Wed. 11/18: Lindsey crossed a line. (Updated 11/19)

Call him out! Demand he step down.

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, fresh off winning another six years of legislative obstruction on our dime, must have imagined himself to be invincible, able to subvert democracy with a single phone call. Before chatting with Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, perhaps he was dreaming of his reward – standing next to Trump on a stage as his new imaginary vice president, part of an equally imaginary 2024 presidential re-election campaign.

He never would have guessed that a fellow Republican (along with more than one witness!) would call him out, but he was wrong. (See “Lincoln Project.”) Serious observers of politics, both lawyers and legislators, are calling him out now too. (See below in “Deeper Dive”.)

Now it’s our turn.

Minimal script: I’m calling from [zip code] and I want Sen. [___] to know, that after suffering four years of Trump’s destruction of our government, we have zero tolerance for any election corruption. I believe the allegations by Georgia’s Republican secretary of state and I want Sen. [___] to call for Senator Graham to step down from the chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee until he undergoes a thorough investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee. If he has violated any federal or Georgia state laws, I furthermore expect Sen. [___] to act to have him expelled.

More script if you want it: This is not just my own opinion. Experts on ethics and election law agree. I’m sharing this letter from Walter Shaub, the former Director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics and others to this effect. (Verbally, you can reference the letter as “tinyurl.com/Lindsey-crossed-a-lineor in an email: https://www.law.upenn.edu/live/files/11121-ethics-complaint-against-senator-lindsey-o-graham)

Contacts:
Senator Feinstein: email, DC (202) 224-3841, LA (310) 914-7300, SF (415) 393-0707, SD (619) 231-9712, Fresno (559) 485-7430
and Senator Harris: email, DC (202) 224-3553, LA (310) 231-4494, SAC (916) 448-2787, Fresno (559) 497-5109, SF (415) 981-9369, SD (619) 239-3884
Who is my representative/senator?: https://whoismyrepresentative.com

Deeper Dive

The laws Senator Graham may have broken.

Depending on the facts that would come out in an investigation, any number of laws might be implicated.

  • Federal law (18 U.S.C. Section 242): “Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.”
  • Federal law 18 U.S.C. 1038(c) states that it is a crime to conspire to violate voting rights.
  • Georgia law GA Code § 21-2-604 (2016):
    • (a) (1) A person commits the offense of criminal solicitation to commit election fraud in the first degree when, with intent that another person engage in conduct constituting a felony under this article, he or she solicits, requests, commands, importunes, or otherwise attempts to cause the other person to engage in such conduct.
    • (2) A person commits the offense of criminal solicitation to commit election fraud in the second degree when, with intent that another person engage in conduct constituting a misdemeanor under this article, he or she solicits, requests, commands, importunes, or otherwise attempts to cause the other person to engage in such conduct.
  • Georgia law, GA Code § 21-2-597 (2016): “Any person who intentionally interferes with, hinders, or delays or attempts to interfere with, hinder, or delay any other person in the performance of any act or duty authorized or imposed by this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.”

Other voices for action.

Update 11/19/20: Complete and damning letter dated 11/18 to Chairman James Lankford (R) and Vice Chairman Christopher Coons (D) of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Ethics from Walter M. Shaub, Jr. (former Director, U.S. Office of Government EthicsWe at Indivisible Ventura are BIG FANS!), Richard W. Painter, S. Walter Richey Professor of Corporate Law, University of Minnesota Law School, and Claire O. Finkelstein, Algernon Biddle Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy Faculty Director, Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law
University of Pennsylvania Law School
.

Stephen I. Vladeck, a U. of Texas law professor stated, “…Sen. Graham appears to have been attempting to convince Secretary Raffensperger to alter the valid results of Georgia’s election — in a manner that may run afoul of numerous provisions of Georgia election law. At the very least, it’s a serious matter that might warrant further investigation — and that is grossly unbecoming of any United States senator, let alone the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Noah Bookbinder, of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, agreed. “For the chairman of the Senate committee charged with oversight of our legal system to have reportedly suggested that an election official toss out large numbers of legal ballots from American voters is appalling. Not only is it wrong for Sen. Graham to apparently contemplate illegal behavior, but his suggestion undermines the integrity of our elections and the faith of the American people in our democracy. Under the guise of rooting out election fraud, it looks like Graham is suggesting committing it. That is unacceptable, and Sen. Graham should step down from his chairmanship immediately.
CREW links: Read and share CREW’s statement.

Reminder – Permitting corruption normalizes it.

The video is from the beginning of the Obama term, but Olbermann’s analysis of allowing crimes to go unremarked, like the Bush administration’s use of torture, is still devastating.

Reading

  • (Wapo) Ga. secretary of state says fellow Republicans are pressuring him to find ways to exclude ballots
  • (Wapo) We need an investigation into Lindsey Graham’s intervention in Georgia
  • (Guardian) Lindsey Graham condemned for allegedly pressuring Georgia to toss out ballots
  • (NYTimes) Lindsey Graham’s Long-Shot Mission to Unravel the Election Results
  • (Salon) Graham’s pressure campaign to throw out ballots may have violated federal law, legal experts say
  • (CNN) Ethics experts and Trump critics call for Senate investigation into Graham’s probe into presidential election
  • (Slate) Lindsey Graham’s Alleged Attempt to Toss Georgia Ballots Is Felony Election Fraud

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