Michael Gaynor
Obama administration target Catherine Engelbrecht turns tables on bully Congressman Elijah Cummings
By Michael Gaynor
February 24, 2014

It's time for Cummings to walk the plank for abusing the privilege of the frank.

David dared to take on Goliath, and won.

St. George slayed the dragon.

Now Texan Catherine Engelbrecht, founder of True the Vote and King Street Patriots, is taking on Congressman Elijah Cummings instead of standing down and quietly returning to her family business and home.

Cummings picked the wrong target when he chose to pursue his own War on a Woman.

Cummings is not the prophet Elijah returned.

He's a bully who used his office to try to intimidate Catherine and distract True the Vote before the 2012 elections on it and Catherine called him on it, publicly, by announcing during her recent testimony before Congress that she would file an ethics complaint with Congress calling for investigation of Cummings and following through instead of folding under pressure.

That letter is available at http://www.scribd.com/doc/208347055/2-6-14-OCE-Complaint.

On October 18, 2012, Politico reported that Cummings had "sent two letters to [True the Vote] seeking 'specific documents about the manner in which True the Vote and its affiliated organizations have been challenging the registration of thousands of voters across the country based on insufficient, inaccurate and faulty evidence'" (www.politico.com/news/stories/1012/82584.html#ixzz2WQ81dtuR).

What did Cummings and Politico apparently consider a request for "specific documents"?

Cummings closed his letter of October 4, 2012 to True the Vote founder and president Catherine Engelbrecht this way:

"I request that you provide the following information and documents:

1. a list of all individual voter registration challenges by state, county, and precinct submitted to governmental election entities, including correspondence and determinations by election officials relating to each challenge;

2. copies of all letters sent to states, counties, or other entities alleging non-compliance with the National Voter Registration Act for failing to conduct voter registration list maintenance prior to the November elections;

3. a list of voter registration rolls by state, county, and precinct that True the Vote is currently reviewing for potential challenges;

4. copies of all training materials used for volunteers, affiliates, or other entities;

5. copies of computer programs, research software, and databases used by True the Vote to review voter registration;

6. all contracts, agreements, and memoranda of understanding between True the Vote and affiliates or other entities relating to the terms of use of True the Vote research software and databases;

7. a list all organizations and volunteer groups that currently have access to True the Vote computer programs, research software, and databases; and 8. a list of vendors of voter information, voter registration lists, and other databases used by True the Vote, its volunteers, and its affiliates.

"Please provide these documents by October 14, 2012. Thank you for your attention to this matter."

An impossible and expensive task to be completed in less than 10 days, but a clever way to grind True the Vote activities to a halt if it had tried to comply with Cummings' personal wish list.

Was Cummings coordinating with the IRS minions who sent onerous and improper information and document requests to True the Vote in an attempt to justify delaying decision on True the Vote's application, thereby hampering True the Vote's fund raising efforts (for example, it had to return a $35,000 contribution because it had not received application approval), and to keep it so busy with such requests that it did not have time to pursue its purposes before Election Day 2012?

Now THAT merits investigating!

Catherine wisely and hopefully responded to Cummings' request by offering to meet with him in Washington D.C. to explain the mission of True the Vote and to address his concerns, stating:

"I believe we agree on many common goals, such as the right of every American to have the opportunity to participate in a fair and legal electoral process. It was of great concern to me that you had suddenly requested a considerable amount of documentation on the basis of news reports which offered limited balance and an over-simplification of the facts. I find it regrettable that your office did not reach out to True The Vote directly before launching a personal ad-hoc investigation. Election integrity is a serious concern across the nation – the state of Maryland is no exception. In this year alone, as reported by The Washington Post, a federal congressional candidate seeking to join Maryland's Congressional Delegation was forced to resign from her race by Democratic Party officials after alleged felony double voting was uncovered in her voting history."

Catherine wryly added: "It is both obvious and unfortunate that you are not familiar with all of the details of the mission or methods of True the Vote. This letter serves as an effort to coordinate a convenient meeting time in your Washington, D.C. office, during which I can brief you and your staff about our program and help dispel any misconceptions you may have. In the interim, if you anticipate making any future comments about True the Vote, please do not hesitate to contact me directly so that I may provide you with accurate information. As always, you are welcome to join an upcoming training session before Election Day."

Obviously frustrated, Cummings responded with an ultimatum in an October 18 letter agreeing to meet only if True the Vote turned over his requested documents to "Congress" and once again proceeded to demand even more documents.

Cummings: "On October 4, 2012, I sent you a letter requesting specific documents about the manner in which True the Vote and its affiliated organizations have been challenging the registration of thousands of legitimate voters across the country based on insufficient, inaccurate, and faulty evidence. I requested these documents by October 14, 2012. To date, you have not produced a single document. Instead, you responded by claiming that my request was based on 'an over-simplification of the facts' and 'second-hand knowledge or poor staff-researched understanding of our organization's activities.' Rather than providing any documents that would shed light on your organization's activities, you attacked election officials in Ohio and Wisconsin for not doing their jobs. Rather than providing any documents that would bring greater transparency to these efforts – a goal you claim you share – you offered only to meet with me to 'dispel any misconceptions.' I accept your offer to come to Washington to answer these allegations, but only after you provide the documents I requested."

Cummings added; "In addition to documents relating to your efforts to challenge legitimate voter registrations, today I am also requesting documents relating to your plan to deploy hundreds of thousands of personnel across the country on Election Day to challenge access to the polls for people you believe should not be allowed to vote."

Townhall's Katie Pavlich offered perspective: "Despite what Cummings implied in his letter, True the Vote doesn't have an obligation to 'produce a single document.' Cummings is in the minority, lacks subpoena power and has no authority to force True the Vote to hand over anything and therefore, he is resorting to intimidation tactics against True the Vote, its leadership and its members as a result. He is abusing his power on the Oversight Committee by using these tactics, implying he has more power on the Committee than he actually does and is misrepresenting the committee headed not by him, but Chairman Darrell Issa."

Cummings then went on MSNBC to attack True the Vote and True the Vote responded with this press release:


Election integrity organization demands retraction about misstatements made by Rep. Cummings on national television

HOUSTON, TX. October 29, 2012 ¯ True the Vote (TTV), the nonpartisan election integrity organization, today formally demanded that Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings retract a series of false statements made about the group repeatedly by him last week on the cable news network, MSNBC.

The October 29, 2012 letter from True the Vote's attorney, Brock Akers stated, "We are shocked at your comments on 'The Ed Show' of MSNBC, which you either know not to be true or have done nothing to assure their accuracy. We had higher hopes for you as an otherwise respected Member of Congress."

Akers continued, "Each and every one of these allegations is categorically false, has no basis in truth, and is not anything...other than a conjured allegation of some individual seeking to distort reality. This defamation per se is shameful. Without so much as the common courtesy to meet with Ms. Engelbrecht, where you could have quickly learned how off track your allegations are and have been, you instead go on national television and call this group names and cast them in the most unflattering light possible."

True the Vote continues to offer to meet in order to brief Rep. Cummings and his staff, yet demands a full and public retraction of recent false statements on MSNBC.

The letter has been made available for viewing here.

True The Vote (TTV) a nonpartisan, nonprofit grassroots organization focused on preserving election integrity is operated by citizens for citizens, to inspire and equip volunteers for involvement at every stage of our electoral process. TTV empowers organizations and individuals across the nation to actively protect the rights of legitimate voters, regardless of their political party affiliation. For more information, please visit www.truethevote.org.

Since the targeting of True the Vote and Catherine is public knowledge – see, e.g., "Why You Should Care That The U.S. Government Has Targeted Catherine Engelbrecht And Her Organizations" (www.forbes.com/sites/larrybell/2013/05/30/why-you-should-care-that-the-u-s- government-has-targeted-catherine-engelbrecht-and-her-organizations/) and "Why did the Obama administration target Catherine Engelbrecht personally?" (www.renewamerica.com/columns/gaynor/130603), it was time for Cummings to dread the thought of Catherine testifying before the House Oversight Committee.

In "The Left's War on True the Vote and Catherine Engelbrecht: Where It All Began" (http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2012/11/01/The-Left-s-War-on- True-the-Vote-and-Catherine-Engelbrecht-Where-It-All-Began), Brandon Darby reported that True the Vote's "crime" was "[finding]irregularities in Democratic Representative Sheila Jackson Lee's turf and an ACORN affiliated group – and [telling] on them" and that "[t]he left-of-center effort to hide the irregularities of our nation's many 'ACORNs' and 'Sheila Jackson Lees' has grown into involving," among others named, Cummings, one of the 75 House Democrats who voted NOT to defund ACORN.

That makes perfect sense.

In "True Scandal: A tea-party group targeted by Democrats gets attention from the IRS – and the FBI, OSHA, and the ATF" at www.nationalreview.com/article/348756/true-scandal-jillian-kay-melchior, Jillian Kay Melchior concluded:

"...Catherine says the harassment [by federal government agencies] has forced her to seriously reconsider whether her political activity is worth the government harassment she's faced. 'I left a thriving family business with my husband that I loved, to do something I didn't necessarily love, but [which] I thought had to be done,' she says. 'But I really think if we don't do this, if we don't stand up and speak now, there might not [always] be that chance.'

"Her husband offers an additional observation: 'If you knew my wife, you'd know she doesn't back down from anybody. They picked on the wrong person when they started picking on her.'"

He's right!

As I ended an article titled "King Street Patriots are working for election integrity" and dated March 30, 2011 (www.renewamerica.com/columns/gaynor/110330):

"Fittingly, Catherine Engelbrecht, the mother/wife/businesswoman heading King Street Patriots, closed the National Summit by displaying a 'belt of truth' that had been sent to her as a supporter and referenced Ephesisans 6.

Ephesians 6:10-20 (http://bible.org/seriespage/spiritual-warfare-ephesians-610-20) states:

'10 Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.

'14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, 19 and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.'

Catherine would not be cowed.

Catherine boldly wrote to the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the House Ethics Committee on behalf of her nonprofit organizations, True the Vote and King Street Patriots, her private business interests, her family and herself, seeking a formal investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics into "certain actions, pressures and unauthorized and improper inquiries initiated against [her] organizations, [her] family and [herself] by Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Catherine's letter stated:

"Specifically, I believe that Rep. Cummings misrepresented his authority as a Member of Congress in order to intimidate me and others associated with me, and further, that Rep. Cummings may have been involved in the organizing of a series of invasive inquisitions into my personal, organizational and business affairs by various federal agencies, agents and bureaucracies over the past four years.

"The rules of the U.S. House of Representatives impose basic standards of honesty, integrity and public service on all Members, Officers, employees and staff of the House, to-wit: 'A Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer, or employee of the House shall conduct himself at all times in a manner that shall reflect creditably on the House. [House Rule 23, clause 1.]

Did Cummings meet that standard?

Catherine doesn't think so,so she continued:

"One of the citizens' organizations that I founded, True the Vote, has been on the receiving end of abusive attacks from Rep. Cummings, which purportedly were on behalf of the House OGR Committee – but were not. We ask the OCE to determine whether the True the Vote | 7232 Wynnwood Lane | Houston, Texas 77008 communications to me and to my organization, True the Vote, constituted a violation of the rules of the House of Representatives.

"Further, in the last four years, both of my organizations, my family's businesses and our personal finances have been subjected to over 15 instances of audit or investigation by four separate federal agencies since 2010 – all of which immediately followed my founding of two citizens organizations in Texas and filing IRS Forms 1023 and 1024 seeking tax-exemption for those two entities.

"We therefore request that OCE investigate whether Rep. Cummings and/or any person on his staff or at his direction played any role whatsoever in causing or initiating any or all of the inquiries and actions of multiple federal agencies to descend upon my organizations, my family and our personal business(es) over the past four years.

"Appended here are letters from Rep. Cummings which can only be characterized as a concerted effort on his part to bully True the Vote. The letters represent that he is acting on behalf of the House OGR Committee; however, we have subsequently learned that this was not an official committee activity or inquiry, but rather Rep. Cummings – and his staff's – personal inquiry into the operations and activities of my grassroots citizens' organization.

"What possible interest can Rep. Cummings have in that grassroots organization, whose only objective is to protect the integrity and honesty of America's elections? We are a voters' rights organization and we have been maligned and mistreated by Rep. Cummings' attacks.

"We believe that Rep. Cummings' actions have violated the House rules, represent an abuse of power on his part and are unethical and arrogant. We want to know whether Rep. Cummings' attention to True the Vote played any role in the federal agency actions related to my family and me – including the three-plus years' delay in the granting of the tax exempt status of True the Vote and King Street Patriots."

Catherine's letter continued in detail.

Read it at http://www.scribd.com/doc/208347055/2-6-14-OCE-Complaint.

Especially notably, Catherine wrote:

"The letters that we received from Rep. Cummings attacking and oppressing True the Vote and me were sent through the franking privilege, and presented as seemingly official correspondence from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. We believe Rep. Cumming's actions, in using his official position to attack my organization, were and are improper. Therefore, we respectfully request that Rep. Cummings be investigated and a determination made as to the use and potential misuse of taxpayer funds to advance a personal, political vendetta against my organizations, my family and me.

"We request Rep. Cummings and his staff be required to respond under oath regarding their role in initiating or supporting the years of targeted government attacks on my family, my business and my organizations. We want the truth; nothing more, nothing less."



At least the Government had Al Capone sent to prison for tax evasion. Now it's time for Cummings to walk the plank for abusing the privilege of the frank.

© Michael Gaynor


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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Michael Gaynor

Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member... (more)


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