ANDY MARTIN says the Illinois State Board of Elections should bar election fraud
Illinois corruption fighter Andy Martin asks the State Board of Elections to put an end to fraudulent practices by corrupt Illinois “election attorneys.” Martin has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit stating Illinois politics is a cesspool of fraud and corruption:
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Andy Martin’s anti-Kirk blogs:
July 6, 2010
State Board of Elections
1020 S. Spring Street
Springfield, IL 62704
via faxes (217) 782-4141,
Dear Members of the Board
I understand from media inquiries that there is some sort of Board meeting today. I have not been formally notified and I could not find a formal notice on your web site. There is a statutory process for notification. But at least in my case the statutory notice has not been received. When I spoke to staff on Tuesday afternoon they were planning to mail notices Tuesday. Mailing something to Chicago, especially something requiring a signature, over a forthcoming holiday weekend, and expecting two-day delivery is unrealistic. Chicago continues to have some of the slowest mail in the nation and, especially in my building, we get very slow delivery.
Thus, I have not seen any objection to my candidacy.
Nevertheless, out of an abundance of caution I wanted to advise the Board as follows:
1. Board procedures
a. The Board is increasingly receiving “blunderbuss” objections, in which a straw man or woman files indiscriminate complaints against every candidate. That has apparently happened with respect to objections to all statewide candidates who filed petitions during the latest period.
In my opinion, indiscriminate objections violate the Board’s charter and purpose. Sharon Meroni does not even pretend to have examined the petitions of any candidate. She just objects to everyone, on a basis not contemplated by the statute. Meroni’s objection to the process should be directed to the legislature, not the Board. Meroni is misusing the Board.
The Board should develop a procedure to screen out indiscriminate filings so that these types of objections can be weeded out prior to the necessity for a formal hearing.
b. The Board should adopt procedures for pre-hearing discovery. I for one, and potentially many others, would like to depose objectors before any hearing so we can prepare a defense before, not after, the hearing commences. Pre-hearing discovery is a part of every civil procedure process. Although the Board is an administrative agency, general principles of administrative law in every state and in the federal system contemplate pre-hearing depositions and discovery. In the past the Board has been hostile to pre-hearing discovery.
c. Illinois politics has been plagued for generations by fraudulent election practices. One of the most noxious of Illinois’ election scams is the use of “sham” or “front” objections, in which an attorney such as John Fogarty, Andrew Finko or others solicit “objectors” who are really and in substance “shams” for undisclosed principals. I ask the board to put an end to the practice of sham/undisclosed principal objections by adopting a procedure that bars or screens out sham pleadings which are the result of unlawful common law champerty and maintenance by unscrupulous attorneys such as Fogarty, Finko and others. That is simply not how our democracy should work.
The federal constitutional right to run for office is precisely that, a federal constitutional right, and it should not be undermined through the use of fraudulent and deceptive practices that end up compromising the Board as an institution.
The Board, moreover, is not a creature for the perpetuation of two-party rule by Republicans and Democrats. In our increasingly fractured society individuals seek to offer themselves for office through new parties or no party at all. The Board cannot allow Republicans and Democrats to orchestrate sham proceedings to harass new candidates and parties. New parties and candidates have a right to organize without harassment or abuse from existing political organizations; that right is inherent in the First Amendment right to “freedom of association.”
In the past, the Board has ignored patently sham filings and treated every objection as though founded in good faith. That is obviously not the case when “objectors” object to every candidate who submits a statewide petition. Someone is always behind this process and someone behind the scenes is actually funding the objections and “fronting” the attorneys who engage in these unsavory practices.
Every legal system, both state and federal, provides procedures for identifying and screening out sham legal pleadings which are submitted to a court or agency on behalf of undisclosed principals who have trumped up a complaint. Every federal and state legal system, judicial and administrative, mandates that the “real party in interest” be identified and become a party to any proceeding. The Board should mandate the same transparency through any rules which are adopted for the objection process.
The time to strip away the pretense and acknowledge that indiscriminate blunderbuss objection filings are being submitted by persons who are acting as surrogates for undisclosed principals who are really paying the bill, and paying the legal fees, must end. Now.
I ask the Board to adopt procedures which allow for searching inquiry during the discovery process and at any hearings on the true actions, motives and activity of objectors prior to their filing of objections, by any party who is either represented by an attorney or representing themselves pro se. The more honest the Board strives to be, the higher will be the public respect in which the Board is held as an agent of reform, not surreptitious political corruption.
Once the Board stops treating sham objections as genuine objections the Board’s work load will also be lessened, as we force sunlight and disclosure into the objection process.
2. My lawsuit
I have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against various objectors. The Board is named as a nominal party, i.e. the Board itself is not accused of any misconduct at this time
. Nevertheless, it appears that Illinois state laws, and possibly Board procedures, violate the Illinois Constitutional mandate, and the Federal Fourteenth Amendment mandate, for equality of treatment of all candidates. I respectfully request that the Board review the contents of this letter in light of the pending lawsuit. I expect to receive the actual court filings and receipts today, and will begin sending out the papers for service of process tomorrow. I plan to ask for an emergency preliminary injunction hearing as soon as the court is available.
I am submitting a copy of the lawsuit with this letter for the Board’s review.
3. Hearing request for Springfield
Because I am a statewide candidate and our campaign is centered in Springfield, as well as the lawsuit pending in Springfield, I would ask that hearings on any objections to my nominating petitions be scheduled for Springfield and not Chicago. This may affect who is appointed to hear the objections.
W/encl. Sangamon County lawsuit: