Posted on November 2, 2004

About Those “Independent” Election Monitors …

Joel Mowbray,, Nov. 2

Tom Daschle has already started the ball rolling in the first of an anticipated series of lawsuits charging Republicans with suppressing minority votes. If—OK, when—Democrats claim voter intimidation or other election fraud in the presidential contest today, they will undoubtedly have at their side “independent” international monitors—who happen to be selected and overseen by two rabidly partisan American Democrats.

Acting on an invitation from the State Department, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is, according to its own website, sending over 60 observers to seven states, including four of the most hotly contested: Florida, Ohio, Minnesota, and New Mexico.

Although no international body is likely to be truly objective when viewing the U.S. system, neither is any quite as partisan as the OSCE division responsible for selecting and dispatching election monitors.

Currently serving a rotating two-year term as OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE-PA) President is Rep. Alcee Hastings, a Florida Democrat best known for being a former federal judge impeached and convicted by a Democratic Congress. He is also fiercely partisan and a leader of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Hastings is a bitter man. He was quoted in the Associated Press this June saying, “Any way we cut it, these people are going to try to steal this election.” This is the man who is at least in part responsible for selecting the OSCE monitors—some of whom will be observing in Hastings’ home state of Florida.

Since Hastings’ role in the OSCE-PA must be limited, the greatest sign of the group’s bias is its day-to-day director, Secretary General R. Spencer Oliver.

Watergate history buffs or anyone overly familiar with the Congressional Democratic fishing expeditions, err, investigations, during the Reagan and Bush administrations may recognize Mr. Oliver’s name. His office was supposedly one of the targets of the break-in. A few years later, Oliver was on Capitol Hill, where he quickly gained a reputation—from his fellow Democrats—as highly partisan.

Detailing how Oliver surreptitiously sprung a South African arms dealer in the course of a House Foreign Affairs Committee investigation, the National Journal wrote in 1992 that the Democrat was “long known among fellow staff members as a ‘loose cannon’ with a conspiratorial bent.”

Working on the October Surprise special panel—which Congressional Democrats convened in a vain attempt to “prove” the Reagan campaign orchestrated a delay of the release of the hostages held Iran—Oliver received a call in January 1992 from the lawyer of Dirk Francois Stoffberg, an arms dealer who had just pleaded guilty.

In exchange for providing what proved ultimately useless information, Oliver sent Stoffberg’s judge a letter—on Committee letterhead.

Four days later, the arms dealer walked free.

Those who knew Oliver best apparently were not surprised. His reputation was already sufficiently sullied even years earlier, as his participation in the 1987 Iran-Contra investigation was curtailed.

One year after springing an arms dealer from prison, Oliver was given his plum assignment with the OSCE. As Secretary General of the OSCE-PA, he undoubtedly carries enormous sway over the activities of the “independent” international election monitors.

The OSCE is scheduled to release preliminary findings this Thursday, November 4. If things heat up before then, however, don’t be surprised to see Democrats trot out OSCE monitors to buttress their wild accusations.

Partisan pit bulls Hastings and Oliver would surely like nothing more.