Missourians for Fair & Impartial Courts has released a new web video challenging ShowMe Better Courts for their reliance on the notorious Mark Jacoby to collect signatures for their ballot initiative. ShowMe Better Courts, led by GOP operative James Harris and funded by right-wing donors who want more radical judges in the state, are pushing an initiative that would allow for call for partisan judicial elections.
A source on the ground reports that Jacoby is coordinating a significant portion of the ShowMe Better Courts' signature gathering effort, and expects a sizable (six figure) bonus if the courts petition qualifies for the ballot. Corporate records also connect Jacoby to at least one company publicly advertising its work in the state.
- A company called Star Petition Group has been advertising petition canvasser jobs around the state. See archived job postings here, here, here and here.
- Those advertisements include messages like this: "We are currently working on 2 issues for the November ballot. The first issue is to prevent the state from adding any new sales taxes to the sale or transfer of homes. The second one is to change the way that judges are elected in the state of Missouri."
- According to Nexis and corporate registration records, Star Petition Group and Jacoby's YPM, LLC share Box #324 at a Mailboxes, Etc. store in Dunedin, Florida. See source documents below.
Jacoby -- the owner of a consulting firm called Young Political Majors, or YPM, LLC -- pleaded guilty last summer to voter-registration fraud in California. And even before his arrest, he'd developed quite a reputation among initiative petition consultants. The Bakersfield Californian:
Mark Jacoby, who owns a company the California Republican Party hired to register thousands of voters this year, was recently arrested in Southern California on suspicion of voter registration fraud. Jacoby, who allegedly falsified his own voter registration affidavit, was already a source of controversy at the time of his arrest.
Dozens of voters have claimed they were duped into registering as Republicans by workers from Jacoby’s firm, which is paid $7 to $12 for every Californian it registers for the GOP. In some cases Jacoby’s employees told voters they were signing a petition calling for tougher penalties against child molesters when, in fact, they were unknowingly changing their party affiliation.
And the Los Angeles Times:
After complaints by voters and Democratic Party officials, several agencies launched investigations into Jacoby's activities. They included the Los Angeles County district attorney's office, which issued the warrant for his arrest earlier this month on felony charges of voter registration fraud and perjury.
"We contacted people at the addresses where he registered, and they have no idea who he is," said Dave Demerjian, head deputy of the public integrity unit at the L.A. County district attorney's office.
Goldfine said his client does business in many states, traveling frequently, and his permanent address has been his parents' Los Angeles County home, where he received mail and registered to vote.
Demerjian said his office is continuing to investigate allegations that YPM workers improperly re-registered voters with the GOP.
Several dozen voters recently told The Times that YPM workers said they had to become Republicans to sign the petition, contrary to California initiative law. Other voters said they had no idea their registration was being changed.
YPM has been accused of using bait-and-switch tactics across the country. Election officials and lawmakers have launched investigations into the activities of YPM workers in Florida and Massachusetts. In Arizona, the firm was recently a defendant in a civil rights lawsuit.
The Ballot Initiative Strategy Center (BISC) has more:
Allegations of fraud have followed YPM and Jacoby from Florida and Maine to Arizona and California. The accusations include lying to voters, falsifying voter registration forms, and never turning in petition signatures or voter registration forms as required by law. One of Jacoby’s own former circulators said Jacoby and YPM “encouraged, and even expected, behavior that could well be criminal…”
Mark Jacoby pleads guilty to voter-registration fraud.
On Oct. 20th, 2008, Mark Jacoby was arrested for allegedly falsifying his voter registration for the purpose of circulating petitions in California.
Also in 2008, Jacoby and YPM were hired as a subcontractor for Ward Connerly’s “Arizona Civil Rights Initiative,” in addition to several others circulating in the state. The result was an “unprecedented” number of initiatives removed from the ballot for invalid signatures. Connerly had over 130,000 signatures thrown out by the Secretary of State. The widespread irregularities found by state and local officials in the signatures Connerly turned in forced his initiative to be stripped from the ballot. On top of the signatures that were thrown out, an additional 100,000 fraudulent or suspicious signatures were turned in by Connerly to Arizona's secretary of state.
A petition circulator alleges that Mark Jacoby personally trained her to conduct bait and switch tactics while YPM was subcontracting for ARNO Political Consultants on an effort to ban marriage equality in Massachusetts.
In 2004, YPM worked as a subcontractor for ARNO Political Consultantsregistering Republican voters in Florida. While there, YPM was accused of falsely changing the party affiliation of as many as 4000 students at state universities.
Jacoby incorporated Young Political Majors (YPM) in Florida in 2004.
Jacoby was also the subject of a Keith Olbermann piece in 2008, along with Lincoln Strategy Group -- a firm that appears directly on the Missouri Ethics Commission filings of the ShowMe Better Courts and Vote Yes to Stop Double Taxation committees. The petitions circulated by these two organizations are the same described in Star Petition Group's job postings.
Star Petition Group, LLC registration information with the California Secretary of State
YPM, LLC registration document filed with the Florida Secretary of State in January 2010:
A Nexis business registration search confirms that Jacoby is using Box 324 -- this fact isn't clear on the Florida SOS document.
Mugshot image credit: StopBallotFraud.org
Mugshot image credit: StopBallotFraud.org