U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky under fire after husband accused of voter fraud, orchestrating violence at Trump rallies
October 20, 2016
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Republican congressional candidate Joan McCarthy Lasonde called for U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Evanston) to resign at a press conference outside Schakowsky’s Evanston office Thursday.
Lasonde said Schakowsky was the “ringleader” of protests and riots that led to the cancellation of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s March 11 rally at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Lasonde referenced undercover videos released by the conservative advocacy site Project Veritas Action that appear to show Jan Schakowsky’s husband, political consultant Robert Creamer, discussing voter fraud.
The leaked videos also show Scott Foval, the former national field director for Americans United for Change, talk about hiring “mentally ill” and homeless people to protest at Trump rallies.
Surrounded by supporters on the sidewalk outside Schakowsky’s office at 820 Davis St., Lasonde said Schakowsky was either involved in or knew about the alleged incitement of violence at Trump rallies and didn’t do anything to stop it.
“If Schakowsky wasn’t part of the wrongdoing, she’d had to have made a huge effort to keep her head in the sand, and willful ignorance is no excuse,” Lasonde said. “Her resignation now is the first step to ensuring that violence will not be used as a means to stifle political opposition.”
In an emailed statement, Schakowsky criticized Lasonde for referencing the video made by conservative James O’Keefe, whom she called an “alt-right” activist.
“O’Keefe hired undercover operatives who tried to lure Democratic consultants into taking actions that were improper or illegal, but no one took the bait,” Schakowsky said in the email.
Foval was laid off from Americans United for Change on Wednesday. Creamer announced he was “stepping back” from his work for the presidential campaign Wednesday so as not to be a distraction from defeating Trump.
Creamer founded the organization Democracy Partners, which contracted Foval as an organizer. Lasonde said the two are guilty of committing voter fraud, inciting violence at Trump rallies, and Schakowsky must also be held responsible for either participating or failing to stop it.
In the videos, Foval allegedly explained how easy it is to cover up in-person voter fraud.
Schakowsky called the video a “manufactured and non-existent ‘scandal’” in the email.
O’Keefe’s Project Veritas Action has received criticism for attacking Democratic politicians and heavily editing their videos in a way many say is unethical. O’Keefe was convicted in 2010 for his involvement with a break-in to the office of a U.S. senator from Louisiana in an attempt to create false recordings.
“The discredited source of these videos, James O’Keefe, is a convicted criminal with a history of doctoring video to advance his ideological agenda,” said Donna Brazile, interim chair of the Democratic National Convention, in an email statement. “We are in the process of conducting an internal investigation to determine whether he and his cohorts committed any illegal activities in this well-funded operation.”
Creamer has also been convicted himself — he was sentenced to five months in prison in 2006 for bank fraud and a tax violation, a fact Lasonde referenced multiple times during the press conference as proof of Creamer’s alleged connection to voter fraud and violence at Trump rallies.
Trump referenced the videos during the third presidential debate Wednesday night, saying Creamer’s work as a political analyst for the Clinton campaign was linked to the violence at some of his rallies.
“Just like if you look at what came out today on the clips where I was wondering what happened with my rally in Chicago and other rallies where we had such violence,” Trump said at the debate. “(Hillary Clinton) is the one — and Obama — that caused the violence. They hired people. They paid them $1,500, and they’re on tape saying, ‘Be violent. Cause fights. Do bad things.’”
After calling for Schakowsky’s resignation, Lasonde highlighted how she was not part of the “political ruling class” like Schakowsky and how she said she could stop corruption. She also said she wanted to find common ground with other politicians to create bipartisan policies.
Lasonde did not say whether she supports Trump.