Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady told TPMMuckraker on Tuesday that the state Republican Party does not have a prominent birther on the payroll, but confirmed that his organization is working with the Republican National Lawyers Association to train volunteers on election day as part of a “voter integrity” initiative.
Brady — who previously posted a notice on the GOP website about the “voter integrity” program that was later scrubbed — said that the program is not unusual.
“It’s nothing that we haven’t done in years past,” Brady said. “We do this every year and [the Democrats] do this every year. The reality is we live in Illinois, and ballot integrity has been an issue since 1960. We want to make it easy to vote but hard to cheat.”
Brady said they were not working specifically with outside groups, adding that they were seeking volunteers. He said that Sharon Meroni, who according to Mother Jones blogs under the pseudonym “Chalice Jackson” and launched a petition demanding Obama’s resignation for “high crimes and misdemeanors,” is not on the state GOP payroll.
Asked why he thought that GOP Senate candidate Mark Kirk focused on two predominately African-American neighborhoods of Chicago when explaining the anti-voter fraud program to fellow GOP officials in a secretly recorded phone call, Brady said that the program was focused statewide.
The parts of Chicago that Kirk mentioned, Brady noted, were some of the major metropolitan areas of the state — and “statistically that’s where the people are.”
RNLA’s Micheal Thielen previously said the the organization “does not perform ANY operations. We merely train lawyers on how to ensure elections are open, fair and honest. Our training program in Illinois has been approved by the Illinois state bar for Illinois Mandatory Continuing Legal Education credit.”
(Ed. note: this story has been updated)