From the studios of KPFA in Berkeley, California, the Election Crimes Bulletin with investigative journalist Greg Palast and Flashpoints host Dennis Bernstein returns for another election season. In this edition, Palast and Bernstein go to Milwaukee and Wisconsin to report on election fraud. And as DNC chair Tom Perez continues to obstruct the real results from Iowa, we also take a look at the efforts to deprive Bernie Sanders of a win there. But first Palast reveals some YUGE breaking news out of Georgia…
Dennis Bernstein: You're listening to a special edition of Flashpoints as the Election Crimes Bulletin returns with bestselling author, Greg Palast. The Best Democracy Money Can Buy — that’s a book, that’s a movie, and that's something you can check out if you already haven't done it. Greg, welcome back to Flashpoints. I hear you’ve been in Milwaukee and Wisconsin. What have you been up to? And have you heard there's a little problem in Iowa?
Greg Palast: It's very little problem. I'm not worried about white mischief. We'll get to that, Dennis. I do want to give you a piece of breaking news that's about 12 seconds old. I heard just before I got on air. My co-plaintive Helen Butler, the great voting rights leader in Georgia, and I… a judge has just said we’ve won our lawsuit against Brian Kemp. She doesn't want to hear about a trial. We didn't even ask for this. She just said Kemp loses this. He's been lying. And we are now going to get all the information about how the election was stolen in Georgia. He's got to open his files.
Dennis Bernstein: This is the current Governor we're talking about. The current Governor of Georgia, who was the former Secretary of State who fixed the election so that Stacey Abrams couldn't be the first African-American Governor in history.
Greg Palast: Thank you for the background. This is what it is. Brian Kemp was Secretary of State. That's the guy that's in charge of the voter rolls and the voting. He eliminated over half a million voters in the year before the election in which he was running for Governor against Stacey Abrams. And the Palast Investigative Fund, working with salon — now we're working with The Guardian and of course with Dennis Bernstein and Flashpoints — we did an analysis and found out that they wrongly removed at least 340,134 voters, over a third of a million voters, young people, low income people, black folk, Asian-Americans, Hispanics — that’s how Brian Kemp snuck by to become Governor of Georgia. And now a federal judge… because I demanded that they open their files to show me how they stole this election, including using Kris Kobach, you remember our friend, they used the Crosscheck list created by Kris Kobach, a racist purge list…
So what's happening now is that the judge said this is not even going to go to trial. Just so you know, my lawyers did not even ask the judge to take this to what's called a summary judgment. The lawyers listening will know what this means, sua sponte, that means the judge on her own just said I've had it with Brian Kemp, turnover the material, we’re not going to trial. You've been lying to me. I'm not going to put up with this. You're hiding the information. Give it to these people. They got ya. And by the way, he'll have to pay our fees too.
This is a big, big win, not just for Greg Palast as a journalist, not just for Helen Butler, who is the executive director of the Reverend Joseph Lowery's civil rights organization, but in addition, it's a big victory for us nationwide to open up these files, the secret files that are used to fix these elections and eliminate voters of color.
That’s the Georgia news, and now you've asked me about what I was doing in Milwaukee and in Wisconsin where there's more mischief afoot, and then we'll get to Iowa.
Dennis Bernstein: So what's happening? What were you up to in Milwaukee?
Greg Palast: In Milwaukee. okay, you had a Governor named Scott Walker, kind of a Koch glove puppet, who was thrown out of office. He lost the election to a guy named Tony Evers, a Democrat, and a terrific progressive African-American, Mandela Barnes, who’s Lieutenant governor… He listens to your program, by the way, and is very, very concerned about the massive purge of voters in Wisconsin, kind of using Brian Kemp's methods from Georgia and taking them to Wisconsin. They were about to remove 237,000 voters from the voter rolls. Now, understand, the presidency is at stake here. Wisconsin was the swing state that handed Trump the presidency by just 24,000 votes. Now, Dennis, they're talking about removing 10 times Trump's margin from the voter rolls.
And who are the people that they are removing? When I was in Milwaukee yesterday, I met with the black team male supervisor of Milwaukee County. She was on the voter purge list. They said that she'd moved out of the state. No, she'd moved a block away from her apartment. This is the supervisor in Milwaukee, but she happens to have a problem, well, she had two problems; She is a woman and she is African-American. That's who they're targeting under completely false nonsensical information provided by Kris Kobach and provided by the Pew Charitable Trust.
Every time you turn on the Petroleum Broadcast System, you see this program has been paid for by the Pew Charitable Trust. The Pew Charitable Trust created another hit list to go along with Kris Kobach’s hit list… and they're using that list. That list took out the black woman who's the County Supervisor in Milwaukee and this list is taking out literally a couple hundred thousand, mostly low income voters. In other words, Democrats.
This could determine the election. Just so you know, Kornacki from MSNBC, their statistician has said that, as of this moment, Trump and an unnamed Democratic opponent would each get about 269 electoral votes and it will come down to the state of Wisconsin. It comes down to the state of Wisconsin. But you know what? The Koch Bros — it’s Charles Koch and Billy Koch now, the two remaining Koch Brothers — they know that and so they are purging the rolls of Wisconsin. And that's why I was there, while everyone has their eye on Iowa. This is how they pull off this mischief, because you're looking at Iowa and you're not looking at Wisconsin. Well, we should look at Iowa too….
Dennis Bernstein: Please say a little bit more about how these votes were stolen. How did they take the black supervisor of this county and purge her?
Greg Palast: What they did was… the Pew Charitable Trust, and I don't trust them anymore, the Pew Charitable Trust, creates a purge list, which is sent out to a couple dozen states. Now, the Pew Trust said, don't use this to purge people. It's like someone handing someone a lynching rope, but don't lynch anyone. Don't use this list to willy nilly purge people. You're supposed to be using this to help people reregister or something like that. The truth is that it is being used to purge voters.
And in particular there is a group that was funded by a right wing family, the Allen-Bradley family of Wisconsin. They're very, very right wing, the richest family in Wisconsin. They got lawyers to sue the state to force the state, even though it's now a Democratic administration, to demand that the state remove these 237,000 people. And a court [agreed], because the Republican legislature said you must use the Pew Foundation lists to purge people. If someone's on the Pew Foundation list, you have to purge them under Wisconsin law.
Now, I will say in defense of the Pew Foundation, they said that's not how you're supposed to use our list. But that doesn't matter. They put out this hit list and the Wisconsin Republican state legislature, which is a creature of gerrymandering, said anyone on the Pew list — which is called ERIC — must be removed from the voter rolls. And so right now, Mandela Barnes, the Democrats and progressives on the elections board are trying to fight this in court. But in the meantime, you have a mass purge going on of voters, overwhelmingly voters of color, overwhelmingly low-income voters. And, you know, that's just one of the tricks that they're pulling off in Wisconsin…
For those who understand Souls to the Polls… Black people tend to vote in the majority of states on the Sunday before the normal Election Day because they can't get off work and they don't have transportation. They go to church and after church they go to the polling stations in church buses. That's why it's called souls to the polls. This is vital in states like Wisconsin, Ohio, and Indiana. And what happened was they said no Sunday voting, they eliminated the Sunday early voting in Wisconsin. So the purge, the elimination of early voting in Wisconsin, and then they have an ID law in Wisconsin…
You'll love this one, Dennis, As you know, we have the gigantic University of Wisconsin system based in Madison, Wisconsin, and Marquette University in Milwaukee… The student populations are very progressive and basically very Democratic. They said, you must have a state photo ID to vote. Now University of Wisconsin students get a state photo ID, but that they said the university ID couldn't be used for voting. You like that?
Now, according to the University of Wisconsin itself, they did an analysis and said that 50,000 students were blocked from voting by that law, and that was the margin for Trump in 2016 — and they're hoping to do it again this year, in 2020.
Understand, Florida was a key swing state, then Ohio was a key swing state, then in 2016 everyone was surprised by Wisconsin. It's going to be Wisconsin again, it’s a key swing state.
I went there and they are absolutely trying to steal that election. This not a partisan issue. If Trump gets elected by the people, that’s democracy, live with it. But if he gets elected by stopping people from voting, that’s not democracy. And that's what's happening in Wisconsin. It's not democracy.
Dennis Bernstein: And it's not the Russians.
Greg Palast: No, you know I didn’t see a single Russian there. And you know what? The Russians didn't provide the purge list. The Russians didn't tell the University of Wisconsin, which by the way… so they had regents appointed by Scott Walker. The chancellor’s appointed by Scott Walker, the right wing Republican who was thrown out by the voters. By the way, don't get discouraged about voting just cause they try to steal your vote. Because they showed in Wisconsin, when the Democrats took over, kicked out Scott Walker, that they can't steal all the votes all the time. But they try. So Walker appointed a Wisconsin board of regents and chancellor who would make sure that the students would not be issued with IDs that would allow them to vote. They were not [given voting eligible IDs] deliberately. I'm telling you deliberately cause I didn't decide this myself; a lawyer with the board of elections said it was deliberate to stop the students from voting in 2016 — and that gave Trump Wisconsin and the White House
Dennis Bernstein: That was so cynical to stop a student on their first vote ever. The implications of that reverberate in many different ways. Greg, let's talk just a moment about Iowa. Now Tom Perez is the genius of the corporate Democratic party who now wants to start a recount. What do you think about that?
Greg Palast: Well, you know, it's F.O.B. Fear of Bernie… I’m not endorsing any candidates, you know, let the people decide. I'm a journalist. I'm doing these investigative reports for Flashpoints and for now The Guardian USA. We see it in California, which we shouldn't forget about. March 3 is the primary in California.
In Iowa, okay, you have this crazy system where when they count the votes… when they said Buttigieg was ahead, it was in this strange delegate count business that they use. It’s a really complex system of delegate counting, which is so complex that most of the people involved in the count don't even know how to calculate it, which was one of the problems that they ran into. If you go deeper into the data and you just look at the number of voters — remember how democracy used to be like counting the number of voters, Dennis? Like in the old days? — if you count the number of voters, Bernie walked away with Iowa… It’s almost like an electoral college system. For example, Bernie won super heavy in areas of Des Moines. Well, that's overbalanced by delegate wins by Buttigieg in small, low turnout, rural areas. So it's kind of a mini electoral college system that they have in Iowa. So when they say that it's either even or it’s Buttigieg, what they're saying is we're not talking about voters, we're talking about the delegate count and the delegate count is a complete cluster flour. I'll put it that way.
Dennis Bernstein: Yes. And, of course, what it looks like now, Sanders is about 4,000 or 5,000 votes up in the real count. The delegate count is like 26.6 to 26.1. We’re out of time, Greg, but can you give me the one-liner on why Tom Perez would think at this moment in time it would be good to start counting this one over again.
Greg Palast: Well, because they know when they're done, the fraction will end up with Sanders, or close enough that it's pretty clear that he ended up on top. There's a panic by the national party. And remember this app that started out creating this disaster was created by basically the Clinton crowd in the party, and look, it's smells.
I hope that our next report before the California primary, we will talk about the massive, massive problems of California, because that's where the Democratic leadership is going to try to block Sanders. It’s not a matter whether you're for or against Sanders, it’s whether you're for or against democracy.
This edition of the Election Crimes Bulletin was first broadcast on KPFA’s Flashpoints with Dennis Bernstein on February 6, 2020. You can listen to the full show here.
The Palast team is completing work on our short film of how exactly Brian Kemp illegally eliminated 340,134 voters from the rolls, stealing the election from Stacey Abrams. The Palast film then takes us to Wisconsin where the “Kemp” techniques are at the center of a push to block 247,000 voters, mostly Democrats, and thereby keep Wisconsin, the swing state of swing states, in the Trump column.
Help us complete our investigation, dig into the purge lists and finish this film. It’s not about candidates, it’s about democracy. Donate $1,000 and you’ll be listed in the credits as a producer, $500 as a co-producer, $100 as a supporter or simply donate what you can and you’ll get a signed copy of the film! We have a team of 15 — there is nothing like it in US journalism — digging into the heist of 2020.