Michael Gaynor
Like the Obama admininstration, Mississippi GOP targeting True the Vote for promoting election integrity
By Michael Gaynor
August 8, 2014

Ironically, Judge Atlas should sanction the Mississippi Republican Party for making a frivolous motion, not True the Vote for making the Mississippi Republican Party a party to the lawsuit.

True the Vote (truethevote.com), the election integrity organization, is around to make sure that only legal votes are cast and counted in all elections. For example, it supports photo identification for voters.

True the Vote was founded in Houston, Texas and became well known first in Texas and then across the nation for its election integrity efforts. Houston Congressperson Sheila Jackson Lee wrote to Attorney General Eric Holder to have the United States Justice Department investigate True the Vote and the Obama Internal Revenue Service delayed the approval of True the Vote's tax exempt organization application for years until True the Vote sued and the Court required a response. True the Vote founder Catherine Engelbrecht and her family suddenly were investigated or audited by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (part of the Justice Department), the Internal Revenue Service, the Occupational Health & Safety Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms, but she didn't stand down.

As a nonpartisan organization, True the Vote took interest in this years Republican United States Senate primary in Mississippi. State Senator Chris McDaniel won a plurality of the votes against Mississippi's senior United States Senator, Thad Cochran, and received even more votes in the runoff, but when the counting ended Cochran led by nearly 6,800 voters. It was an exception to the rule for an incumbent to come in second in a primary and come back to win the runoff, but Mississippi's open primary system facilitated it. Only people intending to vote for the winner in the general election were supposed to vote, and people who had voted in the Democrat primary were ineligible to vote in the Republican primary.

True the Vote sought to ascertain how many illegally cast voted were cast and counted in the runoff and named the Mississippi Republican Party as a party to its lawsuit to obtain records in nine Mississippi counties.

The Mississippi Republican Party was very displeased to be named a party and immediately wanted to be dropped from the case.

Obviously True the Vote's lawsuit was directly related to determining who really won the runoff and should be named the United States Senate candidate of the Mississippi Republican Party, which should be of special interest to...the Mississippi Republican Party!

The Mississippi Republican Party was not an indispensable party to the lawsuit, since records were being sought from Mississippi county clerks, but the Mississippi Republican Party certainly appears to be a proper party and should have been permitted to intervene if it had not been named and then inteevene on the vital legal issue raised in the lawsuit. (Indeed, the Mississippi Democrat Party should have been allowed to intervene if it had asked.)

Indispensable party: "a person or entity which must be included in a law suit so that the court can make a final judgment or order that will conclude the controversy. Example: Ned Neighbor brings an action to enforce his claimed right to cross the property of Oliver and Olivia Owner, but only names Oliver as a defendant. To make it possible for the court to order the property owners to honor Ned's easement, Olivia as a co-owner is an indispensable party. The procedural solution is for Neighbor to amend his complaint or petition to join Olivia as a defendant" (http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/indispensable+party).

Proper party: "a person or entity who has an interest (financial or protection of some legal rights) in the subject matter of a lawsuit and, therefore, can join in the lawsuit as he/she/it wishes,or may be brought into the suit (as an unnecessary party) by one of the parties to the legal action" (http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/proper+party).

On July 29, 2014, Michael B. Wallace of Wise Carter Child & Caraway, attorneys for the Mississippi Republican Party wrote to Joseph nixon of Beirne, Maynard & Parsons, attorneys for True Vote, proposing that True the Vote (1) stipulate to the dismissal with prejudice of the Mississippi Republican Party from the case by the close of business two days later, to avoid a Rule 11 motion and an application for fees and expenses, (2) pay $35,000 for fees and expenses allegedly incurred with respect to the case by the Mississippi Republican Party "in full resolution of any claims the Party and [Nixon's] clients may have against one another" and (3), upon dismissal, issuing "a press release exonerating the Party from all wrongdoing," supposedly 'not...difficult, since [Nixon] told the Court...that 'he keeps saying we haven't accused them of anything, and he's right.'"

The brazen offer was declined on July 31, 2014.

It had to be.

First, the Mississippi Republican Party is a proper party to the lawsuit.

Second, True the Vote is nonpartisan and not about to make any contribution, much less a $35,000 contribution, to the Mississippi Republican Party.

Third, there's a huge difference between saying that the True the Vote has not accused the Mississippi Republican Party of "anything" and "exonerating the Party from all wrongdoing."

Fourth, while claiming that the Mississippi Republican Party doesn't belong in the lawsuit, its lawyer at the hearing before Judge Nancy Atlas argued that True the Vote's request for date of birth information needed to identify voters should not be ordered to be disclosed. If the Mississippi Republican Party wanted to be heard on the issue before the Court, it should pay its own expenses.

Members of the Mississippi Republican Party may wonder why it apparently ran up a $35,000 bill in a lawsuit in which it was not accused of "anything," but apparently that's politics and law in Mississippi.

On August 4, 2014, the Mississippi Republican Party moved for sanctions against True the Vote. Its motion is available at www.thetaxpayerschannel.org/pdfs/mcdanielvcochran/truethevote/wallacesanctions.pdf.

Ironically, Judge Atlas should sanction the Mississippi Republican Party for making a frivolous motion, not True the Vote for making the Mississippi Republican Party a party to the lawsuit.

© Michael Gaynor


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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Michael Gaynor

Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member... (more)


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