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The Climate Is Invading the Earth! To Battle Stations!
If only the climate was a person that could be defeated with guns -- the world might finally take the threat that climate change now poses with the seriousness it deserves....
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'Green News Report' 4/1/14
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Brad's Upcoming Appearances
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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
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Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


By Brad Friedman on 8/11/2008 2:29pm PT  

Just in from Conyers' office...

For Immediate Release: Monday, August 11, 2008

Conyers Announces Review of Allegations of Bush Administration's Forged Iraq Intelligence

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) today announced plans to review allegations that senior Bush Administration officials ordered the forgery and dissemination of false intelligence documents as reported by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Ron Suskind, in his new book, "The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism."

"Mr. Suskind reports that the Bush Administration, in its pursuit of war, created and promoted forged documents about Iraq," said Conyers. "I am particularly troubled that the decision to disseminate this fabricated intelligence is alleged to have come from the highest reaches of the administration. The administration's attempt to challenge Mr. Suskind's reporting appears to have been effectively dismissed by the publication of the author's interview recordings and transcripts. I have instructed my staff to conduct a careful review of Mr. Suskind's allegations and the role played by senior administration officials in this matter."

A number of issues raised in Mr. Suskind's book to be reviewed include:

  • The origin of the allegedly forged document that formed the basis for Bush's 2003 State of the Union assertion that Iraq sought yellowcake uranium from Niger;
  • The role of this document in creating the false impression that 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta had a working relationship with Iraq;
  • The relationship between this document and other reported examples of the Bush Administration considering other deceptive schemes to justify or provoke war with Iraq, such as the reported consideration of painting a U.S. aircraft with UN colors in order to provoke Iraq into military confrontation;
  • Allegations that the Bush Administration deliberately ignored information from Iraq's chief intelligence officer that Iraq possessed no WMDs;
  • The payment of $5 million to Iraq's chief intelligence officer and his secret settlement in Jordan, beyond the reach of investigators;
  • The September 2007 detainment and interrogation of Mr. Suskind's research assistant, Greg Jackson, by federal agents in Manhattan. Jackson's notes were also confiscated.
##110-JUD-081108##
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...But Will Either Pelosi or Reid do Anything About It?
UPDATE: Committee Document Details Resolution's Additional Call for 'Other Legal Remedies to Enforce Outstanding Subpoena'...
By Desi Doyen on 7/30/2008 11:24am PT  

Guest Blogged by DES...

From The Associated Press:

WASHINGTON (AP) — A House panel Wednesday voted to cite former top White House aide Karl Rove for contempt of Congress as its Senate counterpart publicly pursued possible punishments for an array of alleged past and present Bush administration misdeeds.

Voting along party lines, the House Judiciary Committee said that Rove had broke the law by failing to appear at a July 10 hearing on allegations of White House influence over the Justice Department, including whether Rove encouraged prosecutions against Democrats.

The committee decision is only a recommendation, and it was unclear whether Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., would allow a final vote. Rove has denied any involvement with Justice decisions, and the White House has said Congress has no authority to compel testimony from current and former advisers.

...Rove has denied any involvement with Justice decisions, and the White House has said Congress has no authority to compel testimony from current and former advisers.

The White House's opinion that advisers cannot be compelled to testify does not address whether or not the witness is nonetheless required to appear in response to a subpoena. From Congress.

It remains to be seen whether Congressional Democrats will actually assert authority and re-establish parity as a co-equal branch of the federal government under the Constitution, or if this is just more sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Last February the full House voted to hold White House officials Josh Bolten and Harriet Miers in contempt of Congress. They have failed to enforce that vote, which passed 223 to 32, and AG Mukasey has said he would not enforce the House's contempt finding.

Last December, the Senate Judiciary Committee recommended finding Rove in contempt in a bi-partisan 12 to 7 vote, during which Republican Arlen Specter noted "we have no alternative," given Rove's snub of the subpoenas issued by the panel.

Despite the endorsement from even two Republicans on the committee, Democratic Senate majority leader Harry Reid has failed to bring the recommendation to the full Senate for a vote. Will Pelosi hold the House committee's endorsement (and the will of the American people, and the Rule of Law) in similar contempt?

UPDATE FROM BRAD: In addition to the Committee's finding of contempt, the resolution passed today also recommends an interesting additional course of action recommended for the House, as noted in the Resolution's markup memo [WORD] that we received from the House Judiciary this morning...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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UPDATED: Conyers Announces 'Imperial Presidency' Hearings in House Judiciary Committee...
By Brad Friedman on 7/17/2008 1:15pm PT  

Blogged quickly from the road by Brad...

Following up on Jon Ponder's earlier coverage of the latest Impeachment machinations --- with a date now set for some kind of hearings in the House Judiary Committee on July 25th and even several Republicans breaking ranks to vote in support of accountability --- a statement this week from Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) pretty much nails the entire matter, at least the most obvious, in one fell paragraph as reported at RAW STORY:


"Our Constitution is being destroyed. We are losing our nation to a war based on lies. I am determined to get this bill to committee for a hearing," he said. "The President has conducted the affairs of the nation in a manner which cries out for justice and it is the Constitutional obligation of Congress to check his wanton abuses of U.S. and international law. We have troops whose lives were put on the line because the President told them Iraq was a threat to the United States and it was not. The loss of lives of our troops and of innocent Iraqi civilians is a direct result of the lies this president told to Congress. He must be held accountable."

UPDATE: John Conyers' press release on "Imperial Presidency" hearings (nothing like Impeachment hearings, of course) to be held in the U.S. House Judiciary Committee next Friday and six different "allegations of misconduct by the administration" (nothing like Articles of Impeachment, of course), now follows in full below...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Comes Just 10 Days after House Oversight Committee Subpoenaed CIA Leak Documents
By Jon Ponder on 6/30/2008 5:28am PT  

Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.

On Friday, just 10 days after the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee issued subpoenas to the Dept. of Justice (DOJ) for notes from a June 2004 interview the FBI conducted with George Bush and Dick Cheney regarding their roles in the CIA leak scandal, the House Judiciary Committee issued subpoenas for documents related to the leak as well as the department's alleged political prosecutions.

According to a news release from the House Judiciary Committee, "[Chairman] John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) today issued a subpoena to the [DOJ] to provide to the committee a number of previously requested documents by July 9. The Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law voted this week to authorize committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. to issue the subpoena at his discretion. The documents the committee is seeking cover a broad range of issues including the Valerie Plame leak, allegations of selective prosecution, and other matters."

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 6/9/2008 12:28pm PT  

Scott McClellan has previously said he'd be "happy" to testify before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee. Looks like he's about to get his chance. On June 20th. Unlike Karl Rove, who said he'd similarly be happy to tell his story (on the Siegelman affair) to Congress, we suspect McClellan will actually keep his word.

This just in from Conyers' office...

For Immediate Release: June 9, 2008

Conyers Invites McClellan to Testify June 20th

(Washington, DC)- Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) invited former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan to testify before the Committee at a June 20th hearing about reported efforts to cover up the role of the White House in the Valerie Plame leak as described in his recent book, What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception.

I have extended an invitation to Mr. McClellan to testify before the Judiciary Committee after discussions between Committee staff and his attorneys, said Conyers. In his book, Mr. McClellan suggests that senior WhiteHouse officials may have obstructed justice and engaged in a cover-up regarding the Valerie Plame leak. This alleged activity could well extend beyond the scope of the offenses for which Scooter Libby has been convicted and deserves further attention. A copy of Chairman Conyers' letter is attached.

##110-JUD-060908##

The letter referred to above is just a single paragraph invitation, and largely restates the above.

UPDATE: McClellan accepts invitation. Public Record has details...

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ALSO: DoJ Office of Professional Responsibility Opens Investigation into 'Selective Prosecution' of Siegelman 'and Othersm,' According to Announcement from John Conyers
Download the Documents: Full Subpoena, Atty Letters, Announcement of Investigation from DoJ OPR...
By Brad Friedman on 5/22/2008 12:04pm PT  

Just sent to The BRAD BLOG by John Conyers' office...

For Immediate Release: May 22, 2008

Conyers Subpoenas Karl Rove

(Washington, DC)-Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), issued a subpoena to former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove for testimony about the politicization of the Department of Justice (DOJ), including former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman's case. Yesterday, Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, sent a letter to the Committee expressing that Rove would not agree to testify voluntarily, per the Committee's previous requests.

"It is unfortunate that Mr. Rove has failed to cooperate with our requests," Conyers said.

"Although he does not seem the least bit hesitant to discuss these very issues weekly on cable television and in the print news media, Mr. Rove and his attorney have apparently concluded that a public hearing room would not be appropriate. Unfortunately, I have no choice today but to compel his testimony on these very important matters."

Separately, Chairman Conyers recently received a letter from DOJ's Office of Professional Responibility (OPR) indicating that the office has opened an investigation into allegations of selective prosecution of Siegelman and others.

Included below and attached are the relevant documents:

  • Full text of the cover letter sent to Robert Luskin, Karl Rove's attorney (attached and below); [Download here]
  • Full text of the subpoena (attached); [Download here]
  • Full text of the letter received yesterday from Luskin, declining to provide voluntary testimony (attached); [Download here]
  • Letter from OPR regarding new investigation into selective prosecution allegations (attached). [Download here]

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Stonewalls Wexler's Questions in Judiciary Committee Hearings
ALSO: 'Conyers Says He's On Edge of Impeachment Hearings,' According to Report by David Swanson...
By Brad Friedman on 2/7/2008 11:50pm PT  


Golly, if only the Democrats had had any idea that AG Michael Mukasey would turn out to be such a stooge for the Bush Administration, maybe they wouldn't have confirmed him. Oh, wait. Yeah, we recall something about that coming up before the Dems decided to give this guy the job anyway.

At right is just one sample from Mukasey's testimony today, answering (or not) Robert Wexler's questions asking if he's been given White House instructions on whether or not he may enforce Contempt of Congress citations. He takes the time to apparently make up a few "facts" along the way while dodging Wexler's questions.

David Swanson reports...

Mukasey said that he would not investigate torture (video) or warrantless spying (video), he would not enforce contempt citations (video), and he would treat Justice Department opinions as providing immunity for crimes (report).

...before he goes on to offer some interesting information suggesting that John Conyers may be "on Edge of Starting Impeachment Hearings" after today's testimony. Whether that happens or not, Swanson offers contact information so that you can weigh in to the Chairman with your opinion on Impeachment (which is, after all, his Constitutional duty, for those of you keeping score at home.)

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Sources Suggest John Conyers May Move to Compel Testimony on Ohio Voter Suppression from Ohio Vote Suppressor J. Kenneth Blackwell...
By Brad Friedman on 2/1/2008 4:43pm PT  

Last week, Reps. John Conyers (D-MI) and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), both of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to the former Ohio Secretary of State and Co-Chair of the state's Bush/Cheney '04 campaign committee, J. Kenneth Blackwell, inviting him to appear next week at a subcommittee oversight hearing on voter suppression issues.

To the surprise of almost nobody, Blackwell has refused the invitation to testify, claiming his "schedule [would] not permit" him to attend the hearings.

The snub, according to both the following report from Jon Craig at the Cincinnati Enquirer and additional indications given to The BRAD BLOG by a Judiciary staffer other than the one quoted by Craig, may lead to an escalation of the longtime standoff between Conyers and Blackwell. A congressional subpoena requiring an appearance by the controversial former SoS, who presided over one of the worst-run Presidential Elections in American history, may well be in the offing.

As Craig reports today at the Enquirer's political blog...

Blackwell, a Republican from Cincinnati, said he received the invitation, "however, my schedule will not permit me to attend the hearings."

Jonathan Godfrey, a Conyers spokesman, said Blackwell has not responded and could be subpoenaed if he doesn't appear voluntarily.

"I don't think it's unlikely," Godfrey said today of a subpoena.

Though our own Judiciary source spoke to the same point, if not quite as directly, the comments above from Godfrey offer an additional indication that we may be headed to a showdown.

Such a subpoena would require a majority vote of the committee, which likely wouldn't come in time for the hearings currently scheduled for next Friday, according to Craig's report.

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Albert Howard Hand Delivers Letter to SoS Gardner, Reiterates Demand For Reconciliation of All Uncast Ballots
ALSO: Diebold Machine Errors Reported in 21 Towns, Democrat John Conyers Calls Howard, Expresses Support...
By Brad Friedman on 2/1/2008 2:30pm PT  

New Hampshire's Republican Presidential Primary candidate Albert Howard has delivered a letter to Secretary of State Bill Gardner, demanding that "all ballots that have been returning from the towns and cities, including, but not necessarily limited to, the unused/uncast ballots and the 'spoiled' ballots," be counted as part of the ongoing Election Contest in the Granite State. Howard filed for the contest, where ballots are being counted again today in Concord, following concerns about reported results from the Diebold optical-scan machines used during the state's January 8th Primary.

The BRAD BLOG has also learned that problems with Diebold machines were reported in 21 different towns during the primary, according to Howard, who says he has finally received some answers to public records requests filed with the state weeks ago, asking for details of problems with the machines that occurred on Election Day.

We just spoke with Howard, who explained that counting conditions in Concord continue to be "a mess," prompting his latest demands, which echoed earlier ones that remain unmet by SoS Gardner.

The Republican Howard also told us that he'd been contacted recently by the Democratic chairman of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, John Conyers, who called him personally to discuss concerns about what was going on in the wake of questions surrounding the New Hampshire Primary Election results...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Gonzales Still Under Fire, ACVR Still Off Scot-Free, Along With the White House, the DoJ, John Tanner, Ann Coulter and Everyone Else the Democrats Have Utterly Failed to Properly Bring to Justice...
By Brad Friedman on 12/31/2007 2:09pm PT  

First, the good-ish news. Just out from Jason Leopold at truthout [emphasis added]:

The Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) is attempting to build a case of misconduct against Alberto Gonzales by showing that the former attorney general may have played a hands-on role in ousting former New Mexico US Attorney David Iglesias based on pressure he received from former White House political adviser Karl Rove, according to several individuals familiar with the agency's probe.

Succumbing to improper political pressure in firing a US attorney would constitute a violation of Justice Department policy.

Recently, the OPR contacted Iglesias's former executive assistant, Rumaldo Armijo, to interview him about whether he was pressured by Pat Rogers, a Republican attorney in Albuquerque, and Mickey Barnett, a Republican lobbyist, to bring charges of voter fraud against Democrats in the state, individuals with knowledge of the scope of the OPR probe said.

Rogers was affiliated with the American Center for Voting Rights, a now defunct non-profit organization that sought to defend voter rights and increase public confidence in the fairness and outcome of elections. However, it has since emerged that the organization played a major role in suppressing the votes of people who intended to cast ballots for Democrats in various states. Rogers is also the former chief counsel to the New Mexico state Republican party, and was tapped by Sen. Pete Domenici (R-New Mexico) to replace Iglesias as US Attorney for New Mexico.
...
In an interview with Truthout in May, Iglesias said he had investigated so-called voter fraud allegations and found zero evidence to support the claims. He added that, based on evidence that had surfaced thus far and "Karl Rove's obsession with voter fraud issues throughout the country," he now believes GOP operatives had wanted him to go after Democratic-funded organizations in an attempt to swing the 2006 midterm elections to Republicans.

The BRAD BLOG has, of course, been following the GOP's voter suppression scam, headed by the so-called "American Center for Voting Rights" (ACVR) for years, ever since we first outed them as a phony GOP front group back in March of 2005. See our ACVR Special Coverage page for the entire sordid mess.

As well, in March of 2007, we ran exclusive comments from John Boyd, one of the top Democratic attorneys in New Mexico, who offered his first hand account of the pressure being brought to bear on Iglesias by Republicans in the state to bring phony charges of Democratic "voter fraud" as far back as prior to the 2004 election.

A review of Boyd's insider perspective is instructive, to say the least, particularly as we head into 2008 when disingenuous cries of "voter fraud" will be heard from Republicanists from coast to coast --- as long as they don't concern Ann Coulter's own voter fraud --- and as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear a key case on Photo ID polling place restrictions, described by the Century Foundation's Tova Andrea Wang, in her year-end column, "The Best and Worst of 2007: Voting Rights and Elections," to be "a far more important decision than Bush v. Gore ever was."

But with the continuing --- some might say, snail's paced --- OPR criminal investigation of Gonzales, we should note that the probe, as mentioned above, at least can be said to be moving forward in some fashion. Unfortunately, that's a far cry more than we can say for the job the Democrats are doing in bringing accountability via the U.S. Congress after a full year on the job.

Even the New York Times, in an editorial over the holiday, called on the lackluster Dems to get their act in gear, calling for "a full investigation into the misconduct that may have occurred," in the U.S. Attorney Purge scandal, adding that "it needs to be investigated vigorously and completely."

Then, unfortunately, they offer readers the bad news...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Says 'Administration is Simply Shuffling Deck Chairs' by Moving John 'Minorities Die First' Tanner to New Post in Same Division
Conyers and Nadler Also Issue Statement, More Upbeat, Hopeful About Resignation of Tanner
By Brad Friedman on 12/14/2007 4:19pm PT  

A spokesman for Barack Obama (D-IL) sent us a statement decrying John Tanner's announced resignation today from his post as Chief of the DoJ Civil Rights Division's voting section, charging that his move to another post within the Civil Rights division amounts to little more than "simply shuffling deck chairs."

Obama had previously called upon the Attorney General to fire Tanner outright for his offensive, and inaccurate remarks, as first reported by The BRAD BLOG, that minorities "don't grow elderly the way white people do. They die first."

Obama's statement in full...

"It's unacceptable that the Administration is simply shuffling deck chairs by moving Mr. Tanner to another important position in the Justice Department. During his tenure, he made offensive, intolerant comments about minorities in an attempt to defend voter identification laws that threaten voting rights, and that's why I called on him to be fired. It's time we restore confidence in the Department by appointing public servants who are truly committed to upholding our civil rights."

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), chair of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, joins Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) on the other hand, in applauding the removal of Tanner from his post, saying in a statement (posted in full below) that "John Tanner’s resignation as Voting Section Chief at the Department of Justice provides the department with an opportunity to renew its commitment to the real problems facing voters and elections."

"I am hopeful that Mr. Tanner’s replacement will mark a departure from efforts to limit the participation of elderly and minority voters, and actually serve to remove obstacles to participation in the political process," said the elderly, but not-dead, African-American Congressman and voter from Michigan.

The complete statement from Conyers and Nadler follows below in full...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Kucinich Proposal Eventually Referred to House Judiciary Committee for Further Action, Study...
UPDATE: Judiciary Committee 'Suprised' by Minority Move, Plans to 'Continue to Consider' Matter...
By Brad Friedman on 11/6/2007 3:25pm PT  

Wasn't able to follow things live, as David Swanson did, so still trying to unravel what specifically happened today on the floor of the U.S. House, where Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) used a "privileged resolution" to try and force a vote on his measure to begin Impeachment proceedings of Dick Cheney.

But as best as we can tell, and if we're reading this correctly, it seems the Republicans are playing a very interesting game of chicken here. From RAW:

Although the roll call vote had initially appeared to favor Hoyer's motion to table, Congressional Quarterly's Ed Epstein told CSPAN that Republicans had switched their votes at the last minute in an attempt to embarrass the Democratic leadership, who is not keen on seeing further action on the impeachment resolution.

"Midway through the vote, with instructions from the GOP leadership, Republicans one by one changed their votes from yes --- to kill the resolution --- to no, trying to force the chamber into a debate and an up-or-down vote on the proposal," reports the Washington Post.

And then from WaPo...

At one point there were 290 votes to table. After the turnaround, the final vote was 251-162 against tabling, with 165 Republicans voting against it.
...
Democrats countered by offering a motion to refer the proposal to the House Judiciary Committee for further study, effectively preventing a debate on the House floor. That motion passed by a largely party-line vote of 218-194.

So, in trying to summarize: While the Democratic House Leadership had initially tried to table Kucinich's resolution to Impeach Dick Cheney, the Republicans voted against that, presumably after making some sort of calculation (an incorrect one, in our opinion, but it's just our opinion) that a debate on whether he should be Impeached would somehow benefit Republicans. They would seem to share that calculation with the Democratic House leadership.

The effort to table discussion of the matter thus failed. But Hoyer's next attempt to dispatch with the measure (for the moment) was his call for a vote to send the matter to Committee for further consideration, instead of debating it on the floor of the House.

Which, if we've got our analytics correct here, means the ball gets tossed over to HJC Chairman, John Conyers for now...

UPDATE: Statement just in from a U.S. House Judiciary Committee spokeswoman, in response to the referal of the Impeachment resolution to the committee...

"The Committee has a very busy agenda - over the next two weeks, we hope to pass a FISA bill, to vote on contempt of Congress citations, pass legislation on prisoner re-entry, court security and a variety of other very important items. We were surprised that the minority was so ready to move forward with consideration of a matter of such complexity as impeaching the Vice President. The Chairman will discuss today's vote with the Committee members but it would seem evident that the committee staff should continue to consider, as a preliminary matter, the many abuses of this Administration, including the Vice President."
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'For Refusal of WH Attorney Miers and Chief of Staff Bolten to Comply With Duly Issued Subpeonas'
By Brad Friedman on 11/5/2007 1:20pm PT  


Just in from the House Judiciary Committee...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 5, 2007

***Update: House Judiciary Committee Files Contempt of Congress Report with House Clerk***

(Washington, DC)- Today, at approximately 2:45 p.m., the House Judiciary Committee filed its contempt of Congress report with the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives. The full text is available online here.

The report filed (as linked above) is an 842-page PDF file.

Earlier today RAW STORY reported the "one last chance" being offered to the White House by House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-MI), that would lead to his committee dropping the contempt recommendation.

UPDATE: The report filed is for criminal contempt, versus inherent contempt. The former relies on any contempt citation being picked up by the U.S. Attorney from D.C. The latter is an option, rarely used, available to either house of Congress to hold their own hearings in the Capitol, in which the Sergeant-at-Arms could be instructed to jail those found guilty of such contempt. Unlike criminal contempt, inherent contempt would not rely on the DoJ's agreement to pursue the charges. Bush attorneys have already made clear that they would not allow attorneys in the Justice Dept. to do so.

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'We have clearly reached the point where the status quo is unacceptable.'
By Brad Friedman on 10/30/2007 1:36pm PT  

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), chairman of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, issues a statement in response to today's extremely contentious subcommittee hearing with star-witness John "Minorities Die First" Tanner. We live-blogged the hearings here (now updated with videos!)

Conyers had said, at one point during the hearing in response to Tanner's "all is well" testimony: "I hope that you will take what is directed at you as constructive, because the one thing I am concerned about is that we stop having happen what has happened since the 2000 elections. And then you come here to stagger our imagination by telling us that 'it's never been better,' its never been worse!"

His post-hearing statement, which follows in full below, concludes notably: "We have clearly reached the point where the status quo is unacceptable."...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Email Sent to Supporters Describes Civil Rights Voting Chief's Comments as 'Pretty Unbelievable,' 'Last Straw'
Says: 'John Tanner has an obvious disregard for the voting rights of minorities and should not be in charge of protecting them'
By Brad Friedman on 10/23/2007 2:09pm PT  

"This is pretty unbelievable," begins the email send from the campaign manager of Presidential Candidate Barack Obama to supporters today.

The email, from David Pouffe, calls on members of the public to demand the DoJ fire its Civil Rights Division Voting Section chief, John Tanner, in the wake of disturbing and inaccurate comments, video-taped and first reported by The BRAD BLOG, as made during a recent panel discussion at the National Latino Congreso in Los Angeles.

The email, which exhorts readers to send emails to DoJ via their new "John Tanner Must Go" campaign at http://Action.BarackObama.com/TannerMustGo continues thusly [emphasis in original]:

John Tanner, the top ranking voting rights official at the Justice Department, was caught on video claiming that photo ID requirements do not disproportionately disenfranchise minority voters because: "Our society is such that minorities don't become elderly the way white people do; they die first."

He went on to argue, irrationally, that these requirements actually benefit minorities because: "Anything that disproportionately impacts the elderly has the opposite impact on minorities."

The letter to supporters from Obama's campaign manager, David Plouffe, is posted in full here.

Last week, Obama had sent a letter to Acting Attorney General Peter D. Keisler, demanding he immediately fire Tanner. Our coverage, along with his full letter, is here.

"The situation is clear," Plouffe writes in today's email after detailing a number of concerns about Tanner's record at the DoJ. "John Tanner has an obvious disregard for the voting rights of minorities and should not be in charge of protecting them."

Plouffe concludes by charging that "His recent comments are the last straw --- he must go."

Hearings have been tentatively confirmed by The BRAD BLOG as scheduled in the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties for October 30th at 10:00am ET. Tanner will be called as a witness and likely presented with clips from the video tape that we delivered yesterday in D.C. to committee staffers.

The chairman of the sub-committee, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), has said he's hopeful that Tanner "will be as willing to provide lawmakers with the same candid views he has been providing at various public venues."

The chairman of the full House Judiciary Committee, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), a 78-year old elderly minority member who, contrary to Tanner's assertions has not, in fact "die[d] first," has expressed consternation recently and over the years about the DoJ's chief voting official, including a 2005 letter in which he said he was "flabbergasted" at Tanner's contention that the reason for long voting lines in minority areas in Ohio's 2004 Presidential election was due to African Americans coming to the polls later in the day than non-minority voters.

The twisted conclusions from Tanner's "investigation" of voting problems reported during the 2004 Presidential election, including his assertion that minority voters actually had more access than whites to voting machines, were detailed in a letter, posted here in 2005, which can only be described as an extraordinary (and literal) "white washing" of the facts on the ground that day.

Conyers and his staff published a comprehensive report, entitled "Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio," as based on their own, far-reaching investigation after the election. We look forward to his questioning of Tanner next week.

Yesterday, we detailed additional allegations likely to be faced by Tanner in hearings next week.

A quick, video-taped snapshot of Tanner's most offensive --- and inaccurate, according to his former DoJ colleagues --- comments from the October 5th National Latino Congresso panel in Los Angeles, follows below...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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