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VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


By Brad Friedman on 10/19/2007 12:46pm PT  

As we mentioned earlier this week, the embattled DoJ Civil Rights Division's Voting Rights section chief, John Tanner, was scheduled to speak to an audience at UC Berkeley's Latino Policy Forum yesterday.

According to a report this morning from The Daily Californian...

Tanner focused on the continuing relevance of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

He said he worked in the department when the act was passed and shared insight on “how bad it was for African Americans” at the time, adding that some minority populations continue to face obstacles when attempting to vote.

We've yet to speak to anybody who was actually at yesterday's event, so no word at this time on whether or not John Tanner clarified the point that one of the great obstacles minority populations face when attempting to vote is, in fact, John Tanner.

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Letter to Acting Attorney General Says John Tanner's Recent Remarks Are 'Patently Erroneous, Offensive, and Dangerous'
Comments, Video Taped and First Reported by BRAD BLOG, Have Been Given to Judiciary Committee, Continue to Reverberate...
By Brad Friedman on 10/19/2007 12:16pm PT  

After recently stepping up, along with Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI), to block the nomination to the FEC of insidious GOP "voter fraud" zealot Hans Von Spakovsky, Illinois' Democratic Senator and Presidential Candidate Barack Obama is calling for the head of the Voting Rights Section chief of the DoJ's Civil Rights Division.

In a letter sent today (posted in full at end of this article) to Acting Attorney General, Peter D. Keisler, Obama has requested that John Tanner be sent packing following objectionable comments he made two weeks ago in Los Angeles at the National Latino Congresso.

The remarks by Tanner, video-taped and first reported by The BRAD BLOG, were meant in support of his decision to allow a Photo ID restriction at polling places in Georgia, over the recommendation of four out of five of the career attorneys in the Civil Rights unit. The law would later be found unconstitutional by two federal judges, one of whom declared the practice to be a "Jim Crow-era poll tax".

Tanner told audience members during the panel on October 5th, that while it was a "shame" that the elderly would, in fact, be disenfranchised by the law he approved on behalf of the DoJ, minorities would have less to worry about because, as he told the stunned room, "Our society is such that minorities don't become elderly the way white people do. They die first."

Former colleagues of Tanner went on to characterize his comments as "false", "ludicrous" and "cherry-picked" from existing data.

In his letter today, Obama said, "Such comments are patently erroneous, offensive, and dangerous, and they are especially troubling coming from the federal official charged with protecting voting rights in this country."

As we reported several days ago, Tanner is scheduled to testify on this and related matters to a sub-commitee of the House Judiciary Committee on October 30th. The committee has asked The BRAD BLOG for a copy of the entire session with Tanner, as video-taped by our own Alan Breslauer. We have complied with their request.

In breaking the news of Obama's letter this morning, TPM Muckraker's Paul Kiel noted the irony that during his appearance before the Judiciary Committee, Tanner will "get to explain personally to its 78 year-old African-American chairman [John Conyers] that minorities don't 'become elderly.'"

"Through his inexcusable comments," Obama writes in today's letter, "Mr. Tanner has clearly demonstrated that he possesses neither the character nor the judgment to be heading the Voting Rights Section. For that reason, I respectfully request that you remove him from his position."

Since the 2004 election, Republican officials and operatives have been attempting to enact such Photo ID laws at polling places across the country, despite some 10 to 30 million, largely Democratic and minority voters, who do not have such ID's and would be disenfranchised by such laws. Millions of dollars have been spent to support the unevidenced idea of Democratic "voter fraud" by phony GOP front groups such as the "non-partisan" ACVR, created by Bush/Cheney '04's national general counsel Mark F. "Thor" Hearne and RNC Communications Director, Jim Dyke. Hearne is now laying low since shutting down the ACVR in the wake of calls for phony "voter fraud" prosecutions being found at the center of the U.S. Attorney Purge scandal. Dyke, who parlayed his "non-partisan" ACVR gig into work for Dick Cheney, is now Communications Director for the Rudy Giuliani campaign.

Continuing the false GOP meme of Democratic "voter fraud", The BRAD BLOG recently noted unsupported claims of undocumented immigrants being "rounded up, herded into the polls [and] voting illegally" in California as charged by Golden State Rep. Duncan Hunter during a recent Republican Presidential Debate. Both Hunter's campaign and Congressional offices subsequently failed to respond to BRAD BLOG requests to back up with the claim with details or evidence.

During it's current session, the Supreme Court of the United States is scheduled to review the constitutionality of a similar Photo ID law enacted in the state of Indiana.

UPDATE: AP picks up the story, quotes DoJ as saying Tanner's comments were "grossly misconstrued", fails to credit BRAD BLOG for breaking original story. Details here...

LATER UPDATE: WaPo again picks up the story, and again, as last time (and unlike AP) credits us appropriately. They also offer yet another DoJ spokesman's defense of Tanner, while an insider DoJ source gives us an indication of what's really going on over at DoJ in the wake of all of this. Details here...

The complete letter from Sen. Barack Obama to Acting Attorney General Peter D. Keisler follows below...

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

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Only One of Them Properly Credits Us...
By Brad Friedman on 10/15/2007 5:12pm PT  

We hadn't noticed it, but last week Paul Krugman over at the NY Times picked up on our original exclusive report on DoJ Voting Chief John Tanner's recent comments saying while it's a "shame" that the elderly are, in fact, disenfranchised by Photo ID restrictions at the polling place --- like the one that he approved on behalf of the Department's Civil Rights Division in Georgia --- he's less worried about minorities being disenfranchised because "minorities don't become elderly. The way that white people do. They die first."

Unfortunately, Krugman credited our friends at TPM Muckraker for the story, even though their story followed up on, and properly credited, ours. Krugman's comments were in his NYTimes blog and we hope he'll cover the important matter in his regular column as well. Though if he does, we'd appreciate it if, like Al Kamen's coverage at WaPo, he offered appropriate attribution where it's due.

Believe it or not, it matters, and not just for our own ego.

On the other hand, Amy Goodman at Democracy Now today also picked up on the story (see the short video above left) and gave The BRAD BLOG the appropriate credit. Her coverage also included some of the video that our own Alan Breslauer posted here originally.

Thanks Amy! And thanks Alan for posting Amy's video here. There now, was that so hard?

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Anybody Feel Like Covering the Talk, Video Taping it, and/or Asking a Few Tough Questions on Behalf of The BRAD BLOG?
ALSO: October 30th Named as Date for Tanner's Testimony to House Judiciary Subcommittee...
By Brad Friedman on 10/15/2007 5:35am PT  

U.S. House Judiciary Committee staff informs us that October 30th will be the day for hearings with John Tanner, the DoJ Civil Rights Division's Voting Section chief. Tanner has caused a bit of a stir of late by suggesting that minorities needn't worry about being disenfranchised at the polls by restrictive Photo ID laws because they "die first" before become elderly (the original twisted BRAD BLOG video exclusive of Tanner's comments here). As well, Tanner's previous bizarre and unprecedented justifications on behalf of the DoJ, for why minorities have only themselves to blame for not being able to vote in Ohio in the 2004 Presidential Election have once again attracted the attention of John Conyers and his staff.

Though the hearing where Tanner will testify is currently planned for the 30th, we're told it won't be "official" until it appears on the official schedule for the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties --- usually a week or so prior to the hearing.

In the meantime, however, democracy and accountability fans in the Northern California area may get their Tanner fix this Thursday, as he's schedule to appear for a talk at UC Berkley's Institute of Governmental Studies. The talk is scheduled for 3:30p-5:00p at the Institute's Library, 109 Moses Hall, as sponsored by the UC Berkeley Center for Latino Policy Research and the Election Administration Research Center (EARC). More details here.

Tanner's recent unbelievable comments to the National Latino Congresso --- "It's probably true that among those who don't [have Photo ID], it's primarily elderly persons. And that's a shame. Of course...our society is such that minorities don't become elderly. The way that white people do. They die first." --- made their way to both the Washington Post and the U.S. House Judiciary Committee.

So who knows what he'll say next?!

We hope a few BRAD BLOG readers who may be concerned with some of Tanner's statements and behavior at the DoJ might find their way to showing up at his UC Berkeley event this week to video tape and/or ask a few tough questions of the man who oversees voting rights on behalf of the federal government.

If so, we hope you'll share any notable comments (hopefully on video or audio) with us!

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Chairman of House Judiciary Committee is Troubled by Voting Chief John Tanner's 'Justification' for Inequal Treatment of Black Voters in Buckeye State
Plans to Address Matter 'Head On' in Upcoming Hearings...
By Brad Friedman on 10/12/2007 4:03pm PT  

Following up our earlier story today, the Chairman of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, John Conyers (D-MI), has now released a statement in response to TPM Muckraker's story today with on-the-record comments from former DoJ officials questioning the seriousness (or lack thereof) of the "investigation" by the Department's chief Voting official, John Tanner, into the reported racial disparities at polling places during the 2004 Presidential Election in Ohio.

In Conyers' statement (posted in full at the end of this article) he says he's "concerned about the extreme lengths Mr. Tanner went to in order to justify the reasons African-Americans were not treated equally in the 2004 Ohio election," and charges that "The Department of Justice – since the Voting Rights Act of 1965 – has a responsibility to thoroughly investigate allegations of voter suppression and discrimination, like those made in Ohio in 2004."

Tanner's "investigation" at the time had, remarkably, charged that the reason for long lines in minority areas of Ohio was because minorities chose to vote late in the afternoon, instead of earlier in the day as white voters did.

Essentially, as RAW STORY's coverage this afternoon says, "black voters caused their own lines in the Ohio 2004 vote," if Tanner is to be believed.

But a report from TPM Muckraker earlier today quotes a former colleague of Tanner's, who accompanied him on his trip to Ohio during the "investigation," as saying, "did black precincts get neglected? I know we didn’t try very hard to find out."

Conyers originally responded to Tanner's investigation in 2005 with a letter of his own back in 2005, writing to then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales that he was "flabbergasted that your office could reach such a casual conclusion without addressing the most serious charges of mis-allocation of votes in the County." He also expressed outrage that the DoJ chose to look into reports of election irregularities in only one Ohio county (Franklin).

Both Tanner's and Conyers' letters were posted and reported by The BRAD BLOG in 2005.

Today, the chairman says that in his 2005 landmark (though largely ignored, at the time) report entitled "Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio", he revealed "huge racial disparities in how voting machines were distributed in white and black precincts, among other findings." Yet Tanner had "found no discrepancies in the number of voting machines and attributed the long lines to the tendency of African-American voters to vote after work, as opposed to in the morning hours."

The BRAD BLOG has received indications from Conyers' office that he intends to question Tanner on these topics directly in an upcoming hearing. His statement today gives further indication of that.

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

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Hearings May Also Focus - Finally - on the Disenfranchisement That Occurred in Ohio During the 2004 Presidential Election Debacle, According to MUST READ TPM Muckraker Report...
Former DoJ Staffer on Disparity of Voting Machines in Minority Precincts: 'We Didn't Try Very Hard to Find Out'
By Brad Friedman on 10/12/2007 12:51pm PT  

Still more folks are beginning to notice our disturbing Monday exclusive, including both the Washington Post and the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, which will be taking up the matter, we are told (and a report at TPM Muckraker confirms), in upcoming sub-committee hearings.

While many blogs had covered our report, the MSM had yet to ring in until today's report from Al Kamen at Washington Post who picks up on our coverage of the recent controversial video-taped comments by John Tanner, the Chief of the Voting Rights section of the DoJ's Civil Rights division.

Tanner said last Friday in Los Angeles at the National Latino Congresso --- and our own Alan Breslauer was there with video camera and tough questions --- that while it's a "shame" that the elderly may be disenfranchised by restrictive Photo ID laws at the polling place, minorities needn't worry, as they are less disenfranchised, if only because "minorities don't become elderly. The way that white people do. They die first."

The argument Tanner was making implied that, somehow, it's white voters who are more disenfranchised by such restrictions, rather than black voters. And, despite actual evidence to the contrary, somehow, that's all okay with him in any case, even as the GOP pushes for more such laws all across the country, with a presidential election year upon us, little if any evidence of actual voter fraud that would be deterred by such laws, and some 10 to 30 million legally registered American voters (most, coincidentally, Democratic-leaning) who might well be disenfranchised in the bargain.

That from, yes, the Bush DoJ's Civil Rights Division Voting Section chief.

Unlike so many other MSM outlets who have picked up on our stories before, WaPo's Kamen properly attributes The BRAD BLOG, twice, concluding his column today with: "Please, take a moment --- you owe it to yourself as a citizen --- to watch Tanner's illuminating analysis on this issue at http://www.bradblog.com/?p=5145."

Thank you, Al.

But Paul Kiel has still more goodies on all of this, including confirmation that the DoJ has now agreed to allow Tanner to testify at an upcoming House Judiciary Committee hearing, despite having rebuffed such an invitation previously. Moreover, The BRAD BLOG can confirm that, in fact, the committee has requested a copy of the video of Tanner's comments for possible use during the hearing to be held by the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties.

More than that still, Kiel reports in a MUST READ today, on what may finally be a bit of long overdue encouraging news for Election Integrity advocates in Ohio, in relation to their continuing efforts to see some sort of justice done and/or accountability brought for the 2004 Election debacle in their state...

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

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Statement Suggesting Whites More Disenfranchised Than Minorities Because Minorities 'Die First' Before Becoming Elderly, Disputed by John Tanner's Predecessor, Former Colleagues
An 'Imus Moment' Declares a BRAD BLOG DoJ Source...
By Brad Friedman on 10/9/2007 1:09pm PT  

Paul Kiel at TPM Muckracker has picked up on, and advanced, our Exclusive report yesterday concerning the remarkable comments made last Friday by John Tanner, the Chief of the Civil Rights Division, Voting Unit, at the DoJ, concerning Photo ID restrictions at the polls.

In a follow-up report today, Kiel gets reactions from former DoJ officials, including the man who previously held the same job as Tanner at the DoJ, charging that the remarks and logic behind them were "frankly ludicrous" and "false" and based on "cherry-picking the data that he wants to use."

A DoJ source of our own wrote to us after yesterday's report and characterized the comments as Tanner's "Imus moment."

Tanner had told a group in Los Angeles last Friday --- and our own Alan Breslauer was there to catch it on video tape --- that non-minorities were more likely to be disenfranchised by such restrictive polling laws laws than African-Americans.

"It's probably true that among those who don't [have Photo ID], it's primarily elderly persons. And that's a shame," Tanner told the audience. He then added: "Of course...our society is such that minorities don't become elderly. The way that white people do. They die first." The implication being that, therefore, minorities are somehow less likely to be disenfranchised by draconian Photo ID laws at the polling place.

Tanner had approved a disenfranchising Georgia Photo ID scheme on behalf of the DoJ in 2005, despite the fact that 4 out of the 5 career civil rights unit staffers who had reviewed the law recommended against pre-approval under the Voting Rights Act. The law, once approved by Tanner, was later found unconstitutional by two federal courts, and described by one of the judges to be little more than a "Jim Crow-era poll tax."

ePluribus Media has much more on Tanner's resume and discriminatory reign as voting section chief in the Civil Rights Division.

Restrictive Photo ID laws, being strongly and strategically pushed by elements of the GOP around the nation, are controversial since anywhere from 10 to 30 million Americans, largely Democratic-leaning voters who are elderly, minorities, and/or urban dwellers, are believed to have no driver's licenses. Most states already have requirements for some form of ID when voting, though not necessarily state-issued Photo ID.

Further, the federal Help America Vote of Act of 2002 already requires proof of identity when a voter registers to vote. In the meantime, by even the DoJ's own numbers, voter fraud at the polls is exceedingly rare in America. That, despite GOP kool-aid drinkers like Rep. Duncan Hunter and his recent unfounded claims to the contrary.

According to Kiel at TPM Muck today, both Tanner's predecessor Joe Rich and the man who analyzed the numbers for Tanner at the DoJ in the Georgia case, Toby Moore, strongly dispute Tanner's comments, characterizing them as "not only wrong, but way off, and typical of the type of decision making" in the current DoJ's Voting Rights section...

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

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Incredibly, John Tanner Argues Restrictive Photo ID Laws at the Polls Actually Give Minorities a Greater Voice!
Rest of Panel, Audience Members at 2007 National Latino Congresso in Los Angeles Strongly Disagree...
By Alan Breslauer on 10/8/2007 4:10pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer with additional reporting by Brad Friedman

Unbelievably, the Chief of the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice, John Tanner, contends that while it's "a shame" that elderly voters may be disenfranchised by new Photo ID restrictions at the polls because many don't have driver's licenses, minorities don't have to worry quite as much. Why? Because "minorities don't become elderly the way white people do. They die first."

Yes, that's what Tanner said last Friday at the National Latino Congreso in Los Angeles and The BRAD BLOG was in tow with video camera to prove it...

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

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NY Times Investigative Report Details Secret Efforts to Allow Administration to Continue Torture Policies - No Matter What
VIDEO BONUS: Daily Show's Jon Stewart Interviews Jack Goldsmith, Who Tried to Fight Back From Within the DoJ...
By Brad Friedman on 10/8/2007 4:05pm PT  

While folks may have heard about the New York Times report last week concerning the secret DoJ memos created to give legal cover to the Administration to continue their policies of torturing prisoners of war, we suspect that most have not read the full, detailed 5-page investigative report.

But it's an important one, and it details the lengths to which the Bush team went to keep their pro-torture policies in place, even in the face of a DoJ rebellion, Congressional legislation, and even Supreme Court decisions. It was alarming to learn --- though we should hardly be alarmed at such things by now --- that when Bush signed the Detainee Treatment Act in December 2005, meant to ban the "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" of prisoners in American custody anywhere in the world, he already knew, even if Congress didn't, that his Dept. of Justice had previously created secret legal documents declaring their ongoing torturous interrogation techniques as not "cruel, inhuman or degrading."

In other words, he knew he'd be able to continue with torture as usual, since new AG Alberto Gonzales oversaw the crushing of an internal DoJ rebellion finding the practices to be both illegal and in violation of the Geneva Convention.

Also alarming (but also, shouldn't be by now), is the lackluster way in which Congress has reacted to this stunning news which --- like so many other things --- might have led to immediate Impeachment talk for almost any other administration.

For those with short-attention spans, however (like the aforementioned Congress members!), the NYTimes story included an excellent sidebar graphic summarizing the timeline and main beats in the "Interrogation Wars" from DoJ to the White House to Congress to the Supreme Court.

Since the graphic is too wide to easily run on most blogs, we've recreated the short, easy to read timeline in text format below. We'd strongly suggest, if nothing else, you familiarize yourself with it so you understand, in simple terms, the con game that has been played out here by this Administration.

As a bonus, below that, is a video from last Thursday Daily Show with John Stewart in which he interviews Jack Goldsmith, once the head of the DoJ's Office of Legal Counsel, and the man who fought back, along with Dep. AG James Comey, against the policies. Though successful in their efforts, for a time, and to an extent, both men were eventually pushed out of the DoJ, as Gonzales was dispatched to quell the rebellion as AG.

One very short and very amusing anecdote, if we may, before both of those, buried on page 5 of the Times report....

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

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Second Attempt Was Successful for the AUSA From Florida Who Flew to Detroit to Have Sex With 5-Year Old
PLUS: A Note on Our Reporting on the Political Affiliation of Atchison...
By Brad Friedman on 10/6/2007 6:15pm PT  

To close a loop (something we don't often get to do) on a story we picked up on a few weeks ago, the Assistant U.S. Attorney from northern Florida, John David R. Atchison, who was arrested in a sting in September for attempting to have sex with a 5-year old girl, has committed suicide in federal prison.

Atchison had previously tried to kill himself just days after being arrested at the Detroit airport where he had flown to a federal agent he had believed to be the little girl's mother.

"Just gotta go slow and very easy. I've done it plenty," Atchison reportedly told the "mother" before he left Florida, after the agent in the string operation had expressed concerns to Atchison about injury to the little girl.

In AP's report on the AUSA's death, they described him as a family man, whose attorney hopes he'll be remembered for "a lot of good in his life"...

Atchison, a married father of three, was an assistant U.S. attorney in northern Florida, based in Pensacola. Gulf Breeze, Fla., residents have described him as a respected figure who coached girls' softball and basketball in a park a few blocks from his home.

A statement released Friday by his lawyer, James Thomas, said Atchison had "done a lot of good in his life."

"Unfortunately, he is going to be judged by his most recent charges and what we have read in the media, and not by the goodness, hard work or by the love of his family," the statement read.

ED NOTE about the sub-headline, from our initial quick coverage of the arrest last month, intimating that Atchison was a Republican...

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

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WaPo Joins Ted Olson in Supporting the Bill, Opposes Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald for Criticizing It
As GOP-Introduced Bill Heads to Full Senate...
By Margie Burns on 10/5/2007 6:35am PT  

Guest Blogged by BRAD BLOG's D.C. Correspondent, Margie Burns

It was a big day on Thursday in the national capital, with several flaming surges hitting the news at once – the Washington Post hooking up with the MSM campaign to put “Hillary” over the top before the magic deadline of October 15 (more on that later, elsewhere); Rep. Henry Waxman and the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee holding a powerful hearing on Iraqi corruption; the blocking of Hans von Spakovsky's nomination to the FEC; and discussion of a proposed federal shield law for journalists (full text of bill here), which was reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee today to the full Senate.

While I was able to sit in for hearings on two of the items above, space and time regrettably being constraints, I'll cover only the proposed shield law for the moment. Right up top, I have to say that I have qualms about it. A real leak, by a whistleblower exposing a crime or some danger to the public, is one thing. But protecting journalists from exposing a politically motivated ‘source’ trying to plant misinformation is another. This bill, as it was debated in committee and written about in papers yesterday, might equally protect both, if it protects either...

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

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Vice Presidential Candidate Bill Richardson Said to be 'Dream Candidate' to Run for Seat...
By Brad Friedman on 10/3/2007 2:39pm PT  

WaPo blogger Chris Cillizza is reporting:

Veteran Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) is expected to announce tomorrow that he will retire from the Senate in 2008, according to several informed sources, a decision that further complicates an already difficult playing field for Republicans next November.

You'll remember Domenici, of course, as the senator (along with NM Rep. Heather Wilson) who was haranguing US Attorney David Iglesias to bring phony "voter fraud" indictments in the state via several inappropriate phone calls prior to the 2006 election. Iglesias was later fired for not having done so.

Like most Repubs, when called out, he'd rather run (or not run, as the case may be) than fight.

Though Cillizza speculates that NM Gov. Bill Richardson would be the "dream candidate" to run for the seat, it seems he's currently too busy for the moment running for vice president. We'd be delighted to see him change his mind and do something actually useful for the country in 2008.

UPDATE: AP confirms, and notes that "Domenici would be the fifth Republican senator to decline to seek a new term." They've also got more details on the "health issues" that Domenici, who had previously planned on running again, will use as his excuse. We guess "need to spend more time with the family" is getting a bit worn out by now.

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Fate of One of Bush's Worst - Hans Von Spakovsky - to be Decided by Feinstein and Other Senate Dems
Here's Hoping They Get This One Right...
By Brad Friedman on 9/25/2007 2:30pm PT  

We don't normally re-run entire items from elsewhere here. This one, however, is important (and short) enough to merit it. From Paul Kiel over at TPMMuckraker...

Finally, the time has come. The Senate Rules Committee will vote tomorrow on whether Hans von Spakovsky, the former Justice Department official who former employees say was key to the politicization of voting rights section, will get a term on the Federal Elections Commission. Von Spakovsky is also a veteran of Republican efforts to target voter fraud.

It's not immediately clear what will happen tomorrow. Howard Gantman, staff director for the committee, said that Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) wants a vote on each nominee separately (as opposed to considering all four nominees, Democratic and Republican, in one vote) and that she continues to have serious concerns about Von Spakovsky. He also said that no deal had been struck.

Former employees of the voting section mounted serious opposition to von Spakovsky's nomination, with a group writing in a letter to the committee that he'd been "the point person for undermining the Civil Rights Division's mandate to protect voting rights." Von Spakovsky, however, portrayed himself during his confirmation hearing as just a lawyer in the section who gave advice when it was asked. It was a portrayal with real problems --- as von Spakovsky himself tacitly acknowledged when he modified his testimony in later written answers to the committee.

Von Spakovsky also sought to spike accusations that he'd retaliated against wrong-thinking employees (i.e. lawyers overly-preoccupied with African-Americans' voting rights) by, among other things, adding negative comments to their performance evaluations. But two former lawyers told us that he'd done just that --- and then went so far as to stifle their appeals of the changes.

President Bush put von Spakovsky on the commission as a recess appointment in December, 2005.

You can register your opinion on Hans von Spakovsky, who is as evil as his name evokes, with the Senate Rules Committee and Feinstein (D-CA) here: 202-224-6352, or via their website.

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What is It About Florida Republicans and Sex With Children?
By Brad Friedman on 9/17/2007 4:30pm PT  

Unbelievable...

DETROIT --- A U.S. Justice Department official has been arrested on suspicion of traveling to Detroit over the weekend to have sex with a minor.

John David R. Atchison, 53, an assistant U.S. attorney from the northern district of Florida, was arraigned in U.S. District Court in Detroit Monday afternoon.

An undercover officer posed as a mother offering her child to Atchison for sex, according to police.

Prosecutors said Atchison flew from Pensacola, Fla., to Detroit on Sunday intending to have sex with the 5-year-old girl.
...
The undercover detective asked how Atchison can be certain of no injury. He responded, "Just gotta go slow and very easy. I've done it plenty," according to detectives.

Atchison, a member of the Florida bar association since 1984, lives in Gulf Breeze, Fla., near Pensacola.

He is president of the Gulf Breeze Sports Association, a youth athletics organization.

He described himself online as a family man.

UPDATE 10/6/07: On his second attempt, Atchison succeeded in killing himself in federal prison. Details on that, and our inference on his being a Republican right here...

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By Brad Friedman on 9/14/2007 4:33pm PT  

Alberto Gonzales leaves office today. Not a moment too soon.

From his farewell address:

Over the past two and a half years, I have seen tyranny, dishonesty, corruption and depravity of types I never thought possible. I have seen things I didn't know man was capable of.

No kidding, Gonzo. Adios.

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