Election fraud – even the suspicion of it – is poisonous to democracy. That is the stated reason why Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is bringing a case against former President Donald Trump in Georgia under the anti-racketeering statute known as RICO that was written to go after criminal gangs.
But now one of Trump’s co-defendants in that case is alleging that Willis improperly hired her boyfriend, attorney Nathan Wade, to help prosecute the case and has financially benefitted from his appointment. As an attorney, Wade has no prior experience prosecuting a RICO case.
Willis made the appointment without the legally required approval from the Fulton County board and has paid Wade about $650,000. In turn, Wade has taken Willis on several romantic trips including cruises to the Caribbean, and he filed for divorce from his wife one day after the appointment, the complaint charges.
Not a great “look,” says Peter Schweizer, host of the Drill Down podcast and an investigative journalist who exposes government corruption.
“Couple of interesting things about Mr. Wade,” Schweizer said. “Number one, he’s actually never prosecuted a RICO case, a racketeering case, which is what this case is. So, he’s a bizarre selection… What it shows to me, honestly, is that this is more of a grift than it is a serious legal prosecution,” Schweizer added.
The 2020 election in Georgia turned a spotlight on mail ballots, which were instituted in many states during the pandemic as a safety measure. Since the pandemic, US elections have allowed millions of mail ballots to be distributed to voters. That makes secure postal service especially critical. But what if it isn’t?
According to Frank Albergo, the president of the Postal Police Officers Association, postal police staffing has shrunk by approximately 65% since 2002. And in 2020, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy restricted postal police activity to protecting postal service buildings, not policing postal thefts on the street where these crimes usually occur.
As the 2024 election season approaches, The Drill Down will be looking hard at what security measures are in place – and enforced – to protect the integrity of voting by mail. The early news on election integrity is not good.
In Bridgeport, CT, a recent mayoral race was thrown out, and a re-vote ordered, because of ballot box stuffing by Democratic Party operatives that was recorded on video. In Needham, MA, police are urging town residents not to use mail drop-off locations, which are being “phished” by thieves who apparently have keys to the boxes that they acquired by assaulting postal carriers.
A new poll by Rasmussen asked voters, “[d]uring the 2020 election, did you fill out a ballot, in part or in full, on behalf of a friend or family member, such as a spouse or child?” An eye-popping Twenty-one per cent of respondents who said they voted by mail answered “yes.” That is illegal in all 50 states, though some states allow people to assist others with voting.
In the same poll, 17% of those who voted by mail said they voted “in a state where you were no longer a permanent resident.” Seventeen percent of mail-in voters also admitted to signing a “ballot or ballot envelope on behalf of a friend or family member.”
Albergo, the head of the Postal Police Association, is raising alarm bells because postal theft and lost mail keep rising. “God forbid the Postal Service utilize its uniformed police force to protect the mail and letter carriers. It’s as if everyone at L’Enfant Plaza [USPS headquarters] completely lost their minds.”
The Postal Service, which lost $6.5 billion last year, has also been known to lose some of the mail. Combined with the growth in package theft, postal workers being assaulted to steal the keys to mail drop boxes, and USPS austerity measures that will result in less law enforcement protecting the mail, none of this bodes well for the national election in November where mail ballots will likely become a factor in closely contested states.
Co-host Eric Eggers wrote a book on election fraud in 2018, and he remains skeptical. “You’ve got massive motivation here by people who control the strings of power to use this (mail balloting) system. And yet the response from our elected officials in Washington, D.C. is: ‘Just trust the system.’ Well, if you question that, you’re going to be charged by Fani Willis’ boyfriend.