Remember Vote Fraud?

The DA was hot to do something about it until his own campaign got going

"He [Gore] contacted Ben and indicated he wanted to clear his name," Mountin said, "and he was very general and in fact beyond very general, totally nonspecific about what he wanted to talk about or the nature of what it was that he wanted to discuss. And beyond that, Ben has not had a chance to get with him."

It's a busy life.

"Really what it comes down to," Mountin said, "is that to a certain extent we have to prioritize our time, and that would be why Ben has not had a chance to actually meet with Mr. Gore, because from what was presented to us, it didn't appear to be anything critical."

OK, but I wouldn't be doing my job if I failed to point out that Mr. Mountin's boss, Bill Hill, is now running for re-election. And, food chain-wise, Mr. Hill is now swinging from the same tree that brought the Dunning campaign into full fruit. That is to say, Hill's campaign consultant is now the über-guru, Carol Reed, who ran the Dunning campaign. Had there been a serious effort to climb the Dunning campaign tree, using Terrence Gore's documentation, Reed would have been the Christmas angel at the top.

And let's take another break, because I also talked to Carol Reed and Tom Dunning. Reed called my food-chain thesis "absurd." (I always think, "Yes, but is it wrong?") She pointed out that the public integrity unit investigation of vote fraud had worked against her candidate, Dunning. It was his campaign that was hurt when it was revealed that some of his workers were receiving subpoenas, apparently for things they had done in earlier campaigns for other people.

"If anything," she said, "I thought the timing was pretty dreadful, to have something that had to do with a school board thing plopping in there right during the middle of a mayor's race."

So she's saying: If she is on high running all this from a storm cloud, why would she aim the thunderbolts at her own feet?

Dunning repeated what he had said during the campaign, that no candidate can know what every worker in his campaign is up to at every moment. He said he was confident that Reed and her subcontractor, Nealy, had been ethical in spending the money he had entrusted to them.

"I worked directly with Carol Reed, and I worked with Kathy Nealy, and we went to churches on Sundays, and so that's essentially [it]. Kathy Nealy has assured myself and Carol Reed that she has books and check stubs, and I'm confident that she does."

Hill declined to discuss these matters with me and referred me to Mountin.

But hang in here with me one moment and allow me to mention that I am also talking all the time to people who speak to me on a not-for-attribution basis, who are very close to the voting process in Dallas, who are telling me that the vote-brokering business is absolutely alive and well. And I'm talking about bags of ballots coming in at the last minute, delivered by commercial courier and clearly having been harvested by paid vote brokers, as recently as in the recent Democratic primary election.

We're talking about ballots that come in from nonexistent addresses. We're talking about suspicious signatures. I'm working on some of this and will have more detail soon, but for now, as an aside, I do have a public request: If anyone knows where I can find Adrienne Bottorf, would you please let me know at 214-757-8460. Ms. Bottorf, a very civic-minded person, I can tell, who has been willing to help many sight-impaired elderly citizens by signing as a witness to their absentee votes, is surprisingly scarce. I may need to talk to some of the other ballot witnesses who could be related to her, judging by the similarity of their handwriting.

Mountin told me he does have one trial date set, May 13, for Felicia Petrie, an aide to state Representative Hodge. Petrie is accused of improper assistance to the blind in a voting situation. I asked if there was anything else cooking. He said, "As far as indictments, no."

And here's a last thought. The guy they were all worried about in terms of vote fraud was the Latino mayoral candidate, Domingo Garcia. He didn't get elected. He also didn't do any ballot fraud that anybody has discovered.

And, man, all of a sudden the heat is definitely off. Now, all of a sudden, "We have to prioritize our time."

Terrence was telling me what he told Ben Stool: "I told him, 'Hey, talk to the boss and let me know. I got records. I got forms. I'll come down, and I'll give you everything.'

"And I never heard back from the man. But the election is over with now, so I guess it doesn't make sense to go after anybody now. It's not high-profile now."

No, that's not it, Terrence. The problem is, you weren't specific enough.

Yeah.

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