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Monday, August 05, 2002
 
This is not ok. When a candidate for public office sponsors the coercion of a public entity for the purpose of influencing the outcome of an election, it is not ok. When those involved rub our noses in it, throwing a big party featuring Wayne Newton, and don't even have the decency to hide the fact that the principals called to thank the participants, it's not ok.

News cameras captured the chaotic scene outside the canvassing board's offices. The protesters shouted slogans and banged on the doors and walls. The unruly protest prevented official observers and members of the press from reaching the room. Miami-Dade county spokesman Mayco Villafana was pushed and shoved. Security officials feared the confrontation was spinning out of control.

***

Despite the use of intimidation to influence actions by election officials, Bush and his top aides remained publicly silent about these disruptive tactics. The Washington Post reported that "even as the Bush campaign and the Republicans portray themselves as above the fray," national Republicans actually had joined in and helped finance the raucous protests. [Washington Post, Nov. 27, 2000]


***

Unlike the Chicago Seven case three decades earlier, no one faced charges for disrupting the Miami recount.

In the Chicago Seven case, the jury acquitted all defendants of conspiracy charges, though finding five defendants – David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin – individually guilty of inciting a riot, charges that later were reversed on appeal. Separate government investigations also faulted the Chicago police for using excessive violence to quell the 1968 protests.

Ironically, the kind of documentary evidence that might have proved valuable in tying up the loose ends of the Chicago Seven conspiracy is present in the new filings that the Bush recount committee made to the IRS. The evidence is clear that the Bush committee organized the movement of protesters across state lines, paid for their lodging, moved them into a position for the riot, and then defended their actions.


Are charges filed? Does anyone decry this obvious and illegal operation to disrupt legitimate electoral process? Let's do the exercise one more time: if it had been the Democrats..."

It is not ok.