True the Vote, the Tea Party-backed anti-voter fraud group that has come under scrutiny because poll watchers trained by the organization have been accused of using intimidating tactics, received a large chunk of its money anonymously. It has also paid for or hosted events with several major players in the anti-voter fraud circuit.
The True the Vote organization, which is dedicated to preventing voter fraud and emerged from the King Street Patriots group, has received over $80,000 in donations, but they have not disclosed who their money is coming from. Instead, they classify their income as “general meeting donations,” according to records examined by TPMMuckraker. When the Texas Democratic Party examined their records, they also turned up records of payments to EmergingCorruption, a website run by so-called ACORN whistleblower Anita MonCrief.
Scott Swett, who was the webmaster for SwiftVets.com, has been paid $11,000 this year by the King Street Patriots for website services, the Lone Start Project points out. Swett is the founder of New American Media Online Services as well as a director of the conservative message-board site Free Republic.
The Texas Democratic Party has alleged that there is evidence of illegal activity by the King Street Patriots.
“It strains belief that this group is saying they raised $87,000 by passing the hat at their meetings,” Chad Dunn, Texas Democratic Party General Counsel, said in a statement this week.
True the Vote and the King Street Patriots have hosted speeches by J. Christian Adams (who has been retained as counsel for True the Vote), David Horowitz and a wide variety of conservative politicians and media figures like Rep. John Culberson (R-TX).
In the wake of scrutiny of their poll-watchers program, True the Vote asserted that claims that poll watchers who have been trained by the organization are intimidating voters come from partisan operatives.
“Many of the poll watchers being attacked are soccer moms and senior citizens, who volunteer their time because they love their country and want to ensure a free and fair election,” Catherine Engelbrecht, leader of King Street Patriots, said in a statement yesterday. “The True the Vote poll watcher trainings are for anyone who wants to get involved. Attacks on silent poll watchers are not only against the law but shameful.”
A Texas Republican Party representative told TPMMuckraker yesterday that the group “is not directly coordinating with any Tea Party groups.”
“We have a task force that’s been activated, and we have some lawyers who have donated their time and talents to help us,” Chris Elam said. “There’s always been voter fraud in Texas, it’s undeniable. It happens more in the urban areas of course, but in some of the more rural areas, mail-in ballots are an issue.”
“It’s been rare that we have gotten to the point where we suspect that it changed the outcome of an election,” Elam added. “But our stance is that every vote should be counted and every legal vote should be counted.”
The Justice Department will announce federal poll monitors today. DOJ has already said they are gathering information regarding allegations of voter intimidation in Harris County. Spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler clarified in a statement that there “is no investigation into any specific political organization - including the Tea Party - at this time regarding this matter.”
[Ed note: this article was edited after publication]