We interrupt our coverage to bring you this special report.
The partners of Hortman Harlow Bassi Robinson & McDaniel, PLLC must be beaming with pride for their partner, Chris McDaniel. He is a one man legal stimulus machine. He’s in multiple courts daily keeping the lawyers of Mississippi fed and happy. Yesterday, was not a great day in the McDaniel legal world however. First, the MS Supreme Court reiterated their rejection of McDaniel’s arguments in the landmark “Hallmark” decision.
McDaniel’s proxy fight from True the Vote in federal court didn’t seem to go much better. Between Judge Nancy Atlas and attorney Mike Wallace, they had a bad day. Judge Atlas said in open court, “This is not a case of voter fraud.” That’s not a good thing when basically that’s what True the Vote alleged. From the Clarion Ledger article
Atlas said she doesn’t believe True the Vote needs the birth dates of voters. The judge said she wasn’t saying True the Vote would do anything nefarious with the personal information of voters, but she said others out there could come along and abuse the information or post it on the Internet.
State Assistant Attorney General Harold Pizzetta asked Engelbrecht on cross-examination whether she would agree voters would feel like the release of the information was an invasion of privacy.
“No, I wouldn’t consider it private,” Engelbrecht said.
That’s comforting. I can’t tell you the sense of comfort I derive that a Tea Party group in Texas wants my name and social security number from voter rolls. I can’t imagine anything going wrong with that plan.
Meanwhile, the McDaniel press juggernaut was at it again. This time, spokesman Noel Fritsch tangled with Sam Hall of the Clarion Ledger.
Sam Hall had questioned Noel about some expenditures from FEC reports to Liberty Action Center. If you’ll remember back to Day 8 of the hostage crisis, Liberty Action Center was “busted” making calls claiming that they were in fact representing the McDaniel campaign. At the time, Fritsch said, “that the campaign was not doing anything with Liberty Action Center and had no phone banking operation asking voters to support any kind of petition.” That doesn’t appear to be the case, but in Fritsch’s defense, I can’t imagine that when he said that even he thought this challenge foolishness would go on this long. During this FEC reporting period the McDaniel campaign itself spent over $11K with LAC, though it was listed on the report as “facility rental/catering services”. Maybe with each petition or phonebank purchased, they deliver a box of doughnuts.
This is really the third documented time that Noel Fritsch has been caught mangling the truth. The first was when McDaniel was scheduled to speak at an event featuring a “white pride” vendor in March. The second time was during the revelation of the nursing home scandal. Here’s what I said at the time on May 18.
McDaniel has installed a group of people in his immediate orbit that are spectacularly incapable of telling the whole truth.
This is just yet another episode in a well-documented trail.
Not to be outdone with Sam Hall pretty clearly pointing out that Fritsch lied to him three weeks ago about Liberty Action Center, Fritsch turned up the heat.
When pressed about what services Liberty Action Center provided, a combative Fritsch said, “We worked with them on email. There’s you a quote.”
Despite having previously denying the campaign had paid Liberty Action Center to make the calls after the runoff, Fritsch refused to answer questions today about it.
“I don’t accept the premise of your question,” he said when asked again today.
Fritsch then said he didn’t believe any calls had been made in late June and early July. When I told him that Alvord had admitted to making the calls and that on July 3 I posted a recording of a caller claiming to be with the McDaniel campaign and explaining why they were calling, Fritsch said angrily, “That would require me trusting anything you write.”
Fritsch then said, “Off the record, when did you stop beating your wife?”
Not accepting “the premise of the question” and asking when reporters stopped beating their wives are always winning strategies. I’m sure they were featured prominently on Pro Libertate/Tea Party Candidate Spokesman Training Day.
This response to Hall just could not be in any more character for Fritsch. This is who he is and what he does and it stems from the freedom that comes from not being from Mississippi, not planning to live in Mississippi and not giving a crap about what people think about him here.
But it looks like we will have him to kick around for a while longer. If (BIG IF) McDaniel is true to his word, the protest to the GOP should start today. Remember that last Wednesday, the campaign legal team said to expect a challenge in 10 days. Well, here we are.
The bar remains impossibly high for them, by the way. They’ve insinuated so much by using words like “stolen” and “sham” and executing parlor tricks like the $1000 bounty yet shown so little real data that anything less than video of people stuffing ballot boxes will ring hollow. They can’t trot out half-baked accusations from a self-styled reverend in Meridian who got paid to talk (and has since recanted). The evidence has to be real and beyond any reasonable doubt. The campaign has said that it has the smoking gun, but refuses to show it. When ultimately their hand gets called, it’ll just be them and the evidence and we will see once and for all whether all of this has just been for show.
And don’t forget that nursing home scandal thing is still out there.
That’s the way it was – Day 31 of the McDaniel Hostage Crisis.
Good day Mississippi – and good luck.
The author of this story has made a reportable contribution to the Thad Cochran campaign in this cycle. Please do your own research and factor that into your consideration.