Well here’s another depressing redistricting story, to add to the Colorado and Illinois depressing stories.

While Democrats were expected to pick up one or two seats in California due to restricting, it looks like they will pick up 6-7 because they mounted an under the radar campaign to lock up northern California through use of front groups and phony community spokespeople, bamboozling both Republicans and a lay panel of commissioners (h/t reader Charles):

Via Pro Publica, How Democrats Fooled California’s Redistricting Commission:

When they appeared before the commission, those groups identified themselves as ordinary Californians and did not disclose their ties to the party. One woman who purported to represent the Asian community of the San Gabriel Valley was actually a lobbyist who grew up in rural Idaho, and lives in Sacramento.

In one instance, party operatives invented a local group to advocate for the Democrats’ map.

California’s Democratic representatives got much of what they wanted from the 2010 redistricting cycle, especially in the northern part of the state. “Every member of the Northern California Democratic Caucus has a ticket back to DC,” said one enthusiastic memo written as the process was winding down. “This is a huge accomplishment that should be celebrated by advocates throughout the region.”

Statewide, Democrats had been expected to gain at most a seat or two as a result of redistricting. But an internal party projection says that the Democrats will likely pick up six or seven seats in a state where the party’s voter registrations have grown only marginally.

They lie, they cheat, they steal.  And in California it worked.

Don’t count control of the House before it’s hatched.