ProPublica landed a major California investigation this week, using "internal memos, emails, interviews with participants and map analysis" to show that the Democrats secretly and very successfully manipulated the drawing of new congressional district lines. "What emerges is a portrait of skilled political professionals armed with modern mapping software and detailed voter information who managed to replicate the results of the smoked-filled rooms of old," says the investigative reporting site. Read the whole report and view source documents.
One politician who benefited was Southern California Congresswoman Judy Chu.
When it appeared that Chu would get an unfavorable district late in the game, a group with ties to the congresswoman went before the commission in Sacramento and convinced the commissioners to draw a favorable map that included her political stronghold, a town called Rosemead. Chu enjoyed broad support in Rosemead, where she was first elected to the school board in 1992 and later served in the state assembly.
The group, which called itself the Asian American Education Institute, worked with Paul Mitchell, the same consultant who helped engineer the triumph of Northern California Democrats.
Records show that crucial last-minute testimony in favor of Chu’s district was delivered by Jennifer Wada, who told commissioners she was representing the institute and the overall Asian-American community. Wada did not mention that she lives and works as a registered lobbyist in Sacramento, 400 miles from the district, or that she grew up in rural Idaho, where most of her family still lives. Wada says she was hired by the institute to “convey their concerns about Asian and Pacific Islander representation” to the commission.
Democratic state party chair John Burton told the San Francisco Chronicle that the ProPublica story was “complete bulls..t, an absolute f..king fabrication.” California Republican chairman Tom Del Beccaro followed the story with an immediate call for an investigation.