- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Current and former Republican National Committee members are launching a private effort to leverage President Obama’s amnesty for illegal immigrants into a campaign to lure independent voters and disgruntled Democrats to the GOP, The Washington Times has learned.

Ironically, the inspiration comes from one of the bluest states in the country, Oregon, where voters recently pushed back against illegal immigration.

The group, acting outside the RNC’s formal governing structure and away from the GOP’s congressional leadership, has just set up a Stop Executive Amnesty Committee and a similarly named foundation. The committee incorporated under federal tax codes as a nonprofit tax-exempt 501c4, which has slightly more latitude to engage in political advocacy than the Stop Executive Amnesty Foundation, established under the 501c3 section of the federal tax codes.

The committee and the foundation will solicit donations, mount expensive legal constitutional challenges to Mr. Obama’s amnesty program and quickly build a grass-roots infrastructure, state by state, to rail against “the party of amnesty” — meaning, of course, the Democratic Party.

“We will raise $500,000 to help cover the legal costs of fighting Obama’s illegal and unconstitutional action on immigration all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States,” said SEAC Chairman Randy Pullen, the former chairman of the Arizona GOP.

What difference will SEAC and its sister foundation make in the political landscape?

SEE ALSO: Obama amnesty in jeopardy with Bush judicial appointee hearing states’ challenge

“As national GOP officials, we need to demonstrate that we will not only stand up to President Obama’s lawlessly usurping congressional power, but also fight for the jobs of legal immigrants, resident foreign nationals and disgruntled independents and Democrats,” said SEAC Vice Chairman Solomon Yue, an Oregon Republican National Committee member.

“Obama’s amnesty will serve as a magnet to bring another 20 million illegal aliens to America and to take jobs away from Americans and legal residents,” said Mr. Yue, who is also the founder and chief executive officer of Republicans Overseas.

“We formed SEAC to do what Congress cannot quite come to terms with, which is how to stop the president’s unlawful change of immigration laws on his own, without approval of the legislative branch of government or the American public,” said Arizona Republican National Committee member Bruce Ash.

“While Mr. Obama is focused on immigration as a means of creating a permanent Democrat majority in the next election, what he doesn’t get is that an election strategy is not good national public policy,” said Mr. Ash. “American jobs for working-class families and our standard of living are at risk if the president’s plans are carried out as he has outlined.”

Mr. Obama scoffs at efforts to fight his amnesty, boldly predicting Tuesday the next president won’t have the political will to reverse his amnesty policies.

“It’s true, theoretically, a future administration could do something that I think would be very damaging. It’s not likely, politically, that they reverse everything we’ve done,” the president said at an immigration town hall meeting in Nashville.

SEE ALSO: DHS already hiring 1,000 employees to carry out Obama amnesty

The new stop-executive-amnesty group is betting that Mr. Obama’s decision to unilaterally grant millions of illegal immigrants amnesty and work permits has alienated law-and-order Blue Dog Democrats as well as union, African-American and unemployed workers who now must compete with illegals in a tight job market.

A new Bloomberg News poll reported 57 percent of independent voters oppose the president’s action (7 points more than the 50 percent of independents Republican Mitt Romney won in 2012).

Nearly a third of Democrats in the poll either disapproved or had no view on the Obama action; 83 percent of Republicans turned thumbs down.

The new group also is betting that more independents can be swayed by the argument that Mr. Obama’s decision was purely political, crafted not in the national interest but rather to help build the Democratic Party’s base. Hispanics voted Democratic by nearly a 2-1 margin in Nov. 4 midterm elections, in which the GOP nonetheless captured both chambers of Congress and most of the key governorships.

The group’s inspiration was born in part in the deep-blue state of Oregon, where voters last month unexpectedly and overwhelmingly approved Ballot Measure 88, overturning a law enacted a year earlier that granted something called “drivers cards” to illegal immigrants that would serve some of the same purposes as drivers licenses, such as allowing illegals to drive legally to and from work and buy liability insurance if they could afford it or felt inclined to do so.

Critics complained that its real impact was to make Oregon even more alluring for illegal immigrants. The state’s Hispanic population grew five times as fast as the state’s total population in the decade leading up to the 2010 Census, to 450,062 out of a total of 3.8 million persons in 2010. More than a third of that growth in Hispanic immigrants is estimated to have come from illegals.

The Oregon Center for Public Policy, which is supportive of what it sees as illegal immigrants’ plight, estimated in 2012 that the 110,000 to 220,000 illegal immigrants in the state earn between $2.3 billion to $4.5 billion a year, which they spend on goods and services,” according to the liberal group Politifact.com.

“The center also estimates workers pay between $154 million to $309 million in taxes, including Social Security and Medicare taxes they won’t be able to use later, as well as property, state and local taxes. Their employers also pay taxes on behalf of workers,” Politifact reported on its website on Dec. 9.

“Advocates of stricter immigration rules argue that those benefits are overinflated because legal residents and U.S. citizens could just as easily hold those jobs,” said Politifact.com, a Tampa Bay Times-run fact-checking operation that has exposed exaggerations and outright lies by Republicans and Democrats.

The Nov. 4 election outcome in Oregon also helps explain why the new group’s founders chose to operate outside the establishment GOP infrastructure, according to Mr. Pullen.

Mr. Pullen said key conservatives in the state saw several private polls showing Measure 88 was on its way to winning big-time and lobbied the Republican Governors Association to send funding to help GOP gubernatorial candidate Dennis Richardson, a six-term state lawmaker with a conservative reputation, ride the wave.

The then-RGA chairman, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, withheld most financial help from Mr. Richardson, figuring he was too conservative for so blue a state as Oregon.

“All the RGA did was send its communications person, Gail Gitcho, out to help, and she was great, but that was it,” said Richardson campaign adviser Greg Leo.

“We desperately needed money to get Dennis Richardson’s name and record out to voters,” Mr. Leo said. “We are very disappointed with the RGA not giving us the financial support when we needed it.”

“A Republican could win the Oregon governorship given the right financial support at the right time,” Mr. Leo said.

Oregon voters overturned the state’s “drivers card” law by a stunning 66 percent to 34 percent, but none of the GOP statewide candidates won. Mr. Richardson, however, lost by just 5 percentage points, a much smaller margin than expected.

Republican constitutional attorney Jim Bopp, an officer in the newly formed SEAC, thinks the lesson is that the GOP miscalculated the odds of winning on the immigration issue in a blue state.

“When Republicans run from their own party’s principles, they come off like make-believe Democrats — and voters decide they might as well vote for the real thing if that’s their only choice,” Mr. Bopp said.

The new group he has helped to form is aiming to make sure that doesn’t happen in 2016.

• Ralph Z. Hallow can be reached at rhallow@gmail.com.

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