Cochran Campaign Manager, Staffer Busted in Illegal Vote Buying Operation
Charles C. Johnson and Joel S. Gilbert
Democrat black reverend, who brought “hundreds” to the polls for promise of payment, exposes alleged massive voter fraud, vote buying operation by Cochran campaign.
A black reverend stiffed by the Cochran campaign has exposed an alleged criminal conspiracy by Cochran staffers to commit massive voter fraud ahead of Tuesday’s controversial U.S. Senate Republican runoff election in Mississippi.
Reverend Stevie Fielder, associate pastor at historic First Union Missionary Baptist Church and former official at Meridian’s redevelopment agency, says he delivered “hundreds or even thousands,” of blacks to the polls after being offered money and being assured by a Cochran campaign operative that Chris McDaniel was a racist. “They [the Cochran campaign] told me to offer blacks fifteen dollars each and to vote for Thad.”
It is illegal under several provisions of Mississippi law and federal law for campaign officials to bribe voters with cash and punishable up to five years in jail. (MS Code 97-13-1; MS Code 97-13-3 (2013) (Federal Code 18 U.S.C. 597, U.S.C. 1973i(c)) Voter fraud schemes are not unusual for Mississippi. In 1999 Mississippi’s attorney general reported massive voter fraud allegations throughout the Magnolia state. In 2011, a Mississippi NAACP leader was sent to prison for voter fraud, according to the Daily Caller.
It would seem that laws were broken here, too. At the direction of the Cochran campaign, Reverend Fielder went “door to door, different places, mostly impoverished neighborhoods, to the housing authorities and stuff like that,” telling fellow blacks that McDaniel was a racist and promising them $15 per vote. “They sold me on the fact that he was a racist and that the right thing to do was to keep him out of office,” Fielder says.
Text messages released to Got News and a recorded interview with Reverend Fielder confirmed that Saleem Baird, a staffer with the Cochran campaign and current legislative aide to U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, and Cochran campaign manager, Kirk Sims, were involved in a $15-per-vote cash bribery scheme to target members of the black community.
“They said they needed black votes,” said the Reverend Fielder on the phone. He says Baird told him to “give the fifteen dollars in each envelope to people as they go in and vote. You know, not right outside of the polling place but he would actually recruit people with the $15 dollars and they would go in and vote.” Fielder said he received thousands of dollars in envelopes from Baird and distributed them accordingly. Fielder also says he went to the campaign office on another occasion to pick up $300 in cash and was among a room full of people who were doing the same thing he was.
Fielder said that Saleem Baird was doing the same thing with people all over the state. Fielder believes that the racism charge against McDaniel and the promise of $15 a vote motivated ‘thousands’ of black Democrats like him to vote for Cochran in the runoff. When asked if Fielder would have been more suspicious of Baird’s promises had he been white, Fielder replied, “Yes, definitely.”
For his efforts, Fielder says the Cochran campaign and Baird promised him $16,000 for paying black voters $15 a vote, but Baird wound up stiffing him. Baird even asked him to delete all texts between the two of them. In addition to Baird, Fielder says he spoke with Kirk Sims, the Cochran campaign manager, and a woman named “Amanda” with the campaign, most likely Amanda Shook, director of operations to re-elect Thad Cochran. All refused to pay him the agreed upon amount of $16,000.
Baird realized he had been lied to when he “took a good look at the campaign ads” and realized “McDaniel was not a racist…me and other people were misguided and misled.”
Fielder confronted Saleem the weekend before the election and asked about whether or not McDaniel was actually a racist and Baird confirmed it. Baird “personally confirmed that McDaniel was a racist.” Baird ‘manipulated me to manipulate many other people,” says Fielder. Baird did not disclose that he worked as a paid legislative staffer for Senator Roger Wicker. Fielder also says he spoke with campaign manager Kirk Sims about getting paid and about the ethical complaints he had.
Fielder is a Democrat but said he has voted for Republicans in the past. And though Fielder is being paid for his story by Got News, he says he’d come forward anyway. “I thought what I did was wrong.” Fielder said he was motivated mostly by concerns that McDaniel was a racist, not money.
As to what should happen next, ‘definitely the election should not be allowed to stand,” says Fielder, who says he’ll support McDaniel in event of a special election. ‘He’s been done wrong. He’s not what they said that he is.’
Got News tried calling both Baird and Sims with Fielder on the line. We got through to Sims but Sims insisted that there was a bad connection when Fielder asked about the racist smear campaign against Chris McDaniel and hung up. Were Baird found to have violated any laws in this matter, this would not be his first time he had a brush with the wrong side of the law. In 2011, Baird, who is a legislative staffer with U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, was allowed to keep his job with the senator after being arrested on charges of running an illegal strip joint in Jackson.
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We believe that socialism USA will be built according to the traditions, history, culture and conditions of the United States. Thus, it will be different from any other socialist society in the world. It will be uniquely American.
What will be the goals of our socialist society?
- A life free of exploitation, insecurity, poverty; an end to unemployment, hunger and homelessness.
- An end to racism, national oppression, anti-Semitism, all forms of discrimination, prejudice and bigotry. An end to the unequal status of women.
- Renewal and extension of democracy; an end to the rule of corporate America and private ownership of the wealth of our nation. Creation of a truly humane and rationally planned society that will stimulate the fullest flowering of the human personality, creativity and talent.
The advocates and ideologues of capitalism hold that such goals are utopian; that human beings are inherently selfish and evil. Others argue that these goals can be fully realized under capitalism.
We are confident, however, that such goals can be realized, but only through a socialist society.
Since its inception capitalism has been fatally flawed. Its inherent laws – to maximize profit on the backs of the working class – give rise to the class struggle.
History is a continuous story of people rising up against those who exploit and oppress them, to demand what’s theirs. Our own country’s historic beginning was revolutionary. The ideals of justice and equality have inspired peoples for centuries.
Up until the time of Karl Marx, those that advocated socialism were ‘utopians’, that is, motivated by ideals only. It was Marx and his longtime friend and collaborator, Frederick Engels, who uncovered the inner laws of capitalism, where profit comes from and how societies develop. They transformed wishful thinking for socialism into socialism with a scientific, materialist basis.
Communists say that capitalism won’t be around forever. Just like previous societies weren’t around forever either. Slavery gave rise to feudalism and feudalism to capitalism. So, too, capitalism gives rise to socialism.
The Foundations of Socialism
Political power would be in the hands of working people. Socialism starts with nationalization of the main means of production – the plants, factories, agri-business farms and everything necessary to produce what society needs. The large monopoly corporations and banks come under public ownership, that is, under the collective ownership of the entire working class and people, who have the leading role in building socialism.
Socialism also means public ownership of the energy industry and all the natural resources. It eliminates forever the power of the capitalist class to exploit and oppress the majority.
A socialist government draws up plans covering the entire economy. They are drawn up with maximum participation of the people, from the shop level on up. Such plans are achieved because they harmonize the interests of all, because there are no conflicts arising from exploitation of workers and no dog-eat-dog competition.
Production increases much faster than under capitalism, with a planned economy, advancement of science and technology, and the protection and preservation of our environment and natural resources.
A socialist government is based on all-around democracy, starting with economic democracy. The more people participate in running their own economy, the more firmly people’s power is established, the more successful a socialist America will be.
Trade unions in a socialist USA will insure a fair balance between what workers produce and what they receive. They will have decisive power to enforce safety and health provisions, prevent speedup, and guarantee good transportation, working conditions and plant facilities.
Public services – schools, hospitals, utilities, transit, parks, roads – are crumbling under capitalism. And now corporations are ‘privatizing’ government-run, publicly-owned institutions for private profit.
Under socialism public services and housing will be vastly improved and expanded. They will be broadened in their scope beyond anything dreamed of under capitalism.
The U.S. will become a vast construction site. Homes, schools, hospitals, places of recreation will be built to end shortages, replace substandard infrastructures and public facilities.
Jobs and Education for All
Full employment will be quickly achieved as production is expanded to satisfy the needs of people. Automation at the service of the working people will lead to both reduced hours of work and higher living standards, with no layoffs. There will be no danger of over-production since production will be planned and people’s incomes will increase in line with the rising output of consumer goods and services.
Poverty will be ended quickly with the recovery of the vast resources now wasted in war production, corporate profits and the extravagent lifestyles of the filthy rich.
All education will be tuition-free. Every person will have access to unlimited medical and health care without charge. These rights will be realized as rapidly as facilities can be built and the personnel trained.
With capitalism gone, crime will also begin to disappear, for it is the vicious profit system that corrupts people and breeds crime.
To Each According to Their Work
Some ask whether guaranteeing basic necessities, free education, low-cost housing and health care will encourage people to avoid working, or doing their best. The principle of socialism is: From each according to his/her ability, to each according to his/her work.
Socialism provides incentives for working better, producing more and higher quality goods, acquiring advanced skills. It does NOT equalize wages. Wages vary according to occupation and efficiency, although everyone is guaranteed a liveable wage.
Under capitalism, improvements in skill, organization and technology are rightly feared by the worker, since they threaten jobs. Under socialism, they offer the chance to make the job more interesting and rewarding, as well as to improve living standards.
Socialism provides moral incentives because the fruits of labor benefit all. No person robs others of the profits from their labor; when social goals are adopted by the majority, people will want to work for these goals. Work will seem less a burden, more and more a creative activity, where everyone is his/her neighbor’s helper instead of rival.
It is true socialism will nationalize or socialize all large-scale production, property and real estate. But socialism does not abolish ALL privately-owned business. It does not require nationalization of those small businesses owned by people who work for themselves and do not hire others to make a profit. Personal property – private homes, automobiles, etc., – will remain just that, personal property.
In highly mechanized U.S. agriculture there will still be a place for the family farmer. But the farm family will be relieved of the pressure of agribusiness monopolies.
There will be rapid abolition of racism and national oppression. Socialism will bring complete equality for all racially and nationally oppressed. There will be no compromise with racism, for there will no longer exist a capitalist class which profits from it. Racism, national oppression, anti-Semitism, sexism, anti-immigrant discrimination and all forms of prejudice and bigotry will be banned by law, with strict measures of enforcement. Affirmative action will be expanded immediately to undo and make up for hundreds of years of the ravages of racism. Full equality will be one of the main priorities of the new society.
War propaganda will be outlawed.
The only privileged sectors will be the children and seniors, who have earned the right to a healthy, happy, secure retirement.
The children will reap all the benefits of socialist child care, free nurseries and schools with the very best facilities and teachers. Children will have wonderful recreational and sports facilities. They will have the option to choose whatever career they wish, and the free education and training to achieve it.
Socialism provides the economic foundation for effective democracy for the masses of people. To carry through the socialist economic and social transformation requires political rule by the working class – a government of, by and for the working people.
Socialism USA will benefit from the experiences, the mistakes and succesess of the countries who built and are building socialism. But mainly it will reflect the distinctive features of U.S. development and environment.
Unique historical advantages, like the unequalled natural resources, fertile soil and perfect weather, coupled with the contributions of generations of working people, enabled U.S. capitalism to achieve higher productive levels and living standards than capitalism in other countries. So, too, the development of socialism here will have some distinct advantages.
- We have a highly developed industrial society with a highly trained and educated work force.
- Free from foreign intervention, socialism will not have to divert human and economic resources to defend itself.
- Socialism USA will avoid the terrible problems of extreme poverty, illiteracy, civil wars, wars of intervention and world wars.
- Socialism USA will extend democracy to its fullest, taking as its starting point the democratic traditions and institutions of the American people.
Path to Socialism
We say that it may be possible in the U.S. to bring socialism through peaceful means. Perhaps through the ballot box. One thing is clear, there won’t be socialism in the U.S. until the majority of the American people want it.
I like to say that when workers enter the corporate board rooms to take over and the ruling class says: O.K. you’re right, we made a mess of things and now you should run it all. Well then there won’t be any trouble. But if the ruling class says: Forget it! And call out the army and the police and the national guard, then that is how revolutions become violent. It starts with the ruling class. Workers and their allies have to defend themselves and to fight for what is rightfully theirs.
We believe and advocate that a socialist society in our country will guarantee all the liberties defined in the Bill of Rights but never fully realized. These include the right of people to express themselves fully and freely through organizations of their choice and competing candidates who respect and are guided by the concept of building socialism.
Indeed, the freedoms in the Bill of Rights will take on far greater meaning for the great majority, who will now own the meeting halls, press, radio and TV, and will be able to exercise that freedom effectively.
That’s why we call ours Bill of Rights Socialism, USA.
Socialism is our vision for America’s future. It is a vision we are winning more and more people to because it is logical – really a great – replacement for capitalism. And because it is the next inevitable step up the ladder of human civilization.