TASK FORCE FOR THE CONTESTED ELECTION IN THE 46TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA: HEARING ON THE MERITS
COMMITTEE ON HOUSE OVERSIGHT
TASK FORCE FOR THE CONTESTED ELECTION IN THE 46TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED FIFTH CONGRESS
Santa Ana, California
April 19, 1997
COMMITTEE ON HOUSE OVERSIGHT
BILL THOMAS, California, Chairman
ROBERT W. NEY, Ohio SAM GEJDENSON, Connecticut
VERNON J. EHLERS, Michigan STENY H. HOYER, Maryland
JOHN A. BOEHNER, Ohio CAROLYN C. KILPATRICK, Michigan
KAY GRANGER, Texas
JOHN L. MICA, Florida
STACY CARLSON, Staff Director
ROBERT BASKIN, Minority Staff Director
TASK FORCE FOR THE CONTESTED ELECTION
IN THE 46TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
VERNON J. EHLERS, Michigan, Chairman
ROBERT W. NEY, Ohio
STENNY H. HOYER, Maryland
HEARING ON THE MERITS
CONTESTED ELECTION IN CALIFORNIA'S 46TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
Saturday, April 19, 1997
US House of Representatives,
Committee on House Oversight,
Task Force For The Contested Election
in the 46th Congressional District of California,
Santa Ana, CA
The Task Force met, pursuant to call, at 8:40 a.m., in the Board Hearing Room, Hall of Administration, 10 Civic Center Plaza, Santa Ana, California, Hon. Vernon Ehlers [Chairman of the Committee] presiding.
Present: Representatives Ehlers, Ney and Hoyer.
Staff Present: Stacy Carlson, Majority Staff Director; Roman Buhler and Dan Crowley, Majority Staff Counsel; John Kelliher, Majority Assistant Counsel; Chris Wright, Majority Professional Staff; Nick Parks and Julie Benevedes, Majority Staff Assistants; Jim Portnoy, Minority Staff.
Mr. Ehlers. I would like to call this meeting to order. This is a hearing of the Special Task Force appointed to investigate the contested election in the 46th District of California.
My name is Vernon Ehlers. I am the Congressman from Grand Rapids, Michigan. On my right is Mr. Robert Ney, Congressman from southeastern Ohio, and on my left, Congressman Hoyer, a longstanding member of Congress from the state of Maryland.
We certainly want to welcome everyone here. I also want to introduce any members of Congress who may be in the audience. We had invited a number of them as guests if they wished to attend. If you are present, make your presence known, and I will introduce you. And if any of you see any members of Congress coming in later in the day, please let me know, and I will introduce them as they arrive.
I also want to thank the people of this district and the people of this county for their tremendous assistance and their good spirit. After spending just a day here--and I do have to tell you I lived in California for 11 years, and my wife is a native of California, so we have spent some time here, but it was mostly in northern California. After spending less than a day here so far and seeing your beautiful city and your wonderful climate, I really wonder why anyone wants to leave here and go to Washington, D.C.
Mr. Ehlers. But I understand that duty does call. But the hospitality here has been tremendous. The cooperation of the local officials is very much appreciated. This is a magnificent facility. I cannot imagine a better facility for this purpose, and we appreciate everyone's cooperation in helping us set this up.
Just a few comments about the procedure today, since I suspect many of you may never have attended a Congressional hearing. After my initial comments about procedure, there will be opening statements from each of the three members on this panel. We will give our views on the issues before us and the way we hope to proceed.
Then I will go over the rest of the agenda in just a moment. But I think it is very important to recognize that this is what we call a hearing on the merits. Our goal is to find out information, to take testimony about the facts. We are a quasi-judicial body. It is a rather unusual situation to have Congressmen acting in that role. But the process has been set up for a number of years under the Federal Contested Elections Act. It is a rather arcane bit of legislation which is seldom used and generally not understood by very many individuals or attorneys. There are very few specialists, yet we have some specialists with us here who have studied it a lot and worked in it and know it extremely well.
But the purpose of this hearing is simply to determine the facts surrounding the election and cut through all the hearsay, all the charges and counter charges, to simply get at the facts of what actually happened in the election to try to determine who is the rightful winner of the election.
Obviously since we are in Congress, we are members of a party, but we try jointly to keep partisanship at a minimum, and we are acting as best we can in our conscience to be as fair as we can in this entire process.
I would also just mention a word to the media. Because this is an arcane bit of law and sometimes it is misinterpreted even by attorneys or others who take a quick reading and believe that they can offer an interpretation, if any of you have any questions at any time, feel free to contact us because, as I say, it is an unusual bit of legislation, rather arcane and hard to understand. We will try to help you as much as possible to develop your understanding of it.
The agenda for the day will consist first of the opening statements from each of the members. Then we will hear from a panel of government officials, whom we will introduce later, at both the state and the local level, as well as the federal level, who will be here as witnesses in their official capacities, and will try, as best they can, to educate us in the California process of elections and their perceptions of what may or may not have gone right or wrong, and to offer their testimony on the situation that is before us.
We assume that will take most of the morning. Everything is timed, and I will explain the timing light system in a minute for those who are speaking so that they are not taken by surprise when the lights flash or when I cut off their microphone at some point if they do not stop.
But the initial panel will have 15 minutes each and we, as members of Congress, will have five minutes per member after each witness for questioning. We assume that will take most of the morning.
We will then have a lunch break, and I will be available, as I assume other members will, to talk to the media if they have questions, and perhaps if there is time, talk to some of the citizens present and answer their questions.
The afternoon will be presentations by the Contestant, Mr. Dornan, and the Contestee, Ms. Sanchez. They will each have 45 minutes. Mr. Dornan will go first to present his case, and then Congresswoman Sanchez will come forward and make her case. This will be followed by a round of questions from the members of the panel, 10 minutes per member. If time allows, we will have a second round of five minutes per member.
After that, the Contestant, former Congressman Dornan, will make his response to Ms. Sanchez's presentation. That will be followed by Congresswoman Sanchez's response to the presentation by Mr. Dornan, as well as to his response. That will be 30 minutes, followed in each case by a round of five minutes per member for questions.
That will take us very close to 6:00, I suspect.
At the very end, there is something on the agenda called ``Public Comment.'' And I just want to mention that is extremely unusual in Congressional hearings. Normally, we do not take public comment in Congressional hearings. Because we have come some distance and I know there are a number of citizens eager to make comment, I really wanted to include this segment. But as I said, it is normally not done in Congress.
I discussed this with Mr. Hoyer, who had some reservations, and yesterday we worked this out. We will take approximately one half hour of public comment. It will be limited to the heads or spokespersons of the organizations who are outside the building holding demonstrations or counter-demonstrations. We will give them an opportunity to come in for five minutes each and make a succinct presentation of their feelings about the case and any knowledge they might have that might be of assistance to us.
Mr. Hoyer, maybe you would just like to take a moment here and state your concerns about that process, just to get that on the record.
Mr. Hoyer. Mr. Chairman, on the public comment, is that what you wanted me to--
Mr. Ehlers. Yes.
Mr. Hoyer. --because you and I have discussed that.
First of all, let me say from my perspective, the Congress always takes public comment. I know what the Chairman meant, but obviously hearings are for the purposes of taking public comment on policies and issues that confront the Congress.
This is a unique proceeding that the Congress undertakes under a special statute, where effectively it is somewhat analogous to a case; that is, a case between two opposing parties, the Contestant and the Contestee. In this case, the Contestant, Mr. Dornan, and the Contestee, Ms. Sanchez.
It is my belief that this is not--and the statute did not contemplate--a plebiscite, this is not an issue where we are looking for--to see who has more witnesses than the other. Very frankly, in a case one witness may be so compelling that 100 witnesses do not prevail. It is the facts that ultimately will hopefully decide this case.
So that, although the Chairman has agreed to take some public comment from some of the groups, as I understand, this will not be open. From my perspective, representing the minority, we agree with that procedure. This is not a procedure--there are obviously thousands of citizens in the 46th Congressional District and in California and Orange County interested in this issue. But what this Task Force has been charged to do by the House Oversight Committee is to try to garner the facts. We are not rerunning the election. We are trying to determine if that election was in fact won by Loretta Sanchez, or whether or not the facts show that that is in question or is not the fact.
Mr. Chairman, I think that explains my position and I agree with you that the limiting of public testimony is appropriate in this case.
Mr. Ehlers. Thank you, Mr. Hoyer.
I want to make it clear if anyone wishes to offer testimony, it does not have to be in the form of speaking here today. The record will remain open on this hearing until April 30. Any member of the audience here, any of those outside the doors, or anyone watching who has information about this case and wishes to make the information known, is free to send us a letter of their testimony, and we will be happy to receive it.
You can also write your testimony down today and simply leave it in one of the boxes we have placed around. It must be signed. We do have to know your name, address, and telephone number in case further questions are necessary.
I have been asked several times already this morning about the process after this hearing. We will take under consideration all the information given us here. In addition, we will be receiving information from both Mr. Dornan and Ms. Sanchez. They are deposing witnesses, taking testimony from others, and presenting their case. It will take several months for them to collect that and for us to digest it all. And at that point, we will simply have to make some evaluations.
Our recommendations go to the Committee on House Oversight and then to the House of Representatives. Our options are first of all simply to dismiss the contest and say there is no contest. Ms. Sanchez was elected the Congresswoman; she remains the Congresswoman. If there is sufficient evidence in the mind of the Task Force, a second option would be to recommend that Mr. Dornan indeed won. That option would go before the House Oversight Committee for a vote and then before the House of Representatives for a vote. A third option is simply to declare it is impossible in any sense of the word to tell who won the election, declare it an open seat, and then the State of California and the County of Orange would hold a second election to determine who the member of Congress representing this District should be. Those are the three options, but we are a long way from reaching any decision. We are simply taking testimony, trying to get at the facts of the case at this point.
Julie, would you start the lights for a minute? For those of you who are witnesses, they have an excellent system here. When you start your testimony, the green light will go on; and one minute before you end your testimony, a yellow light will go on. I asked Julie to set it for a two minute time now, so within a minute, the yellow light will go on. And when your time is up, there will be a flashing red light at the top of that tower over there.
Mr. Hoyer. Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Ehlers. Yes?
Mr. Hoyer. Before you get to that, perhaps we ought to resolve one additional procedural question, so the public understands. And I have discussed this with the Chairman and Mr. Ney. Under the rules of the House, the minority can in fact request the Task Force to hold an additional hearing with such witnesses as the minority would suggest be called. So that that is a possible future hearing that might be held at the request of the minority.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Ehlers. Thank you, Mr. Hoyer. That is indeed true. There may well be further hearings, either here or in Washington, and we will definitely give the minority their rights to request witnesses at that time.
Each member, as I mentioned, will be allotted specific time to question the witnesses. We will follow the same light system that everyone else does once we get into receiving testimony. Each witness' presentation is limited to a specific time period, and these are all rules of the House of Representatives, which we must follow. Another rule--I do not expect any outbreaks or demonstrations or clapping or cheering or shouting, but I do want everyone to know that that is not proper and is not permitted in Congressional hearings. Whatever feelings you may have, you can keep them to yourself. I might tolerate laughter at any joke I might tell_
Mr. Ehlers. Hey, it worked. But anything beyond that would not be appropriate--no indication of support or opposition to a speaker. The speakers deserve the time to present their case to us.
You notice now the light has reached the flashing red stage? That is the sign to any speaker that he or she would have to stop.
One other comment. All witnesses will be sworn in prior to their testimony. On the panel, I will swear everyone in at the same time. But in the afternoon, all individuals will be sworn in individually.
I believe that takes care of all the details. So we will proceed to opening statements from the members of the panel.
I will proceed with my opening statement which I will try to make rather brief in view of the time I have consumed simply explaining the procedure. After that, Mr. Hoyer will proceed and then Mr. Ney, and we will always follow that order.
We have before us a very serious task, one which is given us by the Constitution of the United States of America. That Constitution states in Article I, Section 5, that each house of the Congress shall be the judge of the elections, returns, and qualifications of its own members. So unlike a state legislature, the Congress can review elections and has, therefore, passed the Federal Contested Elections Act, which specifies how Congress will oversee its elections in case there is a doubt about the winner.
This is a very serious and a very weighty responsibility that has been placed upon the Congress and been delegated to the members of this Task Force for this particular election. It is one which we take very seriously, and I am pleased that throughout the entire history of the Congress, the members who have been appointed to oversee this responsibility and carry it out have done it with great diligence and have put partisanship aside, except for one notable exception a little more than a decade ago. But over the 200-year history of this republic, it has been carried out honorably and very well with that one exception.
I am determined to again have this hearing be an example of the proper way to proceed. And I take this responsibility as Chairman very seriously. I was told I was picked for this task because I am fair and honest and a person of integrity. That is one of the greatest compliments that anyone can give me or any other elected official. And I will try to live up to that charge and that responsibility and try as much as I can with every fiber of my being to be fair and honorable in performing this function.
I believe the same is true of my colleagues on this Task Force, and even though we have had various differences along the way, we have always operated, up to this point, in good faith.
The issue before us is simply determining which of the charges and allegations that have been made are correct. We are here to determine the facts. It has been charged that there were some illegal voters, individuals who should not have been allowed to register and vote. It has been charged that there were mistakes made in the election, either in the counting of the ballots or in the supervising of the election. In other words, there are allegations of fraud or mistakes. We will try to determine, as best we can, whether or not that occurred.
But it is not simply determining whether or not there was fraud or whether there were mistakes made. It is our task after we do that to determine whether that could have affected the outcome of the election. So we have two barriers to cross. It is not like a normal case, where you simply decide what the facts are. We also have to determine whether these facts could have affected the election. And that is very difficult because we have a secret ballot in this country.
So even once we determine whether there was fraud or illegal votes or mistakes made, we still have to, in some fashion, determine whom those votes were cast for and what impact that has on the election.
And so you can see we have a very difficult task and one that takes a lot of good will and good intentions to determine the result. This double test that we must overcome makes it very difficult, and yet something which we will do and, as I said, we will discharge, to the best of our ability.
My approach as the Chairman is to be thorough, fair, open and honest. I encourage anyone who has information about this issue and wants to call it to our attention to write us and communicate with us so that we can help in this process.
I will now turn to Mr. Hoyer for his opening statement.
Mr. Hoyer. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I first want to thank Loretta Sanchez, Congresswoman Sanchez, for inviting us to her home to have today's field hearing.
All of us here today are interested in the truth, as you have pointed out, in assuring that the results of the election in the 46th District are accurate. Furthermore, all of us here today, public officials and private citizens, have an interest in increasing voter participation and assuring that all citizens, whether native born or newly naturalized, participate freely in the electoral process.
Ours has always been a nation of immigrants. From the earliest settlers to my father, who came here from Denmark many years ago, to the mothers and fathers of many of my colleagues in the Congress who came from Mexico, Cuba, Japan, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Far East, throughout the four corners of the world.
Today's hearing is not about immigration. It is not about the activities of one group or another group. It is not about each and every aspect of the November 1996 election in Orange County.
The sole concern of the Task Force today is whether or not Contestant Dornan can produce creditable evidence that, if true, would alter the outcome of the election in the 46th Congressional District. Six months into the process, I do not believe that has occurred.
We meet today to consider one of the most serious questions that can come before the House. The people of the 46th District have exercised their most important right and responsibility in their District and in their country, the right to vote and select their representatives.
We now examine their decision only in the most careful, serious and thoughtful manner. The Federal Contested Election Act clearly lays out the procedures the Task Force and parties involved should follow.
I remain, as many of you know, gravely concerned that this Task Force has moved forward and granted subpoena authority to Mr. Dornan in an untimely and inappropriate manner. Only one party at this point, Contestant Dornan, has been authorized under the Committee action to undertake discovery. To that extent, this hearing is premature at best.
To expect either party to respond on the merits, as the statute calls for, prior to them having had the time given to them by the Act to create the written record for us to consider, I think is unreasonable.
Nonetheless, we are here today. I again emphasize that there is only one issue before us--the search for creditable, relevant evidence that would demand an outcome other than the victory of Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez. We are not here today to determine the facts of elections other than the Congressional election. We are not here today to take hearsay as fact. Our focus is to determine whether the result of the Congressional election in the 46th District was proper. Although our task is narrow, it is vitally important.
The issue before us today is one of the most serious of issues that can come before the Congress and before a democratic people. Never before in history has the Congress proceeded to this point in this type of contest.
As I have stated before, I believe that the threshold for proceeding has not been met. Unless this Task Force is presented with and is convinced by creditable evidence that the wrong candidate was certified as the winner by Secretary of State Jones, our job is done.
Investigations into other aspects of this election in Orange County are not the responsibility of this Task Force, and are in fact being undertaken by the responsible authorities in the state of California.
On a final procedural matter, Mr. Chairman, I would like to again indicate that the minority may be requesting an additional day of hearing with witnesses as a result of the information that is adduced today.
Mr. Chairman, I look forward to today's testimony. I want to thank all of the officials, federal, state, local, for their cooperation, and thank the citizens of Orange County for their participation.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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Mr. Ehlers. Thank you, Mr. Hoyer.
Mr. Ney. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I also would like to thank the federal, state and local officials for all their courtesies that they are extending to this Congressional Committee, and also state out front, everybody has a California connection and so do I. I could not leave the state if I did not mention I have relatives in El Monte and Fontana, California. So it is not my first visit to the state, but it is the first visit in an official capacity.
I realize fully, from having served in office myself and having been through elections, as my colleagues have, that in any political election, you have an energetic give and take of public debate and that debate occurs during the election process and sometimes, in cases like this, that debate continues to occur after the process is done. So there is going to be a lot of emotions on both sides of this issue. But we are not here for the emotional part of it. We are here for the factual part of it. And I made the motion in the Committee to come here to California, and for several reasons.
The main reason to do it, beyond the fact I felt too we were invited to be here, but the main reason I think we needed to come here is to gather the facts. I do not think it is untimely, I think it is in a timely manner because there were enough, I believe, statements out there out front alleging voters that were signed up that in fact were done on an improper basis.
But I want to agree with my colleague, Mr. Hoyer, that this is not about immigration. This is about whether voters were legally registered to vote and should have been registered to vote, whether it occurred in Ohio or California or Colorado or New York. That is what this process is about.
So we are here, I am comfortable with the fact that we have come here at this point in time and I am comfortable with the fact of this Committee opening up the ability for people to acquire the facts of the case. It will be fair and impartial. We have maintained that all through the process, in Washington included.
So with that, I just want to again say that we appreciate the courtesies that you have extended to us and we look forward to beginning this process today.
Mr. Ehlers. Thank you, Mr. Ney, and I appreciate both of you emphasizing that this does not have any connection with immigrants. My parents are both immigrants. I thoroughly enjoy visiting their homeland and was raised with a deep appreciation for both their land and our land. And that will not be an issue of any sort during these hearings.
We will now proceed to take testimony from the panel of government officials. I ask all of them to rise and raise their right hand.
Mr. Ehlers. You may be seated.
Our first panelist is a distinguished individual, the California Secretary of State, Mr. Jones, who began working in the trenches, as I did, serving at the legislative level. He is a former Assemblyman representing Fresno, Central Valley, and I believe you are the first statewide official elected from the Central Valley. My wife will appreciate that since she was born and raised in the Central Valley not too far from where you were born.
As the state's chief election officer, Secretary Jones, I am told, has aggressively implemented significant administrative and legislative reforms to ensure the integrity of California's election system. And we are very pleased that you were willing to take time out of your busy schedule to be with us this morning. We look forward to hearing your testimony, Mr. Jones.
TESTIMONY OF BILL JONES, CALIFORNIA SECRETARY OF STATE accompanied by DAVID GRAY, CHIEF, INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY DIVISION, CALIFORNIA SECRETARY OF STATE; MICHAEL CAPIZZI, ORANGE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY; RICHARD ROGERS, INS REGIONAL DIRECTOR and ROSALYN LEVER, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTRAR
TESTIMONY OF BILL JONES
Mr. Jones. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members.
From the day I was sworn in as Secretary of State, I have pursued an aggressive policy of 100 percent participation by all individuals in the process, and zero tolerance for fraud. The goal of this dual policy, we have worked with individuals from many different businesses, Bank of America and others, to make sure that we have an aggressive outreach program.
In 1996, I joined with many different groups, the California Spanish language media, the Southwest Voter Registration Project and other groups to reach out to under-represented individuals.
Further, we worked with many groups to work with younger people--Rock-the-Vote Program, League of Women Voters, outreach programs, kids voting and others.
All these programs were at the core of our effort for outreach to make sure that everyone could participate.
We also worked hard to make sure that we had an opportunity to have the district court hear our plea for an ability for our office to work with the immigration process last year in southern California to present our information and to encourage people to register to vote.
Prior to the time I was elected, the prior administration oftentimes did not pursue as aggressive policy as we have stated. Oftentimes, we have found that procedures were not in place to make sure that the opportunity to pursue election responsibilities for fraud and oversight were not met. I have tried very hard, as an individual who worked in the area, in the legislature, of criminal justice, to pursue an activity that would have deterrence at the very core of the effort to stop election fraud. We have worked to make sure that our track record in dealing with cases in California revolving around elections are pursued aggressively by our office and hopefully will be pursued to closure with over 300 open cases currently and 140 cases referred to district attorneys.
Like the rest of the United States, California's election system is an honor system. And while I believe the system is essentially fair and sound, as you know, not all people are honest. The heart of the problem is our current system, the honor system must include checks and balances. And as an often-quoted Russian proverb stated, ``trust...but verify.'' And oftentimes our system is long on trust and short on verification.
Consequently, upon taking office in January of 1995, I immediately set to work to do a top to bottom review of the election process, to find out where changes could be made that would improve the system. The implementation of our voter fraud plan has received enthusiastic bipartisan support. We are in the process of setting up a computerized system called CalVoter and two statewide election summit meetings that have been held to find out where the problems are with our current system. We have tried to approach this on a common sense basis and we hope that new changes in the law will improve the situation in California in the years ahead.
Specifically with regard to the 46th Congressional District, we have reviewed in cooperation with the District Attorney Michael Capizzi and Orange County Registrar of Voters Rosalyn Lever, an overall review of the process and the procedures and the complaints in the 46th Congressional District. We have also appreciated the support to this point of Director Richard Rogers from the INS, in reviewing information with regards to the case before us.
We believe that the case as presented, speaking about specifics, are these: In the case of the Hermandad complaint, we had 1160 individuals registered and 721 of those were non-citizens at the time for the Orange County roll as a whole; 442 of these unlawfully voted in Orange County in the 1996 election. In the 46th Congressional District specifically that you are interested in, our estimate is that 490 registrants were in the 46th Congressional District, of which 303 actually voted in the 1996 election.
The number of unlawful votes cast in Orange County is concerning and this is the reason why we have asked, on a broader perspective, for a review, a non-partisan, color-blind, neutral review by INS of the file in Orange County as a whole. We believe that this information is important to answer the question for the people of Orange County as to whether or not the process and the file has integrity. It is important to us to make sure that not just non-citizens are reviewed, but we also work with the correct authorities dealing with vital statistics and other areas to make sure that the file has been clearly covered. We believe we have the ability to make this request based on the concern of the criminal investigation that is ongoing in the 46th and we await INS' reply to this request and we are waiting at the current time for some information from them that this has been completed, so that it can be passed on to us for review before the 1998 election.
It is also important to review and note that your request and your interest with regards to the question of whether there are other problems in the Orange County voter file specifically speak to the question of whether or not this investigation is ongoing and other information will be presented. One of the areas that we raise for your consideration is the fact that last year we made a request of the counties to review the jury notices in cooperation with the summons for jury duty. We have found, based on our information, since September through this particular month of February, that about 85 to 90 of the jury summons returned from individuals in Orange County were returned on the basis that they stated they were non-citizens and therefore could not be considered to serve on a jury.
My point in raising this issue is to speak to the question of the fact that is the investigation through. The answer to that question is no. There are other issues out there that may--and I stress may--impact on the question of whether or not there are additional names in the file that may or may not have voted and may or may not have been registered properly. And this investigation is ongoing and we will provide this information to you as we perceive this coming to us in the next few months.
The citizenship status investigation confirms that, you know, we certainly have more work to do. In a larger sense though, I think it is important to note that as we go through these investigations, our goal is to make sure that people understand the need for the commonality of purpose when it comes to voting. Our goal is to make sure that new citizens are encouraged to participate and I have outlined our program in the past to accomplish that. But most importantly we find that there is a difference in this process between those that have intent to defraud and those that do not. And I think we should encourage everyone to participate, and I would encourage INS, who is in the process of reviewing a procedure by which under new law, they are determining whether an individual should be deported or not based on voting--and I believe this is a law that Congress has passed. We would encourage INS to consider and will recommend to them a good fairness policy when in fact circumstances and a creditable case can be made that an individual was misled by a bounty hunter who unscrupulously used that individual for purposes other than the actual intent of the voter, that this be considered when the deportation case is brought up before INS--because our law in California, for your benefit, is that we are able to prove intent to defraud versus non-intent. And I think that should be a guiding light for the Congress and for your legislation also. And I think INS should take that into consideration in their interpretation.
Again, we want to be tough but we want to be fair and our goal is to make sure that individuals are taken off the roll if they should not be there, but clearly by virtue of being misled are not put in a position that would unfairly prejudice them before INS authorities.
Finally, I want to say that it is important for all of us to know that we work together, as the Chairman stated, as one people. Our goal in California is to continue to move forward as a group and take the strengths of our people, the diversity that we have, the strength of the character and of the promise of California and use that as a group to encourage all of us to register, vote and participate. But under my administration, it is going to be very clear that anyone that is found with an intent to defraud is prosecuted because I happen to believe strongly, as the author of the California Three Strikes You Are Out measure, that deterrence does work and that a clear and precise measure and message that is sent is important to avoid this type of problem that we possibly have seen in Orange County, in the future.
I would hope that as we go through this process, Mr. Chairman, if you have other questions of me or my staff, that you would feel free to ask of us and we look forward to working with you. But I want to stress the basic premise of the argument here is clear, that if an individual is in fact registered to vote in California, that person must in fact have been a citizen at the time of registration. That is clear in the law, it is stated in my statement, and I think that is much at the center and the core of the argument in this particular complaint that you are speaking about for the most of this hearing. And I raise that issue and I refer to my comments, if you in fact have an interest in considering that question.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
[The statement of Mr. Jones follows:]
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Mr. Ehlers. Thank you, Mr. Jones. If you would just remain at the microphone, we will go through the questions that each of the members has for you.
First of all, let me say that I appreciate two parts of your testimony in particular. I appreciate the fact that you have very carefully and thoroughly researched the records and identified 303 voters who voted but who should not have voted because they were not citizens. That is the sort of dispassionate, accurate fact-finding that we need to guide us.
Secondly, I appreciate your emphasis on the purpose of the investigation as not to punish people who might have mistakenly registered to vote when they should not have. The purpose of this panel is not law enforcement. We are deciding a contested election.
Mr. Jones. I understand.
Mr. Ehlers. We will not put people in jail; we simply want to find out what happened.
I myself lived in a foreign country for a year, and I know how easy it is to misunderstand official procedures in a different country.
I do have several questions. Were the voters that you did check registered by one local organization, Hermandad?
Mr. Jones. That is correct.
Mr. Ehlers. And are there other organizations who also did this and have you checked with them or are you checking through their records?
Mr. Jones. Mr. Chairman, we have an ongoing criminal investigation with the Orange County District Attorney and we are reviewing other questions that have been raised in the process of that investigation. But I would respectfully refrain from commenting on that because of the ongoing investigation that we are doing. But we are reviewing all complaints that are brought to us regarding any other organizations also.
Mr. Ehlers. So you will be checking voter registration activities of other groups, in addition to Hermandad?
Mr. Jones. We will be reviewing that process. Much of the work in California, the structure is that the Registrar of Voters does the work at the local level, we have an oversight responsibility and we are working in cooperation with Registrar Lever in that regard. And many of the responsibilities that we can deal with, such as the INS question or the cross-county voting issue, which we are involved with, she does not have the ability to do that, so we share responsibility on some of those items.
But we will be pursuing any questions and we will make that information available to the Committee.
Mr. Ehlers. I appreciate that.
So basically, it sounds to me like your work is very dependent on working with the INS.
Mr. Jones. For this particular section, Mr. Chairman, not dealing with vital statistics obviously, not dealing with double-voting, not dealing with cross-county. Those are all databases that we can review, and have. But there are certain requests, such as the question of non-citizenship, that we rely on cooperation and have had good cooperation with District Superintendent Rogers up to this point. But we look forward to that continued cooperation on the broader request.
Mr. Ehlers. So we can clarify it and get it on the record, what is your request?
Mr. Jones. Currently our request is from the INS to do a--we would send them and have sent them a tape of Orange County--voter tape, and we have asked them to check that against their central database and let us know if we have individuals that on their list of resident aliens that are reflected back on our voter file. And that is the only manner in which we feel we can really verify that question, because we believe that based on the large number we found out of this one particular group, that there is probable cause to believe that we have a broader problem. But we have to answer that question for the people of Orange County, and INS is the only place that we can answer that question at this particular time.
Mr. Ehlers. Are you seeking to review the records of all of Orange County or just the 46th District?
Mr. Jones. We made the request for the Orange County voter file as a whole, to be reviewed by INS. And as you note from the information in my testimony, the fact of the matter is that the Hermandad complaint, the 1160, came from all over Orange County, and in fact even though I gave you the numbers for the 46th and that is where your interest is, my responsibility extends beyond the 46th. And based on the large number we found in this particular complaint, I felt we had, as I say, probable cause because of the criminal investigation to make this request, and we think it is a legitimate question and we think it is a question that the people of Orange County have a right to have an answer to.
Mr. Ehlers. I understand from your testimony, Mr. Rogers has been very helpful with this initial investigation.
Mr. Jones. He has been, and we appreciate his support and his help.
Mr. Ehlers. But now you have gone beyond him and requested help from INS in Washington?
Mr. Jones. That is my understanding.
Mr. Ehlers. Have you received a response to that request?
Mr. Jones. No, we have not, other than some comments I read in the newspaper this morning. We are still waiting and hopefully for a positive response to our request.
Mr. Ehlers. All right. Well I certainly hope you do. I do not see any other way of performing your function on this score, if you do not.
Mr. Jones. This particular universe is difficult to deal with unless we have adequate access and cooperation from the INS.
Mr. Ehlers. Is it possible for you to do this without violating any of the privacy concerns of the citizens involved?
Mr. Jones. Certainly that is a foremost concern of ours. We believe that the Privacy Act has adequate exemption in it for the question of a criminal investigation, which in fact we are involved with. It is not our intent to invade anyone's privacy, but we also believe that we can accomplish this goal of answering the questions for the people of Orange County without invading the privacy. So the answer to your question is yes, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Ehlers. Thank you.
My time is up, but I appreciate your testimony and your answers and I will turn to Mr. Hoyer.
Mr. Hoyer. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Secretary, again I want to welcome you and thank you for being here.
Mr. Secretary, you are working with the District Attorney, Mr. Capizzi; you have worked with Ms. Lever and you are working with Mr. Rogers. I presume there are others as well. I take it, Mr. Capizzi is fully cooperating with your office?
Mr. Jones. Yes, sir, he has.
Mr. Hoyer. And yours with his.
Mr. Jones. That is correct.
Mr. Hoyer. And Ms. Lever has fully cooperated with you as well?
Mr. Jones. Yes, she has.
Mr. Hoyer. You certified the election of Ms. Sanchez based upon the figures that were reported.
Mr. Jones. Yes, I did.
Mr. Hoyer. Is it your opinion that those were reported accurately and fairly?
Mr. Jones. I think to the best of my knowledge--and in the process in California, I do not know how it is in other states, but we certify off the list that is provided by the county Registrar of Voters, and I believe that she gave us the best information she had and we certified on that basis.
Mr. Hoyer. And there has obviously been a lot of discussion about that. Do you still hold the opinion that based upon the information she had, the Registrar's office had, that those figures are still accurate--based upon the information she had?
Mr. Jones. Well, there is a short canvass period, we call it, after an election and the Registrars are required to report to us so we can make a decision, and we know you understand that process.
Based on the information she had at the time, I think this certification was accurate. But the fact of the matter is that the issues that we have discussed, as in any case, we are pursuing, and that is additional information.
We are not involved, as you know, Congressman, with the decision that you have to make. We are only involved with the case--at this stage, we are only involved with the case of if in fact we had a fraudulent activity, and that is what we are pursuing.
Mr. Hoyer. I understand that, Mr. Secretary, and as I understand the process, there was no way that Ms. Lever would know about what you are looking at and you are trying to find out and the District Attorney is trying to find out.
Mr. Jones. Well, we have worked with her and we have cooperated. She has helped, and many of the questions that have been raised, she has done an excellent job in doing her very best to answer, with the information she has. But unfortunately, some of the tools, as we have discussed already, are not available any place else other than through INS.
Mr. Hoyer. On the illegal voting_
Mr. Jones. Right.
Mr. Hoyer. I understand that. But based upon the information she has, I appreciate your answer that she has done what she could do and done that well. Is that correct?
Mr. Jones. I believe she has done as good a job as she could possibly do, given the information she had to work with, and I have great confidence in Ms. Lever's integrity.
Mr. Hoyer. Thank you, sir.
Now you indicate in your testimony and you referenced in your oral testimony there is--the opinion as to citizenship and registration. Can you tell me, of the 303 voters included in your April 9 letter, have you broken that down as to whether or not any of those 303 were citizens at the time they voted? I know your conclusion is they registered improperly, but is there a breakdown of that list as to whether or not they were citizens at the time they voted?
Mr. Jones. Well, in the testimony of the group that we are talking about, I believe that I have that down as 490 were non-citizens at the time that they registered in the 46th, and 303 unlawfully voted in the 46th.
Mr. Hoyer. I understand that.
Mr. Jones. And your question is, of the 303, were they_
Mr. Hoyer. I want to try to find out and understand this because I think it will ultimately become important. You raise it extensively in your written testimony, did not speak to it as much.
Mr. Jones. Yes.
Mr. Hoyer. Your position, I understand, a reasonable position--I think others differ, but a reasonable position,--if you were not a citizen at the time you registered, then you could not be legally a registered, qualified voter in November.
Mr. Jones. That is correct.
Mr. Hoyer. I understand your position on that.
Mr. Jones. It is not my position. It is, as outlined in my written testimony, stated in Code Section 2101, which establishes the qualification for registering to vote in California, makes it clear, quote, ``A person entitled to register to vote shall be a United States citizen at the time.'' I mean, it says ``shall,'' so I do not think there is any latitude there.
Mr. Hoyer. Given that, Mr. Secretary,--I understand,--is it fair to conclude that you do not have a breakdown then of the 303, as to how many of those were in fact citizens at the time of the vote on November 6th. I know that you have concluded_
Mr. Jones. I see your question, Mr. Congressman.
Mr. Hoyer. Do you know that information?
Mr. Jones. Just one second.
Mr. Jones. We do not have that breakdown at this time, but we can get that for you. We can work on that.
Mr. Hoyer. Thank you very much.
Also, Mr. Secretary, if there is a legal opinion in your office with reference to this issue--I know what you have said on the statute, but if there is an interpretation of either Attorney Generals or your own counsel, could you provide us with a copy of that?
Mr. Jones. We will certainly do that, Congressman.
Mr. Hoyer. Thank you. You indicated--we all know that Hermandad is under investigation. Are there other groups under investigation? And you do not have to name them, but are there other groups under investigation?
Mr. Jones. Congressman, I would rather not comment on that at this time. I believe it is--there are discussions--I will leave that to the District Attorney. He can comment on those points. We are working and we made a decision_
Mr. Hoyer. I think he may be more reticent than you are, Mr. Secretary, because he is in a different position.
Mr. Jones. I understand that, Congressman, but let me just be clear. We made a decision on this particular complaint early on, to do a joint investigation on this. And I am not the prosecutor, he is. And so I would not feel comfortable in commenting on that, I will leave that to him if he wishes to comment. Because this is a joint effort that we are involved with and I think I should leave it at that point.
Mr. Hoyer. My time has expired. Do you know--can you give us an estimate of time for the conclusion of your investigation?
Mr. Jones. We are looking, Congressman, that is an excellent question and it is in my comments, but I kept it short because of my time frame. July 31, we are hoping that from our investigation on the voter file itself from our office, we hope to have it resolved by then and the information back. We were told initially from INS that that information that we requested could possibly be back to us and we had asked for it within 30 days. It is our belief from a technical standpoint it can be done and possibly has been done. We do not know that for sure. So there is nothing that would hold our request up that I am aware of, unless it is as stated in the paper this morning, there are other reasons that I am not aware of. But setting that aside, our goal is to have it wrapped up by July 31, Congressman.
Mr. Hoyer. Thank you, Mr. Secretary; thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Ehlers. Thank you, Mr. Hoyer.
Mr. Ney. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, Mr. Secretary, for being here today.
I have gathered from statements that you have made that the review of the Orange County voter file by Immigration & Naturalization Service seems to be of significant importance, is that correct?
Mr. Jones. Well, it is important to myself, on the premise that based on the large number of non-citizens that were registered in this one complaint, we felt the people of Orange County needed to have the question answered, and we felt that we had probable cause, based on what we had found in this one complaint, to ask the question of INS to take a look at the file. So it is very important, not just to myself, but I believe to the people here in southern California.
Mr. Ney. Do you have any information on the technical feasibility of how long an undertaking like this would take?
Mr. Jones. What I would like to do, if I might, Congressman, is have my chief of my Technology Department, who has had some discussions with INS, comment on that, if I might. Is that all right, Mr. Chairman?
Mr. Ehlers. Yes. Mr. Jones. I will have to quickly swear him in. Please raise your right hand.
Mr. Ehlers. Thank you. You may proceed.
Mr. Gray. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. My name is David Gray, Chief of the Information Technology Division with the California Secretary of State.
Could I ask you to repeat the question, sir?
Mr. Ney. Yes. I wondered if you had any information on the technical feasibility of how long it would take to acquire this information, can it be technically done in conducting your review, how long would it take?
Mr. Gray. It is my understanding from meetings that I have had in L.A. and Washington, D.C. and conversations on the phone that this is technically feasible to perform the analysis or the comparison that we have asked. And the last conversation that I had indicated that that they would be prepared by around April 15 to have the data for us, for our review.
Mr. Ney. I am sorry, conversations with_
Mr. Gray. With INS in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Ney. And it would be April the_
Mr. Gray. Actually the 15th was the last date that was given to us as a date for completion.
Mr. Ney. Have we heard anything since then--have you heard anything, or we? I have not heard that date used before.
Mr. Gray. That was Dr. Young, who is Deputy Commissioner for Information Technology, who indicated that to me in a phone conversation, which occurred on the 10th of April.
Mr. Hoyer. I am sorry, what was the date that was mentioned?
Mr. Ney. April 15.
Mr. Gray. April 15.
Mr. Ney. Now just so that I have got it straight here. I am asking about the technical feasibility of conducting a review of the Orange County voter list. You are saying that you talked to INS on the 10th of April, and they said they could have it done within five days?
Mr. Gray. Actually, they have given us several dates in our conversations and meetings. One of our visits to the L.A. office indicated that their technology infrastructure is very similar to ours and we have done these comparisons on several occasions for cross-county duplicate voting identification, et cetera. And in my meeting in Washington, D.C., we talked about the methodology they would use, the criteria they would use to select the records, the procedures they would use, specifically sending the data back to Mr. Rogers. And they also indicated they had a similar exercise underway for the FBI, to do a comparison of their data against the INS data. So that led me to conclude that it was technically feasible for them to do this comparison for us.
Mr. Ney. And have they then committed to do it, if given they can do it, within that five days?
Mr. Jones. Well, as I stated in my comments, Congressman, Director Rogers has been very supportive. He has implied that he felt--well I will let him comment, but all I can say is yes, they have given us the impression they would do it. But it has--this was at the regional office that we received this information, not in Washington. And what Mr. Gray is speaking about is the discussions he has had with the technical people in Washington on the actual ability to do the work.
Mr. Ney. That just surprised me, because that is a much quicker time frame than I have ever read it can be done. But thank you for that information.
Do you think it can be done without violating the privacy concerns, upholding the privacy concern?
Mr. Jones. Well, Congressman, again, our concern is certainly for privacy of the individuals. We are not asking for any information back from INS other than to let--we sent them information, they will comment on it and send it back.
Mr. Ney. Not to interrupt you, Mr. Secretary, but my time is expired. But I understand you are on the up and up where you are coming from. But I am asking the question, do you think that this can be done without violating the privacy. I guess I am talking technically.
Mr. Jones. I do believe it can. Plus I believe that the exception in the Privacy Act dealing with an ongoing criminal investigation allows us the opportunity to make this request legitimately.
Mr. Ney. Okay. And a final question, are you satisfied with the progress that you have had with INS so far then?
Mr. Jones. So far, again the dates you just heard, so we are just at the point now a few days past what we were told. At this point, yes, but we are a few days past the time we were told that this information would be available. And again, I would reference some comments that I had not heard personally, that I saw in the paper this morning, that raised some doubts whether they felt they would do this or not, and so that is news to me.
Mr. Ney. Thank you.
Mr. Ehlers. Thank you, Mr. Ney, the time has expired.
I would just make one quick comment. I am not an attorney, as many members of Congress are I happen to be a scientist, and I have been working on computers since 1957. I can assure you it is technically feasible, as has been said by the Director of the Data Processing Section there. I had heard rumors that someone was saying it was not technologically feasible. I am sure it is and can be done. It is simply a matter of whether it can be done without violating privacy concerns, and I believe that can be done also.
Thank you for your testimony. Thank you both for coming here. We appreciate your comments.
Mr. Ehlers. The next witness is Mr. Capizzi. Did I pronounce that correctly, sir?
Mr. Capizzi. That is fine, sir.
Mr. Ehlers. Capizzi, okay.
He is currently District Attorney of the County of Orange. He has literally risen from the ranks. It is not quite a case of someone starting as a janitor and working up to the top position, but it is close, having progressed since 1965 from Deputy District Attorney through Assistant District Attorney and Chief Assistant District Attorney and now District Attorney.
He has handled cases in the U.S. Supreme Court, has received the "1980 Outstanding Prosecutor" award presented by the California District Attorneys' Association, and is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.
We are very pleased to have you join us here. Thank you for taking the time to be with us, and we look forward to hearing your testimony. Thank you.
TESTIMONY OF MICHAEL R. CAPIZZI
Mr. Capizzi. Thank you, Chairman Ehlers, honorable members of the Contested Election Task Force.
My name is Mike Capizzi and I am the Orange County District Attorney.
At the outset, Mr. Chairman, I wanted to thank you for the kind words about Orange County. I am not unfamiliar with your home state, having been born and raised there. Although it is a great place to grow up, I hasten to add after graduating from law school at the University of Michigan, my wife and I headed west two days later and we have not regretted it once in the 33 years, primarily because of the kind words by which you describe this paradise we call Orange County.
Mr. Ehlers. Can you imagine my wife's dismay after being born and living here for 35 years, joining me and moving back to Michigan?
Mr. Capizzi. I have the ability to appreciate that.
Well, I appreciate the opportunity to address you today.
Although it is unfortunate that the need exists for us to be here, we can be consoled by the knowledge that government in this country really does work. And it works in part because of the people, those gathered here today, as well as the many others who were unable to attend. They can expect a response from the government when issues such as these surface.
The Office of District Attorney in this county has a long history of vigorously investigating and, when appropriate, prosecuting government corruption, including corruption of the voting process.
The sanctity of the voting process cuts to the very heart of democracy in these United States. Our forefathers fought the Revolutionary War to secure the right to have meaningful voice in their government. Years later, the women of this country took to the streets to secure their right to vote and have an equal say in the affairs of state. Citizens of African-American descent were led by Martin Luther King in efforts to share that same voting franchise. Underpinning all of these efforts, of course, was a requirement that the individuals fighting for the right to vote be citizens of this country.
No longer are citizens required to fight for the right, they are not even required to reach the age of 21. Citizens can now register to vote when they reach the age of 18. And the ideal in our system of government is to have all eligible citizens participate in the electoral process by casting an informed vote. By the same token, legitimate voters expect and deserve to know their vote will be given the full weight it deserves and not be diluted by the vote of a person casting a second fraudulent ballot or by the vote of one not entitled to vote, for whatever reason.
All modern doctrines of fairness call for one citizen to have one vote, not more and not less. This one-person-one-vote doctrine is clearly violated when the weight of legitimate voters' ballots is diminished by votes cast by persons without authority to vote. What could more seriously damage the very fabric of our Constitution than allowing disproportionate representation as a result of fraudulent voting? And since we have all sworn to uphold that Constitution, we cannot fail to act in a situation such as presented in this matter.
On October 15, 1996, the Orange County Registrar of Voters wrote to our office advising us of possible violations of the California Elections Code relating to the ineligibility of non-citizens to register to vote. The Registrar's letter was prompted by an individual who was in the process of applying for citizenship through an organization named Hermandad Mexicana Nacional. This person reported to the Registrar that despite the fact that he had not yet completed the citizenship process by taking the oath of allegiance to the United States, he had been encouraged to and had registered to vote.
Approximately two weeks after the November, 1996 election, Mr. Dornan brought to our attention and the attention of the Secretary of State's office information concerning possible illegal voting. At the same time, the Orange County Registrar of Voters brought three more cases to our attention of individuals registered through Hermandad, who told the Registrar they were not citizens of the United States when they registered.
Based on this information, we contacted the Secretary of State, who agreed to join our investigation of registration and voting irregularities in Orange County in the November, 1996 election. As the lead agency, we assigned case agent Ed Contreras to coordinate the efforts of our office and of Secretary of State Jones' office in the criminal investigation.
Based on records from the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Orange County Registrar of Voters, our investigation has thus far determined that approximately 890 non-citizens registered to vote and approximately 547 of those persons voted after being registered through Hermandad.
These numbers include persons who reside both within and without the 46th Congressional District. Our investigation currently is focused on the organization we believe responsible for registering many non-citizens to vote. And the scope of our investigation is quite different from the inquiry being conducted by this Committee, although clearly there are some overlapping aspects.
Our investigation is about possible voter fraud in Orange County. It is not about Mr. Dornan or Ms. Sanchez. In fact, while the scope of this hearing is related to the Congressional District race, we do have a chart here which shows there are multiple other elections that overlap, either wholly or in part, the 46th Congressional District. And so our interest is much broader than the one Congressional District, but all of these other races that during an election cycle could be affected and impacted by illegal voter registration and voter fraud.
Without evidence of wrongdoing, we would not have embarked on this process, and without the additional evidence developed along the way, we would have closed this matter. It is premature to predict exactly where our investigation will lead, but we surely have enough evidence at this juncture to report to you the electoral process has been compromised.
One other thing is important to emphasize. This investigation is not about ethnicity or race or party politics. I believe responsible people from every party, every age group and every race and ethnic group support the vigorous enforcement of laws relating to voting. The right to vote and laws protecting that right are the cornerstone of our system of government. If sufficient admissible evidence is developed to prove individuals violated California election law, we will prosecute those individuals, as is our duty. By the same token, if evidence shows well-intentioned individuals were being misled into registering to vote when they were ineligible to register, it will weigh heavily on our prosecutorial decision. It would be an extremely sad situation if the excitement and enthusiasm of persons legitimately pursuing U.S. citizenship were exploited for illegal purposes by the very persons those applicants were relying on for help.
And lastly, let me add a few thoughts on proposals to reform the registration and voting process.
We support the efforts of the Secretary of State and the Registrar of Voters in attempting to change the election laws. We must tighten the registration process. The necessity of reform is not to dissuade citizens from registering and voting, but to return integrity to the process and restore Americans' faith in the fundamentals of democracy. Citizens must have confidence each vote--each vote--is lawfully cast and their vote will not be diluted or nullified by an unlawful vote.
Do we really need the ability to register to vote by mail? Voter registration cards are signed under penalty of perjury but it has not stopped persons from abusing the privilege. It may be time to return to registration and voting with proof of identity and the qualifications to vote, because of the abuses this investigation has identified. And because of those abuses, I believe it is time to revisit the concept of ``motor voter'' and the resulting potential for voter fraud and corruption of the political process.
We want voluntary compliance with election laws. We do not want investigations and prosecution for violation of voting laws. We are ready and willing to do it when it becomes necessary, but we do not want to be required to do that, if it can be avoided. Voluntary compliance would be encouraged by tightening the voter registration procedures.
Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee, I thank you again for the opportunity to appear before the Committee. I will be happy to answer questions, and again hope you will indulge the constraints with which I appear before you today and the fact that we do have an ongoing investigation. And I would have to defer answering any questions calling for details which would compromise that criminal investigation.
[The statement of Mr. Capizzi follows:]
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Mr. Ehlers. Thank you. I can assure you the panel fully understands the difficulty you face in trying to answer our questions while at the same time maintaining the confidentiality that is necessary during a criminal investigation. Incidentally, I would ask the poster be taken down at this time, so members of the audience can see.
I particularly appreciate your comment that laws regulating the right of citizens to vote form the cornerstone of democracy. I feel very strongly that way myself. I think it is very important for us, number one, to ensure that everyone who has the right to vote is able to vote. That was a problem, as you know, for a good long time in the history of this nation. But secondly, every citizen has a right to know that every other citizen voting is voting legally so that we truly have "one person, one vote" throughout this nation. That should be the goal of everyone in your position and in ours.
I have a question similar to the one I asked Mr. Jones at the beginning. It appears to me from a distance that most of the investigation has focused on Hermandad as the organization that registered citizens--pardon me, registered voters who were not yet legal citizens. Are there other organizations that you believe did the same thing, and are you investigating them, and could you give any estimate of the magnitude of their efforts compared to Hermandad?
Mr. Capizzi. As I mentioned in the prepared remarks, the focus of the investigation is on Hermandad. We will not blind ourselves, however, to other organizations that may have engaged in similar conduct. But the focus at this point is on Hermandad and although that may not be the only--well, that is the focus of the investigation at this point.
Mr. Ehlers. Can you tell us, without violating your restrictions, why were they subjected to the investigation first? Why were they targeted?
Mr. Capizzi. Well, it is following the evidence and following the leads that we have. The initial information, the initial evidence that was developed, led to their doorstep.
Mr. Ehlers. And how many similar organizations are there that run citizenship classes, registration efforts, and so forth?
Mr. Capizzi. I do not have that type of information.
Mr. Ehlers. All right. Another question related to what we were talking about earlier: from your standpoint as a district attorney investigating this, would it be helpful for you to have the INS computer match for Orange County so that you could compare their records in as private a manner as possible with the voter records for the county?
Mr. Capizzi. That is not something that we are pursuing in the course of the criminal investigation.
Mr. Ehlers. No, I am just asking if it would be helpful if that were done.
Mr. Capizzi. Well, it depends on what the result might develop. If it shows that there is additional voter fraud, then we would certainly act on that.
Mr. Ehlers. Okay. I have questions too about the registration procedure, but those are probably best left to Ms. Lever when we reach her.
Getting back to the thrust of your final comments about the importance of making certain that everyone has a right to vote and that only those who have a right to vote actually vote, what reforms would you recommend in election law? What should we be looking at down the road?
Mr. Capizzi. Well, I would think that in the registration process, the requirement that a person establish their identity so that we know the person who is registering is the person they claim to be. That is not always possible with mail registration and that coupled with absentee ballots can create a situation that is ripe for potential abuse.
Mr. Ehlers. Fine. I have no other questions at the moment, so I will reserve the balance of my time and turn to Mr. Hoyer.
Mr. Hoyer. Mr. Capizzi, thank you very much for being with us. I appreciated your testimony. I understand that you are in a position where you can give limited information based upon your investigation.
Mr. Capizzi. Yes.
Mr. Hoyer. Let me ask you, with respect to the Registrar's office, you work closely with Ms. Lever or have been working closely with Ms. Lever on this issue?
Mr. Capizzi. In this and in other issues as well, that is correct.
Mr. Hoyer. And do you have confidence in the operations of Ms. Lever's office?
Mr. Capizzi. Absolutely.
Mr. Hoyer. And based upon your review, obviously relatively extensive review of this election, the figures that have come out of Ms. Lever's office, do you have confidence in those? Obviously, she has done no investigation with respect to the central issue as to whether or not the names on her list were in fact citizens and she would have no way to know that, as you point out in your testimony. But based upon the information she has and the votes that have been cast, do you have confidence in the figures from her office?
Mr. Capizzi. Yes, as far as those figures that have been presented to us.
Mr. Hoyer. So that am I correct that from your perspective, the issue of the counting of the vote is not the problem, the issue is whether or not those who were counted were counted--were able to vote.
Mr. Capizzi. Well, the issue that we are looking at is whether or not there were some people who violated California law in registering to vote and/or voting as well, people who were not entitled to do either.
Mr. Hoyer. Let me ask you something in that context, I asked Secretary Jones as well and he is going to provide the Committee with a legal opinion on that. Do you have a legal memorandum or opinion in your office with reference to the question on registration and voting; i.e., subsequent to registering, the individual becomes a citizen and then votes? Have you dealt with that legal issue?
Mr. Capizzi. It would be my belief that even if they subsequently became eligible to vote, if they weren't properly registered, they would not be entitled to do so. The registration must take place a month before the election_
Mr. Hoyer. It is a 29-day rule?
Mr. Capizzi. Yeah.
Mr. Hoyer. The reason I asked that--and I understand exactly what you meant in your statement, you say ``Citizens can now register to vote when they reach the age of 18.'' Of course, as long as they have reached the age by the time they vote on November 6, they are able to register in California, is that correct? That is the way it is in Maryland, I presume it is that way in California.
Mr. Capizzi. I believe that is correct, yes.
Mr. Hoyer. With respect to the issues you have raised on a general sort of policy standpoint--I do not think that is the focus of this Committee, but our Committee does deal with it, not this Task Force--have there been any instances that you have disclosed at this point in time where the motor voter law was involved in any of the questions that you have got at issue here in the criminal investigation?
Mr. Capizzi. I think that is premature to discuss at this point.
Mr. Hoyer. You do not know that at this point.
Mr. Capizzi. Yes.
Mr. Hoyer. Okay. With respect to the investigation that you are undertaking, your focus is on Hermandad.
Mr. Capizzi. The focus, as I said, is on Hermandad, as an organization, but the broader focus is on voter fraud in Orange County.
Mr. Hoyer. Well, I understand that. And with respect to other organizations, as I understood your answer, you are not focused on other organizations at this time.
Mr. Capizzi. Not to the extent that we are on Hermandad.
Mr. Hoyer. But do I imply that there are other organizations which are the objects of attention?
Mr. Capizzi. At this point, I would be reluctant to delve into that area.
Mr. Hoyer. Okay. I might say I was surprised as I read the material, to read where no indictments have come down or anything of that nature, the search warrant and the affidavits. Is that normal in California, that those pieces of information are available prior to indictments being brought?
Mr. Capizzi. Yes. Typically the affidavit in support of a search warrant is a public record. We sometimes try to prevent that, but the press is somewhat adept at having them released by the courts. And the search warrant is an evidence-gathering device and once that evidence is gathered, depending on how voluminous it may be, it takes some weeks, months to digest it and to follow up with the subsequent investigation before a determination can be made whether any criminal charges should be filed.
Mr. Hoyer. Thank you, Mr. Capizzi.
Mr. Ehlers. Mr. Ney.
Mr. Ney. Thank you, Mr. Chairman; thank you, Mr. Capizzi.
The Secretary of State--and I just want to get this kind of right out front clear in my mind because it has been mentioned several times now--the Secretary of State went on to say that you must be a citizen to register and you cannot vote if you do not legally register. Now in Ohio also, you can register prior to 18, but as long as on your 18th birthday, the election falls within I think it was a 30-day period.
I just wanted to see, for the record, do you agree with the Secretary of State on his earlier statement that it does not matter. I think the Secretary of State said you cannot be a non-citizen, register to vote and then 30 days later you become the citizen and vote. Do you agree with that? Is that clear or is there a gray area?
Mr. Capizzi. No, I think the statute is clear that you must be a citizen to register to vote.
Mr. Ney. So it is not the same thing as if you have not turned 18 yet?
Mr. Capizzi. No, I think with respect to citizenship, the statute is clear that to register, you must be a citizen.
Mr. Ney. So there is no leeway on that.
Another question I had was--and I probably should have asked this of the Secretary of State, but it is kind of a legal question, I guess. I am looking at a copy of a voter registration form which I would assume, if I were to walk down to the Board of Elections today, I can ask for someone's voter registration form. It is a public document, is that correct?
Mr. Capizzi. I do not believe that that is a public document, to the public generally.
Mr. Ney. I mean I have a blank one, I do not have one filled in--I want to make that clear today.
Mr. Capizzi. Blank ones would be public documents.
Mr. Ney. Is there anything in an investigatory manner, same question I asked the Secretary of State, that you think would be violating a person's individual rights by INS going through the voter registration tapes of Orange County?
Mr. Capizzi. That is beyond my area of expertise and I respectfully decline to venture a guess on that.
Mr. Ney. I respect that, thank you. The INS analysis of the Orange County voter file, would it be helpful to your investigation of voter fraud to have this completed in the near future?
Mr. Capizzi. Well, it depends on what it shows. We do not know what would develop from that and it probably would not be instructive or productive with respect to the existing instances that we have--that have come to our attention and that we are exploring. To the extent that it might reveal more, then yes, but I do not know what that might reveal.
Mr. Ney. In regards to the raffle, there was an individual who received a raffle lottery ticket from Hermandad upon registering, even though he was not a U.S. citizen. So is that documented that there was a person who--it was a lottery that was conducted, that was not a U.S. citizen and registered? What is the situation_
Mr. Capizzi. Well, that is getting into details of our investigation that I would prefer not to discuss.
Mr. Ney. Thank you. I was basing that on some public information.
Mr. Capizzi. I think there has been newspaper articles to that effect, yes.
Mr. Ney. Yes. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Ehlers. Thank you. I will reclaim the two minutes I have remaining just to pursue one other aspect.
There has been a lot of discussion here this morning about voting by aliens who, either illegal or legal, were not citizens and yet managed to register and vote. But I do not want to lose sight of the broad picture. And I wonder, are there other types of fraud that you are investigating? For example, in the voting process itself, did people vote twice or were absentee ballots misused in some fashion? These are standard problems in any election, and I am wondering if you are pursuing those and can you give us any information on what the relative magnitude might be compared to other allegations here?
Mr. Capizzi. Those that come to our attention are relatively few, in view of the number of registered voters and the number of those who vote at each election. But we have had instances of that. When they come to our attention, we have pursued those and if the investigation determines there is in fact a violation of law, we have prosecuted that violation.
Mr. Ehlers. All right. So basically you are pursuing all avenues, but it appears at this point that non-citizen voting is the greatest problem in this particular election?
Mr. Capizzi. It predominates by numbers, yes.
Mr. Ehlers. Fine. My time has expired. I thank you very much for your testimony and appreciate your coming.
Mr. Hoyer. Mr. Chairman, could I ask one follow up question as a result of that?
Mr. Ehlers. I will allow you to use Mr. Neys remaining one minute.
Mr. Hoyer. Thank you.
Am I correct then that although those types of issues are brought up and they have certainly been discussed on a number of occasions by the Registrar, you are not pursuing an investigation of those types in this instance at this time; is that what I heard you say?
Mr. Capizzi. I do not know what our full inventory of cases that we are investigating might be, but I would assume that there are some instances of that at the current time. We do have other cases involving voter fraud, one of which is pending trial.
Mr. Hoyer. Thank you.
Mr. Ehlers. I think it is, a good time to take a brief recess for the members of the Committee and perhaps the audience would like to stretch too. I declare a 10-minute recess.
Mr. Ehlers. The hearing will come to order. We ask everyone to take their seats, and we will proceed with receiving testimony. Our next witness is a career federal employee who served in the United States Navy on an aircraft carrier for several years before joining the INS as a border patrol agent in San Diego. It is Mr. Richard Rogers, who is a 25-year employee of the Los Angeles District of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service and currently their District Director. He moved up from being a border patrol agent to being Western Region Acting Regional Administrator, then a staff assistant for the field operations for the Western Region and was finally appointed in 1994 as District Director for the Los Angeles District Office, which has to be one of the busier INS offices.
We have read much about your efforts in the newspaper, and Mr. Rogers, we appreciate your time and thank you for coming here to testify. You may proceed.
TESTIMONY OF RICHARD ROGERS
Mr. Rogers. Honorable Chairman and members of Congress, I appreciate the opportunity. I am Richard Rogers, District Director for the Los Angeles District of the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service. As District Director, it is my responsibility to oversee all immigration issues within the seven counties surrounding and including Los Angeles County. Thank you for the opportunity to testify in this hearing and to provide you with specific information of the Los Angeles District's involvement in the pending Orange County District Attorney's investigation into voter fraud during the November, 1996 election.
At the beginning of December, 1996, the Los Angeles District staff had various conversations with representatives of the Orange County District Attorney's office regarding the possibility of non-citizens having voted in the November, 1996 election. Following several of those conversations, the Orange County District Attorney's office filed a formal request with our office on December 6, 1996, requesting INS review a list of approximately 1160 registered Orange County voters against various INS data and paper files. The information provided by the District Attorney's office at that time indicated they had an open criminal investigation relating to possible voter fraud and that they wanted us to check the names on that list against INS databases and paper files to determine if in fact persons referenced in the District Attorney's list were naturalized citizens of the United States at the time of the November election.
Thereafter, INS reviewed the names provided by the District Attorney's office against various INS databases and paper file records to verify whether or not those persons were naturalized citizens or whether the INS possessed no records, either electronic or paper, regarding the persons concerned. INS provided the initial results of its efforts to the District Attorney on January 8, 1997. Our initial response was divided into three categories: naturalized citizens, persons identified in the INS records who have not yet become United States citizens by the date of the November election; and 3, the cases when no responsive INS database records were found. To verify the INS did not possess paper file records concerning persons referenced in the third class of cases, and to ensure ourselves that the relevant information was both comprehensive and correct, INS thereafter made a file-by-file manual check of its paper file records to verify the results of its search. All told, INS physically searched the paper file records of approximately 1034 individuals in connection with the District Attorney's request.
As part of the process leading to the results described above, INS had initially run an electronic check of the voter records that were provided by the District Attorney's office, against two of the databases in which INS ordinarily stores naturalization information. The two databases normally used by INS in this checking for citizenship status and information is the Central Index System and the Naturalization Application Casework, referred to as NACS. In connection with the search the Los Angeles District Office undertook, INS compared the names of the individuals on the list provided by the Orange County District Attorney's office against information contained in CIS and NACS databases. Information from these databases provided us with an initial indication regarding which of the persons on the Orange County voter's list might have been naturalized by the dates in question.
Because name checks do not provide a sufficiently high confidence level to ensure the Privacy Act protections are being afforded and because of the potentially serious consequences of incorrect information in the context of an ongoing criminal investigation, INS carefully cross-checked the data information it had obtained through electronic means against our paper file records contained in the Immigration Service's files. On January 8, 1997, INS provided an update of that information to the District Attorney's office, together with the original list which the District Attorney's office had provided to INS, on which the Service made specific notations regarding the individuals' status as reflected in our files.
Our office has been in ongoing contact with the District Attorney's office and the California Secretary of State's office since that time regarding information contained within INS records. The majority of the information which those offices have requested relates to an organization that assisted us in the naturalization process--Hermandad Mexicana Nacional, by providing assistance to applicants for naturalization. That organization provided various forms of services, such as educational assistance and various forms of testing for local alien populations, as well as space for INS within the local community, from which we could conduct our final interviews of applicants for citizenship. All naturalization interviews and naturalization determinations, of course, are made by INS and not by this or any other outside organization. Once these applicants have successfully passed the interview, they are scheduled for an oath-taking ceremony, which is the final step to become a United States naturalized citizen.
The information which INS provided was necessarily very limited in scope due to our obligations as a federal agency under the Privacy Act and other laws with regard to individual personal data in our records. Accordingly, the only data INS provided in connection with that request concerned the citizenship status of persons of whom INS maintained records and the date of naturalization where applicable.
On March 14, 1997, my office received a request from the California Secretary of State Bill Jones, asking for additional information regarding the status of all registered voters within Orange County. I submitted that request to our INS Headquarters in Los Angeles, and I understand that INS personnel are presently working on that request and have had discussions with Mr. Jones' office in regards to the ability to match those records against information contained within certain INS databases. Questions relating to the particular mechanics of facilitating the Secretary of State's latest request should be addressed to the INS Headquarters personnel, inasmuch as they have been tasked with the responsibility of locating the relevant responsive records and are in the best position to provide accurate information and guidance to this Committee regarding the specific nature of any associated searches. I understand the Department of Justice, Office of Legislative Affairs, has advised the Committee staff that the appropriate staff who are reviewing the request will brief you when they reach decisions in the next few weeks.
Once again, thank you for the opportunity to address the Committee's concerns. I would be happy to answer any of your questions.
[The statement of Mr. Rogers follows:]
********** INSERT **********
Mr. Ehlers. Well, thank you for your testimony. There are a number of questions.
I certainly appreciate your cooperation with the local officials. I think that is always excellent for a federal employee to be cooperative with local and state governments, and I appreciate your willingness to cooperate with those who have testified here.
Mr. Rogers. Thank you.
Mr. Ehlers. That is not always the case and as a Congressman, I appreciate your willingness to do that.
Several questions. First, on the comment you made that ``because name checks do not provide a sufficiently high confidence level to ensure that Privacy Act protections are being afforded and because of potentially serious consequences of incorrect information in the context of an ongoing criminal investigation, the INS carefully cross-checked the database information it obtained through electronic means against the paper file records contained in the Immigration Service's files.''
Do you know, were there quite a few discrepancies that were discovered in this process? Were you personally involved in that?
Mr. Rogers. I reviewed all the material that left our office and there was not that many significant discrepancies from the electronic file database to the hard copy, but it often tells dates on which things occurred in the hard copy, that we do not see in the electronic database.
Mr. Ehlers. Okay. So you said there were hardly any discrepancies. You checked 1160 records, I believe.
Mr. Rogers. At the time we referred the information to the District Attorney, we had about 45 still pending. Of that, I believe 25 has since been clarified, but because of the data in the electronic database, we did not want to release it.
Mr. Ehlers. All right. So it is really a rather small number.
Mr. Rogers. Yes.
Mr. Ehlers. A quarter of a percent basically.
When there were discrepancies, were the discrepancies things that were wrong in the computer file or in the paper file?
Mr. Rogers. What happens is usually the data in the electronic file does not catch up to the hard copy information for about 60 days. And because of the time period the request occurred from the District Attorney, shortly after the election, about 30 days after the election, that is usually what.
Mr. Ehlers. So these are not errors in the computer file, they are simply delays in data entry, is that correct?
Mr. Rogers. Yes, and pulling the original hard copy file also.
Mr. Ehlers. Well, good, I appreciate that clarification.
I notice--and I was not fully aware of the extent of this until this case came to our attention-- that the INS provides funds for groups to run citizenship classes, not only funds, but colleges. Do you provide grants, or do they get the grants from some other federal agency?
Mr. Rogers. The only grant that I know of is one that we had with the Catholic Charities and it was a $500,000 grant to assist us in evaluating new electronic means of submission of applications. The individuals, the organizations that participate with us, we do not provide money to.
Mr. Ehlers. Okay, I had heard there were grants for those who were teaching citizenship classes. Are you saying that there are no grants or that INS does not provide the grants?
Mr. Rogers. To the best of my knowledge, they are under contract, but we do not pay them.
Mr. Ehlers. I see. All right. We allow them to charge a fee.
Mr. Rogers. In terms of your records, if you ran a check against voting records and there was a name on the voting record list that was not on your records, this would presumably be someone who has been a citizen for some time--in other words, someone who is a citizen by birth, or someone who is illegal and had not registered. Is that a correct assumption, or are there other cases where someone who would be registering to vote would not appear in your records?
Mr. Rogers. There are derivative citizens, born of United States parents outside the United States. They acquire citizenship at birth. Those would not necessarily be in our records because they do not have to register. There are various sections of the law that may occur.
Mr. Ehlers. In terms of the citizenship classes, is it possible that some of the groups running these citizenship classes may have students that are not on your INS list or would they primarily be individuals who are on your list?
Mr. Rogers. Most likely they would be on our lists or in our databases, because it is a requirement that you have to have permanent residence for a specific period of time before applying for citizenship or acquiring citizenship.
Mr. Ehlers. Oh, so everyone in those classes should be on your lists then?
Mr. Rogers. Yes.
Mr. Ehlers. All right, good. As I mentioned earlier, there should be no problem whatsoever in doing the computer match that Mr. Jones has requested between the Orange County records and the INS records, whether here or in Washington. You were kind enough to do the limited check asked for first. Do you see, from your perspective, any technical problems in giving an affirmative answer to Mr. Jones and having the INS perform this test and match the computer records for the entire county?
Mr. Rogers. I would prefer that that question be asked of Headquarters' electronic people. I really do not know. I put Mr. Jones' people in touch with our people in Headquarters. The technicalities, I am sorry, I do not have that expertise.
Mr. Ehlers. So you are not familiar with computer technology?
Mr. Rogers. No.
Mr. Ehlers. You are familiar with the administrative process. Administratively, there would be no problem as long as privacy is protected, correct?
Mr. Rogers. I can do a file-by-file search, and I could do an electronic search name-by-name here--I could do that.
Mr. Ehlers. All right. We will have to deal with Washington. When we get back, we may have to call a witness from Headquarters and ask them that question. Is that correct?
Mr. Rogers. Yes, sir.
Mr. Ehlers. Thank you. I was heartened by the April 15 date that I was given, although that happens to coincide with income tax day. Perhaps everyone was so busy filing their income tax, they did not have time to complete the INS file.
Mr. Ehlers. My time has expired. We will turn to Mr. Hoyer.
Mr. Hoyer. Thank you very much for being here, Mr. Rogers. You have a tough job, and the folks who work with you and for you have a tough job keeping track of large numbers.
Let me go to your testimony if I can and just ask some brief questions. You indicate that the majority of information which those offices have requested, referring to the District Attorney and the Secretary of State, relate to Hermandad Mexicana Nacional.
What are the other references? If the majority referred to that organization, what are the other references?
Mr. Rogers. Well, we now have a request from the Secretary of State to do the entire voter file, so that was what I meant.
Mr. Hoyer. That was what you were referring to?
Mr. Rogers. Yes.
Mr. Hoyer. Okay. So actually that would now become the majority.
Mr. Rogers. Yes.
Mr. Hoyer. Okay.
Mr. Rogers. On our search.
Mr. Hoyer. Excuse me?
Mr. Rogers. On our search.
Mr. Hoyer. Yes. On the records that you provided, you say ``The only data INS provided in connection with that request concerned 1) the citizenship status of persons; and the date of naturalization where applicable''. Obviously, that would only be applicable if in fact they had been naturalized. That is what you were referring to?
Mr. Rogers. Well, we were referring also to naturalization that took place prior to the election.
Mr. Hoyer. I presume on the list that you provided, it would have been naturalization that occurred at any time or just prior to the election?
Mr. Rogers. One of the information we provided was that if an individual had become a naturalized citizen after the November--the October 25 ceremony that we handled.
Mr. Hoyer. Let me clarify that. If a person had become a citizen on October 26, of the 1160 or 1034 that you responded to, would the information received by either the Secretary of State or the District Attorney reference the date on which they became naturalized citizens?
Mr. Rogers. The list that was provided had specifically the date of October 25. And they had numbers after that date, yes.
Mr. Hoyer. They had numbers, who is they?
Mr. Rogers. We provided them with numbers of citizens that became naturalized after November 25.
Mr. Hoyer. Okay. Did you provide the names of citizens that became naturalized before the 25th?
Mr. Rogers. We provided no names, none whatsoever.
Mr. Hoyer. The names were provide by the Secretary of State.
Mr. Rogers. By the District Attorney's office.
Mr. Hoyer. That is fine. That was 1160. You responded to 1034, correct?
Mr. Rogers. Yes, sir.
Mr. Hoyer. That you could find.
Mr. Rogers. Right.
Mr. Hoyer. And what I am saying is, on the 1034 to which you responded, the information that--you indicate you provided citizenship status and date of naturalization where applicable.
Mr. Rogers. Right.
Mr. Hoyer. Now I presume ``where applicable'' means that if they were not naturalized, it was not applicable. In other words, what I am saying is if they had been naturalized at any time up to your search of the record, does that information refer to--is that information referred to on your response?
Mr. Rogers. Because the response related to a specific criminal investigation relating to the election of November 6, we provided them with information relating to citizens that were citizens prior to that date.
Mr. Hoyer. Prior to November 6th.
Mr. Rogers. Yes. We had citizens that became citizens after November 6, during the month of November.
Mr. Hoyer. But--of the number that you reviewed?
Mr. Rogers. Right. We have since_
Mr. Hoyer. But you did not reflect that on there because you did not think that was relevant?
Mr. Rogers. No, we reflected it by numbers specifically of those individuals that became citizens after October 25th.
Mr. Hoyer. If I looked at the list, could I tell from all the responses you made to the 1034 when that person or if that person was naturalized?
Mr. Rogers. If you have the list that the District Attorney provided to us, yes, off that list, you could tell that.
Mr. Hoyer. All right. Now if you were unable to confirm, that did not mean, am I correct--I think you already said this--that the individual was not a citizen. It simply meant you could not confirm that.
Mr. Rogers. That is correct. Because on the list, there was indication there was native born United States citizens.
Mr. Hoyer. Or, as you pointed out, were derivative, I think you referred to it, they had been born overseas of U.S. citizen parents.
Mr. Rogers. Right.
Mr. Hoyer. Mr. Rogers, thank you very much for your testimony, appreciate it.
Mr. Ehlers. Mr. Ney.
Mr. Ney. Thank you, Mr. Chairman; Mr. Rogers.
I wanted to follow back up on the Chairman's question when he asked about is it possible that some of the groups receiving money from the INS for citizenship classes may have students who are not on any of the INS lists. So his question centered around are all the names in the groups that provided the classes, are they all on the INS lists. And I think your answer was that most likely all the names are on there.
Now from the ``most likely,'' is that for sure or is it possible, because the words ``most likely'' means, in my opinion, that it is probable that, it is most likely that, but does that mean that for sure all names that were on those citizens classes lists are on the INS lists, or is it possible--let me phrase it that way I guess--that some of the names could be on a list for the citizenship classes and not on the INS?
Mr. Rogers. Could I ask a question for clarification?
Mr. Ney. Sure.
Mr. Rogers. The list that I was talking about is the electronic database that we maintain on aliens and citizens that were previously aliens, not the lists relating to the District Attorney's list. Most likely, the individuals that are taking classes to become United States citizens, we have a record of.
Mr. Ney. But does that mean there could be some names? And I am really just trying to--it is confusing to me.
Mr. Rogers. The only time that I could think of that we would not have a record of is--there is provisions that an individual who has served honorably in the military, can apply for citizenship when he or she is not a permanent resident. There may be a situation such as that where that individual has not come yet in contact with the Immigration Service. That is why I say that.
Mr. Ney. That it is most likely. Okay. The other question I would have, if monies are going to groups that provide the classes and those groups are getting taxpayers' dollars, does INS have any type of oversight or how do you regulate the fact that the groups use that money for the classes and there is no type of involvement for political purposes of those dollars?
Mr. Rogers. I believe I indicated that we do not provide them with money. We contract with six organizations throughout the United States who have sub-organizations to do the testing, but they are allowed to charge a fee. But as far as I know, we do not pay those individuals performing that service.
Mr. Ney. It is a contract, okay. How about in the cases of a grant, are there oversights on grant monies--
Mr. Rogers. Yes.
Mr. Ney. --by INS?
Mr. Rogers. Actually, the grant that I mentioned to Catholic Charities was overseen by the Department of Justice.
Mr. Ney. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. Ehlers. Did you have any further questions you wanted to ask?
Mr. Hoyer. No.
Mr. Ehlers. Thank you, Mr. Rogers. I want to thank you again for being a good and faithful civil servant and being helpful to the process. I recognize that your Headquarters has instructed you not to deal with certain questions, which are extremely important to us, but I appreciate your honesty and forthrightness in dealing with the other questions we asked and also your honesty in saying when you could not respond.
You have been very helpful. Thank you.
Mr. Rogers. Thank you.
Mr. Ehlers. Our next witness is Ms. Rosalyn Lever. Am I pronouncing your name correctly?
Ms. Lever. Yes.
Mr. Ehlers. I do not have a biography for you, so I cannot make all kinds of glowing comments about your career. But that also means I do not know your age.
Mr. Ehlers. So that is both good news and bad news.
Mr. Ney. That would be a glowing comment as well, obviously.
Mr. Ehlers. Yes, that is right. I just wanted to make sure she was of voting age, and I could not tell by looking at her.
Ms. Lever. Thank you.
Mr. Ehlers. I do just want to comment that the Committee staff here has commented on how helpful you have been to them since they have been out here and that they were very impressed with you as a dedicated servant trying to do a good job running the election and ferreting out all the facts in this. I did want to pass that compliment on to you, and we look forward to hearing your testimony.
TESTIMONY OF ROSALYN LEVER
Ms. Lever. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, honorable members.
Just to set the record straight, I have heard testimony on this side and questions on that side about the November 6 election. I conducted it on November 5, so let us just set the record straight. If I did it a day early, I am sorry.
Mr. Ehlers. Perhaps that is the problem. Maybe that is where all the misunderstanding comes from.
Ms. Lever. My name is Rosalyn Lever and I am the Registrar of Voters for Orange County. In the 1996 general election, the Registration and Elections Department of Orange County was responsible for the preparation and distribution of election materials to 1,275,775 registered voters, the operation of 1628 separate polling locations staffed by 6531 precinct officers. We processed 182,230 absentee ballots and 691,697 precinct ballots.
Let me begin by making clear my total commitment to a fair election system. I have been in the elections business for 25 years. My management team has over 65 years combined experience in conducting elections. My election staff has an average experience level of 11 years each. This experience in implementing California election law and providing election services to the citizens of Orange County gives me a perspective which I will use in reciting the facts.
Many questions and allegations regarding voter registration have been raised since the general election, particularly in association with the conduct of the election in the 46th Congressional District.
Voter registration in California is controlled by federal and state law. There are significant limitations placed on elections officials which bar the ability to (1) invade a person's privacy or (2) question their eligibility to vote without specific evidence of ineligibility.
During my career, I have worked with voter registration from the old ``Deputy Registrar'' system, through the postcard registration system started in 1976, and now the motor voter system which California implemented beginning in June, 1995. All of these systems have been based on the honor system. Though additional questions could be asked regarding citizenship and social security number in the original ``Deputy Registrar'' system, no proof was ever required and comparisons to Immigration files or social security files were never allowed by law.
The issue of challenging citizenship status is beyond the authority of my office. However, I will continue to work closely with the District Attorney and the Secretary of State to eliminate voter fraud. Both of these agencies have investigatory powers and when appropriate, the District Attorney has the authority to prosecute. Questions regarding allegations of non-citizen voting and its potential impact on this election must be left to investigatory agencies, law enforcement agencies, the judiciary and ultimately the House of Representatives.
The election in the 46th District has been observed and questions throughout the official canvass, the subsequent recount and continues to be questioned in various other letters and actions.
During the official canvass, campaign representatives, staff of the House Oversight Committee and the news media observed our election operations. Either my assistant Don Taylor or I have explained each step in the canvass process to every campaign representative, every reporter and every private citizen who questioned the process. In some instances, where campaigns had specific concerns, we added procedures to ensure the canvass would not only meet the legal requirements but also address the concerns of candidates while meeting the time constraints imposed by state law.
For example, in one case, due to the lack of proper closing procedures, Mr. Dornan alleged possible vote tampering in Santa Ana precinct 68-078, which was located at our Lady of Pillar Church. This precinct board did not complete the election night closing procedures at the polling place. Instead, they placed all materials in a supply box and brought the unsealed box to the front counter of my office. This clearly was a major procedural error. My office, as part of its normal policy when procedural errors occur, questioned the precinct board and the church officials to establish and verify the facts related to poll closing in that precinct. The closing procedures were performed by my staff in clear view of the public observation area and with members of the Orange County Grand Jury and the Orange County Republican Party in observance as part of our official Election Observer Panel. Though there was no evidence of vote tampering based on the ballots cast, precinct rosters or statements received from the precinct workers, we still took the extra step of comparing every signature in the roster with the signatures on the voter file. All signatures matched their corresponding voter records. There was no evidence of vote tampering in this precinct.
During the recount which followed the official canvass, all election materials were available for review. Absentee and provisional envelopes were reviewed and both campaigns obtained copies of ballot statements. In addition, all ballots cast in the 46th Congressional District were hand tallied with the opportunity for challenge afforded to each campaign. After this thorough review, there was a net change of five votes in favor of candidate Dornan. The election was not overturned and therefore the results were not recertified. The official vote count remains 46,980 votes for Dornan; 47,964 votes for Sanchez, with 984 votes separating the candidates.
Since the recount, my office has responded to a series of questions and assertions on a number of issues. The most misleading of these has been the assertion that a campaign tool, which is referred to as a ``Voter Participation Tape,'' is actually an audit tool for the official results of the election. The official results of the election are referred to as the Statement of Votes. The implication behind these inquiries is that somehow large numbers of ballots were counted which were not associated with voters.
The Voter Participation Tape is a computer product created for campaigns, election vendors and political action groups. This reasonably accurate reflection of voter participation is utilized solely by future campaigns and is not used by my office in any way. In particular, it is not used for auditing an election. Therefore, significant staff resources are not routinely invested to try to resolve the approximate one percent discrepancy rate. In spite of the many processes which are utilized to audit the vote count and despite our explanations of the shortcomings of the Voter Participation Tape, focus has remained on this single campaign product. Due to the continued attention on this item, I determined that my staff would again reconcile voter signature totals to the Statement of Votes. To assist those who are questioning the vote count, my office has attempted to identify the specific voters whose records of participation in the election were not reflected properly on the Voter Participation Tape, for a wide variety of technical reasons. This effort has taken over 1200 hours of staff time to manually review the 221 precincts and 78,065 precinct voter records which were involved in the 46th District. In addition, 26,212 absentee ballots and 1964 mailed ballot records were analyzed. This review has not produced any information which would undermine my original certification of the election results.
Any election of this size will have some minor errors and discrepancies which will remain unresolved. If use of the Voter Participation Tape as an audit tool was extended and incorporated into the official canvass, it would delay election certification for several months. In most counties, the data to create this product is not even entered until after final certification of the election.
Voter participation can be broken down into three categories--absentee voters, mailed ballot voters and precinct voters.
Absentee voters are accurately identified in our absentee voter subsystem. This was explained to both campaigns. This subsystem is used in the official canvass to verify absentee voter participation totals. There were 26,212 absentee voters given voter credit in the 46th District. There were 26,234 absentee ballots cast. The difference of 22 voters not properly given credit in the absentee voter system can be explained through the normal minor procedural errors occurring when processing this volume of workload. When these absentee voter records from the absentee voter subsystem were compared to the Voter Participation Tape, it was determined that 322 had not been added to the Voter Participation Tape. Those voter records have now been identified and listed. This should make clear that there is in fact an individual voter for each absentee ballot cast.
Mailed ballot voters are those voters in precincts where the voter population is too small to provide a polling place. These voters also vote by absentee ballot but the ballots are counted and attributed back to their specific precinct number, unlike absentees that are counted by ballot type or ballot style.
These voters are accurately reflected in the absentee voter subsystem. There were 1964 mailed ballot voters given credit in this subsystem for the 46th District. There were 1973 mailed ballots cast. Nine voters were apparently not properly given voting credit. When these voter records were compared to the Voter Participation Tape, it was determine that one voter record had not been added to the Voter Participation Tape. This voter record has now been identified and listed.
In reviewing the precinct voter participation of those that voted at polling places, a comparison was made between voter records on the Voter Participation Tape and each precinct roster and provisional ballot envelope. The discrepancies included data entry errors, voter records updated or canceled after the election, and voters who applied for an absentee ballot but then changed their mind and voted at the polls.
A summary report and individual precinct reconciliations have been prepared from this review and were made available to the attorneys for the Contestant and the Contestee on April 17. I believe we also provided the Congress members with copies of this. The total net precinct difference when compared to the ballots cast in the 46th District shows 17 more voter signatures than ballots cast as reflected in the official Statement of Votes. The minor procedural errors which inevitably occur at the precinct level in an election of this scale account for this small difference. By errors, I mean small accounting irregularities that result from the combination of circumstances and events which occur when over 78,000 people go to 221 separate locations and interact with over 880 precinct officers.
To summarize this review of voter participation, my office has identified 26,212 absentee voters whose original envelopes with their signatures are on file in our office. 1964 mailed ballot voters whose original envelopes with their signatures are on file in our office and 78,065 individual precinct voters whose original signatures are in the precinct rosters or on original provisional ballot envelopes are on file in our office. This total of 106,241 voters, when compared to 106,255 total ballots cast in the 46th District, as recorded in the Statement of Votes, differs by 14 records. This minor difference can be attributed to processing errors which occur in any election of this size.
No information from a computer product such as the Voter Participation Tape, which is only an extract of data, can substitute for or invalidate the original records of voter participation on the precinct rosters, provisional ballot envelopes and absentee ballot envelopes. Any allegation or insinuation that voters did not exist for ballots cast is not supported by the facts and is simply false.
While the misplaced attention on the Voter Participation Tape has not been fruitful in identifying voter fraud, positive results have been achieved from voter lists provided by both the Secretary of State and Mr. Dornan's attorney. Though these lists required substantial resources to research, the many categories of business addresses, duplicate records and possible duplicate voting, a cleaner voter file and the identification of some potential voter fraud was the result. The numbers were small, resulting in 25 cases being referred to the District Attorney. However, our commitment to zero tolerance for voter fraud has justified this process.
In the 46th District election, as in all elections which involved over 106,000 voters, 221 poll locations and over 880 precinct officers, some minor discrepancies and errors did occur. None of these, however, have indicated a different election result.
In conclusion, there are many important public policy issues which have been raised as a result of the election in the 46th Congressional District. As the Registrar of Voters, I will continue to administer the election operations as established by federal, state and local statutes enacted by elected representatives and the voters of the state of California and the County of Orange.
Thank you. If you have any questions, I will be happy to answer them.
[The statement of Ms. Lever follows:]
********** INSERT **********
Mr. Ehlers. Thank you very much, Ms. Lever. I served eight years as a county commissioner and even before that time, I went down every election day to the County Clerk's office, which we have in Michigan instead of Registrar of Voters, and watched the returns come in. I have always been fascinated with that aspect of American democracy. I can assure you that I am well aware of the fact that minor errors and discrepancies can come in. You pointed this out several times in your testimony; for example, you say ``Any election of this size will have some minor errors and discrepancies which will remain unresolved.''
Do you have in mind any figure of what is acceptable as an error rate in an election? I am not talking about fraud; I am just talking about the processing errors.
Ms. Lever. No. You know when you are training that many precinct officers to work an election, errors can be made. For example, sometimes the precinct inspector will fail to have the voter sign the roster. In instances where there are duplicate records for one voter, we saw instances where they signed and then the precinct inspector said no, you signed in the wrong place, the voter crossed that out, they wrote the word ``delete''. These are procedural errors and we do not--when our number of ballots cast, number of signatures in the roster, number of absentee ballots, number of provisional ballot envelopes, when everything adds up to the number of ballots that were run through the card readers on election night or during the canvass after the election, there is no reason to question that further.
Mr. Ehlers. While I was reading your testimony and listening to you speak, I did a quick calculation. I cannot guarantee its accuracy, but it looked to me like you had just in terms of the processing errors you were talking about, about .01 percent or 100th of one percent error rate.
Ms. Lever. It was pretty low.
Mr. Ehlers. You regard that as acceptable then?
Ms. Lever. I regard it as acceptable. The errors that were discussed were mostly on this Voter Participation Tape. We have never used that tape for anything. I was questioned a couple of days ago, shown a piece of paper and said is this from your voter participation file. I do not know, we have never dumped that tape, we sell that tape to campaigns.
Mr. Ehlers. I read your testimony on the way out on the plane, and a question occurred to me why you even have it, since all it has done is created problems for you.
Ms. Lever. Well, that is up to the state legislature.
Mr. Ehlers. I see. Okay.
Shifting now from errors to fraud. Do you have any estimate of how much fraud occurred in this election, and the second question is how much fraud would you consider acceptable in an election? We have some rough idea what you think is a normal or acceptable error rate.
Ms. Lever. I do not think any fraud is acceptable. I can tell you how many cases that we found that we reported to the District Attorney and to the Secretary of State. Whether they can prove it was fraud, that is up to another agency besides mine. Countywide, we had, since just prior to the election, since October 15, countywide, we had 62 incidences of people that may have voted twice, people that appeared to have attempted to vote twice, the complaints regarding citizenship, mishandled affidavits, business addresses, voters registered at business addresses and other miscellaneous. In the 46th Congressional District we sent 25 complaints over to the District Attorney for investigation.
Mr. Ehlers. Okay. So in your opinion, the fraud level was fairly low in this election?
Ms. Lever. On the ballots--I am not going to address the Hermandad issue. On the election that I conducted, the fraud was very low.
Mr. Ehlers. That is what I am interested in, what your perception is of the non-illegal registrants fraud versus the other types of fraud. You are saying the other types of fraud are quite low.
Ms. Lever. And I cannot even say they are fraud. These are instances where we had reason to believe there was an irregularity.
Mr. Ehlers. And I gathered also from your statement that no amount of fraud is tolerable, and you share Secretary Jones' attitude of zero tolerance toward fraud in elections.
Ms. Lever. Yes, I do.
Mr. Ehlers. Is that fair to say?
Ms. Lever. Yes.
Mr. Ehlers. All right. One question on that. In one of the depositions that has been submitted to us, it is alleged that one of your employees who was helping an absentee voter at the desk get applications for himself and his wife told the voter that he could simply forge his wife's signature to get her application. Have you checked that out? Have you asked your employees whether or not any one of them did this? Have you asked for a signed statement from them?
Ms. Lever. First of all, let me say that we have provided our testimony and all of our documentation to both sides of this issue. We were unable to get a copy of Mr. Dornan's issues--testimony, if you will. This was brought to my attention yesterday, that there was a possibility of something having been done wrong at our front counter. And I find that very hard to believe. That is certainly not how we train our staff and--be that as it may--you know, my personal opinion of the staff and the extra help staff that we hire at election time, these people did a wonderful job of conducting this election and I find it very difficult to believe that anything was done wrong. Be that as it may, the ultimate verification is the signature on the absentee ballot is verified against the signature on voter file prior to the absentee ballot envelope being opened and the ballot being counted. So the signature on the absentee ballot envelope had to have matched the signature on the voter's registration.
Mr. Ehlers. Just a very quick follow up. In other words, you do not think it happened. If it did happen, you will certainly take action against any employee who might have done that. Is that correct to say? You will be investigating?
Ms. Lever. We will investigate that.
Mr. Ehlers. Fine. We just would like at some point to have that question clarified since it is in a deposition given to us.
I apologize for running over a bit. Mr. Hoyer.
Mr. Hoyer. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Just to clarify this, Ms. Lever, when you say you will investigate it, it is my understanding you have investigated it. Have you asked any of your employees whether or not they in fact did anything of that nature?
Ms. Lever. The description that was given to us of that employee does not even match the description of anyone that is currently a permanent staff member in our office.
Mr. Hoyer. By description, you mean the physical description of the individual involved?
Ms. Lever. Yes.
Mr. Hoyer. And that would not clearly be the policy of your office.
Ms. Lever. Absolutely not.
And you would presumably remove from office anybody who was pursuing that kind of activity.
Ms. Lever. We would take the appropriate action.
Mr. Hoyer. Now last question on that issue. You have not received a copy of that assertion?
Ms. Lever. Not from Mr. Dornan's attorneys, no, I have not.
Mr. Hoyer. Did you_
Ms. Lever. Counsel was able to get a copy of it.
Mr. Hoyer. Have you asked for that from the Committee?
Ms. Lever. From the Committee?
Mr. Hoyer. Yeah.
Ms. Lever. I have asked for Mr. Dornan's original complaints requesting the contest and twice I have been denied that.
Mr. Hoyer. You did not get it from the Committee then?
Ms. Lever. I did not get it from the Committee.
Mr. Hoyer. Thank you.
Ms. Lever, let me say I share the Chairman's view. I think every Congressional District in America would be advantaged by having someone of your competence and conscientiousness administering their election process. How long have you been an election official?
Ms. Lever. I have been the Registrar of Voters for two years and I was the Assistant Registrar of Voters for eight years before that and I have been in the office of the Orange County Registrar of Voters since March of 1972.
Mr. Hoyer. So for 25 years, you have been in this office.
Ms. Lever. That is correct.
Mr. Hoyer. And I think everybody in this room would agree with the Chairman and with yourself that no fraud is acceptable. That is not one tenth of a percent or one-one hundredth of a percent--fraud is unacceptable.
Ms. Lever. It is unacceptable.
Mr. Hoyer. Now with respect to your review, how much time have you spent in reviewing this election?
Ms. Lever. In reviewing the whole election?
Mr. Hoyer. Yes.
Ms. Lever. Well, the entire staff spends the 28 days right after the election doing the canvass and that.
Mr. Hoyer. Which is normal, is that correct?
Ms. Lever. Which is normal. And then_
Mr. Hoyer. Excuse me, go ahead. I am referring to the extra time.
Ms. Lever. The extra time. In Mr. Dornan's first letter with all of the information they supplied to us, we spent approximately 800 to 1000 staff hours, for a total cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $62,000. For the reconciliation before this hearing when--for this last reconciliation, the second reconciliation, there were approximately 1200 hours and approximately $97,000.
Mr. Hoyer. So the total, am I correct, would be $159,000?
Ms. Lever. That is correct.
Mr. Hoyer. Above and beyond what your normal 28-day cost would have been to reconciling the election and closing up that post-November 5th.
Ms. Lever. That is correct. That does not take into account all of the time we spent with the news media and both the different attorneys for the different sides.
Mr. Hoyer. In your testimony, you indicate that you focused on Hermandad as a result of the request that you received from the Secretary of State and from the District Attorney; is that correct?
Ms. Lever. Say that again?
Mr. Hoyer. In your testimony, you indicate that you had focused on Hermandad, the registrations received from Hermandad, at the request of the Secretary of State and/or the District Attorney.
Ms. Lever. We reported it to the District Attorney to begin with and when the District Attorney requested that we provide the names of all the registrations taken by Hermandad, we pulled a file.
Mr. Hoyer. My question to you is, has there been a request from any source for organizations other than Hermandad, as it relates to registrations?
Ms. Lever. There were some requests, and I cannot name the names, of different organizations that might have taken out voter registration cards. That was I believe in Mr. Dornan's subpoena.
Mr. Hoyer. Now, as you say, you have spent literally some 3000 hours reviewing this, you have spent $159,000 extra, you have been at this for 25 years. And on page 3 of your statement, you say, ``This review has not produced any information which would undermine my original certification of the election results.'' I presume by that, Ms. Lever, that after all this extraordinary expense and time, you have found five votes difference, you found 22 votes different in the absentee and a 14 net discrepancy in the vote itself.
Ms. Lever. That is correct.
Mr. Hoyer. Or somewhere in the neighborhood of, in both instance, less than 8/1000ths of a percent.
Ms. Lever. I do not do numbers that well. I take your word for it.
Mr. Hoyer. And it leads you to the conclusion that your original certification of the results were accurate, honest and correct.
Ms. Lever. Absolutely.
Mr. Hoyer. Thank you, Ms. Lever, I appreciate your testimony.
Mr. Ehlers. The gentleman's time has expired. Mr. Ney.
Mr. Ney. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Following up on my colleague's question at the end here, after all the countless hours and verifications, you are basically stating that you are correct on the procedure allegations that were out there about absentee ballots, the procedural questions, you are correct on it, and I accept that.
But the question I want to ask you is do you know how many non-citizens voted?
Ms. Lever. That is not an issue for me. That is an issue that I turned over to the District Attorney.
Mr. Ney. Oh, I accept it is not an issue for you. I--but do you know how many non-citizens voted?
Ms. Lever. The only information I have is what I read in the newspapers.
Mr. Ney. So you do not know--you would have no way of knowing, I assume, how many non-citizens--let me ask the question that way. Does your office have any way of independently checking to verify if someone who registers to vote is a U.S. citizen or not?
Ms. Lever. No, we have no way to verify that. We have no authority to verify that either.
Mr. Ney. Oh, I appreciate that. I just wondered if you had a way to.
Ms. Lever. No.
Mr. Ney. The one question I wanted to ask too, was asked of the Secretary of State and I would assume you would--being in your elections position, you would be able to make a comment on the question that was asked about could a person in fact register to vote and they are not a citizen, but by election day they are a citizen--is that a valid ballot or not, is the question we posed of the Secretary of State.
Ms. Lever. That has not been the policy of our office. You must be a citizen at the time you register.
Mr. Ney. Okay. Thank you. I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. Ehlers. If the gentleman would yield the remainder of his time, I would like to just pursue some of these questions.
Your comment puzzled me just a little bit. You say you cannot verify and you have no authority to verify whether or not someone who registers to vote is a citizen. Can you just tell me a little bit about California voter registration procedures? Do you freely delegate Deputy Registrars and so forth? To my understanding most states do try to verify citizenship at the time of registration.
Ms. Lever. Even back when we had Deputy Registrars--now Deputy Registrars do not--we do not have a whole lot of Deputy Registrars any more, but even back when we had Deputy Registrars, people had to either--the affiant had to either give us their social security number at one point in time, or INS file number. But there was never a verification of that number. Since 1972, we have never had the authority to verify any of those records. The person, when they register to vote, they swear under the penalty of perjury that they are a U.S. citizen, that they will be 18 on or before the day of the next election and that they are not imprisoned or on parole for a felony conviction.
Mr. Ehlers. So it is totally an honor system.
Ms. Lever. Yes.
Mr. Ehlers. And the only verification that takes place is if the District Attorney suspects something and begins an investigation. There is no investigative process in your office.
Ms. Lever. That is correct. There are provisions for us to refer improprieties, irregularities to the District Attorney, but we have no authority.
Mr. Ehlers. How would you detect those in order to refer them? Do you have a process for that?
Ms. Lever. Well, no, we have to assume that that person has sworn under the penalty of perjury that that information was correct. If someone calls us, as happened with the Hermandad issue, if they call us, then we have reason to suspect that this person might not be a citizen--in this case, it was the person themselves--then we send all the documentation that we have--the voter registration, the letter from the person, conversations that our folks had with the affiant, and send it all over to the District Attorney. They have the investigative authority.
Mr. Ehlers. When your employees register someone, do they specifically ask the person at the time of registration whether he or she is a a citizen?
Ms. Lever. They have them read the penalty of perjury statement and they sign that. Basically, most registration--almost all registration in California is done by postcard registration. A person can go to any U.S. post office, pick up an affidavit of registration, fill it out, mail it back in to us.
Mr. Ehlers. That is interesting.
Ms. Lever. At a lot of other locations besides just the post office, but it is--you know, we have a very aggressive outreach program on registrations. Obviously with motor voter, when they update information on their driver's license, motor vehicle information, they have the opportunity to register to vote. Social service agencies have to ask people if they want to register to vote.
Mr. Ehlers. Thank you very much. That is enlightening. Thank you for your testimony and your time here.
Ms. Lever. Thank you.
Mr. Hoyer. Mr. Chairman, could I have two follow up questions?
Mr. Ehlers. Mr. Hoyer has asked permission for two follow up questions. We are just a few minutes ahead of schedule. Without objection, proceed.
Mr. Hoyer. Thank you.
Secretary of State Jones in his testimony at page 3 indicates, ``Like the rest of the United States, California's election system is an honor system.'' That is the system that we operate under in Maryland, exactly the system that you have described. The person shows up or puts a registration by mail in the mail and certifies to the qualifications; that is, they are 18, they presumably put the right date of birth on there, they are a citizen and they reside--they are not a criminal and that they reside in the district in which they are registering.
To that extent, as I understand Secretary Jones and your testimony, your system essentially mirrors that which is done in most jurisdictions in the country. You do not require birth certificates, you do not require evidence of citizenship or something of that nature anywhere in the state of California, am I correct?
Ms. Lever. Anywhere--that is correct, in the state of California. Mr. Jones just stated that 11 states require identification when you register. But California, no identification is required.
Mr. Hoyer. But California does not.
Ms. Lever. That is correct.
Mr. Hoyer. So what you are simply saying is if the voter shows up and certifies to certain information and signs the form, that you accept that form as the truth.
Ms. Lever. That is correct.
Mr. Hoyer. And under your responsibilities, that is what you are supposed to do.
Ms. Lever. That is correct.
Mr. Hoyer. Okay. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Ney. Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Ehlers. Yes, Mr. Ney, I will extend the same courtesy to you.
Mr. Ney. Thank you. One real quick question, if there is no objection.
I see in your written testimony that you had referred a perceived violation in October of 1996, which would have been a month before the election, prior to any outside inquiry about Hermandad, to the District Attorney. So your office had actually referred, prior to being requested after the election, according to your written testimony. What was the nature of that? Are you able to say?
Ms. Lever. I think Mr. Capizzi covered that in his testimony. A person who was not a citizen_
Mr. Ney. Okay, it was the same one. Thank you. I just wanted to clarify because it did not say here and I thought I would clarify it for my own mind. Thank you very much.
Mr. Ehlers. Well, since we are each asking one last question--
Mr. Ehlers. I just would like to explain. I hope I was not insulting you or the citizens of California with my last question, but I was just a bit surprised that a person can just pick up a post card at a post office, fill it out and mail it in. I think that part is very unusual. In Michigan, in fact, we are trying to implement a new system of registration which will require photo identification and so forth. Our state must be a little atypical, but as far as I know, everyone in Michigan who registers to vote has to swear in front of a person who asks the questions or helps them read it if they have trouble reading it.
So we are not here to rewrite California's election laws or to condemn you, but I was just a little surprised.
Mr. Jones. Mr. Chairman, if you do not mind_
Mr. Ehlers. Yes, Mr. Jones.
Mr. Jones. Just in follow up to that. We had a bill up this past week to request an identification when a person registers on a vote, to actually vote on election day, and some ID at registration is a proposal that has merit and we are looking at that too. We have a driver's license request now that we can ask for at time of registration, which we have not had in the past, and we are trying to move in a direction so we have some form of a unique identifier at registration time. Because if you do not, there are a lot of Bill Joneses around and it is hard to differentiate one from another. So the goal is to try and provide some more integrity in the system at the up front end, so we get rid of the deadwood on the rolls that causes so much trouble for the registrars and others.
Mr. Hoyer. Mr. Chairman, I do not have a question, but I want to, in the interest of full disclosure, express my non-objectivity and also I guess divulge my age. In 1972, I was the sponsor, as a member of the State Senate, of the registration by mail bill, which passed and is the law of the state of Maryland, so I must say that I am not totally objective as it relates to this process.
Mr. Ehlers. Okay, fine.
Well, we certainly thank the panel and we appreciate your participation very much. We hope you will stay around. We may have informal questions of you if you will stay around for just a few minutes. We certainly appreciate your testimony; it has been extremely helpful to us, and it is nice of you to come here.
The hearing will recess for approximately one hour to allow both those of us here on the podium and those in the audience to have lunch. We will look for you at approximately 12:30. We stand in recess.
[Whereupon, at 11:31 a.m., the Subcommittee recessed, to reconvene at 12:30 p.m., the same day.]
Mr. Ehlers. I will ask everyone to take their seat. I am pleased to welcome everyone back.
I believe we had a very fruitful morning, and we will now proceed with the agenda for this afternoon.
Because there are some new people here, I will just remind everyone of some basic rules of behavior, both here and in the anteroom. Again, since this is a proceeding or a hearing by the House of Representatives, we follow their rules, which includes specific allotted amounts of time for each presenter. We will have a 45-minute presentation on behalf of Contestant Robert Dornan and a 45-minute presentation on behalf of Contestee Loretta Sanchez That will be followed by questions by each of us, 10 minutes per member for each presentation.
Then we will have the response by the Contestant of 30 minutes and response by the Contestee for 30 minutes, followed in each case by five minutes of questioning by each member up here.
Furthermore, there will be no demonstrations, no clapping, no cheering which is the same thing I said this morning, but some of you may not have been here. Just remember, we expect the proper decorum at all times in both here and the anteroom.
And also, furthermore, all witnesses will be sworn in.
Mr. Ehlers. Okay, pardon the brief interruption.
The first presentation is on behalf of Contestant Dornan, and I would like to introduce both the Contestant and the Contestee, if Ms. Sanchez has arrived. I looked for her a minute ago, and I did not see her.
[Ms. Sanchez stands.]
Mr. Ehlers. Oh, sorry, glad to see you. In the room is Congresswoman Sanchez. We are happy you were able to join us. And at the front table here, former Congressman Bob Dornan. You may rise if you want, Bob, and make sure everyone knows you here.
[Mr. Dornan stands.]
Mr. Ehlers. And representing Mr. Dornan is Mr. Bill Hart. The procedure this afternoon is that the attorneys will have the freedom to arrange the presentation and the responses as they wish. They will make the introductions of their witnesses.
Before us we have Mr. Hart. Mr. Hart, I ask you to raise your right hand.
Mr. Ehlers. Thank you. You may proceed with your presentation.
Mr. Hart. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. And to the Committee, welcome to Orange County. We appreciate your very substantial time and effort enormously. This is, as you pointed out, a matter of utmost importance to the community and we here in the 46th Congressional District are gratified that the Committee is obviously taking the matter with the utmost seriousness and scrutiny.
At this time, I would like to introduce Mr. Robert K. Dornan, who will have a few remarks at the outset of the presentation and then I will follow. Thank you very much.
Mr. Ehlers. Mr. Dornan, I do not mean to insult you or Ms. Sanchez, but we decided to swear in everyone, so I ask you to raise your right hand.
Mr. Dornan. I am ready.
Mr. Ehlers. Thank you, you may proceed.
TESTIMONY OF ROBERT K. DORNAN, FORMER CONGRESSMAN FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Mr. Dornan. I enjoy doing that, Mr. Chairman. After 22 years in the Air Force and ten--nine terms in Congress, I am used to raising my hand.
Good afternoon, my distinguished former colleagues.
As you know, I have had the high honor and privilege of representative California's 46th District for 12 years. However, something sad has happened in the voting process in my district that cuts at the very heart of our system of constitutional government. That tragic something is voter fraud.
Since I served with Mr. Hoyer for the better part of two decades, I would like to welcome you to my home district, where I have owned a home for 13 years, Steny.
While I firmly believe that last November's post-election reversal of my election night victory was by way of unconstitutional votes being cast and that my victory should be restored, I want to make it clear that the issues before this Committee are far broader and far more important than whether Mr. Robert K. Dornan or Mrs. Loretta Sanchez Brixey has a seat in the 105th Congress. The core issue here is the integrity of our American electoral system. There is no more secular precious right than the right of each adult United States citizen to choose his or her elected officials by a secret ballot.
In our 46th District, that right was deliberately violated and hundreds of my constituents had their votes canceled out by fraud. One man, one woman valid votes trumped by fraud. And I must add, in this enticement of many of my constituents to commit felonies, humble, hard-working, but procedurally naive guests in our country yearning to become U.S. citizens, have had their dream trampled upon and in some cases that dream jeopardized by knowing people seeking political power.
My colleagues, when you study and weigh today's and future testimony that will be put forward by my exemplary legal team, William Hart and Michael Schroeder, I believe you will be compelled to come to the same conclusions that I have. As you have heard, evidence is still being developed in several ongoing investigations.
Thank you for coming to our beautiful California district and working so diligently over the months on this historical constitutional crisis of voter fraud. And it is growing nationwide and growing year in and year out.
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Mr. Ehlers. Thank you, Mr. Dornan. Mr. Hart.
TESTIMONY OF WILLIAM HART, ATTORNEY FOR FORMER CONGRESSMAN ROBERT K. DORNAN
Mr. Hart. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, honored members, the entire Committee.
First, let me extend a word of appreciation to my opponents. The attorneys who represent Ms. Sanchez are and have been as professional a group of lawyers as I have ever encountered, they have fought very hard, as we all know, they have battled up until today for the position that their client asserts. And I want to just extend that comment, that in dealing with them, it has been a pleasure, although professionally challenging.
Let me turn now to a review, if I may, of the salient law. And I think it is important to just touch on this. I know that we have supplied, all sides have supplied very detailed briefs on this subject. But just so that there is no ambiguity.
It is a felony in the state of California to vote as a non-citizen. It is a felony in the state of California to register as a non-citizen.
Mr. Dornan's comments were exactly right. We have uncovered in the last five months a systematic, orchestrated effort by a number of people to prey upon, to take advantage of the least able people to defend themselves, those who are documented non-citizens and in some cases undocumented non-citizens. At no point in time during our presentation is it our intent to single out an individual voter who voted illegally and perhaps technically committed a felony. But at the same time, I would be remiss in not commenting on the fact that in five short months, without the benefit of any significant discovery that has been denied to us, denied to the federal court that issued 35 subpoenas, denied to this Committee for whom those subpoenas were issued through Robert K. Dornan pursuant to the law; without any of that discovery, with an orchestrated ongoing stonewall by not just Ms. Sanchez' folks, but others as well--Hermandad, Nativo Lopez, Michael Farber, Bennie Hernandez and a group of other people who are engaged, we believe, in work that is for their benefit and that directly undermines the electoral process.
Without the benefit of that discovery, with the benefit of a single deposition on the subject, we have uncovered what we think is the largest example of voter fraud in a Congressional United States election in the last 50 years, maybe in this century. Indeed, nowhere, as far as I know and my research has led me, do we know of an instance where anywhere near as many examples of non-citizens fraudulently voting in a Congressional district as occurred. This is a remarkable discovery because of the limits that have been placed on us by virtue of the lack of cooperation on the part of all of the objects with a handful of exceptions--all of the objects of the subpoenas that were directed to those people.
Exhibit 3 in our presentation provides affidavits for registration. Exhibit 3 is an affidavit that is in both English and Spanish. We also have affidavits that are in English and Vietnamese and other languages. Those affidavits make clear, and I commend you to read them, that it is unambiguous that you must be a U.S. citizen to vote and a U.S. citizen to register. There can be no question about that for anyone who reads those official documents.
The Secretary of State has pointed out that their legal analysis makes clear that you may not register and then become a citizen and vote legally. That suggestion has been raised and in our view has been eliminated as a viable contention on the part of Ms. Sanchez.
Now let us, if we may, turn to what we have discovered. The Secretary of State has discovered unambiguous evidence of 303 non-citizens who voted in the 46th District, some 450 in Orange County. Out of 555 voters who voted in the 46th District who were registered by Hermandad, a total of 372 either absolutely voted illegally or probably voted illegally. There is a balance of 69 voters who voted in the 46th District who are undocumented, foreign-born voters. That brings the total from 303 to 372. That total is two-thirds of the voters who were checked in the 46th District, fully 67 percent of the voters registered by Hermandad who voted in the 46th District committed what appear to be felonies. That is an extraordinary percentage and I submit to you is reason enough to examine very carefully all of the votes that were cast in the 46th District for this purpose: There are multiple organizations in Orange County and throughout southern California who are engaged in the business of testing and naturalizing non-citizens. They do it for profit and some do it for non-profit. But there are many such organizations, including Catholic Charities, Rancho Santiago College Campuses, Active Citizenship Campaign, One-Stop Immigration and many others.
To approach this problem by pursuing these individual groups is very, very difficult. The only way that we can ultimately know how many non-citizens voted in the 46th Congressional District is to obtain the assistance of the Immigration and Naturalization Service to help this Committee and to help us understand once and for all what happened in November, 1996. Until that happens, and is done in a comprehensive, thoughtful, protective way--that is, protective to the rights of the individuals who are being examined--then we will not know the full extent of this fraud.
When you have a sample of only 555 voters out of a district in which 106,000 votes were cast, and two-thirds of them voted illegally, that suggests to me that we need to understand thoroughly what the problem really was and how it came to past.
It is interesting that our opponents--Ms. Sanchez and others in the community--said in November, 1996, when Mr. Dornan brought to the attention of the public that he felt, subjectively--granted, subjectively--that this election had been taken from him as a result of voter fraud, he was branded a sore loser, he was ridiculed as being out of touch, essentially clueless as to what really happened in the District. But in fact, five short months later, he has not only been vindicated, but he has placed in motion a process that is absolutely essential and that is something that we want to work very closely with the Committee and indeed the people who represent Ms. Sanchez, to get to the bottom of.
It is in my view amazing that the Congresswoman here in this District, who has been the Congresswoman for five or six months, is not also attempting to join with us to get to the bottom of what obviously is widespread voter fraud in her own District, notwithstanding who it may benefit or who it may not benefit. It seems to me this issue transcends that partisan question and any representative of the District should at a minimum demand that all of us examine this question closely, based upon the hard evidence that has already been developed. And we call on her to do that and join with us and join with the Committee to get to the bottom of it.
There are many witnesses to this fraud. Contestant has supplied to you a 40-some-odd page brief with some 63 exhibits that detail much of that. We felt it was essential to attempt to show the Committee how this happened, show the Committee why this happened. It was not simply enough for us to say that it happened, it seemed to me it had to make sense. And now we see from the battle that has been pitched and fought over the last three months on this issue, we have finally gotten just enough information to demonstrate that.
Let me touch on some of that. The District Attorney has multiple unnamed informants who have stated that they are simply not willing to be named because of their fear of retaliation or retribution in the community, who have supported the issuance of a search warrant and have supported the criminal investigation that is currently ongoing here in Orange County. There are--the Orange County Register, the largest I think--by way of circulation, largest newspaper in Orange County, also cites unnamed informants who have expressed the view that they do not want to come forward because of retaliation in the community. All of them support the proposition that at least Hermandad Mexicana Nacional was engaged in an orchestrated, organized knowledgeable effort to register persons going through their citizenship classes, going back some time.
In addition, we have supplied the Committee with seven affidavits that support various aspects of how we think this happened. It has always been denied by Ms. Sanchez and her committee and her attorneys that they had anything to do with Hermandad. And I understand why. But we, in the last two months, have developed some very troubling evidence to the contrary.
First, we have affidavits placing Ms. Sanchez at a restaurant three days prior to the election where she jokes with five dinner companions about how she assisted an individual who came to her for help fill out his absentee ballot and told him, in joking terms, do you want to vote for Sanchez or Sanchez. A big round of laughter at the table, marked the ballot, another round of laughter, and we have an example--a very disturbing example--of Ms. Sanchez involved in some aspect of this very, very disturbing pattern.
Secondly, we have affidavits from employees of the--about employees of the Sanchez campaign, one Bennie Hernandez, an individual who, as the Committee knows from looking at the exhibits, was paid $6000 in the summer of 1996 plus $1000 of expenses to do, ``consulting'' work for the Sanchez campaign. Mr. Hernandez approached two citizens in the 46th Congressional District and solicited one, who was a non-citizen, to vote even though he was a non-citizen. You have those affidavits under oath. He solicited the other individual, who had already voted by absentee ballot, to vote twice for Ms. Sanchez. Bear in mind, the two people who are giving testimony in this regard are Sanchez supporters.
More very troubling indication that the Sanchez campaign was not totally ignorant of the events that were happening in the 46th Congressional District in 1996.
We have testimony from a lady who was at the Registrar's office, who actually observed the checking out of an absentee voter application for both he and his girlfriend. At the same counter, he received the actual absentee ballots, signed all the documents himself and went into the voting booth and voted both ballots. The reason, as the Chairman pointed out--and I want to address the question the Chairman had, that was responded to by the Registrar--the reason the signatures match is because the same fellow filled out all the forms. Of course they match, that is the idea.
Finally, we have examples of another outreach organization, so-called outreach organization, working on the registration front in a church here in Anaheim, showing up with 20 or 30 members, and advising at least one citizen within earshot that--in response to a question--indeed that they could register and vote as a non-citizen. This is 20 or 30 people in a group who are out there registering voters, telling voters that they can be a non-citizen to register and vote.
Now there has been some proper questioning about how extensive might this be. We have supplied, we think, a lot of evidence to suggest that it is very extensive and goes beyond Hermandad. But let us just leave us at Hermandad. The District Attorney right now has 9200 records of individuals on the Hermandad computers that are unaccounted for. That is, they are not, as far as we know, part of the 1160. They have another group of 9000-plus who have not been checked. We have no idea whether they were citizens when they registered, we have no idea whether they voted or did not vote. And that is a volume of information that absolutely needs to be checked in view of the fact that Hermandad is at the center of what we think is this widespread voter fraud effort.
In addition, Hermandad is a 501(c)(3) corporation. A 501(c)(3) corporation, as the Committee well knows, is a non-profit, non-partisan corporation. It is supposed to be engaged in activities that are entirely non-partisan, much like the Red Cross or some organization such as that. Instead, the record is replete with evidence that Hermandad was a very active supporter of Democratic candidates here in the 46th District, that the Executive Director of Hermandad, Mr. Lopez, is essentially in business with former Democratic Congressional candidates, that he provided support to Ms. Sanchez' election in 1996 and in fact, this is an organization--and we have attached the tax returns that have been provided to the Committee--since 1988, this is an organization that has received and has admitted on their tax returns to receipt of 35_approximately_$35 million in federal and state funding in eight years. This is extraordinary. We have an organization here in the 46th District that is receiving millions of dollars to engage in partisan politics and register voters for their particular agenda. This is enormously disturbing on several levels that indeed extend beyond this Committee's I think immediate interest.
There is plenty of evidence now, through the deposition of Mr. Jim Prince, the only deposition from an independent witness, not a government employee witness, from an independent witness, that we have, who was on the inside of this. Mr. Prince testifies that Mr. Lopez and Mr. Farber, his business partner, made a deal whereby Mr. Farber would back off of his allegations against Hermandad and Hermandad would support Mr. Farber in the 1994 Congressional election. The evidence is very clear that even Democratic candidates realized that Hermandad was engaged in this activity, as long ago as 1994 and therefore, it is necessary--and we have included this in our subpoenas--to go back to 1994 at least to see who was registered by these organizations going back that far. If we do not go back that far, we may not identify a large portion of people who were registered as non-citizens in 1994 and subsequently voted pursuant to that illegal registration.
Mr. Prince, who once again ran for Congress in the primary in 1996, admits that his feedback from the community was that there was coercion, in his words, going on in the community to get people to vote, that his staff identified examples of non-citizens being registered and voting. This is all under oath, taken less than ten days ago. This is from a gentleman who was on the inside when all of this was going on.
In addition, we have one of the most disturbing bits of evidence in this case. We discovered a check payable on an account called Dump Dornan--which is some sort of a partisan account opened by Mr. Farber, Mr. Lopez' business partner--in the amount of $5000 paid in October 1996, one month or less before the election, to Nativo Lopez' school board race. This amount of money is not reported anywhere except in Nativo Lopez' disclosure of disbursements and receipts. Why is Mr. Farber and the Dump Dornan campaign providing money to Nativo Lopez' school board race at the same time Nativo Lopez is the Executive Director of Hermandad and a supporter of Ms. Sanchez. Well, the clue might be the detail on the face of the check that says that the check is earmarked for Loretta Sanchez Get Out the Vote Campaign. If that money was used by Nativo Lopez' school board race for the benefit of Loretta Sanchez and she knew about it or her campaign knew about it, then that is an amount of money that was unreported for her benefit in this campaign. And the money is coming from a partner of Nativo Lopez, the Executive Director of Hermandad, from the Hermandad headquarters--by the way Mr. Farber and Mr. Lopez are both in business in the same building owned by Hermandad. This is a very troubling fact.
We have serious doubts that we, on behalf of Mr. Dornan, pursuant to the federal court subpoenas that have been issued, will receive any response to the request for records from the INS or the U.S. District Court Naturalization Division. These are clearly key documents that we must see. We have detailed precisely which records we need and which databases we need because we have been informed by INS whistleblowers who have come forward and told us exactly what databases we need to have--and by we, I mean the Committee, Mr. Dornan and Ms. Sanchez--what databases we need to get to the bottom of this. Those databases exist, they are currently available at the INS and it simply requires the will and the know-how to access those records, protect individual privacy in doing so, and compare it to what we know to be the voted list in the 46th Congressional District.
We have serious doubts, because this morning in the L.A. Times, after all of the representations that have been made to the Secretary of State that they would give cooperation, that it could be done, that all we had to do is be patient, you can have them by April 15th; that now there seems to be a change of heart and because of certain reasons it is felt that perhaps we do not want to cooperate with the State of California to get to the bottom of this. Once again, a very, very troubling direction in the investigation and one that frankly we need the help of the Committee to get to the bottom of, because we have done our best. We have articulated as precise a subpoena as we can, it has been served and it has been ignored.
Lest you think that these records with the INS are truly confidential, bear in mind that much of the information that is on these lists is in the hands of what are called CBOs, community-based organizations. Those are organizations like Hermandad, Southwest Voter and other organizations that we have detailed in our investigation. This information is given to these CBOs without restriction. It is not kept under lock and key, it is for use by those outreach programs. So this data is not on a big computer in Washington, D.C. accessible only to a handful of INS people. This is information that is disseminated routinely at many CBOs throughout the United States. This is the information that we seek.
Robert K. Dornan needs the opportunity to prove his case. As the Committee knows, we have done our level best. We have gone the extra mile to attempt to work with the opposing parties, to preserve privacy, to obtain these records by lawful court process; indeed, to design, pursuant to the direction of the federal court, a precise subpoena that was tailored to the law as framed in the federal contested elections law. We have been rebuffed at every single turn. We have people who are evading service of process, we have people who get served with subpoenas and do not appear, do not appear with an attorney, do not file opposition. This happens routinely in this case. And the Committee is well aware of that and I want--I simply want to reiterate that we have done our best to get to the bottom of this.
And so when it is suggested that well after five months you only have 370 illegal voters and the margin is 979, you are out of luck. That is not how I view it. Two-thirds of the voters we checked were illegal non-citizens who voted or registered to vote in the 46th. That is all we know. We have looked at less than one percent of the people who voted in this District today.
Please help us reject the Sanchez tactic of delay and obfuscation that we have seen over the last four months.
And I want to just leave you with this. Lest you think that because of demonstrations or popular support one way or the other or letters you receive, that the people of the 46th Congressional District and the County of Orange do not care what we are doing and do not care how this comes out and do not think there is a problem,--I had a big finish and now I cannot find it.
Mr. Hart. Always right in front of you.
Orange County Register, largest paper in Orange County, a poll taken April 11, seven days ago_3836 respondents. Question: Is the state's discovery of 303 non-citizen voters grounds for a new election between Representative Loretta Sanchez and former Representative Robert K. Dornan? Seventy-seven percent, yes; 23 percent, no.
Second poll taken three days ago: Is Secretary of State Bill Jones exaggerating the extent of voter fraud? 1352 responses; 89 percent, no; 11 percent, yes.
I submit that this is a matter of extraordinary importance to the people of the 46th District and Orange County generally, and we implore the Committee to work with us and we will provide whatever assistance we can to this Committee to cooperate in that effort to get to the bottom of what happened here in November, 1996.
Thank you very much.
********** INSERT **********
At this time, I would like to introduce Mr. Michael Schroeder, my co-counsel, who will be addressing another portion of the presentation. Thank you.
Mr. Ehlers. Thank you, Mr. Hart.
Mr. Schroeder, would you raise your right hand?
Mr. Ehlers. Thank you. You may proceed.
TESTIMONY OF MICHAEL SCHROEDER, ATTORNEY FOR FORMER CONGRESSMAN ROBERT K. DORNAN
Mr. Schroeder. My name is Mike Schroeder, I am also an attorney for Bob Dornan. I would also like to thank the Chairman for his kind comments about California. I was also born in Michigan, an area just outside of Detroit, although I must admit to becoming somewhat attached to the idea of not having snow delivered to my door, but having a chance just to visit it from time to time.
I would like to pull together, outside of the area of non-citizen voting, what we are contending and what we are not contending, because the parties seem to be somewhat talking past each other. I have read the presentation by Representative Sanchez and a good deal of the points that they are covering and setting up a strawman and debunking, we are not contending. And let us just go through those quickly.
Initially when we were looking at this and we had, you know, 30 days to put it together, one of the areas that we identified is households with more than six people. The Registrar has looked at that, we have looked at that, we have not found any evidence to indicate that those votes were anything but proper and we are not contending that they are. And as you look at our papers, you will not find anything about that.
As far as voting from commercial addresses, the Registrar's office found four cases that they referred to the District Attorney's office for prosecution. That is all that we are claiming there.
So those are areas that I just wanted to take off the table and make clear what it is that we are contending.
There are three areas of voter fraud that are distinct from the issue of illegal aliens that we very much are contending are in issue and very much contending are a problem. That is, improper absentee ballots, double voters and extra ballots in the ballot box.
Now you heard testimony this morning from the Orange County Registrar, very definitive testimony. She has looked at it, there is not a problem. In fact, in the entire file, there are only 14 votes that really cannot be accounted for and that is probably just a typo, and in fact, if it was 14 votes, I would agree with her.
But I would respectfully urge the Committee to reserve judgment regarding the weight that should be given to the Registrar's testimony, until it has a chance to review the documentary evidence that we have already produced to the Committee and that we will present. Because it is in fact our position that Ms. Lever's testimony today was selective, disingenuous and as a result in many respects, misleading.
Let us look at what Ms. Lever failed to tell the Committee, that she has previously testified to under oath. We took Ms. Lever's deposition last Monday, six days ago. And in that deposition, we asked her about a letter we received on January 17, 1996. In that letter, she indicated that there were 460 more ballots than could be accounted for by the number of voters, and she asserted in that letter that that might well be a data input error--might be, she did not know.
In the deposition we took last Monday, she was asked the following question: ``Are there any documents that have been created that identified the discrepancy, not base documents, but a document created by the Registrar's office that identifies any part of the 460 records as being data entry errors?'' Her response: ``No, there aren't.''
She testified there are no documents that would explain this. Now apparently her testimony is that six days later, that what she told us six days ago that there is not this discrepancy, is not supported by the facts and is simply false.
The reason why it is significant_
Mr. Hoyer. Mr. Chairman--can you give us the page number so that we can look at that?
Mr. Schroeder. Oh, certainly.
Mr. Hoyer. Thank you.
Mr. Schroeder. It is on Tab 50 of the binder that we handed out, it is on the top of page 48.
The reason why this is significant is that the only way, at least in California, that you can catch someone stuffing the box is that every person that gets a ballot at the polling spot is required to sign for it. And that signature tells you that they got a ballot and if you count up the number of signatures, the number of signatures and the number of ballots in the box should agree. In this case they do not, there are an extra 460.
Let us look at the next thing that the Committee was not told about--illegally turned in absentee ballots. California Election Code Section 3017_and you can find that on Tab 63_provides that an absentee ballot must be turned in by the voter, either personally or by mail, unless--now I am quoting from the statute--``An absent voter who, because of illness or other physical disability, is unable to return the ballot may designate his or her_[and there is only very specific categories]_spouse, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, brother or sister to return the ballot.''
The statute goes on to state that the provisions of this section are mandatory, and again I am reading from the statute, ``not directory, and no ballot shall be counted if not delivered in compliance with this section.''
Now the Registrar in her April 13, 1997 deposition, was asked about this, because if you take a look at Tab 63, you will see that we have listed--you know, Mr. Hoyer, I just realized that her deposition is on Tab 60, not Tab 63, I misspoke.
Mr. Hoyer. Thank you.
Mr. Schroeder. The listing of the 197 people who illegally had their ballots turned by a third party, that is at Tab 63, and it lists 197 people. Now Ms. Lever was aware of this. She wrote us a letter on January 17, which you can find at Tab 50, wherein she discussed this category.
Mr. Hoyer. Mr. Chairman, not to interrupt, but I believe in my book Tab 50 is the deposition and 60 is the letter. I do not know if yours is the same.
Mr. Schroeder. All right. Well, I apologize, I transposed them. Let us try it again. Tab 50 is the deposition, Tab 60 is the January 17 letter and Tab 63 is the listing of the third-party turn-ins.
Mr. Hoyer. That can happen.
Mr. Ehlers. Thank you.
Mr. Hoyer. Some election officials even have that problem.
Mr. Schroeder. In her January 17 letter, she indicates that she has reviewed 128 of the ones that we turned in to her and found 60 of them herself that she believes should not have been counted and were in violation of the law. Why did Ms. Lever not tell the Committee about this? She indicated there were no problems, three or four at best, 14 is all that she could not account for. In fact, there are 197 that were turned in by friends, neighbors or did not indicate what their capacity was. Those votes are improper votes that should be disallowed.
In addition, Ms. Lever testified to you today that there is one database that she believes is highly accurate and she testified the same way in her deposition, so we have some consistency on this point. And that is the absentee ballot database, that is accurate. That makes sense because that comes in over a period of days and they have a chance to bolt that down and make that nice and tight. But what she did not tell you is that there are 1035 cases of people who appear on that database as having voted absentee, that also signed in at the polls. So obviously they were there on election day voting as well. She did not tell the Committee about that, and what is that all about? It would certainly appear, at least on its face, until we have a chance to interview these voters, that those people are double voters. And we go through that.
Another thing that Ms. Lever elected not to tell the Committee about is that one of the first things that we did is we simply took her database and said print out the names of everybody who has the exact same name, address and birthdate and phone number, and if they voted, and we got 39 people that appeared to be double voters. We sent that in to her, we got a letter from her on January 17 saying we have reviewed everything and you are right about 11, but the rest of them are not credible. We took her deposition last Monday and she said now it is 26 people that voted twice and we have turned all those people over to the District Attorney. Today, she did not mention it at all.
Another thing that she did not mention is that there are 162 cases where people are entered twice. This is somebody with the identical voter number, they appear twice. And in both cases they are indicated as their vote having been counted. Now there are only two explanations for that. Somebody who only registered once voted twice, or the more benign explanation is somebody simply input it wrong, which is what we think probably did happen. In that case, you have to reduce the number that she can account for by 162, because her numbers are off by that amount at that point. And she did not do that and she did not bring it to the Committee's attention.
The final thing I want to bring to your attention is you were told oh, ignore this voter file tape, ignore the voter tape. It is just something that we sell along with T-shirts and bumper stickers at the Registrar's office to candidates. But what she did not tell you is there is a statute that specifically requires that it be prepared and apparently the position of the Registrar's office is that it should be prepared, but they do not have to make it be accurate.
The second thing that you ought to keep an eye on is the idea that this so-called audit that you were presented with was prepared, guess what, from the voter tapes since it is the only document in existence that actually lists the names of the people that voted.
In conclusion, our position is this--without the benefit of significant discovery, we have already documented the most extensive voter fraud that has ever been documented in a federal election in history. That is the reason that we are to this point. It is our position and I believe is the position of all of the members of this Committee that we have a collective obligation to get to the bottom of what happened. In other countries, we have revolutions, we have assassinations because those people do not believe in their system or they do not have a chance to freely choose their leaders. In this country, we do. And the reason that we do not have those problems in this country is the people here believe that the elections are fair and our elections are not fixed. And if people stop believing that, our problems are going to be far more serious than whether Loretta Sanchez or Bob Dornan holds this seat.
It goes into other areas. In San Bernadino, we had another race that was very close--Hermandad had a large operation there. It begins to undermine your confidence in the electoral system statewide.
We have a chance to stop it here and we should. And we hope the Committee will help us. Thank you.
Mr. Ehlers. Thank you, Mr. Schroeder.
Mr. Hart, do you have any concluding comments?
Mr. Hart. That concludes our comments, Chairman, thank you.
Mr. Ehlers. Thank you very much. Your timing was impeccable.
If you would take a position at the podium, Mr. Hart, I have some questions for you and then there may be some for Mr. Schroeder as well.
And to remind the audience once again, we will make the rounds as we did this morning except this time it will be 10 minutes per member of the Task Force, rather than five minutes.
Mr. Hart, you made the comment that you found multiple organizations engaged in citizenship classes and voter registration and things of this sort, both for-profit and not-for-profit. My question is how many is multiple, how many did you find?
Mr. Hart. We presented the Committee, and I will review them for the Committee. I am sure we did not find all of them at this present time, but some of the large ones are Catholic Charities, which has an outreach program where they have an ongoing outreach effort to test and naturalize citizens here in Orange County, and I suspect elsewhere. One-Stop Immigration and Naturalization, which is based in Whittier, which is just outside the county limit, has a large operation in that regard. Hermandad has bases of operation elsewhere. They are not just in Santa Ana, they are in Los Angeles and San Bernadino and elsewhere and they are run by other executive directors, as I understand it, and they have their own outreach program and indeed process thousands of persons in their facilities. There are other organizations that are engaged in a sort of, what we understand from the evidence that has come to our attention, a mix of activities. What I mean by that is this, Active Citizenship Campaign is an outfit I guess based in Los Angeles that was extraordinarily active in 1996 in the processing through Citizenship USA of some 300,000 non-citizens becoming American citizens in that year, prior to November, 1996. As the Committee may also be aware, this is the subject of other inquiry by other committees relative to the activities of the INS and Citizenship USA and ACC, as it goes by. We have attached memoranda and communication from the executive director of that organization to the Clinton administration and others that make very clear that they were in an ongoing, organized effort to naturalize tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of persons in 1996 before November, 1996, and as part of that, of course, register them to vote, because it would not make sense if you did not also register them and urge them to vote.
So that is one area that we have asked to look into and we think is possibly a very telling location for information, records and so forth in that regard.
Also, there is the Southwest Voter Project, which is an outreach project that registers voters throughout the southwestern U.S. and perhaps elsewhere in the United States, and they literally checked out thousands and thousands of affidavits. There was a comment made earlier in this testimony about the number of affidavits that get checked out here in California and how that works. This is as easy a process as there is under the sun. Anyone can go to the Registrar of Voters or anywhere--a post office or the DMV--and check out hundreds, if not thousands, of affidavits. Hundreds and thousands of affidavits are checked out by these organizations, and simply given to them and they are going into the community and they have control of them.
So those are some of the organizations that we have identified.
Mr. Ehlers. Now regarding for-profits, how do they profit on this?
Mr. Hart. Well, I know that Hermandad charges a fee. As you can appreciate, we do not know--
Mr. Ehlers. Charges a fee for what?
Mr. Hart. Charges a fee for becoming a citizen, for taking their class, for becoming a--I think what is called a member of Hermandad, there is a fee, an annual fee that is charged to people.
Mr. Ehlers. Do you have to become a member to take the class?
Mr. Hart. We would love to have asked Mr. Lopez that question, but we were unable to get him to testify. I do not know the precise answer to that, but I know that fees are charged to members and I know that fees are charged to go through their citizenship process. So--and in addition to that, they receive millions of dollars in federal and state money to do their work. So those are various sources of income.
Mr. Ehlers. I have a question on that because I had that impression earlier from I believe the statements that you had filed or Mr. Dornan had filed with the Committee, but when Mr. Rogers, the representative from the INS, testified this morning, he said that INS does not give any grants. Where does the money come from?
Mr. Hart. Mr. Rogers, I think--and perhaps just because he misunderstood your questions, I think it is an apples and oranges situation. He was answering the question he thought he heard, but I do not think that was your question. I understood his testimony to be that the INS does not give them money. That is a totally different question than federal and state funding from many other direct sources or indirect sources. And as you can see from the tax returns going back to 1988, that is not ambiguous at all. They disclose precisely what they got--right down to the dollar, the federal and state funding they got. I think he was just saying the INS did not give them money.
Mr. Ehlers. Okay. Just in defense of Mr. Rogers, that is precisely what I asked him this morning because I had the impression INS was giving the money. So I asked him if they were, and he gave me the correct answer.
Mr. Hart. All right.
Mr. Ehlers. Now what is the source of funds then and for what purpose is it given?
Mr. Hart. We do not know. Truthfully we do not know because we have not been able to ask those questions.
Mr. Ehlers. Oh, have you not looked at their tax forms? You said it was spelled out precisely.
Mr. Hart. Well, to the dollar, the amount of money they got from federal and state sources is entered there, and there are--the tax returns that have been sent to us presumably are being sent to us by persons who are inside their organization who want us to know how much money they get. We could not get that information by subpoena and we had not asked for it, and would not expect to get it. So those are people who are simply concerned about the matter and sending us tax returns. So I do not have complete tax returns for them, I have their face sheets and some appended documents to them. So I would not pretend that I have all of the appended documents to the tax return.
Mr. Ehlers. Okay. Now you mention that you have not been able to get answers from them. Is this because they have not honored the subpoenas at this point?
Mr. Hart. They have lodged objections to the subpoenas and they have not appeared at their depositions.
Mr. Ehlers. All right. I am sure you are aware the House Committee on Oversight has responded to all the subpoenas at this point. We have mailed out the letters, and they will probably receive them in Monday's mail.
Mr. Hart. We appreciate it.
Mr. Ehlers. And presumably action will proceed at that point.
I will just ask you to comment on this. Since I am a non-attorney, I have to ask an attorney. I presume the next step is that you will then proceed to seek depositions and get the documents that you are subpoenaing?
Mr. Hart. It will. Consistent with the Committee's order, we will do that.
Mr. Ehlers. Right. We have modified many of them and quashed some.
Mr. Hart. And we will follow that to the letter.
Mr. Ehlers. What is your recourse if they do not respond at this point?
Mr. Hart. I think it is back to the Committee, as I read the law. And I think Judge Taylor, who is the federal judge in this District and was extraordinarily helpful to all of us in this matter, that as you point out is very arcane and it is something that most of us are not very familiar with--was very thoughtful, very, very thorough in this regard. And I think his comment is that these issues need to be addressed to the Committee or perhaps to a Master that is appointed by the Committee.
Mr. Ehlers. How long do you think it will take you to complete the discovery process once the subpoenas are honored?
Mr. Hart. If the persons and organizations to whom the subpoenas are directed honor them and produce the documents requested, we certainly could examine that material and understand it completely within 30 days of receipt. This is a lot of material, as the Committee well knows, and so I would like to give us 30 days after receipt to allow us to digest it and understand it.
Mr. Ehlers. You charge that Hermandad is a 501(c)(3), and yet they are doing a great deal of political activity which is illegal in view of the 501(c)(3) status. Can you tell us whether or not this has been called to the attention of the Internal Revenue Service or whether they have been investigated, to your knowledge?
Mr. Hart. I do not know. I know that--I can touch, and I will not waste the time here, but we have attached many examples--not just the ones I mentioned in the oral discussion here--many examples of Hermandad's active political activities, including right up to today, organizing demonstrations and the like. How is that being paid for, how is that being accounted for. All of those issues are open issues and as far as I know, the INS is unaware of it--I am sorry, the IRS is unaware of it. Also probably the INS.
Mr. Ehlers. I am sorry to ask these questions that you may not know the answer to, but I do not expect them to be testifying here, although perhaps later today they will present some information. I do not think we will question them. But I just wanted to try to establish, to your knowledge, have they set up a separate organization, one which is 501(c)(3) and deals purely with education and another arm which is in fact politically active and is not a 501(c)(3)?
Mr. Hart. We do not, because we would ask them those questions. All we know is there is an organization called Hermandad, they file tax returns and they are engaged in political activity.
Mr. Ehlers. And do you have any contact with the District Attorney's office? Have they consulted you in their investigation?
Mr. Hart. They have been extremely helpful to the extent they can. And they are about as helpful with us as they are to the Committee, in the sense--and I understand that, they do not want to compromise their investigation. But they have been very helpful in answering our questions generically. And all we ask is that after they are done with their investigation, that we perhaps have the benefit of it so we can understand what that was about.
Mr. Ehlers. Thank you. My time has expired.
Mr. Hoyer. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Hart, first of all, on the last question, whether Hermandad did anything that was inconsistent with its 501(c)(3) category would be irrelevant as to this election, am I correct?
Mr. Hart. In my view, it is very relevant. If I may explain?
Mr. Hoyer. Sure.
Mr. Hart. Okay. Our position is it is extremely important to understand why in this case, 700 out of 1100 persons were registered illegally through Hermandad in Orange County. It is important because Hermandad had a motivation for doing so. Their executive director was running for public office at the same time that this voter drive was going on and further was receiving federal and state tax money to underwrite, perhaps, that effort and more. We think that is a connection that is extraordinarily important and should not escape notice because_my first question when I looked at this material was why would you do this, what in the world would be in it for an organization that had everything to lose and really not very much to gain, until you understand the interworkings of Hermandad, the executive director, his business relationships and the like. Then it becomes somewhat clearer.
Mr. Hoyer. Let us assume that. But the fact of the matter is if they violated their 501(c)(3) obligations, that would be irrelevant to the outcome of this election. That would not be a reason to overturn this election, am I correct?
Mr. Hart. Oh, of course, yes. I would agree with that.
Mr. Hoyer. Which is what I was driving at. In other words, whether or not--first of all, that is not frankly the business of this Committee or Task Force, but even if we concluded that, it would be irrelevant to the outcome.
What is relevant to the outcome is who voted and did they properly vote.
Mr. Hart. I agree.
Mr. Hoyer. Do we agree?
Mr. Hart. Sure.
Mr. Hoyer. Now, in the sample that you referred to as a random sample, in fact that was a sample of a very specific group of people; that is to say the 1100-plus that Hermandad had registered, correct?
Mr. Hart. As far as I know--bear in mind I did not run the check.
Mr. Hoyer. I understand.
Mr. Hart. It is the DA and the Secretary of State. I understand from reading the newspaper that the 1160 are Hermandad registered voters.
Mr. Hoyer. The point I am making is that unlike a random sample where you may take 106,000 votes and take every sixth voter and come up with 70 percent or 50 percent or 40 percent who illegally voted, which would be indeed, as you pointed out, a very substantial figure, this was a very specific list that was checked.
Mr. Hart. I agree completely. And I did not mean to suggest that two-thirds of the voters who voted in the 46th had a problem with their voting. I simply offered that to show that organizations and persons who are engaged in this business of naturalizing citizens and registering voters as a group, it seems to me we want to be careful and thoughtful about looking at that.
Mr. Hoyer. Mr. Hart, unlike my Chairman, who prides himself in being able to announce to the world that he is not an attorney_
Mr. Hoyer. _I suffer like you from being an attorney.
Mr. Hart. My condolences.
Mr. Hoyer. We need that, I suppose.
I take it from your presentation--only you and Mr. Schroeder and Mr. Dornan have testified--there are affidavits. The affidavits, of course, are impossible to cross examine. We have some people who have said things, but they are not going to be presented here today apparently--or are they?
Mr. Hart. There will be three witnesses on rebuttal, and obviously with time constraints--I would like nothing better than to have all seven, but that would just wipe out what time we do have--and we felt that it was better to telescope it and summarize it and address questions specifically rather than having independent witnesses do that.
Mr. Hoyer. You and I both suffer by the time constraints that are present here.
In your--Mr. Schroeder's reference to Exhibit 50, I have turned to it and I frankly have not read every exhibit, although I have read every presentation you have made in terms of your briefs. But in looking at this (a) as you know, there is only a portion of the deposition here. Have you filed the whole deposition with the Committee? Do we have the whole deposition?
Mr. Hart. Is this Ms. Lever's deposition?
Mr. Hoyer. Ms. Lever's deposition.
Mr. Hart. No. And the reason is that I got it after this was filed.
Mr. Hoyer. I understand.
Mr. Hart. What you are looking at is what is called an ASCII disk or a computer tape of the actual deposition, but I did not get the hard transcript until Thursday. So I could not attach it.
Mr. Hoyer. I understand.
In the deposition at page--I am looking for the 60, I see the 460. In any event--the absentee ballots. She says in her deposition that they should not have voted.
Mr. Schroeder. That is on page 13, Tab 50.
Mr. Hoyer. I do not have it--oh, I see, yeah. ``And they should not have counted, correct?'' And she says, ``Correct, they should not have counted.''
In her letter, I just want to make this clear, January 17, she says to you, ``Of the 128 records submitted, five records were duplicated on your list. The resulting 123 records were reviewed by staff. From that review, the following was determined: 59 records appear to have met the basic criteria, et cetera; 60 records do not appear to have strictly conformed to the criteria of E.C. 3017.'' Which is, I presume, consistent with what she said here. Am I correct?
Mr. Hart. Yeah.
Mr. Hoyer. There seemed to be the implication that somehow they were inconsistent, but as I read her letter saying yes, you are right, there were 60 that apparently were not treated properly by our office and here she says the same thing.
Mr. Hart. I think they are the same 60 votes, but here is where she is--I think what Mr. Schroeder was saying was--and I will say this prefaced, I like Rosalyn Lever, we have worked together in the last six months, I like her personally a lot, but I think she is being not 100 percent forthcoming with regard to her explanation on this letter.
Mr. Hoyer. She thinks she did her job right.
Mr. Hart. She did. She does, and I believe that she thinks she did her job right and I am not here to debate that actually. But here is what she says in the letter, you will note, she omits the fact that they should not count.
See, this is what we have been dealing with all along. What she says is everything but the punch line, which is--and I had to ask her directly in deposition--should these votes not be thrown out? See, she does not say that in her letter. What she says is ``do not appear to have strictly conformed.'' Well that suggests to me, well, gee, I guess they counted but they just were not strict enough. That is what I am reading this letter--she does not say they do not count here. If she were forthcoming with us in this letter, she would say, you got us, you are right, we are 60 votes off, these should not count, the statute is mandatory. Which is the truth. Instead we have this which is, in my view, not totally forthcoming to us.
Mr. Hoyer. Well, neither you nor I have the time for me to try to clarify that and quibble about it. But in any event, you mentioned 9200 District Attorney records of registrants by Hermandad as new, the implication being that this is above and beyond the 1100. In point of fact, those are clients of Hermandad, are they not?
Mr. Hart. We do not know. They are called clients, Hermandad describes them as clients. We do not know what clients are.
Mr. Hoyer. So other than speculation, you do not have any evidence that those are registrants. They are people who in some form or another have dealt with Hermandad.
Mr. Hart. We do not know, we do not know who the 9200 are. I think part of the 1160 were clients as well. See, we do not know whether it is 9200 persons who took citizenship classes or 8500 who took citizenship classes and 1000 that did something else--we just do not know.
Mr. Hoyer. In the Secretary of State's letter, he deals with the registrants of Hermandad. Obviously what he asked Ms. Lever and what Ms. Lever I think gave was those registrants that came in from Hermandad, is that correct?
Mr. Hart. That is my understanding of what he said. Again, we are secondary to that investigation.
Mr. Hoyer. I understand that, Mr. Hart.
So that at least as far as we know, that is the universe at this point in time, dealing with this one organization, am I correct?
Mr. Hart. Meaning the 1160 or the 9200 plus the 1160? Just the 1160?
Mr. Hoyer. Just the 1160, as far as we know.
Mr. Hart. Well, I think that the universe, as I understand the term, is that that is not the universe. The universe is perhaps as many as 10,000. And let me add why I say that is. In both the L.A. Times and the Orange County Register, when this--back in November or thereabouts, when asked directly, Hermandad's people said that they were processing 10,000 people a year, in 1996. So when I read that and then I understand that they have 9200 records that we have not examined, on the computer, that the DA has currently and nobody knows who they are. All I am saying is I think they ought to be looked at. I do not know who they are but there is 9200 files there that have voter data, registration data, according to the affidavits that were filed by the investigator. So that seems to us to be extremely important information to simply look at. I am not saying it means anything one way or the other. I am just saying it is there.
Mr. Hoyer. With respect--and Mr. Chairman, if I can just ask two additional questions. With respect to--
Mr. Ehlers. Without objection.
Mr. Hoyer. Thank you.
Mr. Ehlers. As long as they are not too long.
Mr. Hoyer. With respect to the representation by I think you and Mr. Schroeder that we do not want to name names, and I understand what you are saying. On the other hand, it makes it difficult for the Committee to deal in speculation, to simply say, as I was referencing on these 9200 clients, that you could speculate in the worst case scenario these 9200 were all registrants and all had a similar problem--that would be the worst case scenario from Ms. Sanchez standpoint. But without coming to specifics; i.e., Mr. Schroeder has referenced the improper absentee ballots, the double voters and the extra ballots in the ballot box. The extra ballots, I presume, refer to the tape, the voter tape, the 460 discrepancy. Am I correct on that?
Mr. Hart. I think that is right, yes.
Mr. Hoyer. With respect to the other two, very frankly, Mr. Hart, without your specifying, if I want to defend or attack, I do not know what to do in this sense, because it is simply an allegation that lies out there, if there are no names attached, that I can call up and say did you do this, do you live here. It is very difficult, if not impossible. You know that my position has been you have got to have credible evidence, if believed. If you do not have specifics, it is hard to believe and to draw the conclusion that they are sufficient to base a further action on.
Mr. Hart. And I suffer from the same disability that you have described, which is I do not know either, and we have tried our hardest to get to the bottom of it and it seems very difficult, if not beyond our means collectively, the Registrar and us, to answer that precise question. But I would say that the standard of proof in this proceeding is not that we need 980 votes to overcome the election. The standard of proof in the Rose case, and we have cited this and I did not want to bore everybody with the details again, but I will touch on it very briefly, is we simply need to show that this election was shot through with sufficient fraud to make the outcome uncertain--to make the outcome uncertain.
And so that if this Committee ultimately concludes, as we urge that they should, that it is simply--you are unable to say with certainty who won this election, then there should be a new election. That is the standard of proof. Not some absolute number, because we all recognize if there is fraud afoot, we are never going to get to the last vote. We can spend five years on this issue and we would all agree at the front end, we would never find the last fraudulent voter. And so the statute contemplates that and the Rose case contemplates that.
Mr. Hoyer. My last question then, so I understand what you--
Mr. Hart. Yes, sir.
Mr. Hoyer. The District Attorney provided us with a presentation, it looked to me like 20, maybe 25 different offices that were at contest. He made the point that this is not just about Sanchez/Dornan. Would it be your belief that if we find sufficient votes that are in question in Orange County generally or in the 46th District, that those elections too ought to be reheld?
Mr. Hart. Oh, absolutely not. The statute provides_
Mr. Hoyer. Why did I not think you would?
Mr. Hart. Well, the statute does not provide for it. And indeed, as Mr. Hoyer, you know better than I, the Contestant has 30 days within which to file or they are absolutely barred. So as a matter of law, notwithstanding how aggrieved somebody may be who looks at these results and says--who is a state assemblyman, for instance--who says my gosh, I lost by 90 votes, my election should be turned around too; they are out of luck, and they have been victimized by voter fraud. In that example, you are right, you are going to have a very aggrieved individual, who lost an election in November, who is going to see that their result would have been turned around and they are going to have no remedy. That is why, in my view, this is such an important process, to re-establish integrity in this system.
Mr. Hoyer. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Ehlers. The gentleman's time has more than expired.
Mr. Ney. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I wanted to ask a question about--and it has been talked about a lot today by INS--what information do you think that you would need from INS to determine how many non-citizens registered and voted?
Mr. Hart. I will tell you exactly. We--and I say collectively, all of us--need the following databases to absolutely answer this question, assuming that the search is done by experts comprehensively and it is done thoroughly. I am going to preface it by saying that, and that we receive the cooperation of the INS.
We need the following:
A database called the Naturalization Application Casework System, NACS.
We need the Naturalization Index Tracking System, the NITS.
We need the Central Index System, CIS.
We need the Alien File Accountability and Control System, AFACS.
We need the Alien Status Verification Index, ASVI.
We need the computer-linked Application Management Information System. I will not even try for that acronym.
We need the Office of Internal Audit System, OIAS.
And we need DATS, that is the Deportable Alien database, DATS.
Those are the databases that we have been advised by persons inside the INS, that if those databases are obtained by this Committee and us, subject to all of the privacy and confidentiality issues that we are all sensitive to, and compared to the voted tape in this election, we will have a very good handle on who voted illegally in this district.
Mr. Ney. And you need them ASAP, right?
Mr. Hart. Everything is an acronism is Washington.
Mr. Ney. What about the issue of non-citizens and the issue that was brought up earlier about the INS tapes and does that have all the compete information, or in fact, would you like to comment about needing other groups that were either on contract or grants from INS. And I know your answer of course is going to be you need it, but how critical is that component?
Mr. Hart. The answer is yes. The reason is that unlike what Mr. Rogers--I think he simply offered an opinion to the question, your question about are all of the people who are on the citizenship rolls going to also be on the INS tape--the answer to that is objectively no. The reason we know that is because the Secretary of State has identified 105 in Orange County and 69 in the 46th District alone who have no record with the INS, but were foreign-born. So in this--just looking at 555 voters in the 46th, 69 of them are exactly what your question went to, which is they were taking classes at Hermandad, were presumptively non-citizens because why else would you take a citizenship class if you were a citizen, who voted but are not on the INS records. I do not know what percentage that it, that is like 15 or 20 percent of the ones checked, fit into your question exactly. That is why we need it.
Mr. Ney. I wanted to move for a second to the issue of the check.
Mr. Hart. Yes.
Mr. Ney. We in Washington who go through elections, both sides of the aisle, experience independent expenditures. It is out there and it is a political fact of life these days. I found, when I saw the check, it to be--I personally thought, highly unusual due to the fact that it was--I do not know what it is, I have not looked legally--independent committee, which was the Dump Dornan, which wrote a check to another candidate's committee, who happened to be the head of Hermandad, and the notation of course said GOTV, Get Out the Vote for Loretta Sanchez. So I did find that way of doing it highly unusual, versus just a direct contribution to maybe the Sanchez committee. But I am not alleging--I am not the FEC. But I just found that I guess to be a bit strange.
Mr. Hart. We did too.
Mr. Ney. The question I have about that, is there any--has there been any allegations in fact that the Dump Dornan money that went to the Kids Committee for Mr. Lopez in fact was used to--or do you know if it was used to register people to vote--are you aware?
Mr. Hart. We did two things to attempt to ascertain that. First, we sought Nativo Lopez' deposition, he no showed. Second, we sought the bank records from Fidelity National Bank, from which the check was cut. And Hermandad's lawyer was present at that production, and those documents are currently under seal because they, Hermandad, objected vehemently to the production of that check. And of course what we were looking for was who endorsed it and then the follow up question would be how was it spent and what was the accounting for it.
Mr. Ney. So we do not know the answer then to whether or not that was or was not--
Mr. Hart. It remains an open question, that is correct.
Mr. Ney. Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. Ehlers. The gentleman reserves the balance of his time. I would mention to everyone that we agreed beforehand among the three of us, to be somewhat flexible in question time this afternoon. Mr. Hoyer has asked for permission to ask another couple of quick questions. So with unanimous consent, I will recognize him.
Mr. Hoyer. Mr. Hart, I want to clarify, because it is my information that contrary to the representation that was made, I think--I forget--I think it was by yourself, that the $5000 check to which Mr. Ney and you have both referred, shows up only on Lopez' statement. In point of fact, I am informed that it shows up on the FEC report of the Dump Dornan Committee, which is a federal committee and required to file.
Mr. Hart. It may. I was only referring to the fact that it did not show up on the Sanchez report as money that went to her for her benefit. That was my only comment.
Mr. Hoyer. And there would be no reason for it to legally show up on the Sanchez report.
Mr. Hart. Well, I do not know that that is true. In fact, if all of the $5000_
Mr. Hoyer. You speculate if there was an agreement between the two of them, which you do not know about,--
Mr. Hart. Right.
Mr. Hoyer. --but my question to you is if in fact on the record that you see, a Dump Dornan Committee, whose obvious purpose is to have Mr. Dornan a private citizen, I presume from its title, to get out votes, to vote for Ms. Sanchez, who was his opponent, that this is perfectly legal, is it not?
Mr. Hart. Oh, I do not know that cutting such a check--I think it might be if they cut the check to Ms. Sanchez, but if they cut it to an individual who is running for school board, who has no connection to Mr. Dornan, and that money is then used in a way that is undisclosed on the Sanchez campaign for the benefit of Sanchez. That is an open question to me. I just do not know the answer to that. It just strikes me, as I think it has been throughout this, very, very interesting. Why would you do it that way? We just do not understand why one would spend that kind of money through an interim campaign that has nothing to do with either Dornan or supposedly Sanchez.
Mr. Hoyer. I do not want to get into too much suggestion to you, but because you want as many votes to come out to vote against Dornan, who you want to dump, as possible, from whatever campaign might be doing it. But I just suggest that to you as a rational reason that is not nefarious and very clearly articulated.
Mr. Hart. Well, that is fine.
Mr. Hoyer. Mr. Hart, let me ask you something. I want to make clear on this, do you have reason to believe that Catholic Charities or Rancho Santiago College was in a conspiracy with the Sanchez campaign or in cahoots with the Sanchez campaign?
Mr. Hart. No, I have no evidence of that at all, and we have not asserted that.
Mr. Hoyer. Do you believe that?
Mr. Hart. Do I personally believe it? I have no opinion about it, I do not know.
Mr. Hoyer. Okay. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Ehlers. A quick question to Mr. Schroeder. You were somewhat critical of the Registrar of Voters and in particular, you referenced some 460 extra votes. I have not had a chance to review the documents. Was that covered in your deposition of her and has she explained that in the deposition?
Mr. Schroeder. Yes, Mr. Chairman, in her deposition--and I am not going to rely on my memory for tabs since I have shown it to be famously bad_
Mr. Ehlers. Do not worry about it, we will find it later.
Mr. Schroeder. It is covered in Tab 50, which is her deposition, and it is covered on page 48 and she specifically indicates at that time, that is just six days ago, that there is no evidence--there are no documents in existence in her office that would explain that discrepancy.
I also have an additional piece of evidence that is responsive to a question you asked about the mechanism by which money was paid through the INS to Hermandad. The reason that Mr. Rogers would not be aware of any money paid directly to Hermandad is that Hermandad was a subcontractor to a company called NAS, who had a national contract and they are based in Florida and they had their national contract with INS to do these classes and they were paid the money by the INS at the national headquarters. And NAS in turn had subcontracts with three different groups, Hermandad was just one of them, to process citizenship classes in this District. And the NAS records that we have received indicate that they have processed--in that two year cycle, they processed approximately 25,000 people through their citizenship classes in that two year cycle that they were paid to do.
Mr. Ehlers. And what were the other two organizations?
Mr. Schroeder. One-Stop Immigration and Catholic Charities.
Mr. Ehlers. So you are saying that INS gave a grant to NAS, and NAS in turn contracted with Hermandad.
Mr. Schroeder. That is correct. And one of the things we think needs to occur is that we have these organizations--all of them checked out registration cards. In fact, Hermandad checked out almost 4000 registration cards, not just the 1160 we have been talking about. And they all checked out registration cards, they were all conducting citizenship classes, and that is the reason by we need the INS to just run the 46th file or run the Orange County file, because 25,000 people were run through these classes by groups that were also conducting registration activities.
Mr. Ehlers. And were Hermandad and the other organizations that received grants to offer these classes allowed to charge fees for those classes as well?
Mr. Schroeder. That is my understanding. We do not have the financial records, so we do not know if they did. But our understanding is that they were allowed to do so.
I also have an additional responsive piece of evidence to a question that Mr. Hoyer has asked. He made the point about providing specific names and you were referring to testimony by which we said that we were reluctant to provide specific names of non-citizens because we are not particularly--our take on this is that virtually all of them, if not all of them, were duped.
The same reticence does not apply to the other categories. And in fact, if you look at the tabs that we applied, we are in a position to and either have provided or will provide the specific names of every single person that we think may have been an improper ballot. If you look, for example, at Tab 63, we list the 197 names of the people that turned in improperly third party ballots. We can list the 162 names that were duplicate votes. The only names that we cannot create are the ones that are phantoms, the extra ballots in the box. Because if in fact that really did occur, we do not know who they were, we do not know who did it.
Mr. Ehlers. Well, thank you for your testimony.
And as Mr. Hoyer pointed out earlier, this is not a criminal investigation. We are not out to prosecute anyone for voter fraud, but it is useful supplementary information. And of course anything we do find that indicates fraud will simply be passed on to the Justice Department or the appropriate authorities.
Mr. Schroeder. Right.
Mr. Dornan. Mr. Chairman, how are we doing on the clock?
Mr. Ehlers. We are finished.
Mr. Hoyer. Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Ehlers. Yes?
Mr. Hoyer. Could I ask that--I think you received as well, and I did--to have at this point in time in the record, because Mr. Prince was referred to in Mr. Hart's presentation and his affidavit, a letter that I received dated April 18, 1997 from Mr. Prince, so that it accurately reflects his feeling with reference to his--to the affidavit that was referenced and the deposition. It was addressed actually not to me, it was addressed to you, sir.
Mr. Ehlers. Yes. Without objection, we will enter that into the record.
Mr. Hoyer. Thank you.
Mr. Ehlers. It is just a simple letter, and he is seeking the opportunity to review, as he had been promised, the written deposition and make corrections.
Mr. Hart. And he will have that.
Mr. Ehlers. Yes.
[The material referred to follows:]
********** INSERT **********
Mr. Ehlers. That concludes the the presentation by the Contestant, better known as Robert Dornan. And we will next proceed to the presentation by the Contestee, Loretta Sanchez.
Let me emphasize incidentally that as I mentioned earlier, this is a quasi-judicial process, and I have been trying to observe that. I have not spoken to either the Contestant or the Contestee. I have not seen or spoken to Mr. Dornan since before the election. I have seen Ms. Sanchez a few times around the Capitol. We shared an elevator ride twice, but I have avoided discussing this issue with either them or their attorneys and have not returned phone calls from their attorneys. I think it is important for that to be in the record to indicate I am trying to keep my impartiality on the issue.
Thank you, Mr. Hart, Mr. Dornan and Mr. Schroeder.
We have a request from Mr. Hoyer for a five minute break. Yes, let us do that, but let us make sure it is only five minutes because we have a lot to do this afternoon. A five minute recess.
Mr. Ehlers. The hearing will come to order.
We now turn to the next item in the agenda, which is the presentation by Contestee Loretta Sanchez. We have just received her statement and also the presentation of her attorney, Wylie Aitken, who will make the comments and will be in charge of the presentation. We welcome you, Congresswoman Sanchez. We thank you for the hospitality of your District and have certainly enjoyed our time here.
So if you will put up your right hand, I will swear you in.
Mr. Ehlers. Thank you. You may proceed.
TESTIMONY OF LORETTA SANCHEZ, A MEMBER OF CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Ms. Sanchez. Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman. I first want to thank you for convening this hearing and to recognize the thoroughness with which you have fulfilled your responsibility to the Congress. To Mr. Ney and to Mr. Hoyer, I know how much this obligation takes away from your other responsibilities--and so I thank you for being here.
As you know, I wrote to you in February with a specific request that the House afford my constituents the opportunity to participate in these deliberations. And I am disappointed that request could not be honored for all of those who wanted to speak here today.
In spite of that, I welcome you to Orange County. I would have preferred that you come here under different circumstances. I wish also that you had more time to stay. I would like to introduce you to the place I call home--where my parents raised me and six brothers and sisters. I could show you where I went to elementary school, high school, to college, and more importantly, to introduce you to the people and the places I am now so privileged to represent.
I am able to introduce you to my parents, Ignacio and Maria Sanchez. They are here in the audience, along with my brothers and sisters--Frank, a Marine for eight and a half years; Martha, who is expecting her first baby any moment now; Linda and Michael and my brother-in-law Bruce.
Mr. Ehlers. I hope the baby will wait until after the conclusion of the hearings.
Ms. Sanchez. It is ten days late.
I think it is important for you to know that my parents, like so many who live in this community and across America, came here from Mexico to realize the great American dream. They worked hard. Our family did not have much growing up, but our parents gave us all they had so that we, their children, would have the tools to realize our hopes and our dreams. With their help and guidance and love, every one of us graduated from college. We are lawyers, business people, artists and yes, there is even a Congresswoman. My family is deeply patriotic and they take their right to vote very seriously. Some of them are Republicans, but I really do not hold that against them. We have family vales and we value families. Most of all, we are proud of this great country in which we live.
But you know, there is nothing special or unusual about the Sanchez family of Anaheim. Throughout the 46th District, families have wonderful stories to tell of their own American dreams. They represent many ethnic groups. Yet, these are the very families Mr. Dornan has so wrongly accused of being illegal aliens--coming across the border just to kick him out of office. There are many families we will introduce to you today. Behind all these numbers tossed around in formal pleadings are real people with real lives. They are Americans, unfairly characterized as being illegal on the basis of some computer printout--whose legal votes, Mr. Dornan would just throw away.
It has been insulting and humiliating for these people to be named in public as conspirators to commit fraud, when all they wanted to do was to exercise their right to vote--including some who have fought in wars to guarantee the right to vote for others.
I commend to your attention the well-known sentiment of former President Reagan, perhaps best expressed in remarks made on the occasion of his signing a Proclamation recognizing National Immigrants Day on July 4th, 1986. He said:
``The immigrants who have so enriched America include people from every race, creed and ethnic background. Yet all have been drawn here by shared values and a deep love of freedom.''
I would ask the unanimous consent of the Task Force that the President's entire remarks on that occasion be inserted in the record at this point.
Mr. Ehlers. Without objection, so ordered.
Ms. Sanchez. Thank you.
[The material referred to follows:]
********** COMMITTEE INSERT **********
Ms. Sanchez. As to the merits of this case, or should I say this six-month ordeal, Mr. Chairman, I stand ready to support any serious, legitimate inquiry into possible voting irregularities. I believe the District Attorney is conducting a professional, independent and thorough investigation. There is no need, no justification, nor any Constitutional mandate for Congress to duplicate or interfere with those efforts.
Congress does have a responsibility to ensure the integrity of its own elections; to promote voter confidence in the electoral process and to ensure every citizen has fair, open and equal access to the ballot box. I would hope that you would devote as much energy and resources to pursuing those important issues. The United States enjoys the dubious distinction of having the lowest voter participation of every democracy in the world. I would encourage you to explore ideas being tested in the states to ease access to the polls, including vote by mail, electronic voting and extending polling hours.
Here today, you will see that Bob Dornan's case falls apart when the true facts are laid upon the table. His case is composed primarily of distortions, falsehoods, rumor and innuendo. In the few instances where Mr. Dornan has made specific allegations, naming actual voters, his documents are chock full of mistakes.
Mr. Chairman, you very accurately laid out the mission of this Task Force at your February hearing in Washington, D.C. First, to determine if any questionable ballots were cast; and if so, to assess if there is any credible evidence that would change the outcome of the election. That should be the laser-like focus of this Task Force.
Regrettably, Mr. Dornan has made your job incredibly difficult. His allegations are a constantly moving, ever-changing target for your laser to focus upon.
In the beginning, he offered bizarre theories of phantom ballot boxes, ghost voting and Nicaraguan drug lords intervening in this election. Then Mr. Dornan moved on to new charges filed with the Registrar and others about misconduct at the polling places, which he later abandoned altogether. Desperate, he filed a three-page notice of contest with the House with vague generalizations, many of which he never again repeated. After I filed a detailed motion for dismissal, he filed a rehash of allegations previously discredited by the Registrar's investigation, and dressed them up in a conspiracy theory about Latino voters.
Allegations about double voting, improper absentee ballots, illegal registrations at businesses and so-called suspicious households have proved to be patently false, not only by our field investigation which interviewed over 300 voters he wrongly accused, but by independent investigations conducted by the Registrar of Voters and by various news agencies.
Today, we will demonstrate that the only remaining allegation with any substantiation is just as flawed. Of the 574 voters in the last election in this District who were registered by Hermandad, the overwhelming majority were legal, proper votes of U.S. citizens.
To go beyond today's hearing, you are asked to embrace Mr. Dornan's newest conspiracy theory. Because the claims he has made to date do not come close to changing the outcome of the election, he now wants a fishing license to search for evidence that fraud must have been committed by a whole range of groups similar to Hermandad. Mr. Chairman, not only is this a slender thread on which to justify a massive expenditure of taxpayer funds, it leads into the most dangerous territory of intimidation of legitimate political participation by innocent third parties.
Let me give you an example of where the new Dornan conspiracy theory leads. In the last few days, Mr. Dornan's subpoena effort has requested of the County the registration affidavits of groups such as: the Associated Students of Orange Coast College, the Santa Ana Fire Fighters, Teachers United, Americans for Democracy, the League of Women Voters, the Asian Pacific Student Association, Santa Ana Public Library, Pro-Choice of Orange County, the Vietnamese community of Orange County, and the Diocese of Orange of the Roman Catholic Church, and more than 100 other groups and individuals.
For this Committee or the House of Representatives to sanction such a broad-based investigation in search of evidence of a massive, paranoid conspiracy theory is not only beneath the dignity of this House, it is an unconstitutional invasion into the guaranteed right of every American to participate in the political process.
Mr. Dornan has also dredged up new allegations against the public servants in the Registrar's office. As you know, Mr. Chairman, I made a specific request that Ms. Lever be given time aside from other witnesses so that she could speak at length about her investigation and respond to the unfair charges of misconduct made against her. I considered this not only a matter of fairness, but essential to your task of getting all the evidence. Since my request was not honored, I have asked my counsel to set aside time from our presentation for Ms. Lever to respond to these newest charges.
Finally, I wish to caution you against any stereotypes or generalizations. There were two Hispanic candidates on the ballot in this Congressional race. The overwhelming majority of the votes cast for me came from Anglo voters. It is an insult to suggest that Latino voters are of one mind, or that there were not Hispanic voters who supported the Republican party or candidate Dornan. I commend to your attention a poll in yesterday's Los Angeles Times. Almost a quarter of Latino voters interviewed in the poll volunteered that they would support Mr. Dornan in a new election, even despite his careless and intemperate remarks.
After today, I am confident the Task Force will be able to assure the House that no one has made any respectable claim supported by any credible evidence that would remotely come close to changing the outcome of this election. My attorney, Mr. Wylie Aitken and his colleague, Mr. Fred Woocher, are here to lay out the true facts in this case.
With that, I now turn the presentation over to Mr. Aitken. After his presentation, we will be ready to take any questions.
[The statement of Ms. Sanchez follows:]
********** INSERT **********
Mr. Ehlers. Let me just thank you for your comments, Congresswoman Sanchez, and make two quick comments.
Number one, it was a pleasure to hear someone pronounce Hermandad correctly. I think you are the first witness to do that.
Mr. Ehlers. And secondly, concerning your comment that you made a specific request that the House afford your constituency opportunity to participate in these deliberations, I am sorry you did not hear my comments and Mr. Hoyers on that this morning. But as you probably know by now, Congress never entertains public comment at its hearings. I have always wanted to, perhaps because of my state and local government background, but it is difficult to work it in with so many requests. But we reached a compromise Mr. Hoyer, Mr. Ney, and I discussed this last night, and Mr. Hoyer had some concerns about it. So we will have some public comment, but we are restricting it to the heads or spokespersons of the organizations who are interested in this.
Ms. Sanchez. Well, I was out this morning, as you know, performing my Congressional duties with a senior citizens group, the Vietnamese, also with a small business development center. So I was not here earlier for the hearing.
Mr. Ehlers. Oh, I thought members of Congress had the weekends free.
Ms. Sanchez. You and I both.
Mr. Ehlers. We know otherwise.
Okay, Mr. Aitken, sorry for the brief interlude.
Mr. Aitken. That is all right. I assume it will not be taken out of my time.
Mr. Ehlers. I will give you an extra minute if you should run short.
Mr. Aitken. I think I am supposed to be sworn.
Mr. Ehlers. That is correct.
Mr. Aitken. I want to keep up with everybody else here.
Mr. Ehlers. Yes.
Mr. Ehlers. Thank you. You may proceed.
TESTIMONY OF WYLIE A. AITKEN, ATTORNEY FOR CONGRESSWOMAN LORETTA SANCHEZ
Mr. Aitken. First of all, let me comment that if I had known that I was going to be complimented by Mr. Hart about how I have worked with him, I would have changed the way I worked with him before I got here today.
My name is Wylie Aitken. I am a trial lawyer. And by the way, I want to make it very clear that I am not in any way apologetic about being an attorney or a lawyer. I am very proud of my profession and I happen to be a lawyer who also grew up in the 46th District, having attended high school here at Garden Grove, as well as going to Rancho Santiago College, a college you certainly have heard about. One of my classmates at the Santa Ana college as well as Garden Grove high school was a fellow, a young man named Bill Thomas, who we knew would never add up to anything, and he certainly proved that to be true.
Mr. Aitken. I am a past President of the State's Trial Bar.
Mr. Hoyer. The three of us are going to hold you in contempt if you mean by that that he was elected to Congress.
Mr. Aitken. I am a past President of the State's Trial Bar and I was Chair of the Loretta Sanchez Campaign and personally was involved in some of the comments that have been made during the course of today. I now appear in front of you as her chief lawyer in what has been, I believe, kindly described as Dornan's election contest, otherwise known throughout most of Orange County as Dornan's folly.
I want to tell you that I have heard some statements made here in the last 45 minutes that I am very deeply disturbed by. The fact that I may not comment on them in my initial presentation is to no way suggest that I concur with some of the representations that have been made to this Committee in the last presentation and in any way concur with some of the inaccuracies that have been put out.
It is an honor for me to make this presentation on behalf of Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, but it is also an honor to make this presentation on behalf of the Orange County community.
However, I cannot help but feel that my being here is unfortunate for all of us, because this community and the political system that operates within this community is an excellent system. We are proud of our new citizens as well as those people who were born here. We are all taxpayers and long time residents in groups of all races, colors and creeds. And what has really come out of this contest is an attempt to somehow cast doubt on this community
Unfortunately, Mr. Chairman, coming here this morning, I heard on the phone--not on the phone, but on the radio that you have already pronounced before the evidence here today that there will be more hearings, and unfortunately I think that is a mistake, as I will point out to you as we go through the process, and I think it is unfortunate because it will lead to nothing but greater expense and unfortunately greater division within our community.
Coming here today, I heard of course that today really is the NFL draft day. And I could not help but think, having worked with this case so closely over the last six months that somehow Bob Dornan perceives himself as a high draft pick, but like so many who do not have the talents or the credentials, like being elected by the voters, he will be sitting at home and his phone will never ring. At least the NFL has the good sense to get the pain over with in only a couple of days.
Observing Washington from the real world where we all live and work and hopefully sometimes play, we see that we have become a society obsessed with investigations rather than governing and helping people. We see a conspiracy behind every bush. A society where a simple hello is to be viewed with suspicion and to be analyzed. A Congress sometimes more interested in accusations and what tears us apart, as opposed to what brings us together.
The 46th District is not a Republican district or a Democratic district or an Hispanic district, but a district of hard-working people with the same hopes, aspirations, fears and optimisms that make this county so great and this state so great.
I have to apologize to some degree, because as a trial lawyer, I am used to operating in a real courtroom with real rules of evidence. As a trial lawyer, no one could come into a quasi-judicial proceeding and make the kinds of accusations and statements that have been made in this area and in this room, without real, real evidence to back it up. So it has been a very eye-opening experience for me and for our community to see what occurs when one can make accusations, allegations, reckless charges, vicious rumors, thinly veiled and not so thinly veiled character assassination, and somehow parade that around as being evidence.
It certainly has been suggested that in light of some of the allegations we have heard in this particular race, that these allegations make a lot more sense being presented three miles down the road in Disneyland in the middle of Fantasyland, than here in the Hall of Administration of Justice.
If in fact the standard is that credible evidence should be presented, not allegation, not innuendo, not guilt by association in the worst of American traditions and in fact whether that credible evidence resulted in any change or could and should and would have resulted in a change in the result of the 46th election; then if that is the standard, as I understand it to be, then this entire case falls apart.
I have had the misfortune to read those two books that you have been given about the so-called alleged evidence put forth by Mr. Dornan and his legal team, and I can only describe the presentation as unAmerican as ever I have seen a presentation being made to a Congressional committee.
When is it in our society or when should it ever be acceptable to describe native born or naturalized citizens who exercise their right to vote in the way they have been described in the papers filed with this Committee? And as this Committee has said so politely, that this is not about immigration and this is not about race, then perhaps this Committee will explain to us why they have accepted documents from Mr. Dornan that list and make statements that there have been undocumented illegal aliens who have voted in this election when there is absolutely no proof of that fact. And not only is there no proof of it, when we went out and investigated, we found that these were very legitimate citizens, some who fought for this country, who are in a class of citizens that they have identified as being undocumented illegal aliens. At some point in time, the Committee will learn what our community is learning, and that is enough is enough.
In the papers filed with you and put forth before this Committee, they have proposed and put in a declaration by a gentleman who says, in effect, that 10 percent of all the new Hispanic citizens are felons. And if you want to have a new election, all you have to do is count up how many new citizens who are Hispanics who voted and take 10 percent from that number and they are going to be presumed to be felons, and that alone, by declaration filed with these papers, is a justification to set aside the will of the people of the 46th Congressional District.
Within those papers you have received, they have promoted raiding mailboxes, going through trash cans, peeking through windows, standing at doors interviewing neighbors, and every other kind of offensive conduct that you could possibly describe.
We have already heard about the various theories of Nicaraguan drug lords.
They have publicly defamed naturalized citizens by publicly stating that hundreds of them perjured themselves by not revealing prior criminal records, which is totally false.
They have falsely claimed in papers that open ballot boxes suddenly appeared at the Registrar's office.
They falsely accused twins and fathers and sons with double voting.
They have attacked large families.
And is it not interesting that every time they make an allegation and every time they make a charge, and every time we, the accused, go out and do their work for them and disprove it, they say oh, that is off the table now. This is the constant moving Dornan target. If you disprove one allegation, make another one. And that is in fact why suddenly we hear before this Committee that certain matters are being taken off the table. They are not being taken off the table because of any intent to be fair or honest or deal with this election. They are being taken off the table because we took the time and the effort to disprove these allegations.
So when they attacked large families, what was the definition of their suspicious households? Any residence where six or more voted. Now as an Irish Catholic, the only thing I share in common with Mr. Dornan, I would have to apologize at the suggestion that large families somehow are a suspicious household.
I might comment that I also was born in Michigan, but I was born in the heart of Detroit, not in one of the suburbs, to a relatively poor Irish Catholic family, so I of course was raised as a Democrat. And in that case, we have a situation where now they not only raise questions about large families, but they are talking about nursing homes, retirement communities, all of which they say are illegal business addresses where people were voting. When we went out and did the work for them, what in fact did we have but retirement communities, nursing homes, even a place where nuns were living, under the category of suspicious households.
And just in the last few minutes--there is no other way to slice it, gentlemen--in the last few minutes, they basically have accused our Registrar Ros Lever of not being honest and not being candid. There is another word for that, and we know exactly what they have publicly accused Ros Lever of, and I said at the time in a letter to this Committee, that she should go after Mr. Dornan's presentation, because how rare is it that the accused has to go before the accuser.
They have done more in holding up and ridiculing citizens who were ill. One of the so-called people who returned their ballot inappropriately was someone who was ill and had to rely upon the emergency provisions of turning their ballot in, so they relied upon an in-law, their nearest relative, to deliver their ballot. And those are individuals they want to strike their vote because somehow it was not a definition of one of the people allowed to turn in the ballot by way of being a blood relative.
We have individuals here today who are going to represent, so you can see a name and a face, to the charges that are being so loosely thrown around this community.
What we have heard would almost be laughable if it were not so tragic, because it just adds another sad chapter to the disillusionment that spreads throughout our society and then we ask ourselves why do people not vote, why do people have an uninterested attitude about how they look at their elected officials, why are they disillusioned about how government works. And one of the things that has to cause great disillusionment in this community is any kind of credence given to the conduct we have seen after November 5 of 1996.
But in understanding what a controversy is all about, you first have to understand what it is not about.
This is not about Loretta Sanchez' lack of commitment to see that election laws are enforced, and that only one person be given one vote. And if in fact they can prove, through a real investigator, a District Attorney, that somebody violated the law, then that person should be prosecuted. But that is not what Mr. Dornan is really interested in.
It is not about some national conspiracy by groups to suggest that we are all out there trying to do a terrible, awful thing. Catholic Charities and all of these groups are doing an awful, terrible thing, are they not? They are out trying to get people registered and asking them to participate in the democratic process. They are out there helping them become citizens. And for that, let us add them to the list of groups to be investigated out of Washington.
This is not about illegal and undocumented aliens. We are talking about legal residents taking citizenship classes, who, if you look at that list of 303 people, the great number of which, whose alleged offense was that, if anything, they were too anxious to participate in democracy and registered before they completed their citizenship, but voted after in fact they were citizens.
This is not about Hermandad. Whatever Hermandad did or did not do is something that has to be left with the District Attorney. And you have already heard a misrepresentation made to you about the fact that there were 1160, but there are more out there to find. The fact of the matter is they went through every single registration number that was checked out to Hermandad. These are not just the people who registered, they checked every single registration that was checked out to Hermandad and only found 1160 people actually in fact became registered. And yet, they would suggest there are numbers out there that have not been checked, when in fact they were checked.
And this is not about some connection between Loretta Sanchez, Congresswoman Sanchez, and Hermandad and any other independent expenditure committee. To suggest otherwise is to repeat a clear falsehood. And to repeat it is not worthy of any single member of Congress or any single member of this Committee. As the Chair of her campaign, I can assure this Committee there was absolutely no connection between Hermandad and any other independent expenditure committee. And we learned, like everyone else did, about a check being written from Dump Dornan--nonetheless a worthy cause--to Hermandad--or to Nativo Lopez and his kids and parents. How did we learn about it? Not because of some brilliant investigation by Dornan and his so-called legal team. As a matter of fact, these are public documents filed in a public place. And that in fact is the absolute truth. And so we know--anybody who understands the law and understands independent expenditure committees, there is no way that you are to communicate with those committees, there is no way you can have the knowledge. That would be the violation. Writing the check is not the violation, the violation would be if we played any role in the writing of that check or in any way directed it. And I can assure you they cannot make such an allegation, and to do so is an absolutely complete and total falsehood and I hope that position is clear to this Committee.
So what in fact is this all about? It is allegedly also not about one other fact. This is not about massive voter fraud. Why did we ever allow ourselves to get into the trap to suggest that 303 people, best case scenario, is somehow the most massive voter fraud in the history of the world? I guess Orange County has taken over for another place I used to live when I was a young boy and that was Chicago and Cook County. Now I find out that we are the greatest example of the most massive fraud in any Congressional election, based on 303 people, which is .00003 percent of the voters in this district.
So now we are back to Disneyland and we are back into fantasies. And it is about someone who thinks he has discovered an error--to put this into perspective for you--by a bank clerk, which has nothing to do with the financial health of the bank, but because he discovered one small little error in the bank, wants to declare himself chairman of the board. Well, Mr. Dornan, you are not going to be called, there is a new chairman of the board. Her name is Loretta Sanchez, and yes, a woman who also happens to be an Hispanic. And it is not the citizens of Orange County's fault that you are incapable of genetically, graciously accepting the fact that you were defeated by a woman.
Now let us look at the evidence, the so-called credible evidence, not the allegations and not the rumors. And let me explain to you that the evidence I am about to show you was gathered by us and not by Mr. Dornan. Mr. Dornan does not investigate. Mr. Dornan makes allegations and makes charges. We have to then go out and check all of these charges and we have already heard how much money we have spent in Orange County through the office of the Registrar to check out every time he has a new allegation and how much money they have spent. And we have had to go out and investigate the so-called charges.
I have a number of charts here and I will take you through them so hopefully once and for all we can put this matter in perspective, because you can appreciate how difficult it is to prove a negative and how sad it is that we the accused have to go and check the evidence. So if I could see those charts, and if we could put them up there.
First of all, what I have here is Fantasy Number 1 by Mr. Dornan, that there is massive voter fraud in Orange County. When I went to a statistical person to say I wanted to illustrate how many people that we know of illegally voted in this particular election, he said you cannot even statistically show it. We are talking about a county of 1,275,000 voters. Total registrations countywide from Hermandad, 1160, of which 759 voted, of which possibly--and that is going to fall apart, gentlemen, possibly 442 countywide were improper ballots. That does not even show up on a chart. And from that fact, the only fact, we are being described as the massive voter fraud in Orange County.
Now let me show you another chart that we have prepared for you. This is what I will call Dornan Fantasy Number 2. He says there is this massive conspiracy between the Republican Registrar, an outstanding public servant, and somehow illegal aliens who have somehow stole the election from him. Now what you see here on this chart is a breakdown of the voters in the 46th Congressional District, 173,000 potential voters. The total Hermandad votes, 564. The potential unlawful ballots, 303. That is the so-called basis of a conspiracy to somehow deny Mr. Dornan office. And let us put things in context for those of you who were not here, did not live through the election in the fall of 1996.
I hope you appreciate and understand that when someone starts talking about stealing an election, that you are aware of the fact that the poll done by the Register--now not the phony phone poll that Mr. Hart referred to. Did you understand what that phony poll was that he paraded in front of you? That is one of those phone things where they ask you each day you can phone in and if you pay a dollar you can vote as to whether you think there should be a hearing in Orange County or not, and then you hire somebody in your office to put an automatic dialer in and pay a dollar for every call. That was not a poll. The real poll which was done by the Register the weekend before the election showed Loretta Sanchez ahead in that race by two percentage points. So that was the poll upon which one would expect that the real poll of the election day would show Loretta Sanchez the victor and that is in fact what happened. And that of course has been followed by another poll just a few days ago that has shown us that that lead has increased to 13 percent.
So when you look at this chart here, you can see that none of this would in any way raise itself to the level that one would suggest there is any kind of massive illegal activity. And the only way you can raise it to that kind of level is to go out and throw a bunch of accusations against Rancho Santiago College, against Catholic Charities, against the labor unions and everyone else you can find, in order to somehow justify continuing to waste public funds.
And remember, that we are supposed to be talking about fraud, not about whether or not somebody mistakenly or otherwise may have voted in this election.
Now let me show you what we have as another chart, what we say is Dornan Fantasy Number 3. That fantasy says we should spend more taxpayer dollars and we should continue this investigation based on what I have provided to you.
Now it is always hard for me to respond to Mr. Dornan's charges. And the reason is they have changed every day, every minute and every hour. At one point, the universe was something like 3000 votes, and that is what we show you here. And he included in there potential unlawful votes, double voting, suspicious households, Hermandad registrations, business addresses, absentee voters, vendor tapes and a moving target.
We have done our own investigation. They have taken almost everything off the table except the 303 and we have investigated the 303 and that is down to 77. So never ever let yourself get caught in a trap and make the mistake that there has been proven that 303 people voted illegally in the 46th Congressional District, because the list that they are using and the list that Secretary Jones is using and the list that the INS is using is not a list that is accurate. And in fact, they are relying upon such things as we have no record of these people. We have 69 people of whom we have no record, who happen to be foreign-born. Did anyone ever realize that if you are foreign-born in a country of a United States citizen, you are automatically a citizen, even though you are foreign-born? Did they never realize that people who were naturalized before 1960 will not show up in the INS records? Do we realize that when we went out and talked to these individuals we could reach who were 69_on this list of 69 people, who were foreign-born, that the error rate was over 50 percent and they were showing us evidence of their citizenship, some who even served their country?
So do not ever fall into the trap of the fact that there has been proven 303 voters who voted unlawfully based on the so-called Jones test.
I, as a trial lawyer, am used--they use the accusation that somehow lawyers go around filing what they call frivolous lawsuits. Apparently a former member of Congress can file any kind of frivolous lawsuit he wants and not in fact be held accountable for that.
Now let me show you what we have here in terms of the analysis. We went out and talked to a number of individuals, many of whom are here today, and we went through the list. And remember, the list from the INS had things such as not naturalized, pending. They had a pending status review, they had a no record and then they had another category called no notation within the citizenship department. So we went ahead and took those votes and went out and talked to people, for instance, who in fact were listed as no record, who in fact were_65 of them were U.S. born and another part of that group, the remaining part of the 65 were foreign-born. And we found out that of the individuals that we talked about was running 81 percent. We only were able to contact seven of that number and six of them had proof of citizenship. So we had an error rate of something like 86 percent of those individuals we had to talk to, who in fact were being listed in the 303 number. So when you do the actual people we have been able to identify, people we went out and talked to to determine the appropriate error rates that we have discovered ourselves just from the INS records that were used to do this 303 projection, the error rate indicates that the actual number of potential illegal voters are in the area of 70 votes and not 303.
And that is what we discovered in terms of both doing the investigation and analysis of the study by Mr. Dornan, as well as the study done in fact by Mr. Jones.
Now we do have some individuals with us here today and I think you should appreciate and understand their background. In the area of absentee ballots, we have I think Mr. Angel Laures here, and I ask him to stand up. Mr. Laures' absentee ballot was challenged on the basis that the signature did not match. Mr. Laures has voted for a quarter of a century without anyone ever challenging his vote before. He met the investigator at his door with his naturalization certificate, showing he was a naturalized citizen in 1971. His signature did not match because it had changed somewhat since when he first registered in 1971. Mr. Laures showed us letters from the City of Santa Ana, commending him for his excellent work as a Parks Department employee from which he retired after 20 years of service. Mr. Laures is one of the citizens of Orange County who has a right to an apology from Mr. Dornan.
We have with us Maria Jiminez, I believe. She was listed in the Hermandad list as a pending status review. She was born in the United States, not reflected in the records of the INS. She showed us her birth certificate and her social security card. And she was born on June 24, 1974 in Orange, California. Yet this Committee has thrown around and accepted the use of the word 303 and here is an individual--maybe you would like to see a name and a face for one of these 303 individuals accused by Mr. Dornan.
We have here in the area of suspicious households, Sister Jennifer Agouric. Now Sister Jennifer is the administrator of the St. Catherine's Military Academy. She was accused in Mr. Dornan's pleading to this Congress of voting illegally because six or more voted from the address in which she lives. In fact, 18 Dominican nuns reside at this particular residence, and from that address. They have owned the school and they have lived--the school has been owned by the Dominican sisters since 1888. Sister Jennifer has told us she is concerned that the allegations in Congress that the school was engaged in some kind of illegal election activity is going to affect their fundraising. She is accompanied this morning by Chris Reagan, who is the development director of the school, and Lorie Gutierez, who is the secretary to the school administrator.
We also have Cecilia Jurado here. She is another individual who was accused of double voting by Mr. Dornan. Their names did appear twice in the precinct roster and since there are 6400 volunteer poll workers in Orange County who do that job once every two years, most of them never see a situation like this, so when her friend showed up, they asked them to sign at two different lines and they thought they were being protective that way because they showed up being double--the name got printed twice on the sheet. In both cases, the poll workers gave only one ballot to Angie and her friend Cecilia and innocently asked them to sign the roster twice, one after each entry, though their name was printed on two occasions. They did in order to see that no one else used their name and voted under their name. They did it to in effect cross it out so that in fact there would not be a double ballot.
And in the area--there are other people here by name, we have a Marie Cortez, we have Sonja Atunez--all the people who are on the Hermandad list, who in fact are citizens and were citizens before they registered and were in fact citizens before the vote.
Now I would like to show you another chart, and I want to skip to the reality, what I call reality number 1. I did have another chart showing the shrinking Jones universe, but I think you have gotten the message that we went out and investigated and that 303 figure goes down to 77.
Yes, gentleman, there has been attempted massive voter fraud in Orange County. The problem is, the attempted massive voter fraud did not occur during the election, it did not occur on the day of the election, but began the day after the election when Mr. Dornan began to make these unfounded charges that somehow somebody took the election away from him. That is the true story of voter fraud in Orange County and that is the message that should go out of this hearing as to where the voter fraud occurred. Because they have taken 303 people, down probably now to 77, and tried to use that as a mechanism by which to defeat the will of the voters of the 46th Congressional District.
I have sat here in this room and listened to speeches about how somebody got trumped, and if 100 people voted the wrong way or voted when they should not have, they X'd out the vote of 100 other people. That is wrong and that should be prosecuted.
But has anyone ever seen the attempt to use 303 votes to cancel the ballot of 47,964 people? Do we really understand that they are trying to use 303 people to in effect take away the vote of over 47,000 citizens in Orange County, all of whom vote and live in the 46th Congressional District?
So yes, we have massive voter fraud and unfortunately it is allowed to continue and go on in front of our very eyes.
Mr. Ehlers. The gentleman's time has expired.
Mr. Aitken. Thank you. Is that the extra minute I also got?
Mr. Ehlers. The extra minute was during the yellow period.
Mr. Aitken. Okay.
[The statement of Mr. Aitken follows:]
********** INSERT **********
Mr. Ehlers. Thank you very much for your presentation. I appreciate your comments. Several questions.
First, let me just have a few questions and comments for Ms. Sanchez, if you would go to the stand a moment, please.
In your written testimony, you state that you hoped we would devote as much energy and resources to pursuing other important issues than the ones that we are dealing with here. You encouraged us to explore ideas being tested in states to ease access to the polls, including vote by mail, electronic voting and extending polling hours.
First of all, just a comment. That is not the responsibility of this Task Force, but I do want to say that I certainly agree with you. We should make it as easy as possible for individuals to vote. The issue here is not, however, dealing with voting, but with registration. And the important part is to make certain that both the registration and the election process are valid. But I would be happy to join you in any efforts to make voting easier and more representative.
Also, you referred to this investigation in your testimony as a massive expenditure of taxpayer funds. That is not really a fair characterization. We are expending some taxpayer funds, but first of all, I want you to know, being Dutch, I managed to get out here on a $252 airline ticket, which I think is a pretty good deal.
Ms. Sanchez. Well, I usually come out here on a $181 round trip ticket. So you had better take some pointers from me, Chairman.
Mr. Ehlers. I will have to talk to you about that.
Mr. Ehlers. But in any event, the massive expenditure is a little unfair in characterization but_
Ms. Sanchez. Well, when you add all of the staff work, when you add all the time we are spending in committee, you are spending in committee, when you add all of the time that it takes away from my Congressional office when we are putting forth all of this information. It grows and grows every day. When you have Bill Jones doing it at the state level, you have the District Attorney doing it here and I think he is doing an adequate job here. You know I really think you need--I really believe what you said in your February hearing is correct, that is has got to be laser-like and you have got to really concentrate on this election, not all of these allegations that Mr. Dornan has been allowed to bandy around.
Mr. Ehlers. Well, we are not allowing anyone to dance around any allegations, including yours. But I just wanted to clarify that not a lot of taxpayer funds are being expended here. I will say a lot of funds are being expended by Mr. Dornan and by you, however, and I am sure you are personally very aware of that.
I do also want to question one other point, not in relationship to what you said, but in relationship to what you have been purported to say. As I mentioned earlier, and I do not believe you were here when I said it, I have been trying to avoid reading any newspaper accounts of this, but apparently someone gave me a clipping with a quote attributed to you by the Orange County Register approximately a month ago, on March 24, 1997, in which you reportedly said, ``We usually think of one half of one percent as a pretty low figure for making mistakes.'' And you were referring to elections. Then you go on to say--
Ms. Sanchez. No, I am referring to--
Mr. Ehlers. Just a moment, let me finish.
``We would not have reformed welfare if we only had one-half of one percent of fraud in the system.''
Well, I do not know, I suspect we might have anyway. But the point I wanted to get at. Do you believe that one-half of one percent is an acceptable error rate or an acceptable level of fraud in elections, or were you misquoted?
Ms. Sanchez. I would leave that to someone who is an expert in that area like Ms. Lever, to talk to you about error rates and what might be acceptable. I just happened to say that in particular, in everyday life as we go about, we all make mistakes, there are, you know, changes in our lives every day, et cetera. And nobody is 100 percent perfect. No process is 100 percent perfect. We go and we try to solve problems where we seen that the problems are larger than usual, but half of one percent--if only half of one percent of all lawyers were bad, we would not be saying the things we say about them.
Mr. Ehlers. There you go after the lawyers again.
Well, I think this is an important point. I think half a percent is a very large number. And in fact, we did ask Ms. Lever about that this morning.
Ms. Sanchez. Good. Well, then I am sure she gave you the correct answer.
Mr. Ehlers. The level of error we established in her testimony, at least in one area, was considerably less than half a percent I think it was .01 or 1/100th of a percent.
Ms. Sanchez. Then I stand corrected. The error rate is even lower than I believed.
Mr. Ehlers. No, hang on. And she said that she thought that was an acceptable error rate, and that is probably reasonable. That is much lower than half a percent, about 100th as much. But she established, as did Mr. Jones in his testimony, that the fraud rate should be zero. There should be zero tolerance for fraud. And that is what I am trying to get at. It sounds like you are saying half a percent_
Ms. Sanchez. No, I am saying defer to Ms. Lever.
Mr. Ehlers. Pardon?
Ms. Sanchez. I am saying I defer to Ms. Lever, she is the expert on elections.
Mr. Ehlers. No, I am just simply asking you because of the quote. I just want to mention in this last election, there were three Congressional elections to the Congress decided by less than half a percent, and in the previous election for Congress, there were six which were decided by less than half a percent.
And I was hoping to give you a chance to either retract or clarify_
Ms. Sanchez. Mr. Chairman, I am not in favor of fraud. What I talked about was error rates in general.
Mr. Ehlers. Well, that is what I was trying to clarify because the first half of the statement was mistakes--
Ms. Sanchez. Well, mistakes are not fraud.
Mr. Ehlers. --and the second half of your statement referred to fraud, and I was trying to establish--
Ms. Sanchez. Well, that was welfare-related, that was not--
Mr. Ehlers. Okay. As I say, I was trying to give you a chance to clear this up for us because you related the two, and I thought that was an important point to bring out.
Thank you. I have no further questions for you.
Mr. Aitken, I have several.
Mr. Aitken. A pleasure, sir.
Mr. Ehlers. Mr. Aitken, you mentioned at the beginning that you were an attorney and proud of it.
Mr. Aitken. Yes, that is true.
Mr. Ehlers. And I think that is admirable because I think being an attorney is a very honorable profession.
Mr. Aitken. Apparently more so than my client does, so thank you.
Mr. Ehlers. I noticed that. I think you may have a little repair work to do.
But I believe being an attorney is indeed an honorable profession and unfortunately you are the subject of a lot of jokes, just as we members of Congress. I happen to be a nuclear physicist by profession, and I am also proud of that.
It was clear to me from reviewing your written testimony and your charts and your comments that although you may be an excellent attorney, you are not a very good statistician or a scientist. For example, you quote on your charts that the number of votes in question, the 303, is .0003 percent, and you said that in your verbal testimony as well. First of all, you are off by a factor of 100 because the ratio is .0003, but the percentage is .03, 3/100ths of a percent.
Mr. Aitken. Thank you.
Mr. Ehlers. Furthermore, that is a percentage of the total registered voters of the county, and as you know, only 10 percent of them voted in the Congressional election, which is about 106,000 voters, less than 10 percent. And you know as well as I do, elections are decided by those who vote, not by those who stay home.
Mr. Aitken. That is very true. That is a sad story, but that is true.
Mr. Ehlers. So it is actually .3 percent.
Mr. Aitken. I stand corrected. I would never argue with a nuclear physicist.
Mr. Ehlers. Good. I wish the rest of the world felt that way.
Mr. Aitken. In certain areas.
Mr. Hoyer. Mr. Chairman, what you are saying is it is .3 of one.
Mr. Ehlers. It is .3 percent.
Mr. Aitken. No, .03 percent.
Mr. Ehlers. No, it is .3 percent of the number of people who voted. I just wanted to clarify that.
Mr. Aitken. I do not think so. I do not think 303 is three percent of 100,000.
Mr. Ehlers. No, I said .3 percent of 100,000. You can check my numbers later.
Mr. Aitken. Okay, so it is one-third of one percent, is that what we are talking about? That's how a trial lawyer would express it, one-third of one percent is what we are talking about.
Mr. Ehlers. All right, fine.
Mr. Aitken. That is the massive best case scenario fraud we have been discussing about, one-third of one percent.
Mr. Ehlers. Right.
Mr. Aitken. Thank you.
Mr. Hoyer. Which is what .3 is.
Mr. Ehlers. Right. Whatever language is convenient for you to express it, but that is an accurate statement as well.
Mr. Aitken. Thank you.
Mr. Ehlers. Certainly better than the ones on the chart and in your submitted testimony.
I just wanted to comment that whoever does the charts for you on the various fantasies and realities does an excellent job of misportraying both fantasy and reality. And I do not have time to go into it and I do not want to register that. I just want to comment that it was a good presentation, but from a statistician's point of view, there is not much reliability in the presentation there.
Mr. Aitken. I will take note of that and I will make sure that there are no more nuclear scientists on my juries. Thank you.
Mr. Ehlers. I might suggest to you that is not the first time someone has made that comment.
Another point I wanted to bring out. In your written testimony here, you mentioned Hermandad is an independent expenditure committee.
Mr. Aitken. No, I did not say that. I said that there was a check that was given--there is this bizarre conspiracy theory that somehow suggests that because an independent expenditure committee named Dump Dornan wrote a check to another committee called Nativo Lopez I think for Kids and Parents, and then of course that happens to be Nativo Lopez for School Board. Then, of course, what Mr. Dornan's people say is we have discovered a connection between Congresswoman Sanchez and Hermandad. And that is the_
Ms. Sanchez. Hermandad [pronouncing.]
Mr. Ehlers. Yes, Hermandad. So in other words, when you say here that Hermandad is an independent expenditure committee, you are not stating fact; you are making a cynical or sarcastic statement, is that correct?
Mr. Aitken. I am saying I do not know whether they are an independent expenditure committee or not. I am using it in the generic term that they have tried to very--I think in a very nefarious way, try to create a connection between Congresswoman Sanchez--
Mr. Ehlers. The Dornan people. Okay.
Mr. Aitken. --that absolutely does not exist.
Mr. Ehlers. I understand.
Ms. Sanchez. Mr. Chairman. What you are looking at, where that says ``an,'' if you put a ``d'' and make it ``and,'' it will solve your problem.
Mr. Hoyer. Actually you need to add ``and.'' What it means is ``Hermandad and an independent expenditure committee.''
Mr. Aitken. Oh, I did it again.
Ms. Sanchez. It is one of those mistakes in life I was talking about.
Mr. Ehlers. Okay, one last quick one--
Mr. Aitken. This is a difficult client to control, I want you to understand that, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Ehlers. Well, perhaps at $200 an hour, she expects fewer mistakes.
Mr. Ehlers. I am sorry.
Just one last point of clarification.
Mr. Aitken. I was not aware I was charging that little, but go ahead.
Mr. Ehlers. You mention on the radio you heard me announce that there will be further hearings. I want to simply explain that we do not know for certain there will be further hearings. We anticipate there probably will be because we are in the discovery process now, and once all the witnesses are deposed by Mr. Dornan and by Ms. Sanchez, if she wishes to take depositions and subpoena people, then we will have to analyze that. But I guess the answer is if we do not have further hearings, it is good news for you because that means we decided there is no case and we will act on a motion to dismiss.
Mr. Aitken. I look forward to no further hearings, because we are very confident.
Mr. Ehlers. Right. But the real process is that we would have another meeting to analyze everything and then decide whether to have further hearings, either here or in Washington, and then make a final disposition of the case.
Thank you very much.
Next, we will turn to Mr. Hoyer.
Mr. Hoyer. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I think you would want to have Ms. Sanchez, Congresswoman Sanchez, answer this, but I am going to try to deal with the facts here. Ultimately this case is going to be decided, hopefully on the facts. There have been a lot of allegations made. Let me refer specifically to the affidavit of one Lance Powers, who apparently was in attendance at Thee White House Restaurant. It says ``Thee White House Restaurant,'' I am not sure--
Mr. Aitken. There is a restaurant called ``Thee White House''
Mr. Hoyer. T-h-e-e?
Mr. Aitken. That is in Anaheim. I am familiar with it, I live in Anaheim.
Mr. Hoyer. Okay. Are you familiar with the affidavit?
Mr. Aitken. Yes, I am.
Mr. Hoyer. Would you want to have Ms. Sanchez tell us what happened?
Mr. Aitken. I will be glad to let her tell you. I know it myself, but I think it would be probably best coming from her.
Ms. Sanchez. Well, on the date in question, with respect to that affidavit, I in fact did go to dinner at Thee White House in Anaheim, I believe with five other gentlemen, one of them being my husband of course. And I was discussing a story from earlier that day, in fact a story, because as so many people know, I walked door to door to win this election. I had gone out that morning, a Sunday morning, in fact accompanied by a reporter for one of the local newspapers, and I came across a gentleman who spoke Spanish--I am sure he spoke English, but he preferred to speak in Spanish to me. And he said to me on my arrival at his door, ``Oh, my God, I just saw you this morning on television.'' And in fact I had been that morning on a television talk show. And he said, ``You know, this is the first time I am going to vote, I became a citizen about six months ago and I have received my sample ballot.'' I do not know about other states, but here in California, you receive a sample ballot about 30 days ahead of time, it actually shows you what the ballot will look like, you also receive another supplementary that discusses the issues, the pros and cons on everything that will be on the ballot.
And he said, ``Where would I go to vote?'' And I said to him, ``Do you have your sample ballot?'' Because on the back of the sample ballot is the polling spot. He went back into the home, I stood with the reporter, she was looking on. I explained to her what was going on. He came back and in fact could not find his sample ballot. And he said, ``I cannot find it.'' I said, ``Well, what you need to do is take down this number,'' I gave him the Registrar's number, ``and call, let her know where you live and you can get the address of where you should show up on November 5 to vote.'' He said, ``How would I fill out my absentee ballot--because of course--his ballot, it was not an absentee ballot, my ballot, because of course he had never voted before.
I took a piece of paper that I had in my hand, which was an 8-1/2 by 11, folded it in half and said, ``The ballot looks somewhat like this.'' I said, ``Now the first ballot that you will have will say for the President of the United States, and it will list five or six names that are on the election this time.'' And I said to him in front of the reporter, ``Now who would you like to vote for, Clinton or Clinton?'' And he said, ``Of course, I would love to vote for Clinton.'' And I said, ``Well then you would press through on that card.''
I said, ``The next election is the election in fact for the 46th Congressional District, my election.'' I said there are five names, I listed off the names. I said, ``Who would you like to vote for?'' And he said, ``Sanchez or Sanchez?'' I said, ``That sounds good.'' I said, ``In that case, you would put through your--you would put a mark on there or take out, punch out the place.'' I said, ``Now remember, on the back side of that ballot will be another election and further elections.'' And I cautioned him that he should read all the supplementals and find his sample ballot, fill it out ahead of time, go to the poll, so he could then do it correctly.
And in fact, that was the story that I was relating that evening at Thee White House. And Lance, who should have been serving my dinner, was obviously doing other things. But that is what happened with that particular discussion.
Mr. Hoyer. Thank you. Mr. Aitken.
Mr. Aitken. Yes, Congressman.
Mr. Hoyer. What would be illegal about that?
Mr. Aitken. Absolutely nothing.
Mr. Hoyer. So what would you think this affidavit would show?
Mr. Aitken. It would show absolutely nothing and I am embarrassed that a lawyer would even file it.
Mr. Hoyer. The 9200 records referred to, and you heard perhaps my questions, which are referred to as clients, although I think in the response, Mr. Hart responded or perhaps Mr. Schroeder, that obviously clients could have received a number of services. Do you know of voters, of registrations of Hermandad, beyond the 1100 and some odd that are in question?
Mr. Aitken. No, because there is a procedure with the Registrar where they check out these registration ballots and the 1160 was discovered because they went to this book that showed that certain--they checked every Hermandad registration that was checked out, and they are all numbered, and then they checked those registrations to see which of those numbers were returned, to determine who actually was registered, because as you know, Congressman, many people check out boxes and boxes of registration cards. Campaigns are ambitious, they think they are going to go out and register 5000 new voters, they check out 5000 registration cards. They sit in the box, they hope they find a volunteer some day that will help them register. And most of those things are never ever returned.
In this case, they had the numbers checked out. That is how they determined the 1160 number. So there would be no other registrations out there. And so the 9200 figure is totally misleading and inappropriate.
Mr. Hoyer. So that in fact, the universe, from your perspective, is the 1160?
Mr. Aitken. The only universe we have been able to discover, and that includes the District Attorney and the Secretary of State and our doing the work for Mr. Dornan for him, is the universe of the 1160.
Mr. Hoyer. Now with respect to the 303 to which you referred in your statement, you indicate that that number has been reduced as a result of your interviews and investigation of those 303.
Mr. Aitken. Right.
Mr. Hoyer. You will recall I asked Mr. Schroeder I believe, about specific names. I am sympathetic to both Mr. Hart's and Mr. Schroeder's concern about exposing individuals who may well have been confused and may well have been misled. Let me accept that. However, these 303 at least are identified in terms of names, so that we as the Committee, or yourselves, can look at the veracity of the allegation or the truthfulness of the allegation.
You say you checked those 303.
Mr. Aitken. As best we could. I want to make it very clear, we had the 303 compared against the voter rolls. We could identify certain names, we went out and tried to contact these individuals. Some of course we were able to contact, others we were not.
Mr. Hoyer. Now the thing I want to--you have reduced the number, as I understand it, to approximately 70 of those who were still in question.
Mr. Aitken. That is correct.
Mr. Hoyer. Does that mean that you have eliminated 233 from your perspective?
Mr. Aitken. From our perspective we have, but with the caveat--and since we have been discussing my mathematical skills, let us assume that my error rate percentages are correct, what we would do is we would find, for instance, in one group, we found that six out of seven in fact were registered, were citizens, out of one of the various categories. So what we saw there was about an 80-whatever percent error rate.
And so if you took that number and projected it out for the other numbers we did not contact, and did that kind of mathematics, you would get into the area of 70 votes that appeared to be the votes--and of course with one other caveat, there has been the discussion regarding these voters who in fact voted at the time they were citizens. I included in our number those people who registered before they were citizens, but in fact voted after they were citizens. And as a lawyer, that is a very open question as to whether or not those in fact were constitutional votes, irrespective of whether or not it met the state standard. So I included that 121 votes, as I recall, in that category as well.
So if you do not buy into that these people who were citizens and who voted when they were citizens had the right to do so, you would add that number to the 70 and you would be up to about 190, approximately.
Mr. Hoyer. I understand, essentially an extrapolation based upon your presumptions, as opposed to counting each one of the_
Mr. Aitken. Exactly. But we have clearly identified a number of individuals who are in that 303 category, who were in the category of being non-citizens and in fact who were citizens.
Mr. Hoyer. I understand. I have a short time remaining. I am concerned about the discussions about Ms. Lever's deposition.
Mr. Aitken. I was present and I think her deposition was incredibly misrepresented to this Committee.
Mr. Hoyer. If you are going to give her an opportunity to respond to that, fine. If not,--
Mr. Aitken. Since the Committee did not give it to us, we are going to give up some of our time in order--
Mr. Hoyer. Well, I will ask her the question now or--
Mr. Aitken. No, I will give up my time now, if you want to talk to her.
Mr. Hoyer. I would like Ms. Lever, if she would at this point in time, to respond to the issue related to either the 60 or other items that were mentioned.
Mr. Aitken. Particularly I think the 460 figure, which comes up and up and up again.
Mr. Hoyer. And the 460 figure.
Mr. Aitken. I will be glad to yield to Ms. Lever.
Mr. Ehlers. Ms. Lever, you may take the stand. You have previously been sworn in.
Mr. Hoyer. Thank you.
Mr. Ehlers. I do ask you to try to keep your answer reasonably brief.
Ms. Lever. First of all, the deposition that was taken, I have not seen, I have not signed the transcript from the deposition.
Also, my deposition was taken on April 14, not six days ago on April 13.
We talked over and over again--
Mr. Hoyer. We certainly do run you one day off, do we not? But that is all right, you held the election on the 6th.
Ms. Lever. No, I held it on the 5th.
There were originally from Mr. Dornans--Mr. Bill Hart's letter, Mr. Dornan's attorney's letter originally, there were--which all of you have copies of--there were 460 what we felt were keying errors at that time, data entry errors of keying the rosters. They were system errors, data errors. What led us to conclude that was that_
Mr. Hoyer. 222 precincts?
Ms. Lever. 222 precincts.
Mr. Hoyer. So that would be about one and a third per precinct, a little more, 1.4 or something like that.
Ms. Lever. You think I am going to jump into that number?
Ms. Lever. Yes, that is right.
We came to that conclusion, again_
Mr. Hoyer. Actually, it would be a factor of two.
Ms. Lever. We came to that conclusion after we verified a handful of rosters, about half a dozen of them. And on every one of five of those rosters, there were keying errors, one, two, three. One of those rosters, there was an error where two full pages of voters names had not been keyed into the system.
Then afterwards, we began working on this reconciliation that--and I will state to you--
Mr. Hoyer. And may I stop you, but just so we understand. What you are saying is that although the numbers were counted, the names were not keyed into your tape so that it appeared that more voters counted than you had names for, is that correct?
Ms. Lever. It appeared--the voter participation file,--again, this is a campaign tool, it is not something we use.
Mr. Hoyer. I understand.
Ms. Lever. But we were trying to justify the numbers on that tape. That tape is not the official record of the election in any way, shape or form.
We have since gone back and I believe that in my deposition, if you go further into my deposition, the way_I never lied in my deposition, as has been alleged. There is testimony in my deposition that says that we were in the process of reconciling where those 460 voter records were. My staff put together, finished on Thursday, I believe that was the 17th, putting together this reconciliation that I have provided to your Committee and to both campaigns, of where actually every signature is, which ones were keyed incorrectly. We listed the names, so now if anybody dumps that voter participation file and takes that thick package that we gave you, it says which names were incorrectly stated on that voter participation file, which names were not even on the file and it reconciles that entire Voter Participation Tape to within 14 voter records--not 14 ballots_14 voter records of participation. And that was what was in my testimony this morning.
I will also add that the numbers that Mr. Schroeder--the questions regarding the numbers that Mr. Schroeder was testifying to were never asked of me during that deposition. We asked Mr. Hart repeatedly--all day yesterday, my counsel requested to get copies of what they had submitted to your Committee, and as of this moment, we still have not received response from Mr. Dornan's attorneys.
Mr. Ehlers. Well, we are quite overtime on your response here and the gentleman's time has expired.
We do have the attachment that you attached to your testimony this morning even though you did not give it, and I did read it earlier and I suspect the other members of the panel did as well.
Is there anything urgent that you have to add to that?
Ms. Lever. No.
Mr. Ehlers. If you wish, you can write to us with any points that you feel you have not cleared up here. And I assume you will have an opportunity to review the deposition before you sign it.
Ms. Lever. I would hope so. I do have the deposition, it was delivered to me on Thursday sometime. I have been preparing for this hearing, I have not had a chance to even open the envelope, let along look at it.
Mr. Ehlers. So you will have the opportunity to correct things for the record. And that is the main thing.
Ms. Lever. Yes, I will.
Mr. Ehlers. Is that a sufficient answer for you, Mr. Hoyer?
Mr. Hoyer. Yes, she can respond to the 60, which I think she responded to accurately on January 17 and equally accurately in the deposition. It seems to me that there was a consistent response.
Mr. Ehlers. Fine. And you will have another opportunity after the next presentation. Apparently you will be testifying again.
The gentleman's time has expired. Mr.--
Mr. Ney. Ney.
Mr. Ehlers. The gentleman from Ohio, I should call you that once in awhile just to be polite.
Mr. Ney. A Republican with a memory like an elephant. I have one question, if I could.
Mr. Hoyer. You know how those physicists are, Bob.
Mr. Ney. That is right. One question of Ms. Sanchez, if I could.
As far as the involvement of your campaign with Hermandad or any of the groups that were registering people to vote, was there any type of activity with the campaigns or communications?
Ms. Sanchez. Not at all. We did not even hold a registration drive within our own campaign because we did not have the resources. And we really had no goings on of what was happening out there with respect to registration. Ours was a persuasive campaign.
Mr. Ney. So the campaign did not have communications and coordinations?
Ms. Sanchez. We met one time with Southwest Voter Registration. They told us that they were going to be in the area and they would be registering. They are a non-profit. We told them go out and do it, you know. That is about it. But with respect to Hermandad or--you know, I do not even know who was out there doing a registration effort.
Again, we focused--we had so little resources and volunteers, we really focused on our campaign and doing our persuasive campaign and walking our door to door.
Mr. Ney. Thank you.
I have a question, Mr. Chairman, of Mr. Aitken.
In your reality number 1, just out of curiosity, the headline up there was ``Massive attempt at election fraud by Bob Dornan and his Washington cronies.'' Who were the Washington cronies?
Mr. Aitken. Who were specifically the Washington cronies?
Mr. Ney. Yes.
Mr. Aitken. We just know that he went back to Washington and had a lot of meetings. I did not name them because I do not want to throw out names in regard to that.
Mr. Ney. Okay, thank you.
The other question I had, according to Secretary of State Jones, there were 303 illegal votes or potential illegal votes cast. You referred to six errors. Do you know of more than six errors or is it just six?
Mr. Aitken. No, there are more than six errors. There are a number of categories and I gave you some examples. Of the 303 votes that we are talking about, they are a combination of the people who voted before being sworn as citizens, those who voted after--who became citizens and voted after they were citizens, and his 303 figure we then went out and analyzed. He had a number of different numbers, he had the 69 in there which was the no-notations and_
Mr. Ney. Okay.
Mr. Aitken. _a number of different figures. So we went through the 303 registered and then we talked to a number of individuals and came up with the various error rates. And some of the people who are here today were listed as part of that 303 figure.
Mr. Ney. Because this is such an important point, do you want to take the opportunity either today or at some point in time in the near future to provide the Task Force with any of the records of the interviews you have conducted to confirm it?
Mr. Aitken. I definitely think this is important information that obviously could be shared. We have asked those individuals to be here, a number of them have come, and there are other individuals and names of people we can identify for you that I have with me and we will certain lodge that with the Committee and we will certainly make that available.
Mr. Ney. The other question I had. You said we need all the evidence--to conclude this and it has been said many times--so why should we not ask the INS for the list that attorney Hart had wanted to determine how many non-U.S. citizens registered and voted, to kind of take that piece of it and dispel it or_
Mr. Aitken. Well, it is not our position to tell this Committee what they may want to do in order to consider in the future what they want to do about election activity. Our concern is this: number one, we know for a fact just off the 303 that there is a significant error in the INS records. So we know for a fact that the records do not appear to be in a condition upon which they are reliable. You will hear from Tony Miller, who was the acting Chief Deputy Secretary of State and Chief Counsel and then the actual Acting Secretary of State before Mr. Jones took office, who also wanted to do the same thing and found that the errors were such that there could not be the match that is being desired.
So I can tell you our concern and this Committee can make its own decisions, but our concern is that if you do such a match for all of the citizens of Orange County, then I suggest you should do it for Michigan and Ohio and Maryland and everywhere else and when you see all the errors that are going to come out of that match, then you are going to decide how much money and effort and time are you going to expend investigating whether it is a true error, are the registration records bad_
Mr. Ney. Mr. Aitken.
Mr. Aitken. _are the INS records, et cetera.
Mr. Ney. Mr. Aitken, let me just reclaim my time for a second here. Are you suggesting without anyone alleging fraud in the state of Ohio, we should go through this?
Mr. Aitken. I am saying that if you are trying to prove a point regarding the INS records and their accuracy of registration records, there is no reason, based on the evidence that has been presented to this Committee, to single out 1.2 million citizens of Orange County. That is your policy decision and that is your expense, but I would not suggest that because of the 303 figure that has been put forth by Mr. Dornan, the citizens of Orange County should be subjected to that process.
Mr. Ney. I want to_
Mr. Aitken. If you want to do it.
Mr. Ney. I want to thank you for your permission on what Congress can do and your suggestions on what we can do. That enlightens me today.
Mr. Aitken. Well, I hope so, sir.
Mr. Ney. Let me ask_
Mr. Aitken. I am delighted to help.
Mr. Ney. I know that. Let me ask another question. You made a statement towards the end of your presentation about--and you threw in the Constitution, but I think it went towards the fact of--and correct me if I am wrong--you could register to vote prior to becoming a citizen and it would count under the Constitution. Was that--
Mr. Aitken. I think there is a very valid, legitimate, legal argument that if someone registers to vote and becomes a citizen prior to that vote--you are classifying--if you are 17 years of age, you can go ahead and register even though you cannot vote. We have made a decision in California pursuant to law to say that even though you can register when you are 16, as long as you do not vote until you are 18, you cannot register as a non-citizen even though you wait until the time that you are a citizen to vote. And there is authority for the proposition in two ways. And Mr. Miller will address this subject, Mr. Miller, the former acting Secretary of State. There is a Constitutional argument that if you have registered and you have become a citizen prior to voting, even though after you registered, that vote--you may well have the Constitutional right to vote because the Constitution takes precedent over what the individual procedures are that are outlined in the various states. so I think that is a very open question and that is what I was referring to.
Mr. Ney. Because that disputes earlier feelings of I think Ms. Lever and the Secretary of State.
Mr. Ney. Are you suggesting, sir, that lawyers disagree about what the law is?
Mr. Ney. Oh, no, no more than members of Congress do.
Mr. Aitken. Certainly it is a different opinion than Mr. Jones'.
Mr. Ney. So then, I would take it that if, for example hypothetically, you have an illegal--if you have a person who is not a citizen, they have filled out the form to become a registered voter and therefore, you would not consider that fraud then, under the California statute?
Mr. Aitken. I am not speaking to whether it is fraud for purposes of--you must make the distinction between whether or not someone is subject to criminal prosecution for making a false statement and their vote. There is a real separate issue there. So I am certainly not encouraging anyone to make a false statement. I am just saying that if somebody votes and they are Constitutionally authorized to vote, there is a legal question as to whether that vote should be counted or not. And we are certainly not in any way suggesting that people should not candidly and honestly file and sign declarations. We are just talking about whether these votes should or should not be counted. And there is a great deal of support for our position and there's a great deal of support for the opposite position. And that issue at some point will be clarified.
Mr. Ney. Thank you.
Mr. Chairman, with my remaining time, I would just like to make a personal privilege for a statement.
Thank you, Mr. Aitken.
Mr. Aitken. Sure.
Mr. Ney. Just for I think edification here, this is not the Indiana McCloskey/McIntyre race where a member, a person came to the United States Congress and presented a certificate from the Secretary of State and was not seated. When Ms. Sanchez came to the United States Congress, we seated her. So I think that in itself took a lot of the politics out of it. And I know this is emotional for people and this is tough and a lot of rhetoric goes out there.
But I just also want to explain because I feel overtones of a lot of partisanship here, that in no way have I, as my colleague Mr. Ehlers, prior to today, talked with Mr. Dornan nor his attorneys, nor with Ms. Sanchez about this issue. So I have tried to be as fair as humanly possible.
But I would just say that one question that Mr. Aitken asked this Committee that I find disturbing, because this is a Congressional Committee that has followed the rules, unlike Indiana, and one thing I find to be disturbing is the fact of the question asked how can we accept Mr. Dornan's statements. Now no matter how much one may like Mr. Dornan's statements or not like Mr. Dornan's statements, things are accepted whether people like them or not.
As an Irish Catholic, born poor Republican, I can accept a tasteless joke into this record or a tasteless stereotype. So that is how we do it--it is called the United States.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Ehlers. Thank you, Mr. Ney.
And that concludes this presentation and the questions thereon. We will take a ten minute break, and then we will go to the response by both Contestant and Contestee. Ten minutes. We are in recess.
Mr. Ehlers. The hearing will come to order. Please take your seats. It has been a long day. I know everyone is getting a little tired, but we will try to keep things moving rapidly. We have another two hours to go.
The remainder of the afternoon will be spent, first, with a response by the Contestant for 30 minutes followed by five minutes of questions per member and then a response by the Contestee for 30 minutes with five minutes per member for questions. That will be followed, as I said earlier, by approximately 30 minutes of public comment from representatives of six organizations who are interested in our activities.
We are having a slight problem with our timer, so we will time it according to my wristwatch until the timer is repaired.
Mr. Hart, you may proceed.
Mr. Hart. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee. At this time, Contestant Robert K. Dornan calls for testimony, Mr. Nelson Molina, a resident of the 46th Congressional District. Nelson.
Mr. Ehlers. Mr. Molina, would you raise your right hand, please?
Mr. Ehlers. Please proceed. Would you state your name?
Mr. Molina. Nelson Molina.
Mr. Ehlers. Thank you. Proceed.
TESTIMONY OF NELSON MOLINA, RESIDENT OF 46TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
Mr. Hart. Mr. Molina, I ask you to keep your voice up and speak into the microphone for us so that we can all hear.
Where do you live?
Mr. Molina. In Anaheim.
Mr. Hart. Is that in the 46th Congressional District?
Mr. Molina. Yes.
Mr. Hart. During the last election in 1996, were you a supporter of Loretta Sanchez?
Mr. Molina. I helped out a little bit.
Mr. Hart. Is it true that you actually participated in one of her campaign ads as a person who was in that ad?
Mr. Molina. Yes.
Mr. Hart. At the present time, are you a United States citizen?
Mr. Molina. No, I am not.
Mr. Hart. How long have you been here in the United States?
Mr. Molina. About 15 year.
Mr. Hart. And can you tell us what your status is, your documented status?
Mr. Molina. Permanent resident.
Mr. Hart. I am sorry?
Mr. Molina. Permanent--you know, the green card.
Mr. Hart. You are a permanent resident.
Mr. Molina. Yes.
Mr. Hart. And you have been a permanent resident for sometime and employed here in Orange County?
Mr. Molina. Yes, sir.
Mr. Hart. And do you live here with your family?
Mr. Molina. Uh-huh.
Mr. Hart. And how many children do you have?
Mr. Molina. I got four kids and my wife.
Mr. Hart. And she is here with you today as well?
Mr. Molina. Yes.
Mr. Hart. Now can you relate to us, if you would, whether you are acquainted with a fellow by the name of Bennie Hernandez.
Mr. Molina. Yes, he is the one that introduced me to Loretta and he went to my home about three weeks, you know, before the election. And he bring the sign and told me if I can help her out.
Mr. Hart. He brought a sign.
Mr. Molina. Yes.
Mr. Hart. And did he want you to put the sign in your front yard?
Mr. Molina. Right.
Mr. Hart. Did you say that was okay?
Mr. Molina. That is okay.
Mr. Hart. All right.
Mr. Molina. And he asked me if I got a truck, you know, and ladder for helping put out the signs.
Mr. Hart. He asked if you had a truck to help out.
Mr. Molina. Right.
Mr. Hart. And you were going to put out some signs for him, right?
Mr. Molina. Right.
Mr. Hart. This is for Loretta Sanchez' campaign for Congress, correct?
Mr. Molina. Yes.
Mr. Hart. Did you understand that Mr. Hernandez worked for Loretta Sanchez?
Mr. Molina. Yes, that is what he told me.
Mr. Hart. Okay. Now at some point in time in your home in Anaheim, California, did Mr. Hernandez, this employee or worker for Loretta Sanchez, tell you whether or not--first of all, did he ask you whether you were a citizen or a non-citizen?
Mr. Molina. No, what he said to me is you vote? And I said no, I cannot because I only got my green card. But my wife, she already vote for you_
Mr. Hart. Let me back up. He asked you if you voted.
Mr. Molina. Uh-huh.
Mr. Hart. Yes.
Mr. Molina. Yes.
Mr. Hart. And you said that you had not voted because you had a green card.
Mr. Molina. Because I cannot.
Mr. Hart. And you knew you could not vote because you were not a U.S. citizen.
Mr. Molina. Right. And he told me why not, they not going to see you.
Mr. Hart. Who is not going to see you?
Mr. Molina. Well, that is what he said to me, why not, you can go to the poll and register, they are not going to ask you nothing, they no see you.
Mr. Hart. They would not know who you were?
Mr. Molina. And I introduce him to my wife and I said to he, she is white and she already voted. And he say_
Mr. Hart. Okay, let me stop you there. You pointed to your wife and said that she had already voted.
Mr. Molina. Yes, she walked into the door and I said this is my wife and she already give the vote to you guys.
Mr. Hart. So you indicated your wife had already voted for Loretta Sanchez?
Mr. Molina. Yes.
Mr. Hart. By absentee ballot?
Mr. Molina. Yes, correct.
Mr. Hart. And this conversation took place in your living room?
Mr. Molina. No, in front of the door.
Mr. Hart. Okay.
Mr. Molina. Because I was working on my car.
Mr. Hart. And did you--what did you tell Mr. Hernandez when he suggested that you should go down and vote even though you were a non-citizen?
Mr. Molina. I told him I cannot, but my wife already vote.
Mr. Hart. Okay.
Mr. Molina. And he asked my wife how you vote and my wife told him no, I vote absentee. And he said you can vote again, you can go to the poll.
Mr. Hart. Okay, so he suggested that your wife go to the polls and vote a second time, correct?
Mr. Molina. Yes.
Mr. Hart. And he knew that she had already voted for Loretta Sanchez by absentee ballot?
Mr. Molina. Yes, that is what she told him.
Mr. Hart. And what did your wife respond, in your presence?
Mr. Molina. She told him no.
Mr. Hart. Now have you related this--the facts of this event to us as accurately as you possibly can? Have you told us the truth in every respect?
Mr. Molina. Oh, from the bottom of my heart, it is the truth, before God.
Mr. Hart. Okay. I have no further questions, thank you. Thank you very much, Mr. Molina.
Mr. Molina. You are welcome.
Mr. Ehlers. Thank you very much.
Mr. Hart. At this time we would call Ms. Janet Cartee to the stand.
Mr. Hoyer. Mr. Chairman, can I just ask a question? Will we be able to recall Mr. Molina to ask him questions?
Mr. Ehlers. At the conclusion of this 30 minutes, yes.
Mr. Ehlers. Thank you. You may proceed.
TESTIMONY OF JANET CARTEE
Mr. Hart. You heard Mr. Molina relate what happened prior to the election in 1996, correct?
Ms. Cartee. Yes.
Mr. Hart. Are you Mr. Molina's wife?
Ms. Cartee. Yes.
Mr. Hart. And you and he have four children in Anaheim and reside there, correct?
Ms. Cartee. Yes, we do.
Mr. Hart. And sometime before the election in November, 1996, did you have occasion to have a discussion with a Mr. Bennie Hernandez, a worker for the Loretta Sanchez campaign?
Ms. Cartee. Yes, I did.
Mr. Hart. All right. And would you just simply relate what occurred at that time, to us? Just tell us what happened.
Ms. Cartee. Okay, they had a conversation outside before they came to the door.
Mr. Hart. You and your husband--or he and your husband.
Ms. Cartee. Bennie--right. And when he came to the door, he had introduced me and he had asked me if I had voted and I told him yes, I voted absentee, I voted for Bennie and for Loretta.
Mr. Hart. Oh, Bennie was running for election too?
Ms. Cartee. Yeah, for the union district or something. And he had mentioned to me if I had registered with the polls and I said yeah and he said well you could go over there and vote. I said no, I cannot do that because I already voted.
Mr. Hart. And what did he say in response to that? He knew you had already voted, correct?
Ms. Cartee. Right. Well he asked me, yeah.
Mr. Hart. And notwithstanding that, he told you to go to the polls and vote because your name would already be on the poll.
Ms. Cartee. Right, on the list. And I told him no, I cannot because I already voted.
Mr. Hart. All right. I have no further questions. Thank you.
At this time, we would call Mr. James Humble Sanchez, a special agent for the INS.
Mr. Ehlers. Mr. Humble Sanchez, would you please raise your right hand?
Mr. Ehlers. Thank you. You may proceed.
TESTIMONY OF JAMES HUMBLE SANCHEZ, SPECIAL AGENT, IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION SERVICE
Mr. Hart. Mr. Sanchez, what is your present occupation?
Mr. Sanchez. I am a special agent with the INS, I am assigned to the Los Angeles District Office.
Mr. Hart. And how long have you been with the INS?
Mr. Sanchez. Going on 10 years now.
Mr. Hart. Would you say that you are very familiar with their databases that retain information on persons who the INS is interested in maintaining information on?
Mr. Sanchez. Yes, I have used their databases on a daily basis.
Mr. Hart. Now Contestant Robert Dornan served on the INS a subpoena earlier that sought various data information from the INS and there has been some question here in this hearing as to how accurate those databases are, if we were to run them in a very comprehensive way against the list of persons who voted in the 46th District. Have you heard that issue raised?
Mr. Sanchez. Yes, I have heard that testimony.
Mr. Hart. All right. And we asked in our subpoena for--and I have already mentioned these, so I am just going to touch on them because I know you know what the acronyms are--the NACS database, the NITS database, the CIS database, the AFACS database, the ASVI database, the CCAIMS database and the DATS database. Are you familiar with all of those?
Mr. Sanchez. Yes, I am.
Mr. Hart. And have you used all of those databases and are you familiar with their--generally familiar with their use and accuracy?
Mr. Sanchez. At one time or the other, I have.
Mr. Hart. Now I am going to ask you based on your experience, in the event that the Committee and we in a confidential setting had access to these databases and that they were run by experts like yourself and perhaps others at the INS against the voted tape, would this be of assistance to us in determining whether or not non-citizens voted in the District?
Mr. Sanchez. Yes, it would. We commonly use these databases to grant benefits, so their accuracy is to a level that the agency relies upon those databases.
Mr. Hart. Would you say that running those databases together or in sequence would pick up by far the vast majority of names of persons who might have voted as non-citizen registrants or voters in that District?
Mr. Sanchez. Yes, it would. The databases, most of them are not linked, they are not relational, they are flat file, but one or two of them are, so you would have to run almost all of them to be global or inclusive of all our records.
Mr. Hart. Thank you very much.
Now let me ask you this, does the INS work with so-called Cobs, or community based organizations, which are sort of outreach organizations in connection with citizenship classes and naturalization efforts?
Mr. Sanchez. Yes, they do.
Mr. Hart. And are some of those organizations Catholic Charities, One-Stop Immigration and the like?
Mr. Sanchez. Yes, they are.
Mr. Hart. And are those--to your knowledge, are those based in what is called the L.A. District, which includes Orange County?
Mr. Sanchez. Yes, they are.
Mr. Hart. And Hermandad is another one of those organizations?
Mr. Sanchez. Yes, it is.
Mr. Hart. Now, routinely does the INS provide information on--that you have at the INS, to these CBOs?
Mr. Sanchez. Yes, these CBOs are allowed to collect what had prior to this time been privacy right or FOIA information protected. So these outreach organizations have been allowed to collect that data and they are not subject to the same privacy right restrictions that INS would be. They can use these databases and they can use the information sheets without any restrictions that would apply to a government agency like INS.
Mr. Hart. So in the event the INS were to say, theoretically, that these databases were absolutely secure, that they are known only to the INS and that we cannot release this data, that would not be an accurate statement, correct?
Mr. Sanchez. No, it would not be accurate. A lot of the information that these community based organizations have collected is duplicated in our files, in our records, and they have a duplicate file in the hands of these private organizations.
Mr. Hart. And so if we sought by way of subpoena to these private organizations that are engaged in naturalization or citizenship classes, we would likely pick up one or more of those databases that were in their possession, correct?
Mr. Sanchez. Yes, you would. They most likely would be reflected in one of our databases.
Mr. Hart. So that would be a good cross check between the databases, one that was with the CBO and then one with the INS.
Mr. Sanchez. Yes, it would be.
Mr. Hart. There has been some testimony--I will jump for a moment--there has been some testimony here about the 69 voters that we have described as probable non-citizen voters in the 46th District that were identified by the Secretary of State as the following: foreign-born persons without any record at the INS. Now I want you to assume that they are Hermandad registrants; that is, persons Hermandad registered, who were taking citizenship classes within Hermandad at that time. What would be the most likely, most probable explanation for such a person?
Mr. Sanchez. That they are illegal aliens or possible resident aliens that are not reflected in our databases.
Mr. Hart. Okay, fine. But either way, they would be an alien.
Mr. Sanchez. They would be an alien.
Mr. Hart. All right. Now with regard to that issue, has it come to your attention that from time to time, you have learned that persons who are here, and I will call them undocumented aliens as opposed to documented aliens. If they were documented, they would be in the INS database, right?
Mr. Sanchez. Yes, they should be.
Mr. Hart. By definition.
Mr. Sanchez. Right.
Mr. Hart. But if they are undocumented, they would not be, correct?
Mr. Sanchez. True.
Mr. Hart. And that is where we see that NR on those records, which is no record.
Mr. Sanchez. Right. That means that the information that was given on that check, we did not come up with a conclusive hit.
Mr. Hart. Even cross checking databases.
Mr. Sanchez. I do not know if you got a cross checking on the databases. I do not think, from what was given earlier by Mr. Rogers, the District Director, it does not look like they cross checked the indexes.
Mr. Hart. Okay. Now with regard to that situation, and I am speaking of the 69 probable undocumented persons, have you heard of undocumented people going through citizenship classes or attending citizenship classes with these CBO groups?
Mr. Sanchez. I have heard of it. The examiners that I have talked to or the adjudicators that I have interviewed, said that they believe it had been taking place.
Mr. Hart. I have no further questions, thank you very much. Thank you, Mr. Sanchez.
Mr. Schroeder. Good afternoon.
There are two areas that I want to devote the remaining time that we have. One is ways in which I believe this evidence needs to be evaluated and considered, or what we would respectfully suggest the Committee ought to look at, and the second is to respond to some of the points that were made by Mr. Aitken and Ms. Sanchez.
The Committee is obviously faced with a difficult task and one of the problems whenever you deal with this situation is at the end of the day you still do not have complete information. There will always be gray areas and ambiguities and at least at some level, the Committee is going to be forced to weigh the issues of fairness and it is going to be forced to decide between the competing testimony who should be given more weight and who is more credible. And it is in that light that I raise--I am going to raise a series of issues and then make responses.
It is the law in the state of California and I believe across the country that you do not have to live in a Congressional District to run in it. It is usually preferable, but it is not a requirement. It is not, however, the law, at least in the state of California, that you may vote in a district on an improper registration. In order for a vote to be properly counted, it has to be based on a proper registration, not an inaccurate or perjured affidavit.
In this case, and we have documented it at some length in the binder book that we turned in, there are two votes that at a minimum should not be counted in this election. And that is Loretta Sanchez and her husband, Steven Brixey. And the reason is, is that they registered to vote at 2206 Center Street in Anaheim. And if you look at Tabs 44 and 49_and I have had some problems properly identifying my tabs, but I think those are the correct ones--you will see both of their registration seats and an indication that they both registered at those residences. If you will then take a look at Tab 46, you will see the home in Los Angeles County, where they actually live. Now, they certified under penalty of perjury that in fact they lived at 2206 Center Street and therefore were entitled to vote in the district. Now why are we so sure that she has not lived there. Oh, there we go, let us take a look here.
Mr. Schroeder. Why are we so sure that Loretta Sanchez lives in Los Angeles County rather than in Orange County? My co-counsel has corrected me, I misread the card. The 2206 Center Street was the prior address--it is 12422 Woodbridge in Garden Grove. Well, the reason is, is that we had an investigator interview the neighbors and we subpoenaed the utility bills. Now the utility bills disclose that enough gas was used in that house to run the pilot light and that it is, enough electricity was used to run the clocks, and that is essentially it. And those items are documented in our papers, and the only phone listing is in fact in Los Angeles County. There is no phone listing in Orange County. And those phone listings are documented.
So, there is a maxim in the law that when you ask a body, be it judicial or quasi-judicial, to do justice and to do equity, you should come with clean hands. And in this case that is not what we have here. We have two votes at the very least that need to be disallowed, and they are the Contestee's and her husband's.
Now, let us look at the positions that have been set forth to the Committee. One is they came to the Committee and looked you all in the eyes and said that we have been sending subpoenas out to a variety of different groups, including fire departments and Vietnamese citizen groups and all kinds of other groups. The problem with all that is that it is a complete lie--it is not true. The Committee has copies of all of our subpoenas and they know that that is not true.
You have also been told that our papers indicate some sort of conduct relating to raiding trash cans, looking in windows, standing in doorways; and of course, that is all preposterous, it is not true.
And when you decide what weight to give to the rest of--the other testimony, keep in mind that they came in and they said that and it is in fact a lie.
Now they also came in and presented what has essentially been their position for quite some time, which is that there simply is no evidence. Well, no reasonable person believes that any more. The fact of the matter is, there clearly is evidence and while I somewhat shudder to try to engage in talking about percentages in light of what happened to opposing counsel, I believe that the margin of victory in this race was approximately nine-tenths of one percent. So when they talk about three-tenths of one percent as being something that should be ignored and insignificant, the very preliminary indications already documented somewhere between 30 to 40 percent of the total margin of victory. So it is very, very significant.
And Loretta Sanchez says she does not know if a .5 percent fraud rate is acceptable. She will defer to the Registrar. Well, I think everybody in this room know the answer to that question except Loretta Sanchez. And that is, in this race, .5 percent--and I admit I am a history major, but I am going to make a leap--I believe that is 500 votes. And I think 500 people engaging in fraud is a lot of fraud, and I think everybody else in this room does too. And I think that is an unacceptable level.
Now, another thing that was suggested is that all of the registrations that Hermandad engaged in have been gone through. That is not true. The fact is that we only know of the cards that Hermandad checked out in their own name. And the fact of the matter is you do not have to check out cards in your own name, you can pick them up at the DMV or the post office, they are not checked out at all. We also know that 12,000 people were registered_sorry_12,000 people went through Hermandad's citizenship classes in the last two years. It is quite possible that all of them were registered. We do not know that, we will not know until the INS does what we all need to have them do so we can get this matter resolved. But it is possible that they were all registered and they all voted and there would not be cards checked out. In fact, if you look at the return to search warrant affidavit, there is indications of cards that in fact were not checked out in Hermandad's name, they were checked out in Nativo Lopez' name, they were checked out in his wife's name, they were checked out in employee's names. The only way we are going to know for sure is if we run the list.
One of the other points that was made is well, you know, we have not gathered all of the evidence, we have not talked to every single person who was possibly engaged in voter fraud. Well, let me read something to the Committee. It is short, but I think it bears hearing.
Hermandad put out a piece into the 46th Congressional District saying, ``Last week we advised the people of our community to refuse to answer any questions from anyone regarding the election, and we offered to obtain legal representation for anyone in the Latino community who felt he or she was being threatened or intimidated.'' That is right. We have had trouble talking to some of the people in the District, and the reason is Nativo Lopez and Loretta Sanchez have been doing everything they can to convince people not to talk to us. In light of that, it is not surprising that there are some people in the District that we have been able to talk to. In addition, Loretta Sanchez' chief of staff, Steve Jost has been very public in the papers indicating that he has contacted people that have received the subpoenas and told them not to comply with the subpoenas.
Let us talk about this 81 percent error rate, or whatever the heck they are talking about. First off, you are being asked to weigh the credibility of, on the one hand, the Secretary of State, the INS and the District Attorney; on the other hand, Loretta Sanchez and her supporters, on this issue of voter fraud. The fact is if you talk to--they claim they talked to seven people essentially and six of them did not come out right, and therefore, we can dismiss the entire thing. That is not true, that does not make any sense. The Committee has the clear things from the government agencies as to what happened.
The final thing that I want to cover on the evidence is that it has been suggested to this Committee that it is somehow acceptable to register to vote when you are a non-citizen, even though that is felony behavior and I do not think anyone can contest that it is felony behavior. And then your vote should be allowed later.
Well, if you look at Tab 3, there is an actual registration card and it has been suggested that there might be an ambiguity because there is a thing about registering before you are 18, as long as you will be 18 on election day. Well, it is not ambiguous. If you look in the upper right-hand corner of that registration card, it says, ``I will be,'' in other words, in the future, ``at least 18 years old on or before the next election, I am not in prison...'' and then skip down to the next--oh, and it says, ``I am a U.S. citizen,'' present tense. There is no ambiguity in those and I think the suggestion that people could engage in the conduct of coming into the electoral system by committing a felony, and that those should be votes that we accept in this election, I think is absolutely outrageous.
I mean the thing that has been missing here from the start is any kind of a statement by Loretta Sanchez that this kind of conduct is improper or any kind of support for getting to the bottom of this thing. The fact is that this election was tampered with, it cuts to the heart of our system. She should have the same concerns that we do about it and we should get on to either having a new election or having the results overturned.
I very much thank the Committee for the time and attention.
Mr. Ehlers. Mr. Dornan.
TESTIMONY OF ROBERT K. DORNAN, FORMER CONGRESSMAN FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Mr. Dornan. Mr. Chairman, I just wanted to briefly make a close today. I am very proud of my lawyers. They were up against a lot of stonewalling in November and December and still to this day, and they threw out a broad net trying to, all of us, get first an M.A. and then a Ph.D. in post-election shenanigans and in voter fraud. I do not think there are four people in this room--not four--discounting your staff who studied the election, and Ms. Lever and her team and the lawyers--that know the following facts that I am going to present to you. Nobody in the media knows it, nobody.
Mrs. Sanchez' rented apartment that was just discussed and her still open campaign headquarters and her federal headquarters are all in Garden Grove, where I have paid a mortgage, I repeat, for 13 years. I carried Garden Grove by three thousand, almost four hundred votes, almost 3400 votes.
She said she went to grade school here, out of the district, in northern Anaheim, and high school, out of the district, in northern Anaheim. And if that is her hometown, and she changed her name, dropped her married name, to win her hometown, which is her answer, well is it not funny that I won Anaheim, by 1344 votes. I won every single precinct in the parts of other cities we have, Orange, Tustin--those Marines all did vote for me at the helicopter base_ and Fountain Valley. I won all of the unincorporated areas and I won all of the mail-in absentees, by Ms. Lever's count, on election night. Now if I had been in Pennsylvania, that would have been it because they count everything on election night. That is why our colleague, John Fox, won with ten votes on election night and it stayed, went up to 100 or something.
And then I asked Ms. Lever to please separate the walk-in absentees from the mail-in absentees. She said I cannot, we have already blended them. But it turns out I won all--I won the majority of the mail-in absentees that came in on Monday and on election day up until poll closing.
Where did I lose this, if I carried a third of Santa Ana also? I lost it in the precincts right around this building and I lost it by 5-to-1, 6-to-1, 7-to-1, 8-to-1 and I have found areas where there was a 400 to 500 or higher percent increase in walk-in absentee ballots. Now walk-in absentee ballots are not even allowed in Pennsylvania and some other states. If you are in town on election day and you are not in a hospital or incapacitated and you are not out of town--if you are seen in town, your ballot is discounted, your absentee ballot. I will bet even Ros Lever would like to that that law passed in California. If you walk in, they take your absentee ballot away from you, void it and say go vote in the booth, which is not much to ask of a citizen.
And I have looked at your laws in Maryland, in Ohio and Michigan, and by recent count, I would still be the Congressman in 11 of our states--Florida, Connecticut, Utah, whole bunch of them, because of the looseness of our process that you have already found remarkable, Mr. Chairman.
So when I look at the walk-in absentee ballots and then think of my declaring victory on election night, tight, by 233 votes, and it held for eight days. Ms. Lever told my staff two days after the election, Congressman Dornan will prevail, we have never had that high a race ever turned on absentee ballots. And that is what I thought, because in nine prior elections I went up over a full percentage point, thousands of votes, after election. But now we have these white and blue motor voters that she is patiently trying to explain to me after the election, and these walk-in absentee ballots.
And where did this lie come from about Nicaraguan drug lords? Who dreamed that up, Yo-Yo Jost? Where did that lie come from?
What Ms. Sanchez said was that a group called Neighbor-to-Neighbor organized 500 troops--that was her word, troops--to squeeze out these walk-in absentees on election day, and we have discovered the perfect crime. Do not write brother-in-law on it or uncle or friend down the block or cousin--just do not write anything on it. Commit a felony, walk in with somebody else's absentee ballot with their signature or one that is forged on it, and turn it in, but do not have two signatures on it, and you have committed the perfect crime.
So I just wanted to get it straight that out of the precincts--and you have a different count, you have combined precincts--by your precinct book readout, I won 134 precincts, I took that Tide one in the recount--and she won 105. So if this was an electoral college thing, I would still be the congressman. I am not moving to where my mother grew up in Wilkes-Barre, I am going to stay here and fight, and then I may end up on broadcasting and you will all guest on my show, if I do not prevail. But I think I am going to prevail, because one group--Mexican Brotherhood, is one group, and all the other groups like the one that Ms. Brixey said she met with, Southwest Voter Project, they are going to come up with the same numbers--you watch.
Mr. Ehlers. The time has expired. We will now turn to the question period. There will be five minutes per member for questions.
Mr. Schroeder, would you return to the stand, please?
You made the comment, Mr. Schroeder, that Ms. Sanchez and her husband have registered to vote in this district but do not reside in this district. I wonder if you could explain, for the benefit of the panel, the nature of the residency requirements for registering to vote in the state of California. And let me just give you an example. In Michigan because of property tax rebates by the state and lower property taxes for your residence as opposed to other property that you own, we are required to list a principal residence upon which we get the property tax reduction. And that is also the same residence that we would have to use or should have to use for the registration address for voting purposes. Is there anything similar in California? Is there a definition in state law of the residence you have to have for your voting purposes?
Mr. Schroeder. The definition in California, I think--I am not familiar with the laws in your state, but it sounds like they are different. And the reason is that the test in California, they do not call it principal residence, the test is domicile. And domicile is--and my co-counsel was good enough to grab the statute for me and it is Section 349 of the Elections Code, and it says, ``The domicile of the person is that place in which his or her habitation is fixed, wherein the person has an intention of remaining and to which whenever she is absent, the person has intention of returning.'' That is the--``and at a given time, a person may have only one domicile.'' That is Section 349 of the Elections Code. And that is the definition.
Now in this case--so you cannot simply pick a place out of the air that you do not live in, that you have never lived in and you do not have any intention of living in. And in this case, we went to some degree of effort before we were willing to make this claim, to in fact document that she simply does not live there and never has.
Mr. Ehlers. All right. Now you have explained what under California law constitutes domicile. Does the election law state that that has to be the address from which you register to vote?
Mr. Schroeder. Absolutely. In fact, in this county--as a result of an election here, there was a woman who was prosecuted for two felonies for exactly that issue, because she registered at a location which the District Attorney did not feel that she had sufficient connection with. And you cannot list as your residence--you have to list, because you are doing it under penalty of perjury in your affidavit, you have to accurately list your residence or the registration is no good.
Mr. Ehlers. Are there other laws governing residence or relating to residence? For example, do you have city income taxes here whereby you have to claim a principal residence for purposes of taxation?
Mr. Schroeder. In California, at least fortunately because we are largely a Republican state, we do not have city income taxes. We have other things like property taxes and you do get an exemption for your principal residence there. That is one of the things we hope to learn more about if Ms. Sanchez actually honors the subpoena that she has been served with, at some point, and shows up, we certainly intend to ask her what place she claimed as her principal residence for tax purposes. But there are no city income taxes.
Mr. Ehlers. But there is something in other tax law by which you define your principal residence.
Mr. Schroeder. Yes, sir, there is.
Mr. Ehlers. Fine. I have no further questions at this time. I will reserve the balance of my time and turn to the gentleman from Maryland.
Mr. Hoyer. The law in California, Mr. Schroeder, is, am I correct, that if Ms. Schroeder tells you now that her domicile is at the address that she states, that is conclusively presumed under California law to be her domicile, is it not?
Mr. Schroeder. It is conclusively presumed for the purpose of running for the office. There is no exempt there that allows you to commit perjury, because you are signing under penalty of perjury as to what your residence is for the purpose of voting. And there is a difference between those. There is a difference between what you are presumed to do for the purposes of holding the office versus the purpose--
Mr. Hoyer. Mr. Schroeder, without being convoluted, I understand what you are saying. The fact of the matter is you have to be domiciled in the place where you vote, correct?
Mr. Schroeder. Yes.
Mr. Hoyer. Secondly, you brought this issue up, I take it, within the last 60 days. I know it was a campaign issue.
Mr. Schroeder. Well, I was not at all involved in the campaign, unlike Mr. Aitken, but it certainly_
Mr. Hoyer. You are Chairman of the Republican Party of the state of California, Mr. Schroeder?
Mr. Schroeder. I am now, I was not at the time of the election. But I was not involved in this particular campaign.
Mr. Hoyer. Did you get to be Chairman by being uninvolved in elections?
Mr. Schroeder. No.
Mr. Hoyer. That is a unique selection.
Mr. Schroeder. I got there by being somewhat selective in which ones I did get involved in.
Mr. Hoyer. I gotcha.
Mr. Hoyer. My point is, the Chairman asked you are there other laws. As I understand it, 2026, Section 2026 of the California Code makes it a conclusive presumption; if Ms. Sanchez, Congresswoman Sanchez, tells you she is domiciled at X address, the law says she is domiciled at X addressed; does it not?
Mr. Schroeder. But I have the section right in front of me, as I_
Mr. Hoyer. Does it say that?
Mr. Schroeder. As I indicated to you before,--
Mr. Hoyer. Clear and unambiguously as you referred to the voter registration form?
Mr. Schroeder. I interpret it differently than you do, with all due respect, sir. I interpret--and my understanding of this section is that has to do with the conclusive presumption for the purposes of running for office. Because otherwise, as soon as you are elected, you have two residences and someone could always say well, you know, you really live in Washington rather than living in California. Or if you are a legislator, you really live in Sacramento rather than living in your district. That is my understanding of the section. And it certainly does not have an exemption in there for perjury. In other words, it does not make you immune from perjury if in fact you lied, and in fact you do not live there.
Mr. Hoyer. What it says is you cannot lie, it says if you say this, that is the truth. That is what it says, pretty clearly to me.
Mr. Schroeder. I understand.
Mr. Hoyer. It says ``conclusively presumed.''
Mr. Schroeder. I understand your position, sir.
Mr. Hoyer. Conclusively--I do not want to quibble with you, conclusively means you cannot say nay.
Mr. Schroeder. Right. I just understand that you are deemed not to have lied even though you did, for the purposes of running for office, not for the purposes of registering.
Mr. Hoyer. I understand. I have no further questions.
Mr. Schroeder. Thank you.
Mr. Ehlers. The gentleman from Ohio, Mr. Ney.
Mr. Ney. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have a question of Mr. Sanchez.
Mr. Ehlers. Just a clarification, Mr. Hoyer did not yield back his time. He reserved the balance of his time.
Mr. Ney. Thank you. The question I had was concerning a phrase I think you used, ``flat filed.''
Mr. Sanchez. Yes, a flat file database, sir.
Mr. Ney. Could you just briefly go over how that works. And the angle I was interested in was the fact that you had stated--and I forget all the acronisms that were used, but you could not just pick out one, you needed all of those different types of categories to comprehensively look at it. In other words, it was not just one tape, you needed all of them, I think that was your statement. Could you just explain that a little bit for us?
Mr. Sanchez. Well, the office of Information Resource Management, which describes all our databases, for the purpose of adjudications, which is where the databases are that contain the information on naturalization, we have 33 related--we have 33 databases, of which about six are critical that would contain the information that would determine alienage or citizenship. And those databases are not related. And by related means, normally if you make a change in one relational database, it makes changes across the board to the other databases. That is not the case with INS. I only think a very minor few are related, so that a change in one is represented in changes in others. So it is possible to have an individual or an alien in one database and actually in five, six different databases, duplications of the same person.
Like, we have got people that we have naturalized that we had under deportation orders; in other words, warrants of arrest, and we naturalized them. We have people that we naturalized that we had outstanding federal warrants. And we have people that had state, county and city warrants, but because the citizenship process was so flawed and because there are different databases that were not relational, you could have one represented in a deportation database where we have a warrant for them but in fact we have also got them in a naturalization database where we actually gave them citizenship.
Mr. Ney. So you would have to go through every database.
Mr. Sanchez. Well, not every one of them. Some of the databases that we use in the adjudications branch are more of the oddity in purpose. They are--not necessarily are they going to contain distinct information, but of the 33, there is at least six that I would call key databases that are going to contain the information. One would be the naturalization, but then again we also have the deportation. If someone has an outstanding deportation order, then obviously that person is an alien. We try and not make a practice of deporting citizens.
Mr. Ney. That is good. I appreciate your time, thank you.
Mr. Sanchez. I just would like to make one clarification. The testimony today was very succinct that we do not want to tolerate fraud in the election process, but nobody seems to be as concerned with fraud in the naturalization process. The naturalization process by which we made these individuals citizens is severely flawed, it is somewhere around eight and ten percent. But once they become citizens, everybody seems to be concerned that we want a zero tolerance there. Why do we not have a zero tolerance when we make them citizens? Thank you.
Mr. Ney. I would just respond that the task of the Committee, of course_
Mr. Sanchez. I understand it is outside of it, but I think that it is related.
Mr. Ney. I understand what you are saying, you made your point.
Mr. Sanchez. And I am sorry to--but I think that point needed to be made.
Mr. Ney. Oh, I appreciate you making the point.
In closing, Mr. Chairman, I just also wanted to note I was looking at one of the forms for voter registration and this whole question of citizen and when you note on the form at the bottom, nobody has stated today at least, it says at the bottom, another check point, ``Are you a U.S. citizen?'' You answer yes or no, you check at the bottom. So unless I am reading it wrong, at that point in time when you are filling this out, beyond what everybody has stated about the top portion, at the bottom, you look at it and it says, ``Are you a U.S. citizen?'' which would be at that point in time you check one of the two of them.
Mr. Ehlers. Thank you, Mr. Ney. And just a point of clarification to Mr. Humble Sanchez. Congress is well aware of the point you raised and although it is not in the jurisdiction of this group, it is being studied by the Committee that does have jurisdiction. I know from personal conversations they are very concerned about it and plan to pursue it. So I just wanted to reassure you on that score.
Mr. Sanchez. Thank you.
Mr. Hart. Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, thank you very, very much; the Contestant has concluded our presentation today and we very, very much appreciate your time and attention. Thank you.
Mr. Dornan. Thirty seconds.
Mr. Ehlers. Ten seconds, Mr. Dornan.
Mr. Dornan. All right, it is important. I can say it in ten seconds.
Mr. Aitken, the lead attorney, said all these people should be prosecuted. I called for amnesty four months ago. These people, innocent people, struggling for that dream to become citizens, have been misled and had their citizenship jeopardized. We do not want any part of prosecuting people unless it is shown that it is willful and deliberate.
Mr. Ehlers. The gentleman's time has expired.
Mr. Ehlers. Mr. Hoyer, did you wish to reclaim the time that you have not used?
Mr. Hoyer. No.
Mr. Ehlers. We will next proceed to the response by the Contestee for 30 minutes, followed by questions, five minutes per member.
TESTIMONY BY WYLIE A. AITKEN, ATTORNEY FOR CONGRESSWOMAN LORETTA SANCHEZ
Mr. Aitken. I would just like to quickly respond on the last point. I said if criminal activity is discovered, those individuals should be prosecuted. I certainly have never suggested that anyone who mistakenly or otherwise did not understand the process should be prosecuted. So hopefully I think the record will be quite clear on that point.
I would like to also at this point turn it over to my co-counsel, Mr. Woocher, who is going to present one of the witnesses we have here for the benefit of the Committee.
Mr. Ehlers. Mr. Woocher.
Mr. Ehlers. Thank you, you may proceed.
TESTIMONY OF FRED WOOCHER, ATTORNEY FOR CONGRESSWOMAN LORETTA SANCHEZ
Mr. Woocher. For the record, my name is Fred Woocher.
There are two issues that I want to address. One is, I want to just introduce another witness and I am quite confident I am not committing any perjury in just announcing somebody else's name here. But I will also be sworn because I am going to try and clarify what investigation we have done with respect to this 303 number and clarify where that number comes from.
But first, what I would like to do is introduce to the panel and call as our witness, and he can speak for himself, Tony Miller, who you have heard about. He is the former acting Secretary of State, he has many years in that office as Chief Deputy Secretary of State, General Counsel, Secretary of State's office. He has addressed, through his experience, two issues that are of particular relevance here, that we have asked him to talk to the Committee about. One is the question of whether it is feasible to perform a match between the voter registration records and the INS records and what experience he has had from personal experience in his office on that. And the second is this whole legal question, he is an attorney and as I say he was general counsel in the Secretary of State's office, he is quite familiar with the law in this area, has performed an analysis which I think he has submitted to the Committee in writing, dealing with the issue of whether or not people who were not citizens at the time they registered to vote, but were in fact citizens at the time they voted and were in fact on the voter rolls at the time they voted, should have their votes counted, or whether under California law, those are votes which need to be disqualified either in election context or in some other context. So at this point, I would like to introduce Mr. Miller and have him address the Committee.
Mr. Ehlers. Thank you, you may proceed.
TESTIMONY OF TONY MILLER, FORMER ACTING SECRETARY OF STATE, STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Mr. Miller. Mr. Chairman and members, my name is Tony Miller. I have submitted a prepared written statement, I trust that the Committee members have it. In the interest of time, I will cut directly to the chase and you do not have to hear me say all the wonderful things that I have done and how wonderful I am. You can read it for yourself in the prepared written statement.
Mr. Hoyer. We will accept it for the record, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Miller. Thank you.
Mr. Woocher. So stipulated.
Mr. Miller. It has been asserted repeatedly today that votes cast by United States citizens are invalid and cannot be counted if the citizen registered to vote prior to completing the citizenship process. That is, in my view, in all likelihood an incorrect reading of California law. That is set forth in the legal opinion which I have prepared--apparently it is the only one that exists. The Secretary of State does not have a legal analysis, the District Attorney does not--I do. And now you do.
In that opinion, it concludes that such a reading is contrary to the state Constitution, is not consistent with the Elections Code, would violate the United States Constitution and is contrary to case law and judicial practices in this area.
First--and I am just summarizing the points, you can read them in the legal memo in detail. First, eligibility to vote in California is governed by_
Mr. Ney. Mr. Chairman, I really do not mean to interrupt, but is this something that is before us, that the gentleman is quoting?
Voice. The staff has it.
Mr. Ney. We do not have it.
Mr. Miller. I apologize to the members, I assumed that you had it.
Mr. Ney. We do not have it, I just wanted to let you know that. Thank you.
Mr. Miller. Now that we are all on the same page. first, eligibility to vote in California is governed by Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution in California, which provides that a United States citizen, 18 years of age and a resident in this state may vote. Although the legislature is clearly authorized to add a residency definition and a procedure for registration, the legislature may not diminish the right of United States citizens to vote at an election if they are otherwise qualified to vote.
Secondly, the Elections Code itself, Section 2101, defines eligibility in terms of the requirements set forth in the State Constitution that I just mentioned and specifically speaks in future terms, ``at the time of the next election.'' Now that section should be read so as to harmonize with the Constitution of California, which requires citizenship only at the time of voting, not at the time of registration. And significantly, the challenge provisions in the Elections Code, if you want to challenge somebody at the polling place, that challenge with respect to non-citizenship is directed at the time of voting, not at the time of registration. You cannot challenge an individual saying were you a citizen at the time that you registered, only are you a United States citizen, at that point in time. And that is the Elections Code.
Thirdly, in terms of the United States Constitutional analysis, there is no basis, compelling or otherwise--compelling or otherwise--in my view, to deny United States citizens the right to vote, based upon their status at the time of registration. All individuals may be required to register to vote, clearly that is a part of preventing fraud. But registration itself cannot be utilized as a barrier to prevent eligible citizens from voting in California. A blanket denial of the right to vote with respect to all citizens who do not complete their citizenship process prior to the election is, in my view, contrary to the Constitution.
Fourth, if it is determined that only citizens may lawfully register to vote, that does not mean that the votes of citizens who registered in good faith before completing the citizenship process should be summarily discarded. State courts have routinely provided that one need not complete every detail with respect to their registration process, to have a vote counted, if the registrant is in fact eligible to vote based upon the Constitutional requirements, which are limited to citizenship, age and residency.
Here, the purpose of the registration requirement is to help ensure that the Constitutional eligibility requirements have been satisfied. Where an individual has in fact complied with those requirements, a deficiency in the registration does not make the individual's vote invalid. And there are repeated cases on that point cited in the brief submitted to you.
The bottom line with respect to this issue, new citizens should not be treated as second class citizens. If they have registered to vote and if they are United States citizens at the time they vote, their votes should be counted, like every other United States citizen's vote.
Switching to the other issue, the reliance on INS records to determine citizenship status. Admittedly, it is tempting to look to the INS to verify citizenship status of registered voters. It was a project that I explored extensively in 1994 when I was acting Secretary of State of California, the same year that I set up an investigative unit with respect to seeking out and preventing voter fraud, an infrastructure on which the Secretary of State currently relies upon, to his credit.
In any case, when I looked at the INS project, I saw this as a way to determine whether or not there was a problem with respect to non-citizens voting in California. And we engaged in numerous conversations with INS officials in Sacramento and San Francisco and in Washington, about matching registration files against INS files. The project was abandoned, however, when it became obvious that the INS tapes were outdated, contained considerable erroneous information and lacked a unique identifier that could be matched against voter registration records. We were advised that an attempt to match would yield unreliable results. On the one hand, it would miss those who had never had any contact with INS; on the other hand, it would produce a significant number of false positives. We were advised that tentative matches may or may not be the same individuals and that in any case, the individual may or may not be a citizen. The attempted match would only be a starting point to a lengthy, labor-intensive investigative process that would require making actual contact with large numbers of registered voters. And we believed that such investigation would inappropriately intimidate voters, unconstitutionally target naturalized citizens for special scrutiny and chill voter participation. We abandoned the project, to our credit.
These experiences led me to believe at that time, and continues to lead me to believe at this time, that unless the INS records have been improved considerably, any reliance upon them to determine citizenship status is simply fraught with peril and what you are going to have to do is put on your gumshoes, if you get such a purported match, and start knocking on doors, because that is the only way you are going to find out whether or not these individuals are citizens or not.
[The statement of Mr. Miller follows:]
********** INSERT **********
TESTIMONY OF FRED WOOCHER, ATTORNEY FOR CONGRESSWOMAN LORETTA SANCHEZ
Mr. Woocher. Thank you, Mr. Miller.
Picking up on one of the points that Mr. Miller referred to, and that is, the reliability of the INS records, it was discussed earlier by counsel, and I will follow up on this right now, that we have in fact attempted to make some independent verification of the reliability of that information. Now the Committee ought to understand that up until now the only source of information that has been provided to the District Attorney's office and the Secretary of State's office and has been released publicly with respect to the citizenship status of the various Hermandad--did I do okay?
Ms. Sanchez. Yes.
Mr. Woocher. _Hermandad registrants, was based upon this fairly, as I understand it from Director Rogers' testimony, intensive checking of the INS databases, which included not just the electronic records, but paper records, which were then first placed on handwritten notation of a list of Hermandad registrants that had been provided to the DA and then to the INS by the Registrar's office, and then that was further apparently clarified, put onto a database and submitted in response to a subpoena request that had been issued by Mr. Dornan to the DA's office, and in response, they provided the 1160 list with the INS notations, which included various categories which the INS had come back to the District Attorney and the Secretary of State for each of the individuals, and a notation if they were naturalized, on what date they were naturalized, and then whether there was a record or no record, and then there is a number which we are calling no notation at all, that is it was a blank next to their name, which we have been told by the District Attorney and I think independently can be confirmed from INS, are people for whom the INS has supposedly found a record of that person, but not in the citizenship unit. And that is, a record that suggests that that person is a lawful resident alien, but not a citizen.
We have taken those numbers, we have added them up, found out how many of them voted based upon the Registrar's records of voting, and our categorizations conform generally to the numbers that the Secretary of State put out just recently, and that is that he had concluded that 303 were, in his view, non-citizens at the time they registered; another 69 there were no records for, but who were foreign-born, and that is the group that has been suggested that perhaps those are either illegal aliens or maybe, as Mr. Rogers suggested and we have suggested and our evidence has confirmed, they are in fact people for whom the INS just could not find their record or they are lawful U.S. citizens because they are children, foreign-born, of U.S. citizens.
So we went out, and if you look at the 303 number and you divide that up, right off the top, there are 124 that we found and that I think is clear from the records, were people who may not have been citizens at the time they registered, but were in fact citizens at the time they voted. And Mr. Miller has addressed the legal implications of that. We firmly believe that these are United States citizens who voted, we do not quite understand what the justification is for denying a vote, for disqualifying a vote and what public interest is served by disqualifying a vote whom everybody--from somebody whom everybody agrees was in fact a United States citizen at the time they voted and in fact was on the registration list.
There are three people--and so we believe that those were all legal. Of the remaining numbers, there were three who the INS showed were in fact naturalized, but within a week after the election, at least according to their records. There were 60 for whom the INS notated the list as showing that they were not naturalized and they were pending in the naturalization process and concluded that they were not citizens. There were 14 of the 18 people who were in the pending status review category, who showed foreign birthplaces, and we assume that those are also included in the category, the INS has included them in the category of those who are not naturalized, we assume that those are also in the Secretary of State's numbers. There was one person who was listed as having been denied citizenship and there are 108 other people with a no notation next to their name who were foreign-born, four others who in fact showed United States places of birth.
So we went out and tried to have some investigators in the short time we had contact the people whom the INS records claimed to have not been citizens. We visited a total of 68 out of what I believe is 182_and I know I am treading on thin ice here--but I think it is 68 of the total of 182 people who the INS said were not--whom their records either found no records or they deduced that they were not United States citizens, not counting the three who they said were subsequently naturalized, but after the election. And I think that is approximately 38 percent of the total number of the Hermandad registrants that were on the INS list that they reported back on.
We found of those, 55 of the 68, fully 80 percent, were in fact United States citizens at the time they voted. And these were people who showed us their naturalization certificates. We have some pictures, I believe, of these people proudly showing their naturalization certificates. Many of them did not want to actually show us the certificate. They were afraid of doing so, of releasing it, but they confirmed the date of naturalization as well. I will tell you that of the 55, 32 of them had dates of naturalization prior to registration and another 23 were naturalized prior to voting.
From this, we have concluded that you just cannot trust these INS records. If this error rate is so huge--what we will do--in that we have not had the opportunity to do this in the time prior to the hearing, we will provide this by the close of the testimony with the names of these people so that they can be independently verified by anybody who wants. And we will continue our efforts to determine how many more people are out there that fall into those categories.
But we then extrapolated from the 38 percent that we visited to the entire sample and that is how we have come up with the conclusion that there is a maximum of 70 individuals who voted in this election who had been registered by Hermandad who were not citizens at the time they voted and whose votes could be determined to be illegal.
At this point, I will let Mr. Aitken resume the presentation and respond to some of the issues that have arisen in the other testimony.
TESTIMONY OF WYLIE A. AITKEN, ATTORNEY FOR CONGRESSWOMAN LORETTA SANCHEZ
Mr. Aitken. Quickly, on a couple of the witnesses that we have heard from, we will be filing some documents with the Committee. But I would just ask the Committee to look at the timing involved with the gentleman who testified regarding his conversation with Mr. Hernandez. At the time, apparently, the only thing we know about when the date was that his wife had already completed and sent in her absentee ballot. That places her within a time frame close to the election when Mr. Hernandez clearly had been gone from the Sanchez campaign for almost a two-month period. So again, it is another desperate attempt to somehow connect Congresswoman Sanchez with what is appropriately looked upon as inappropriate conduct. I can also tell the Committee that unfortunately Mr. Hernandez is not in the county at this time, but he is coming back from vacation and we will file the declarations. We have talked to him personally and he denies the statements and we will file that with the court.
As to Mr. Sanchez, carefully look at all of his declarations he has filed with the Committee, and one will get an insight as to what his agenda is. I will let you look at those for yourself.
I am a little--I want to make one other reference, and again unfortunately--and I know that there has been a certain cutting edge to my voice today, but when I use--or deal with the changing facts on a hourly and minute-by-minute basis it is very frustrating. So, if I speak strongly and with a very cutting edge, I mean no disrespect to this Committee. But I cannot tell you how offended that I constantly get in dealing with this issue. For instance, Mr. Schroeder has just got up here a few minutes ago and said that Ms. Sanchez stood up here and said that they had subpoenaed various groups and he called that a lie. I have her written statement that she read into the record, which she did not say that they had subpoenaed each of those groups. She said very clearly in her statement lodged with the Committee that they had subpoenaed from the county the registration affidavits of all of those groups. So they are going through the registration affidavits of all of the affidavits checked out to the fire fighters, the teachers union, the Vietnamese community and the Roman Catholic Church. So that is what she clearly said, and to suggest that she lied is an absolutely, frankly, outrageous statement to say that in front of this Committee.
And, of course, now we have the other remaining issue and Ms. Sanchez is here to address that herself. But I would say, if you look at the chart over there we have--I know that Mr.--Chairman Ehlers has not been overly excited about some of the charts I have used here today, but we have a chart here. It is amazing to me that we would use this issue, because that is the chart that was done when Mr. Dornan ran for office in 1984 where he registered under oath at three different addresses within about a six-month period, two of which were--one was the Holiday Inn and the other was a business at a strip mall. Clearly not a place of his residence. And so, it is absolutely shocking that they would bring that issue up as a basis to somehow continue an investigation that we continue to urge the Committee is ill advised and not appropriate. I certainly have information about Ms. Sanchez' residence and she can talk to that issue directly. But let me tell you, when you look at those papers, you are going to see the kind of intrusion of privacy that has gone on involving the Congressman--Congresswoman, excuse me, a Representative from the 46th District. This is where they were going through trash cans. This is where they were going through mailboxes. And they have lists--they say it is reliable information. Look at that carefully. They did not get most of this information from subpoenas. There was only one single document produced by a subpoena. So when they got into all of these gas records and phone records, this information never came by way of a subpoena and never came by way of a deposition. So obviously, they got into her private records by some other devious way and that is the problem that we have been dealing with from day-one in dealing with this matter.
I would like to reintroduce to you the Congresswoman from the 46th District who can tell you a little bit about domicile and about Woodbridge and where she lives and the circumstances, of again, a situation where this Committee has watched Mr. Schroeder stand before you and literally accuse one of your colleagues of committing a crime and accusing her husband of committing a crime.
TESTIMONY OF LORETTA SANCHEZ, A MEMBER OF CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Ms. Sanchez. Unfortunately, Mr. Chairman, I was out of the room when some allegations were made as to where I domicile. And I would like to say that I do live in Garden Grove.
I also was told that Mr. Dornan made mention of the fact that I had discussed my schools when I told you about the area that you had come to visit and he mentioned that were in north Anaheim and that they were out of the district. Well, let me begin by saying that north Anaheim is in the 46th Congressional District.
Let me say that I went to Sunkist Elementary where about a third of the students who go to that school come from the 46th District. I went to Sycamore Junior High where about half of the students--and it is physically within the 46th District. And I went to Catella High School which sits on the wrong side of the street to be in the district, but to where over half of the students who go to Catella come from the 46th District. More importantly, my church--and I am a Catholic. I go to St. Anthony's Claret Church--sits in the 46th District. It is where I have received all of my sacraments, even permission to marry outside of the faith came from that church. And as Catholics, some of you will know, parochialism and where you sit and where you live is very important to the Catholic Church.
Previous to living in Garden Grove, I lived in Anaheim. I live in Garden Grove. It sits in the District. As you know, I go and vote Tuesday through Thursday or Friday to Washington, D.C. and I come back to 12422 Woodbridge in Garden Grove. It is a condominium. My staff goes and picks me up in the morning if I have an early meeting, and they come to my house in Garden Grove. Mr. Dornan tried to use this issue against me in the campaign. If he wishes to use that issue, it is just that, in the campaign. It should not be used in this hearing here. And that--and actually the voters voted him down when he tried to use that issue because he tried to say that I live in a home, my husband's childhood home that unfortunately my husband received through inheritance when his mother died of ovarian cancer two months after he and I were married. I do not appreciate, nor have I ever appreciated Mr. Dornan using that home against me in an election or otherwise. And I will tell you that I live in Garden Grove and I am very, very proud to represent the people of the 46th Congressional District.
Mr. Ehlers. We will maintain order.
Do you have further witnesses who wish to present other information?
Mr. Aitken. No. We will be glad to answer questions. We have no further witnesses and no further presentation. Thank you.
Mr. Ehlers. Thank you for the presentation.
Ms. Sanchez, since you have just been there, would you mind returning just for a few questions? I would like to ask a question about something--you know, you tried to explain to us earlier about--in response to questions, I believe, from Mr. Hoyer about how you had been at the door of someone and you explained to them how to vote for you but it was not an absentee ballot. It was_
Ms. Sanchez. No, sir, it was an 8-1/2 by 11 folded over.
Mr. Ehlers. All right. Now you mentioned several times that there was a reporter with you.
Ms. Sanchez. That is correct.
Mr. Ehlers. I just want to get on the record the name of the reporter in case we ever want to refer to that.
Ms. Sanchez. Dean Abragetti from the Register.
Mr. Ehlers. From the Orange County Register?
Ms. Sanchez. That is correct, sir.
Mr. Ehlers. All right. Thank you very much for that.
The issue about the home. I had heard about this, but I did not know any of the details, and I am still a little confused by the California situation. Have you ever resided in the home at 1624 Via Ariba?
Ms. Sanchez. Yes, sir, for about 11 months.
Mr. Ehlers. And when was that?
Ms. Sanchez. That was about 1992 or so.
Mr. Ehlers. So have you ever registered to vote from that house?
Ms. Sanchez. I believe so. Usually, I--as I move, I try to change my registration in anticipation of an election.
Mr. Ehlers. So you moved from there to Anaheim?
Ms. Sanchez. That is correct.
Mr. Ehlers. And from there to Garden Grove?
Ms. Sanchez. That is correct.
Mr. Ehlers. And in that sequence then?
Ms. Sanchez. That is correct.
Mr. Ehlers. All right. I appreciate that. I do not have any further questions for you.
Mr. Miller, would you take the stand, please?
How long were you in the Secretary of State's office? Were you a civil servant who moved up the ranks or were you a political appointee?
Mr. Miller. Actually, I started in the Secretary of State's office in 1976 as Chief Legal Counsel and I was not part of the civil service system. I was appointed by the then Secretary of State, Marge Fong Yu. As an exempt employee, exempt in civil service, I remained as Chief Counsel until actually 1994. But I, in 1981, also became Chief Deputy Secretary of State.
Mr. Ehlers. All right. So you had almost 20 years of service not as a civil servant but as an appointee who worked himself up the ranks?
Mr. Miller. That is correct.
Mr. Ehlers. And how did you become the acting Secretary of State?
Mr. Miller. The Secretary of State, Marge Fong Yu was appointed to serve the United States in the capacity of the Ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia and under California law, the Chief Deputy assumes the role of acting Secretary of State upon the departure of--
Mr. Ehlers. Oh, I see.
Mr. Miller. --the Secretary of State.
Mr. Ehlers. There is not a new election or appointment of a new Secretary of State then?
Mr. Miller. There can be, but there was none. And if there was no appointment, then the Chief Deputy continues to serve as acting Secretary of State.
Mr. Ehlers. And why did you leave now? I take it that you are not there anymore?
Mr. Miller. That is correct, thanks to the current Secretary of State, Bill Jones_
Mr. Miller. --who defeated me in an election in 1994 by 35,000 votes. Percentage-wise, closer than the one that is the subject of the contest here.
Mr. Ehlers. Did you file a contested election then?
Mr. Miller. I actually saw the handwriting on the wall the next day and called Mr. Jones and congratulated him on his election.
Mr. Ehlers. So a classic case of someone who worked in the ranks and made the mistake of getting into politics.
Mr. Ehlers. I have several questions for you. You have stated very strongly that you thought it was unconstitutional to say someone could not vote because they were not a citizen at the registration deadline.
Mr. Miller. And I say that largely in the context of the California Constitution. I think there is a strong argument also with respect to the U.S. Constitution, but under the terms of Article II, Section 2 of the State Constitution, I feel very strongly about it, having researched that issue.
Mr. Ehlers. Well, clarify for me then as someone who is not from California. In Michigan, the employees of the government are required to follow the laws and if they suspect something is unconstitutional, they have to get an opinion from the attorney general, but they have to follow the law until such time as either the attorney general or the courts rule that the law is unconstitutional. In California can you disobey a law simply because you believe it is unconstitutional?
Mr. Miller. No, in California there is a similar provision, it sounds, as the one in Michigan unless it is a matter of the U.S. Constitution and even state officials are bound by the U.S. Constitution.
Mr. Ehlers. No, everyone is bound by the Constitution. The question is what do you do in terms of enforcing the law until such time as either a court or an attorney general renders the opinion that the law is unconstitutional.
Mr. Miller. It is my view that with respect to the United States Constitution that the elected official or the government official is bound by that and must adhere to the U.S. Constitution. Notwithstanding any other provision, one does not have to wait until one is directed by the attorney general or by a state court or any other court, one must follow the U.S. Constitution.
Mr. Ehlers. By that, do you mean one's own interpretation of it or some legal
Mr. Miller. That is correct. One does the best job one can in terms of following one's beliefs.
Mr. Ehlers. How many cases of voter fraud did you prosecute or pursue while you were in office?
Mr. Miller. Over the course of the 20 years there were dozens of cases that were referred to local prosecutors. The secretary of state does not have the authority to prosecute.
Mr. Ehlers. I see.
Mr. Miller. He refers those cases. Actually over the course of the 20 years there were several hundred referred to district attorneys. The biggest fraud we had in California in my experience was in San Francisco when large numbers of persons were registered in San Francisco. At that time, one had to--in order to work for the city, had to be registered in the city. And we found a situation where a lot of employees of the city registered in San Francisco, in fact, lived outside the county and there were a number of fraud cases coming out of that--that circumstance. That is the biggest situation of which I am aware of voter fraud in California.
Mr. Ehlers. And when you were acting Attorney General, did you refer any such cases of fraud?
Mr. Miller. Acting Secretary of State.
Mr. Ehlers. I am sorry, acting Secretary of State.
Mr. Miller. Cases were referred to local prosecutors. As I indicated earlier, I created the voter fraud unit in the Secretary of State's office in 1994 so that the Secretary of State would have the investigative resources to follow up on allegations of fraud and actual fraud.
Mr. Ehlers. All right, thank you. No further questions. I realize my time has expired, but since I was generous with my colleagues in giving them a few minutes, I just want to ask one more question of Mr. Miller. Well, it is actually not a question, just a comment. You reviewed extensively databases and how the INS database is faulty. I would just observe, since as I mentioned earlier that I have dealt with computers for many years and am familiar with databases, that simply because a database is faulty does not mean that it is not useful. It can be a useful guide. It simply means that one has to be careful with the results that one obtains from the database and check them with another database or another reference before placing too much confidence in them. Would you agree that is a fair statement?
Mr. Miller. Yes, I would. And my only point with respect to that is, the data that one gets out of those databases, whether it be related, or flat, or whatever is a beginning step and that beginning step may be an important step in a long journey to ultimately find some answers. But you are going to have to take many steps before you reach that result. You are going to have to start knocking on doors and actually contacting people before you are going to know for sure whether the information you have received is accurate and that is what is a bit scary about that entire process.
Mr. Ehlers. That is correct, but I am just trying to establish a point. You started with the databases, and so, if Secretary of State Jones or the district attorney from here wants to pursue the case, they will also start with the INS databases, but then they will have to do some additional work to verify the accuracy of the database results, Am I interpreting you correctly?
Mr. Miller. That is correct. My experience is, you probably have a better chance of winning the Lotto in California than getting the right answers from the INS.
Mr. Ehlers. Well, I
Mr. Ehlers. --could argue that.
Mr. Ehlers. I do not know what the Lotto is like here, but in Michigan, you are seven times more likely to be struck by lightning that win the lottery. That does not prevent a lot of people from playing it. But I think that is totally inappropriate or inaccurate to compare using the INS database with the lottery. You certainly have better than a one in seven million chance of getting the right answer. The point that I am making is simply that is a starting point. It may narrow the investigation from 1.2 million down to 10,000 or so that you have to investigate because they do not match the computer. Then you start doing the legwork to find out which one is right and which information is correct.
All right, a very quick question for Ms. Lever. In reviewing various voter registration cards that have been presented to us in testimony today, there is a question at the top of the box that asks if a person is a citizen or not. The person must check yes or no. I have not seen any of them checked. What do you do with voter registration cards that come in without that question answered?
Ms. Lever. I do not work with the voter registration cards on a daily basis, but if the voter registration card is signed--that check-off box is relatively new on voter registrations. You can ask the Secretary of State as to when it actually got started because I cannot remember. But as long as that penalty of perjury statement is signed it is acceptable.
Mr. Ehlers. All right, interesting. Thank you very much.
Mr. Hoyer. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Miller, or Secretary Miller--
Mr. Miller. Could I--
Mr. Hoyer. I would rather have you stand up there. I do not know what the cameras are doing, but I want the answers--
Mr. Miller. They were clamoring for me to stay over there.
Mr. Hoyer. Well, you made a good judgment.
Mr. Hoyer. Mr. Secretary, I want to make it clear what you are saying. First of all, you are not saying, are you, that it is all right to lie on the form?
Mr. Miller. Absolutely not. I think the form itself is defective, it does not reflect current law in California. But I am not suggesting at all that a person read that form--it says I am a U.S. citizen and whatever--and ignore the facts. They must complete the form honestly.
Mr. Hoyer. Secondly, as I understand it, you are not saying that if they voted as a citizen, that we ought to forget about the fact that they misrepresented their citizenship status?
Mr. Miller. No, that is clearly a case for the district attorney to follow up on to determine whether or not there was criminal intent.
Mr. Hoyer. Mr. Secretary, would you agree with Congressman--former Congressman Dornan that those people may have believed honestly because they were going to be citizens in the near future, that it was all right to pursue that, and as Mr. Dornan has said, he was not, nor should anybody be going after those people? Would you agree with Mr. Dornan on that?
Mr. Miller. He is absolutely correct on that one point.
Mr. Hoyer. I asked it precisely.
Mr. Hoyer. Mr. Secretary, you were Secretary--in the Secretary of State's office for a long period of time, some 20-plus years?
Mr. Miller. Eighteen, I believe it was.
Mr. Hoyer. Contemporaneous with your 18 years of service, Ms. Lever was in the office here in Orange County. I take it, on some sort of basis, you had dealings with Ms. Lever, is that correct?
Mr. Miller. I had that pleasure on many occasions.
Mr. Hoyer. Now, I take it you had the opportunity to deal with election officials from throughout the state in your capacity as counsel and as acting Secretary of State, is that correct?
Mr. Miller. Yes, sir.
Mr. Hoyer. And can you characterize for me, as obviously an expert in this area, of how elections are run, Ms. Lever's performance?
Mr. Miller. She is very capable. She has good company. We are blessed with outstanding registrars and county clerks in California. She is actually one of the leaders of that august crowd however. She is a very active participant with respect to moving the elections processes forward in California, be it reforms or administrative actions. She is an outstanding registrar.
Mr. Hoyer. Now, you have heard the testimony Mrs. Lever has given today. As someone who has dealt with this election process for almost two decades, did the testimony that you heard reflect, from your perspective, an honest and accurate representation of how an honest election is run, given the fact that, as Ms. Sanchez said, mistakes are made? As Mr. Schroeder indicated, a tab here, a tab there, we all make mistakes. Would that be accurate?
Mr. Miller. That would be very accurate.
Mr. Hoyer. All right. Thank you, Mr. Miller. I appreciate it very much.
Mr. Miller. Thank you.
Mr. Hoyer. I might say that has been my experience, as I said earlier.
I guess, Mr. Woocher.
Mr. Woocher. I will not even ask their opinion on where I should be.
Mr. Hoyer. Terrific. A short learning curve, right?
Mr. Woocher. Exactly.
Mr. Hoyer. Ultimately, this is going to boil down to--after we get all of this rhetoric out of the way and all of this anger and the unfortunate--I want to say, political attacks, which I agree 100 percent with Ms. Sanchez, ought to be reserved to campaign. I know everybody has had trouble as to where they live. And frankly, I have been opposed by people who live outside my district, and I was elected to Congress living five blocks outside of my district. That is political campaign stuff. This is a serious case. We have this 303 votes that allegedly should not have been counted. That is a significant number. That is a third of what could make the difference, as was pointed out. I understand that and accept that. However, I want to say, Mr. Woocher, that I think that we have not dealt very specifically on all sides, which is somewhat troubling. I have always taken the position that the not-yet-credible evidence show me that the election was going to be reversed. But let us deal with the 303, and I want to make sure I understand what you are saying.
Of the 303, 124 of the 303, as I understand what you are saying, were citizens on November 5th?
Mr. Woocher. According to the INS' own records.
Mr. Hoyer. Does that mean--when you say that, what does that mean?
Mr. Woocher. That means--I am sorry. According to the printout that we have received, that the Secretary of State has received and the DA has received, of what the INS records show. That is_
Mr. Hoyer. That 124 names of the 303 names are shown by INS to have been citizens on November 5th?
Mr. Woocher. Right. They say U.S. citizen and they have a date of naturalization that is prior to November 5th.
Mr. Hoyer. Three were naturalized within a week thereafter. So they clearly were not citizens.
Mr. Woocher. Correct.
Mr. Hoyer. Sixty were pending naturalization. So they were not citizens. Fourteen foreign births, and of the 14 foreign births of U.S. citizens?
Mr. Woocher. No. There is a category called PSR, pending status review that is notated on that list.
Mr. Hoyer. Would it be fair to conclude that those 14 then were not citizens on November 5th?
Mr. Woocher. That is the conclusion that was reached by the District Attorney and we believe by the Secretary of State in their affidavits.
Mr. Hoyer. And four were U.S. born, so clearly, they are U.S. citizens, assuming that they--
Mr. Woocher. That is correct. And we believe--
Mr. Hoyer. --were not felons and lost it. They were still U.S. citizens, but lost their opportunity.
Mr. Woocher. Correct. And we believe that in the Secretary of State's numbers, he has--the Secretary of State has never broken these down specifically into these categories. But as we have added the numbers up, we believe that the Secretary of State would conclude that the four U.S. born are in fact U.S. citizens as well, and did not include them in his 303 number.
Mr. Hoyer. All right. Now in reviewing this 303, did you--that, by the way, as far as I computed, adds up to 206; the 124; the 60; the 14; the one which was the denied; the three and the four.
Mr. Woocher. Right.
Mr. Hoyer. Of the remaining 97, we know--we have no information on that?
Mr. Woocher. Well, there is no notation next to their name on the list that came back from INS. We have subsequently--we have been told that the fact that there is no notation simply means that there was no record found in the citizenship unit of those people having applied for citizenship, but they are, in fact, in the INS database, presumably in the database. Because they have at some point come in contact with the INS, the conclusion is it is because they are legal resident aliens with green cards or something like that. We were confused ourselves by that there were some who were affirmatively designated and are for no record and another hundred or so that were designated with nothing after their name. So we checked and we were told that that meant that they were presumptively not citizens. That the INS had a record on them. And we concluded that if they were foreign born, the assumption was that somebody was assuming they were legal resident aliens.
Mr. Hoyer. Now the last question. Of the 124 who were citizens at the time of voting, does your investigation reflect whether or not any of those in fact contrary to the belief of the Secretary of State, Mr. Jones, or Mr. Capizzi, were in fact citizens prior to the--either the 25th_the swearing in on October 25th or prior to the 29 days before the election, which was whatever, October 10th, 12th, 15th?
Mr. Woocher. We have not visited any of those 124. We were prepared to accept the INS record that said that if the INS, at least, believed that they were naturalized citizens as of the date of the election and had a date there, we were not going to spend the limited resources we had in the short time we have had this list available to go and confirm whether or not the date that the INS had for that person was correct. These are people_
Mr. Hoyer. My point, Mr. Woocher, is, apparently the record from INS is that as of the 29th day before or the date of their--strike the 29th day. The date of their registration they were not citizens.
Mr. Woocher. Correct. And many of these people_
Mr. Hoyer. So that the presumption is, at the point in time between the signing of the registration form and the voting they became citizens, correct? Those 124.
Mr. Woocher. Correct.
Mr. Hoyer. Now my question to you is--and I think you do not know the answer to this question--is to whether or not, in fact--we have heard testimony from Secretary Miller and others--INS, perhaps, made a mistake and that in fact some of those folks were citizens prior to their registration, as opposed to subsequent to their registration?
Mr. Woocher. That is correct. We do not have any information on that. We took the INS data on that particular point--and as Mr. Miller would say on that one point--to be correct.
Mr. Hoyer. Mr. Chairman, I thank you for the time.
Mr. Ehlers. Thank you. The gentleman's time has more than expired.
Mr. Ney. Mr. Woocher, we might as well keep you up there for a minute.
Mr. Woocher. I did not think it would be quite that easy.
Mr. Ney. The question I had is, will you provide the Committee with the names of the specific individuals you contacted in regard to the 303?
Mr. Woocher. We certainly will. We would like to work out before we do some sort of privacy agreement so that we do not have those names being bandied about further. We have been very careful when we have contacted these people to assure them that we would make only good use of that. So, we will be glad to do that certainly. Presumably, we can work that out before the close of the hearing.
Mr. Ney. I am sure the Chair and Mr. Hoyer--we have communicated on that type of issue in the past. We care. Thank you.
And finally, Ms. Sanchez, Congresswoman Sanchez; thank you for your time. Has anyone on your official Congressional staff told anyone else not to respond to subpoenas?
Ms. Sanchez. Say this once again.
Mr. Ney. Has anyone on your official Congressional staff told anyone not to respond to subpoenas?
Ms. Sanchez. Not that I am aware of.
Mr. Ney. And just in conclusion, I just want to confirm what I believe you stated earlier, but I do not know if I completely asked it in a proper way. Did you or your campaign have--and campaign meaning the staff and managers or people in position of authority--
Ms. Sanchez. Well, you are only asking of about three people. I did not have a big campaign staff. It was one of those underdog campaigns, if you know what I mean.
Mr. Ney. I have been there. I have a 16 percent Republican district. I mean Democra--or Republican. I got confused on that.
Ms. Sanchez. You have a 16 percent Republican district?
Mr. Ney. It gets confusing.
Ms. Sanchez. Well, I had an incumbent of 18 years.
Mr. Hoyer. Everybody is doing it.
Mr. Ney. There you go.
Ms. Sanchez. Those little mistakes, you know.
Mr. Ney. That is right. Anyway, did you or your campaign have any communication, contact with, or coordination with Hermandad or Nativo Lopez or his campaign?
Ms. Sanchez. With Nativo, I did have one meeting. Realize that after I came out of the primary, a primary that I will tell you was a very divisive primary. One which I got into very late and therefore did not have a lot of support from opinion leaders. I really went to the people to win that primary. After the primary, I went back to every group that I knew of, as anybody would, churches, you know, girl scout groups, boy scouts, little league mothers, PTA, everybody you can to see where you can pick up support. And I did meet with Mr. Lopez with respect to getting help from Hermandad. Unfortunately, he stated that he would not support me because he had a long standing relationship with Mr. Dornan.
Mr. Ney. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Aitken. I just might add that Mr. Jost is here and if you would like to hear his testimony under oath that he did not ever advise anybody not to respond to a subpoena, he is available, Congressman Ney, if you would like his testimony under oath that he did not do what he was accused of.
Mr. Ney. No, I never--I just said staff.
Mr. Aitken. Okay.
Mr. Ney. I am fine.
Mr. Hoyer. Mr. Chairman, I think respectfully that if that is the case, I think you ought to give him--I would suggest giving him an opportunity to simply deny what--
Mr. Ehlers. If Mr. Aitken wishes to call him for--
Mr. Ney. Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Ehlers. Yes?
Mr. Ney. I never made this clear and I am the only one on the Committee who did not. As a teacher by degree, I will take the advice of my counsel today.
Mr. Ehlers. Mr. Aitken, do you wish to call Mr.--
Mr. Hoyer. If he would only keep doing it. Since he was named--since he was personally named and happens to be here, I thought it might be appropriate. So if Mr. Jost would come up, I guess I can_
Mr. Ehlers. A quick addition to the agenda. We will allow that in this case without objection.
Mr. Jost, will you raise your right hand.
Mr. Ehlers. Representative Ney, do you have a question.
Mr. Ney. Well, I actually--just to make it clear, I just asked has anyone on the staff, but since I guess your name was used earlier, I will ask you. Have you, or do you have knowledge of anyone on the official Congressional staff told anyone not to respond to subpoenas?
Mr. Jost. No. I think what Mr. Schroeder was referring to was a quote in a newspaper article. And as I recall the quote--and he could perhaps read it into the record--I was quoted as saying we will follow up on every subpoena. And for the record, I have not had any contact with any individual that has been subpoenaed to my knowledge, and any inquiry that we get, all staff are directed to refer to Mr. Aitken or to Mr. Woocher. That included anybody who contacted this office with respect to appearing or any matter with regard to subpoenas.
Mr. Ney. Do you think we should not believe newspapers? Do not answer that.
Mr. Ehlers. Thank you very much for your testimony. You are excused.
Mr. Hoyer. You gave good advice to him, though, Bob.
Mr. Ehlers. Mr. Ney will not be interviewed by the media after this_
Mr. Ehlers. --after this hearing.
We now move into the final phase of the agenda and that is to take public comment. We have four representatives--we have four representative organizations who have indicated a desire to offer public comment on behalf of their organizations and others. We will take them in the following order. First, Mark--five minutes per person and no questions from the panel. The first one is Mr. Mark Rosen, attorney for Hermandad, and he will be followed by Barbara Coe from the California Coalition for Immigration Reform. Zeke Hernandez will be next, President of the Santa Ana League of the United Latin American Citizens and he will be followed by Glenn Spencer, the Voice of Citizens Together.
And you are?
Mr. Rosen. Mr. Rosen.
Mr. Ehlers. Would you raise your right hand.
Thank you. You may proceed.
TESTIMONY OF MARK ROSEN, ATTORNEY FOR HERMANDAD MEXICANA NACIONAL
Mr. Rosen. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of this honorable Committee. My name is Mark Rosen and I am the attorney for Hermandad Mexicana Nacional which has been mentioned for the last nine hours and this is our two minutes to briefly reply. I am not going to attempt to address everything that has been stated to the Committee today. This is not the proper forum for that. There are still investigations taking place, although, I want to stress there have been no indictments, no charges. All we know is there is an investigation taking place.
Hermandad Mexicana Nacional has been in existence for over 50 years. It has offices nationwide, here in Santa Ana, as well as Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and other cities. It is one of the largest Hispanic organizations nationwide in providing services to its constituents and to its members. And those services include healthcare, legal assistance, tax preparation, assistance in obtaining government assistance and the conducting of citizenship classes. Hermandad also offers its members access to insurance and other goods and services.
In addition to all of those activities, Hermandad has operated and continues to operate a voter registration program in the Hispanic community in the cities in which it operates. And although this service has received a great deal of attention, it is still a very small part of the overall activities of Hermandad. Hermandad's philosophy is that all of these activities, including obtaining citizenship, obtaining services for its members are all part of participating in the mainstream community and allowing Hispanics to participate in that community both as taxpaying members of those communities and to empower the Hispanic community so that it is able to protect itself, defend itself and participate in the American citizenship process. It strives to make sure that its members become good citizens, better citizens and better Americans.
Now, I would like to address just briefly some of the statements or accusations that have been made based on what is already public record. In January of this year, the District Attorney of the County of Orange obtained a search warrant to seize records from Hermandad and that search warrant was based on these statements--anonymous statements of five people who were described as confidential informants and who were not identified in that search warrant. Allegedly these five people stated that they had registered to vote before becoming citizens. I do not know if the Committee has a copy of the affidavit, the Contreras affidavit, which was the basis for that warrant. But if you read that warrant, you will find that of the five people who were cited, three of them were interviewed by the District Attorney's office. They had contacted the Registrar of Voters office and asked about whether they were eligible to vote. They then called Hermandad--called the Hermandad office in Santa Ana and they were told by employees of Hermandad that they could not vote if they were not citizens. Hermandad people told them that, and that is in the public record. It is quoted in the affidavit.
Of the other two, one of those persons refused to talk to the District Attorney at all. So we do not know the connection between that person and what, if anything, that person was told by Hermandad.
And the fifth person had actually registered and taken citizenship classes from Hermandad in 1994 and had not had any contact with Hermandad, I believe, for a two-year period.
It is on the basis of that that the search warrant was issued. And I just want to emphasize there are two sides to this story. You have heard a lot of statements from the District Attorney. You have heard a lot of statements from Dornan's people, but there are two sides to it, and at the appropriate time, our side will be brought out in much greater detail.
Now you have heard Mr. Dornan's counsel say today that in addition to everything else they have subpoenaed, they want some 11,000 case files of people who have gone through Hermandad's services. This is for an election contest. They want to look at 11,000 case files to see what 11,000 people have had by way of services which may be totally unrelated to citizenship, totally unrelated to voting, but they want to snoop through that anyway. And that ought to illustrate to this panel that from Dornan's perspective these subpoenas and this process is nothing more than a witch hunt. That it is not designed to get at the truth of this matter, it is designed to harass the Hispanic community.
I see my light is flashing here.
Mr. Ehlers. Yes, your time has expired.
Mr. Rosen. Thank you.
Mr. Ehlers. Thank you very much. I appreciate your comments and testimony.
I hope everyone else who is appearing recognizes the lighting system. Maybe you were not here when I explained it. When the yellow light goes on, you have one minute. When the red starts flashing, you are finished.
Next we have Barbara Coe, California Coalition of Immigration.
Thank you. You may proceed.
TESTIMONY OF BARBARA COE, CALIFORNIA COALITION OF IMMIGRATION
Ms. Coe. Well, first, I want to say that I am the chairperson of an organization who represents people of every race, creed, color and political preference throughout our nation. I am very grateful, gentlemen, for the opportunity to speak here today on voter fraud, a problem that, to our knowledge, has been continually escalating since 1991, to our knowledge, when an entire city, the city of Bell Gardens, was literally taken over by non-citizen and illegal alien voters. And at that time, a fully document data package containing several hundred names, photos, addresses, the whole documented information was provided to our Los Angeles District Attorney, as well as our then Secretary of State, Mr. Miller, both of whom refused to take any action whatsoever to halt this activity and enforce our laws or protect our vote. Now in the interim, of course, we have been advised constantly and have been compiling cases of voter fraud throughout our state and this whole scenario is very frightening because the sacred right of the citizen-only vote is the very foundation of our democratic system and the rights and freedoms for which many of our loved ones of all nationalities have fought and died to preserve.
But those rights and those freedoms are now being threatened by those who hold our vote and the laws that govern our vote in contempt, knowing full well that there will be little or no consequence for the violation of those laws. And this, of course, includes unethical citizens who vote multiple times, register their pets, the bounty hunters who register the deceased, but most importantly, it includes the non-citizens and undocumented immigrants who knowingly vote, all of whom are in violation of both state and federal law and which, to date, those laws have not been effectively enforced.
Now, we are saddened that many within the Latino community have chosen to identify themselves as the victims of those of us who stand in defense of our laws. But please know, this is their choice, not ours. But on that note, since they have chosen to make it an immigrant issue rather than a legal issue, we do have several questions because we believe this is a nation of law. And we would ask, why Hermandad Mexicana Nacional was given 35 million of our tax dollars to conduct citizenship classes, along with other things? Then why did so many of those people state that they were still so confused about citizenship that they went ahead and voted anyway. We simply do not accept that.
We also wonder why a similarly structured organization known as Southwest Voter Registration, who states that they registered hundreds of thousands of quote, new citizens, omitted the requirements to be a U.S. citizen on their primary literature.
But most of all, we wonder why Ms. Sanchez and many of the pro-immigrant groups--and we do know that there are many, regardless of some of the things that you have heard today. This is an individual who took an oath of office to uphold our constitutional rights and enforce our laws. We would think in that capacity she would welcome a full investigation of all of these voter fraud allegations. We also wonder why she and some of the pro-immigrant groups have not provided the data quickly and willingly so that this situation could be resolved once and for all. We also wonder why, if there is nothing to hide, there are so many objections. Because not only does this Committee, but also every loyal American citizen deserve to know the truth and we are confident that you people will not rest until you have gotten to the truth.
In the interim however, the Coalition lauds and applauds the efforts of Mr. Michael Schroeder; our DA, Michael Capizzi; our Secretary of State, Bill Jones, who has illustrated his courage and determination to halt voter fraud in our state because he does know it exists. And last, but surely not least, on behalf of all gravely concerned American citizens, we want to extend a debt of gratitude to Bob Dornan for literally forcing national attention on this most serious problem. And also to you gentlemen for your efforts to resolve it.
Thank you very much.
Mr. Ehlers. Thank you for your testimony. We appreciate that.
Mr. Zeke Hernandez, President, Santa Ana League of United Latin American Citizens. Please raise your right hand.
Thank you. You may proceed.
TESTIMONY OF ZEKE HERNANDEZ, PRESIDENT, SANTA ANA LEAGUE OF UNITED LATIN AMERICAN CITIZENS
Mr. Hernandez. Mr. Chairman and members of the Congress, my name is Zeke Hernandez, President of Santa Ana, LULAC, League of United Latin American Citizens. We were founded in the United States in 1929, here in Santa Ana, California in 1946.
I recall that as you made your introductions to the public here in Orange County, your comments were pro-immigrant, so I recognize that. And you are also pro-American when you are pro-immigrant.
I am going to read some parts of several letters that we have sent to various entities of government. One which started on May 7th, 1992. This was addressed to President Bush at that time. LULAC at that time wanted to do something with the citizenship process in terms of reform in writing this letter to him.
``As you are quite aware, there is a growing public debate on whether or not immigration is an asset or burden to the U.S. economy. Studies upon studies, including studies commissioned by your administration have shown that immigration has had a positive impact on the U.S. economy and not a drain.
``This debate has fueled immigrant bashing and racial hatred and division during the time when this country needs to be working together versus against each other.''
This is a letter that we sent to President Bush asking that he take a look at our proposal for a fast-track citizenship. We received a response on October 7th from the Department of Justice, INS. And in their letter, they said to us--a portion of that letter says ``A person may become a citizen of the United States only in the manner and under the conditions designated in statutes enacted by Congress under its constitutional power to establish a uniform rule of naturalization. Any change in statutory requirements must be made by an act of Congress.''
I encourage you gentlemen to go back to Congress and enact some reforms and enact reforms where we can make citizens--immigrants citizens at a quicker pace.
Continuing, we had a new president. We addressed a letter to Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton, we met with him when he was a candidate and in this letter dated March 6th, 1994_it was at a meeting that we had with him Los Angeles. And in this letter, quote, ``We have provided your administration with a proposal for fast-track citizenship which outlines the need for reform, which to this day has not been seriously addressed.'' And I would guess you would agree with that in terms of the INS, it has not been addressed. ``This proposal was prepared by LULAC and submitted to you by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.''
I have copies here which I will provide to you of our fast-track citizenship. The fast-track citizenship is we as citizens of the United States submitted to Congress, submitted to the President, this was--this was pulled out of--out of the files by a Congressman William Zeliff who is Chair of the Government Reform and Oversight Committee's Subcommittee on National Security, International Affairs and Criminal Justice. We felt that it was a slap to our community when a subcommittee on internal affairs and criminal justice would pull records to show that our request that immigrants become citizens of America would be detrimental to the United States.
We have on October 30th, 1996, prior to the election, we have shown to you and to the public that we were very, very much concerned about irregularities in terms of intimidation at the election polls here in Orange County. We quoted the Orange County Register which carried the story indicating that representatives of FAIR, specifically Barbara Coe, again planned to attempt to interfere with the voting rights of Orange County residents by prominently posting signs targeting persons of color in heavily minority areas and specifying that only citizens can take part in the voting procedures. We are all aware of this, ladies and gentlemen. That is the reason why we sent the letter to the Department of Justice asking that they come into Orange County so that they can safeguard the citizens of the United States.
We saw in this that--we also received a letter from the Department of Justice dated December 11th. This is a response to the letter that we sent to the Department of Justice in October, December 11th, after the elections. In the Department of Justice letter coming from Duval Patrick who was the Assistant Attorney General, he said to us, ``We can assure you that this matter will continue to receive our continued attention.''
Members of the hearing committee, we are a group known as League of United Latin American Citizens. We are proud of our heritage. In fact, members of our ethnic community, the Latino community, number very prominently in terms of giving their life for the United States of America as Medal of Honor recipients. We are proud of all of those individuals and we have provided to you; to the Department of Justice; the President of the United States, both a Republican and a Democrat an opportunity to make immigrants citizens at a much faster pace that they have been doing in the past. We have supported Hermandad and we will continue to do that. But most importantly, Hermandad and LULAC favor the integrity--the integrity of the voting system and we will not--we will not diminish that stance there.
Thank you very much.
Mr. Ehlers. Your time has expired. Thank you very much for your comments.
Mr. Hernandez, I do have copies of this. Would you--and I understand that we were just notified today, but copies are here for you. We are--we will continue to provide you with additional copies. We have--we are preparing that and we will prepare it for your Committee, as well as responding to the request by the minority member of the Committee for a hearing to take place regarding additional testimony. Thank you.
Mr. Ehlers. Thank you very much.
The final witness, Mr. Glenn Spencer, Voice of the Citizens Together. Please raise your right hand.
Mr. Ehlers. Thank you. You may proceed.
[The statement of Mr. Hernandez follows:]
********** INSERT **********
TESTIMONY OF GLENN SPENCER, VOICE OF CITIZENS TOGETHER
Mr. Spencer. Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, I am President of Voice of Citizens Together. We are a grassroots organization based in Sherman Oaks, California. We are also multi-ethnic and I look back with fondness and pride in the six years that I spent working with American Indians in the northern plains and also with the Bureau of Indian Affairs. I have a good record on that basis.
I would like to talk today about the issue of the crime of voter fraud as you are looking into this issue. It seems to me that if there is a crime, oftentimes you look for two things, one motive and two, opportunity. We have seen today that in California there are many-fold opportunities for this crime, if it does happen.
But I would like to talk about motive just for a moment. I would like to go back to the Atlantic Monthly Magazine of November 19, 1996 when Stanford Professor David Kennedy said the following: Quote, ``The United States has had no experience with what is taking place in the American southwest. In the next generation or so, we will see a kind of Chicano Quebec taking place''. Professor Kennedy characterized it as saying it was a re-conquista, the taking back of the American southwest that was taken from Mexico as a result of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
In 1986 the American Congress passed and the President signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act which granted amnesty to millions of illegal aliens, many from Mexico. That was an attempt to stop illegal immigration. As we see from recent census data, it did not work.
In 1994, five million Californians passed proposition 187 but it was blocked by U.S. District Judge Marianna Felzer who said that it was an illegal state scheme to control immigration--a scheme. We believe it was legal. We believe it was not a scheme. But I will agree, it was an attempt to stop the invasion of California.
This month, United States Attorney General Janet Reno testifying before Congress said that the surge in application for citizenship was mainly due to proposition 187. As a result, she was saying then, if we believe Judge Felzer, that the surge in citizenship was caused by an attempt by Americans to control immigration. Following the passage of 187, we saw an enormous backlash. In January of 1995 meeting at the University of California at Riverside, Latino leaders, some 400 strong, met to determine how they were going to deal with this issue. At that meeting--and we have it on videotape--Art Torres, who is now the Chairman of the California Democratic Party said as follows, quote, ``Proposition 187 was the last gasp of white America in California''. The meeting then went on to determine that what had to happen was the Latinos had to get the power of the vote to stop proposition 187 from ever happening again.
Since that time, we have seen a flurry of activity not only with the Southwest Voter Registration in education projects, Hermandad Nacional--Mexicana Nacional and others. But let us look at Hermandad. I am going to tell you that we have looked at Hermandad. Yes, it was founded by a Marxist-Leninist as described in the Los Angeles Times. Yes, there are documentation that shows that their initial concept was to represent undocumented immigrants, illegal aliens. Their flag, their logo, is the Mexican flag. In my judgment, we are looking at Mexican nationalism.
At the same time this surge was ongoing in these groups, we saw Citizenship USA born within this current administration. Led by Vice President Gore, this Citizenship USA is now coming under mounting criticism for cheapening the citizenship process and for fraud by the INS itself.
Then at the same time these things were going on, the Mexican government stepped in and offered dual nationality as an inducement for Mexican nationals who were not naturalizing at the normal rate to become U.S. citizens, that according to Jorge Bustimonte writing in Mexico's Excelsior Newspaper, this was to create lobbyists for Mexico in the United States, and this effort was initiated by the Counsel General of Mexico in Los Angeles. And recently in response to our legislation--new legislation on immigration, the President of Mexico said, quote, ``We will not tolerate foreign forces dictating and enacting laws on Mexicans.'' This is our law. It was also quoted in the Los Angeles Times that their debate over that law was likened to a declaration of war.
So, I want to say in summary, we looked at motives. We saw a motive on re-conquista. We saw a motive to become President of the United States and we saw a motive by the Mexican government to increase its influence in our Southwest.
Thank you very much.
Mr. Ehlers. Thank you, Mr. Spencer and all of you.
Just a few comments in closing. As I said at the outset, our purpose here is to obtain facts and data. This is the beginning of a process of hearing from the attorneys and from the Contestant and Contestee and from the public about what actually happened in this election. This is the sort of information we can find out only by conducting a field hearing on the merits of the case.
I have mentioned also how we will proceed from this point. We will continue to receive written testimony. We have displayed an address where you can send your testimony relating to this hearing until April 30th.
I do want to make this comment also. Mr. Hernandez thanked us a moment ago for being pro-immigrant. I also want to comment on Ms. Coe's testimony on her ardent desire to ensure the integrity of the voting process. And I want to make a point here which I think has been lost in all of the words that are flowing back and forth. Those two goals are not exclusive. I hope we can have both. We should be pro-immigrant. We are a nation of immigrants. We should not be anti-immigrant, and this panel certainly is not, and I do not believe the Congress is either. We are also in favor of honest counting of elections. Honesty in all aspects of elections, whether registration or voting. That is our goal, to have a nation in which everyone who has the right to vote can vote without intimidation and fear. And everyone who votes can be confident that his or her vote has the appropriate weight because everyone else is voting legally and not illegally. That is the goal of Congress and I believe should be the goal of the entire nation. We will do our small part in trying to ensure the integrity of the voting process by investigating as carefully, thoughtfully, and fairly as we can, the election that took place here in the 46th District.
We have heard a great deal of testimony. A great deal of it is at variance with other testimony. It is up to us to sort through the facts, determine those as best we can, and make the best judgment that we can as a panel about what happened in the election in the 46th District and who the rightful winner is. We then will make our recommendation to the Committee on House Oversight and to the Congress of the United States which has the final power to make a determination. Everyone here has been most helpful in that process, and I truly appreciate those who participated. And I have also appreciated those who have observed our rules of decorum throughout the day within this chamber and in the antechamber. I also appreciate those who held demonstrations outside. I talked to some of them during the noon hour and thanked them for their participation. After all, I am a Berkeley graduate. I am familiar with demonstrations.
Mr. Ehlers. To peacefully demonstrate and display our opinions is a very important part of the freedoms that we have in America.
I genuinely appreciate the helpful spirit that has been present in this hearing today, not simply throwing slings and arrows at each other, but honestly trying to uncover the facts and present them to us as convincingly as possible. That has been very, very helpful to us. And I deeply appreciate the entire spirit of the hearing, the spirit of the participants, and especially the spirit of the audience and their questions to me when I met with them at various times during the day.
Finally, I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to the City of Santa Ana and the County of Orange. Their staffs have been incredible helpful to us. The security arrangements have been superb, and the physical facilities have been outstanding. So, I thank everyone present. I thank the City and the County, and we will now adjourn the session,go back to Washington, and get back to the nitty gritty of it.
Thank you very, very much.
[Whereupon, at 6:08 p.m., the Task Force as adjourned.]
ADDITIONAL MATERIALS ON COMMITTEE FILE