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'Lawyers work hard and, like us, they're human, many of them' -- Dick Cavett


This is almost a nice time story, because while it's about some heinous fuckery most foul involving Immigration and Customs Enforcement, it's just plain old criming by a grifty ICE attorney, not some horrible official immigration policy turning America into an authoritarian hellhole people run away from to Canada. It's almost a breath of fresh air to learn that the chief counsel for ICE in Seattle, Raphael A. Sanchez, has been charged with two felonies after allegedly stealing immigrants' identities so he could then apply for credit cards in their names. The AP reported yesterday that Sanchez resigned on Monday.

And what a nice little scam Sanchez is accused of pulling! The sleazy Washington Post has the deets:

The charging document states that between October 2013 and October 2017 Sanchez used the personal information of seven immigrants to try to defraud several financial institutions, including American Express, Citibank and Bank of America. The immigrants were all “in various stages of immigration proceedings,” read the document signed by attorneys from Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section.

Isn't it delightful to see some evil in our nation's immigration system that has nothing to do with Donald Trump's Deport Everyone policies? Sanchez had been running his grift for years, so he can't even claim that Trump had inspired him to be dirty, as it were. Of course, there's always the possibility he'll be pardoned and given a job, since the administration keeps running out of people in top positions. He'd certainly fit right in.

The AP notes that the type of document used in Sanchez's prosecution, called an "information,"

can be filed only when a defendant has agreed to waive his or her right to be indicted by a grand jury; it’s typically an indication that a plea agreement is in the works.

And indeed, Sanchez is scheduled to enter a plea tomorrow. Possibly because he's agreed to a deal, the charging document isn't especially detailed on the seven immigrants whose identities Sanchez (allegedly) made use of, though it does go into detail on his (alleged) theft of the personal data belonging to a Chinese national identified only as "R.H.":

The charges state that on April 18, 2016, Sanchez sent himself an email through his government account containing an image of a U.S. permanent resident card and the biographical page of a Chinese passport issued to R.H. The email also allegedly contained a Puget Sound Energy bill in R.H.’s name for service at an address in a southern Seattle neighborhood with a large Asian population.

WaPo's report includes this charming little detail:

Property records list Raphael A. Sanchez as the owner of the address cited in the information.

How's that for a perfect stupid crime? Stealing the identity of someone applying for a green card (and apparently opening not just the credit card account, but also a fake utility account in their name?)? Was Sanchez also trying to deport the people whose identities he (allegedly) used, so they'd be less likely to show up and tell the credit card companies they'd been ripped off?

Yr Wonkette is not a lawyer, and we are only asking questions here. The charges against Sanchez are for one felony count each of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, but if he was also misusing his own position as an ICE attorney to influence his (alleged) victims' immigration cases, that would be pretty damn big, no? Was that maybe part of a possible plea deal? Where can we find a good investigative journamalist when we're only a mommyblogger?

We'll keep you kids updated on this one if we find out anything more. We bet the Trump Justice Department will come down hard on any misconduct by a top counsel for ICE, because god knows they wouldn't tolerate some corrupt official tarnishing ICE's sterling reputation. After all, it's the only out-of-control federal agency Trump has never criticized.

Yr Wonkette is supported by reader donations. Please click here to send us money. Make sure you're you first, OK?

[AP / WaPo]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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Republicans are devouring each other's carcasses, and we are here for it! Especially when one of those Republicans is King Kris of the Kansas Votefucker Klan ... errr, Clan! It's been a week since Kansans cast their votes in the gubernatorial primary, and the GOP looks to be rolling up its sleeves for a slugfest.

As we type, Kobach leads by 298 votes out of more than 314,000 cast -- a whopping 0.00095 percent, if you round up! The Kansas GOP begged Donald Trump to stay out of the race and leave the field clear for sitting governor Jeff Colyer, who took over when Sam Brownback wandered off to bring Jesus to the Hottentots on behalf of the US government. Safe bet that Colyer would be gearing up for the general election now if President Twitterthumbs hadn't flapped his yap. So thanks for that, Donny!

No, really, THANKS!

Remember the hanging chad debacle in Florida? Now picture it in a landlocked state with more cows than people. It's like fantasy island for Devin Nunes, ALLEGEDLY.

Oh, but we are to kid!

After first insisting he wasn't going to recuse from the counting, Secretary of State Kris Kobach (one and the same!) wrote Colyer a fabulously bitchy letter agreeing to hand off the tabulation to his deputy, Eric Rucker. Colyer had made the shocking suggestion that Kobach delegate responsibility to the Kansas attorney general, rather than his own political appointee, and Kobach was stretched out on the settee with a fit of the vapors at the gross impropriety of it all!

I will not breach the public trust and arbitrarily assign my responsibilities to another office that is not granted such authority by the laws of Kansas.

After several anguished paragraphs, Kobach closed by remonstrating that Colyer was betraying his office by destroying the faith of Kansans in the sacred integrity of their electoral process.

As governor of Kansas, your unrestrained rhetoric has the potential to undermine the public's confidence in the election process. May I suggest that you trust the people of Kansas have made the right decision at the polls and that our election officials will properly determine the result as they do in every election.

Said the guy whose entire adult life has been dedicated to whipping up panic about millions of imaginary illegal alien voters.

So now these two princes can kick the crap out of each other WITH VOTES, specifically, provisional ballots cast by unaffiliated voters under the supervision of poorly trained poll workers. Kansas holds closed primaries, meaning only registered Republicans can vote to select the GOP candidate, BUT an unaffiliated voter can cast a vote by checking a box identifying as a Democrat or a Republican at the polling place. This was news to some poll workers, who mistakenly directed over one thousand unaffiliated voters to use provisional ballots without checking the box indicating party preference. Whoops!

So, will those provisional ballots be counted based on voter intent? Or tossed based on strict interpretation of the statute? And does Kansas law mandate tossing mail-in ballots that arrive without a postmark on Wednesday, since there's no forensic proof that they were mailed before midnight on Tuesday? And how disgusted will the Kansas electorate be when one of these assholes emerges from the melée holding the other one's scalp? And how many millions of dollars are going to be spent on litigating the Republican primary while this nice lady Laura Kelly, the Democratic minority whip of the Kansas Senate, is out campaigning for November?

Even before this debacle, Kobach looked significantly weaker against Kelly than Colyer, with self-funded Libertarian Jeff Orman threatening to throw a wrench in the works. The Wichita Eagle reports on a Remington Research Poll conducted in July:

In a Kelly-Orman-Kobach race, the poll puts Kelly and Kobach effectively in a dead heat — 36 percent for Kelly and 35 percent for Kobach, with Kelly's lead within the margin of error. Orman has 12 percent.

Colyer leads in a three-way race with Kelly and Orman, according to the poll. In that scenario, Colyer receives 38 percent of the vote, while Kelly gets 28 percent and Orman receives 10 percent.

Which is ONE POLL, in a deeply red state, but ... Kobach is a crap candidate who's likely to emerge from this fight with two black eyes and a pissed off base. If there's anyone who can blow this election, it's Kris Kobach.

Keep fighting, Kris! You can do it! (And now we need a shower.)

And YOU need an OPEN THREAD!

Follow your FDF on Twitter!

Money us, PLEASE! Throw a tip in the jar, or click here to keep your Wonkette snarking forever.

[Kobach letter / Wichita Eagle / Mother Jones / Kansas City Star]

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While most people spent this weekend telling Nazi punks to fuck off, a couple 11-year-olds were in Las Vegas hacking into voting machines. Why? BECAUSE IT'S FUN!

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