Maryland GOP Campaign Manager Found Guilty of Election Fraud

A jury verdict was reached today in one of the most notorious of the GOP dirty tricks designed to suppress the vote on Election Day 2010.

That's when Maryland Democrats received telephone calls late in the day telling them that Democratic Governor Martin O'Malley had won reelection, so they could "relax" (i.e., not vote). Prosecutors alleged this was done to suppress the African American vote, and a jury agreed. The Republican candidate's campaign manager was today found guilty of election fraud.

One of the shocking developments of the trial was the defense: When paid consultant Julius Henson (whose idea it was to make these robocalls) had presented an earlier plan explicitly designed to suppress the black vote, the campaign rejected it, so the second plan couldn't have been designed to do that. The Baltimore Sun reports one juror's dismay:

Jurors said they didn't understand the Ehrlich campaign's decision to retain Henson, even after he pitched them on a $600,000 plan to suppress black votes in July 2010.

"The first and most desired outcome is voter suppression," Henson's plan stated, saying the goal was to have "African-American voters stay home."

Instead, the Republican candidate's campaign continued to pay Henson $16,000 a month — for a total of $112,000 — and promised him a $30,000 bonus should Ehrlich win.

"Why wasn't he fired right on the spot?" asked Johnson, the juror.

Why not, indeed?

PFAW