Wednesday, October 19, 2011
"This fraud was obvious, far-reaching and appeared to be systemic," 22-year-old Ryan Nees told Fox News, referring to evidence he uncovered while researching electoral petitions from the 2008 Democratic Party primary in Indiana.
Nees’ investigation centered on the petitions that put then-senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on the ballot. As many as 150 of the names and signatures, it is alleged, were faked. So many, in fact, that the numbers raise questions about whether Obama’s campaign had enough legitimate signatures to qualify for a spot on the ballot.
"What seems to have happened is that a variety of people in northern Indiana knew that this fraud occurred, and actively participated and perpetuated the fraud, and did so on behalf of two presidential campaigns," according to Nees.
Prosecutors are now investigating. The scandal has already led to the sudden resignation Monday night of Butch Morgan, chairman of the St. Joseph County Democratic Party. He denied any wrongdoing, saying he looks “forward to an investigation that will exonerate me."
Nees, a junior at Yale University, served as an intern in the Obama White House last year and supports the president’s re-election. But as an intern at the non-partisan political newsletter Howey Politics Indiana, he delved into the Byzantine and complicated world of petition signatures and found reams of signatures that he says appeared to be written in the same handwriting, some apparently copied from previous petitions.
The names were subsequently submitted to Indiana election authorities as the signatures of legitimate voters. Nees and Brian Howey, the newsletter's publisher, then teamed up with the South Bend Tribune to break the story.
St. Joseph County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Dvorak announced Tuesday that the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Indiana will not be investigating these allegations. So Dvorak is doing so and has requested the assistance of the Indiana State Police...