The ballot fraud case in Troy, New York, shifted from a long parade of defrauded voter testimony, and focused on two operatives in the Working Families Party (WFP) Monday – Thomas Aldrich and James Welch. The trial involves two Democrats – former City Councilman Michael LoPorto, and Rensselaer County Board of Elections Commissioner Edward McDonough. The two have been accused of over 100 combined felonies in connection with the alleged defrauding of the 2009 Working Families Party primary.
Aldrich testified about his volunteer efforts on behalf of the Democrat party, which included knocking on doors and handing out brochures. McDonough’s defense attorney, Brian Premo, pointed out that Aldrich’s name is on 13 of the allegedly fraudulent ballots. Aldrich however, said that “He was not involved in any wrongdoing, and had no reason to believe anything illegal was happening…”
Perhaps more intriguing was the testimony of James Welch, Chairman of the Rensselaer County WFP. A 2009 report by the Times Union indicates that some of the absentee ballots were returnable either to Democrat or WFP operatives, including Welch and Aldrich. In a statement at that time, Welch claimed that “my conduct was strictly proper”.
However, on January 26th, State Police Investigator John Ogden testified that Welch was given a cooperation agreement to testify in the case.
Despite such lofty status as Chairman of county WFP, Welch apparently had little idea of how the rules involving absentee ballots worked, even though it would impact the integrity of his party’s ballot line.
From the Troy Record:
James Welch, the chair of the county Working Families Party at the time of the primary, rounded out Monday’s testimony. Welch said that on the morning of the primary, John Brown called him to ask if he could put Welch’s name on the “release to” line on five absentee ballot applications. Welch said he didn’t understand what Brown meant, since he wasn’t familiar with the applications, but said that Brown assured him it was a good move because “it would look better” to have a WFP member’s name in that slot instead of a Democrat’s name.
He said he asked Brown if that was allowed, and when Brown assured him it was, he agreed. Brown pled guilty to a felony late last year and is looking at six months behind bars.
John Brown was a former Democrat Councilman.
Welch went on to state that he received a phone call later in the week, in which Brown suggested that “We should get our stories straight.” Welch responded, “It sounds like you’re asking me to commit perjury in a courtroom setting.”
The question is, why would Welch or any member of the WFP need a cooperation agreement to testify? If they were truly simply ignorant of the process, naive pawns in the voter fraud being schemed by the Democrats, then why wouldn’t their honest testimony be enough.
Worse, Welch seemingly isn’t the only member of the WFP who was ignorant of the voter fraud being perpetrated upon innocent people using their ballot line. Karen Scharff, co-chair of the Capital District WFP at the time, the branch which controlled Welch’s Rensselaer County arm, had this to say:
“It’s extremely troubling that local Democrats in Troy appear to have committed fraud in an attempt to win a primary fight with Troy Republicans for our ballot line.”
The really troubling matter with Scharff’s WFP is that they’re a stone’s throw away from the influence of the New York Communities for Change – formerly known as ACORN. At the time that this ballot fraud in Troy was allegedly being carried out, the two organizations had several ties:
- RedState has demonstrated that the WFP was founded by key members of ACORN, and shares many of its political strategies.
- The WFP has listed ACORN as an affiliate program directly on their Web site.
- Roger Stone called the New York Working Families Party “one of ACORN’s most successful projects”.
- The New York Post analyzed the many shady dealings of the WFP, and its affiliation with ACORN.
As for Scharff, who co-chaired the Capital District Branch and thus oversaw Welch’s county branch, she also shares a history with the uber-corrupt ACORN:
- Scharff has been involved in health care meetings coordinated by her group, Citizen Action, and ACORN. A picture of one such event appears on the Times Union blog.
- Her name appears on a letter of support for ACORN, in which criticism of their work is labeled as ‘mainly partisan’ attacks.
- An article regarding the power of fusion politics, a tactic used by the WFP, shows Scharff’s activism in the election of Albany District Attorney, David Soares. The article covers the tandem work of the WFP and Citizen Action, along with the strong ties that the WFP has with ACORN. One key element here is the mention of Bertha Lewis who is described as ‘the executive director of ACORN’s New York City chapter’. Lewis also serves as co-chair for the WFP.
- Another article celebrating the Soares victory appears in the Nation, in which Scharff’s WFP work is mentioned alongside the work of Dan Cantor. Cantor also serves as Executive Director for the WFP, and was national organizer for the ‘New Party’ in the ‘90s, a socialist group with strong ties to ACORN. In fact, the New Ground described the New Party’s ‘biggest asset and biggest liability’ as ACORN.
- Scharff serves on the Advisory Board for the Center for Working Families, alongside Jon Kest, Director of the New York Association of Community Organization for Reform Now.
Welch’s testimony is scheduled to continue on Wednesday.
Rusty can be contacted at The Mental Recession