that Ms. Benson was in fact "responsible" for the program as the ad implies. Michigan Republicans provide as evidence Ms. Benson's resume which said she worked on the voter protection program for 21 states and pages from the 2004 Colorado manual along with a Rocky Mountain News story about the manual. However, Colorado was not one of the states that Ms. Benson oversaw, there is no direct link of any sort from her to the manual, and the 2004 news story about the manual makes no mention of her. In fact, she had left the Democratic Party during the 2004 campaign to clerk for U.S. Circuit Judge Damon Keith, so she was not part of the voter protection process while it was under way.
"And now, Jocelyn Benson supports same-day voter registration…which would leave us exposed to even more fraud and deception."
The issue of election day or same day registration has generally revolved around the argument of whether it would help boost turnout or enhance potential fraud (as well as paperwork hassles for local clerks). The evidence on turnout is mixed, with some officials in states with the practice saying it could help boost turnout by as much as 12 percent, but some studies from several universities questioning the effectiveness of easy voting plans. Some 10 states have a form of election day or "same-day" voter registration: Idaho, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Connecticut, Montana and North Carolina. Some of these states are predominantly Republican; some are primarily Democratic in voting habits. None has reported large-scale voter fraud as a result of same-day voting.. In Wisconsin one former worker for ACORN was indicted for fraudulently registering voters in Milwaukee, but just one individual, Meanwhile, 62,000 new voters registered in Milwaukee on election day in 2008.
"With friends like liberal billionaire, George Soros, it's no wonder they call Benson the next Jennifer Granholm."
Mr. Soros has not contributed directly to Ms. Benson's campaign or issued any personal public endorsement of her candidacy. Soros, who has become a billionaire boogeyman for conservative interests, helped create an organization called the Secretary of State Project that has endorsed candidates around the country, including Ms. Benson, and urged supporters to provide donations to them. Judging by Ms. Benson's campaign finance reports, looking especially at those donating $100 with a fairly large number from outside Michigan, it is probably a safe bet some of those contributions came through the Secretary of State Project though tracking that down through the organization itself is not easy.
The ad tries to pack in a lot in its 30 seconds. It attempts to use thin trails of circumstantial evidence to draw the voters to a conclusion. This requires a major unsupportable leap on the part of the viewer who actually has the facts. For example, there is no direct evidence that Ms. Benson authored the Colorado manual or played a role in its creation, or even that any Democrats in Colorado did attempt to "fake intimidation." The first sentence is clearly intended to lead a listener/viewer (particularly when the words "caught" "fake signatures" etc. are superimposed over her picture) to think that Ms. Benson was "caught" on the Tea Party scandal when it was someone else entirely. Also, the suggestion that same-day registration "would leave us exposed to even more fraud and deception" makes first an unsupported allegation about actual voter fraud while apparently trying to tie the charge to the situation involving the fake Tea Party, and ignores the evidence of no fraud from those states that now use same-day registration.
TRUTH SQUAD CALL: Foul.
Foul for using misleading language to imply Benson was responsible for something she wasn’t.