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By Brad Friedman on 5/30/2007 4:05pm PT  

A letter sent today by the Department of Justice Inspector General's office to Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) and Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) informs the chair and ranking member of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee that they are expanding their current probe into DoJ practices to including the politicization of hiring practices, as discussed during Monica Goodling's recent testimony before the committee.

The DoJ IG letter is posted in full at the end of this article.

Here's the statement in response to the letter today as sent to The BRAD BLOG earlier this afternoon:

"The Inspector General's decision to further expand its investigation into the politicization of the Justice Department demonstrates the clear need for oversight. Ms. Goodling's testimony before the House Judiciary Committee indicated that political litmus tests were administered to applicants for some career, nonpolitical positions within the Department. This gives me great concern and reinforces the need to continue with our investigation into the U.S. Attorney firings and related matters."

RAW STORY has more here. Washington Post has more here.

The single-page May 30, 2007 letter from Glenn A. Fine, Inspector General, and H. Marshall Jarrett, Counsel, Office of Professional Responsibility, follows in full below...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 5/25/2007 6:13pm PT  

Takin' it easy today (at least as far as you know) after a brutally exhausting and often dispiriting week. Whether or not that led to a different mood today during my weekly guest appearance on the Peter B. Collins Show I can't tell you.

Either way, as Guest Hosted today by our friend Tony Trupiano, we covered a few things I haven't gotten to speak much about lately, and also received an important good news update from caller "Chris in Salinas." Turns out action taken by Chris over the past week, after finding something troubling in a recent special election in Monterey County, CA, has led to a happy conclusion that will effect all voters in Monterey, and perhaps across this entire state.

That story --- and much else of what we chatted about on the show --- again, underscores the need for citizens to take control of their democracy because it will not be either the media or the government who restores our country. It will be you.

Enjoy...


-- Brad on PBC (Guest Host Tony Trupiano), 5/25/07 [MP3, appx 50 mins]

UPDATE: "Chris from Salinas" writes in to comments below with more details on precisely what happened in Monterey County, the action he took, and the changes that were made because of. Useful if you haven't been able to listen to the audio above (which I still recommend, in any case).

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Sen. McConnell's Provision Would Amend Help America Vote Act (HAVA) to Include Attempt to Keep Legally Registered Voters from Voting!
GOP Prepared to Stop at Nothing to Undermine Most Basic American Values...Such as Democracy...
By Brad Friedman on 5/24/2007 2:53pm PT  

Un-believable. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has introduced an amendment to the proposed new Immigration Law that would require disenfranchising Photo ID restrictions on voters at the polling place, according to a press release just out from National League of Women Voters.

The provision tagged onto the immigration bill would amend the horrible Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002 that McConnell co-sponsored and pushed through to passage along with his Republican counterpart and lead author in the House, the now-jailed Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) and Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT) and Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD).

The key provision in the amendment is as follows:

SEC. 304. IDENTIFICATION OF VOTERS AT THE POLLS.

(a) In General.--Notwithstanding the requirements of section 303(b), each State shall require individuals casting ballots in an election for Federal office in person to present a current valid photo identification issued by a governmental entity before voting.

(b) Effective Date.--Each State shall be required to comply with the requirements of subsection (a) on and after January 1, 2008.

Apparently, it's not enough for the Republican White House operatives to create phony "grass roots" groups to create propaganda solely for the purpose of forwarding the fraudulent notion of a massive "Democratic Voter Fraud" epidemic (which doesn't exist).

It's not enough to toss legitimate voters from the voter rolls through purges and "caging" lists to remove legal, minority voters (many serving overseas in Iraq, nonetheless) so they are not allowed to exercise their legal franchise.

It's not enough to remake our entire Department of Justice into nothing more than a branch of the Republican party for the specific purpose of bringing trumped up "voter fraud" indictments in hopes of shaving votes in close elections and otherwise gutting the beloved 40 year old Voting Rights Act for purely partisan gain.

No. Come hell or highwater, these democracy hating Republican thugs are going to find a way to keep you from voting --- even if they have to amend every piece of legislation that comes before them to try and do it --- because, otherwise, they can't win elections.

If McConnell's provision is not defeated, fillibustered, or whatever it takes by every goddamned Democrat in that body, well....good luck voting them out of office either. But they'll sure as hell deserve it. Every. Single. One of them. (As if those who pushed through the Iraq funding bill capitulation don't already deserve to be removed from office.)

These Republicans are absolutely beyond contempt and, clearly, despise the most basic American values at the very core of our once-great Republic. They hate everything about it. They are loathesome. And the Dems damned well better stop them dead in their tracks.

Rick Hasen has the complete amendment and additional details on the latest insipid GOP/McConnell scam.

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By Rebecca Abrahams on 5/23/2007 10:07pm PT  

A Guest Blog Editorial by Rebecca Abrahams, Freelance Network News Producer

Poor Monica Goodling. Poor, poor Monica. Oh, the indignity of it all --- having to testify before the House Judiciary Committee and all. With Immunity.

She may have violated laws but she didn't mean to. I guess it's all better now. And clearly Committee members agreed --- practically falling all over her with apologies for having been brought forth to testify. Goodling, the former Department of Justice's liaison to the White House and senior counselor to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, was granted immunity from prosecution during testimony regarding the White House's role in the firing of eight U.S. attorneys. And while she was the liaison to the White House, Goodling asserted that she did not "hold the keys to the kingdom" as some have suggested.

The first three hours of testimony shed little light on the plan to remove the USA's. Although Goodling did say she believed Deputy Chief of Staff Kyle Sampson and Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty had delivered inaccurate testimony before Congress. In particular, Goodling said, McNulty had not been forthcoming about newly appointed Arkansas US Attorney Tim Griffin's use of vote caging lists.

Goodling testified that there were "problems with her historic memory" and agreed that the firings should have been handled differently. She believed the USA's in question should have been given a chance to learn about their performance and given an opportunity to improve. Goodling believed the firings should have been done in person, noting "it was the right thing to do."

Goodling recounted a November 27, 2006 meeting she attended concerning the firing of Nevada US Attorney Daniel Bogden. She said the general consensus was that the Justice Department could do better than Bogden, noting, "good people needed to be put in those spots." Goodling said Gonzales agreed to use a provision within the Patriot Act to axe Bogden. Funny, Gonzales has sworn up and down he doesn't even remember attending the meeting. Regardless, Bogden, an Independent, was not the man for the job, despite the fact that he served the Department for more than sixteen years.

The Nevada US Attorney, testifying before a House Judiciary Subcommittee on March 6, 2007, recounted what Associate Deputy Attorney General William Mercer had told him the reason for his dismissal, was so that the United States Department of Justice could do it's job for the American people...by helping to build the resume of all of their close friends...

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

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Says DAG Paul McNulty Withheld Knowledge of Tim Griffin's Involvement in Challenging Minority Voter Registration in 2004
Former Rove Aide Griffin Posted to U.S. Attorney Position in Arkansas...
By Brad Friedman on 5/23/2007 11:46am PT  

From Monica Goodling's opening statement to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee this morning [emphasis added]:

Despite my and others' best efforts, [Deputy Attorney General, Paul McNulty]'s public testimony was incomplete or inaccurate in a number of respects. As explained in more detail in my written remarks, I believe that the Deputy was not fully candid about his knowledge of White House involvement in the replacement decision, failed to disclose that he had some knowledge of the White House's interest in selecting Tim Griffin as Interim U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, inaccurately described the Department's internal assessment of the Parsky Commission, and failed to disclose that he had some knowledge of allegations that Tim Griffin had been involved in vote "caging" during his work on the President's 2004 campaign.

For the record, it's the practice of sending registered mail to minority voters, asking for a reply, and if one doesn't come back, the voter's right to vote is challenged either at the polls, or attempts are made to remove them from the voter rolls --- usually without their knowledge. Allegations have been made that this was done, based on race, in 2004, when registered letters were sent to the home addresses of African-Americans in Ohio, Florida and elsewhere. Most insidiously, letters were said to have been sent to U.S. troops who were away, serving in Iraq or Afghanistan, and thus did not (and could not) answer the registered mail. Their registrations were then reportedly challenged.

The RNC agreed to cease the practice in a 1986 consent decree in a court case brought after they had "tried to have 31,000 voters, most of them black, removed from the rolls in Louisiana when a party mailer was returned, " according to the Washington Post.

"The consent decrees that resulted prohibited the party from engaging in anti-fraud initiatives that target minorities or conduct mail campaigns to 'compile voter challenge lists.'"

Hopefully one of the Judiciary Committee Members will follow up on this, with either Goodling or in further interviews with McNulty or Griffin, who was Karl Rove's aide at the time, before he was later shoved into Bud Cummins' position as Arkansas U.S. Attorney.

UPDATE 2:45pm PT: The DoJ released a statement this afternoon from McNulty, in response to Goodling's testimony and her claims that his "public testimony was incomplete or inaccurate in a number of respects":

"I testified truthfully at the Feb. 6, 2007, hearing based on what I knew at that time. Ms. Goodling's characterization of my testimony is wrong and not supported by the extensive record of documents and testimony already provided to Congress."

More on Vote Caging Lists at Wikipedia. The key details follow below...

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

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Speaks of DoJ Loyalty to Administration Rather Than Constitution...
By Brad Friedman on 5/23/2007 10:52am PT  

New Mexico's fired U.S. Attorney David Iglesias op-eds in today's LA Times on Gonzeles et al. in advance of this morning's testimony by Monica Goodling:

WHAT HAPPENS in a presidential administration when loyalty, to borrow a phrase from "Star Trek," becomes the "prime directive"? What happens when its all-encompassing fog obscures all other values — such as fealty to the Constitution, the rule of law or simple humanity?
...
What has become clear already is that the "loyalty uber alles" mentality has infected a wide swath of the Bush administration. Simple notions like right and wrong are, in their eyes, matters of allegiance, not conscience.
...
Loyalty is a virtue with limits. That was one of the many hard lessons from Watergate. In that scandal, some of President Nixon's staffers carried their loyalty to the president all the way to federal prison.
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'Everything was Unraveling'...
By Brad Friedman on 5/22/2007 11:25pm PT  

Monica Goodling, the DoJ liason to the White House, will testify, with immunity, tomorrow morning (Wed.) at 10:15am ET in front of the House Judiciary Committee. These early morning hearings are brutal for those of us bloggers on the West Coast, but we'd hate to miss this one.

Goodling broke down in tears on the morning the U.S. Attorney Purge scandal broke, and has copped the 5th, refusing to testify until given immunity. Why? We don't yet know exactly, but may find out tomorrow.

Career DoJ official David Margolis told Congressional investigators about her crying jag, and said, "I knew she must think everything was unraveling. And, you know, she was right about that."

TPMMuck has more from Margolis's deposition and on what we might expect in the morning. If you're watching, feel free to give us your thoughts in comments as things progress. Especially if she starts crying again. (Anyone want to wager on that?)

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Then-DoJ Appointee in Civil Rights Unit, Now Recess-Appointed FEC Chair, Tried to Influence EAC Reports on 'Voter Fraud'...
By Brad Friedman on 5/22/2007 12:50pm PT  

Following up on Greg Gordon's Sunday piece on former DoJ operative turned recess-appointed FEC chair Hans von Spakovsky, McClatchy has now posted the emails referred to in the article in full [PDF].

As you'll recall, the point we focused on when we covered Gordon's article was the apparent attempted strong-arming, suggested by the emails, of U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) chair Paul DeGregorio. Von Spakovsky was attempting to influence the EAC's reports and positions on GOP claims of massive "voter fraud" and the effects of legislation for Photo ID restrictions at the polls.

Von Spakovsky was concerned about the EAC's position and the "proper balance" (code word) being brought to bi-partisan reports on "voter fraud" and Photo ID, both of which eventually failed to give evidence of GOP claims of massive Democratic voter fraud. Such claims were being used by Bush's operatives at DoJ and out in the "grass roots" by their boy Thor Hearne and his "non-partisan" front group, the American Center for Voting Rights to game elections and media, and push for Photo ID laws (which have been found to be unconstitutional time and again.)

Both reports would eventually be altered and/or buried.

BRAD BLOG readers will also recall the many reports filed here concerning the partisanship and/or incompetence of the EAC, the White House controlled federal body which supposedly oversees our nation's electoral system. These emails highlight many of the claims we've made about inappropriate influence by the White House on the failed commission.

One thing which catches our eye in the emails right away is that von Spakovsky's emails were sent to the Republican members of the commission including DeGregorio, Donnetta Davidson (now EAC chair), and Tom Wilkey (EAC Exec Dir.), but not to the Democratic members. (Ed Note: See 5/24/07 UPDATE at bottom of article on this point.) We've covered both Davidson and Wilkey, and the failings of each, in some detail here at The BRAD BLOG in the past.

The notes were also sent to Republican aides of Sen. Christopher Bond in Missouri (home of the ACVR's Hearne), as well as Doug Lewis of the Election Center, a voting machine industry front group, which "the Dean of the DC press corp," WaPo's David Broder, recently referred to in a column as his favorite expert on elections, forgetting to mention that he's an industry/Republican shill. Can someone please put Broder out to pasture at this point?! And can the media stop quoting Lewis as if he's a disinterested, non-partisan "expert" on elections?!

Little time for the moment to report on the new specifics found in the emails, so we'll encourage you to give them a quick read (just 5 pages) and leave your thoughts here in comments. As time allows, we'll update this item with our own thoughts if possible.

But one quick point that we haven't highlighted enough lately: Voter Fraud is the term used to describe voters gaming the system on a retail level by voting twice, etc. It's extremely rare, as bi-partisan reports have shown time and again, despite GOP claims (that includes the EAC's own buried and altered reports that von Spakovsky hoped to influence).

Election Fraud, on the other hand, is the defrauding of elections through the administration of those elections, from inappropriate voter roll purges to gaming of voting equipment, etc. Evidence strongly suggests that the GOP's unevidenced claims of a "voter fraud" epidemic by Democrats may well have been forwarded after 2004 in order to deflect from the now-well-documented evidence showing GOP election fraud in Ohio and elsewhere.

Hope that reminder helps to clarify.

UPDATE 5/24/07: McClatchy's Greg Gordon writes to say that he believes that all of the commissioners, not just the Republican ones, were CC'd on the emails in question, but that those CC's somehow ended up on a second page and didn't get included when they created their PDF's of the actual emails. Due to the holiday weekend, unfortunately, he won't be able to try to find them in order to check for sure until next week at earliest. But he wanted us to note that there is a question about whether or not all of the EAC commissioners were actually CC'd, and to note his recollection that they were, at least on some of the notes. We'll update further if we can learn definitively one way or the other.

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Missive Sent Today to WH Attorney Fred Fielding from Conyers and Sánchez Warns of 'No Alternative But Compulsory Process' if Administration Continues Stonewall...
By Brad Friedman on 5/21/2007 2:53pm PT  

A letter sent to White House attorney Fred Fielding today by top U.S. House Judiciary Committee members offers "one last appeal" for voluntary cooperation in the U.S. Attorney firing probe, or else a "compulsory process" will begin.

The letter, sent to The BRAD BLOG by committee chair John Conyers (D-MI) and the chair of the Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law, Linda T. Sánchez (D-CA), takes the White House to task for their "rebuff of efforts by the Judiciary Committee to obtain voluntary cooperation" in their investigation "concerning at least nine U.S. Attorneys in 2006 and related matters."

The letter may be downloaded below.

"Even without a single document or witness interview provided by the White House," the letter charges, "it is clear that the White House played an important role in the events concerning the U.S. Attorney controversy."

By way of example, the two House chairs detail Karl Rove's admission that he intervened with both the White House Counsel's Office and the DoJ concerning the firing of New Mexico's U.S. Attorney David Iglesias.

"It is becoming increasingly clear that we will not be able to complete our investigation absent full and complete cooperation from the White House," they write, before pointing out that "it would be constitutionally irresponsible to accept your 'all or nothing' limitations" for nothing more than off-the-record interviews without transcripts or public questioning.

"If the White House persists in refusing to provide information to the House Judiciary Committee, or even to discuss providing such information, on a voluntary basis, we will have no alternative but to begin to resort to compulsory process in order to carry out our oversight responsibilities," the letter concludes.

No explanation of what such a "compulsory process" might include is offered in the letter.

The two-page letter also includes a copy of an email message from Kyle Sampson, Alberto Gonzales's former Chief of Staff, discussing strategy for the firings of U.S. Attorneys last November. The complete letter sent to today to Fred F. Fielding, Esq., Counsel to the President, may be downloaded here in full [PDF]

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Emails Suggest Partisan EAC Chair DeGregorio Fought off Influence Attempts, as Surprising as That May Seem...
By Brad Friedman on 5/21/2007 8:35am PT  

McClatchy Newspaper's excellent Greg Gordon moves the ball forward again on the Bush White House's insider politicization of the DoJ to achieve electoral advantages via gaming of phony "Voter Fraud" claims and the pursuit of voter suppressing Photo ID laws at the polls.

His article covers the inside moves of the Bush-appointed operative Hans von Spakovsky after he was assigned to the DoJ's voting rights unit, and the games he played in the post, including an anonymously published essay on "Voter Fraud" and Voter ID laws; overriding of career civil rights attorney recommendations against a Georgia Voter ID law (while refusing to recuse himself, despite his past service as a Georgia official), a law which was later found by a federal judge to be unconstitutional and akin to a Jim Crow-era poll tax; and attempts to influence the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC)'s studies on Voter Fraud and the effects of Photo ID at the polls.

Last year, Von Spakovsky was recess-appointed by Bush to head the FEC, though he will face what could be an interesting Congressional confirmation hearing in the Senate on June 13.

Aside from the many familiar faces (at least to BRAD BLOG readers) who come into play in the story, from Georgia to Arizona to Missouri, one aspect of Gordon's report is a bit of a surprise and so particularly catches our notice...

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

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McClatchy: Prosecutors in 9 Battleground States Targeted, 7 Related to 'Voter Fraud' Prosecution
WaPo: 26 Attorneys Targetted in All (So Far)
By Brad Friedman on 5/17/2007 8:45pm PT  

It's getting really hard to keep up. But let's give it a quick shot...

Last night, McClatchy's Margaret Talev and Marisa Taylor reported two more U.S. Attorneys were targeted for firing for failing to bring cases based on bogus GOP claims of "voter fraud." That brought the number of election swing-states where attorneys were targeted to 9. In 7 of them, as of now, the reasons for wanting to get rid of them are related to "alleged Democratic voter fraud."

All of which underscores our previous thesis and the one discussed in Greg Palast's BRAD BLOG exclusive posted a thousand years ago (yesterday), that it's all about the '08 Election.

Then comes WaPo today suggesting that a total of 26 U.S. Attorneys in all --- that's 1 in 4 of the 93 total USAs --- had been targeted for possible removal at one time or another:

The Justice Department considered dismissing many more U.S. attorneys than officials have previously acknowledged, with at least 26 prosecutors suggested for termination between February 2005 and December 2006, according to sources familiar with documents withheld from the public.

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales testified last week that the effort was limited to eight U.S. attorneys fired since last June

And then today, McLatchy's Talev and Taylor followed up with more details on some of the latest "voter fraud" targeted prosecutors in Georgia, Virginia, and Florida...

McClatchy Newspapers has learned that the top prosecutors in Macon, Ga., and Roanoke, Va., landed on a proposed firing list weeks after the White House and Justice Department traded notes about the potential for voter-fraud cases in central Georgia and Appalachia. They were added to a list just days before last November's midterm election, but ultimately not fired.
...
One of the targeted prosecutors, Tallahassee's U.S. attorney, Greg Miller, said he didn't know why he would have appeared on the list in February 2005, and then be off it by November 2006.

Miller said he was never pressured by Washington to prosecute voter fraud cases.

Ion Sancho, the Leon County, Fla., election supervisor, said in an interview Thursday that Miller's staff called his office soon after the November 2006 elections requesting a database of voter rolls.

"They told us, 'We want to look for voter fraud,'" he said. "They didn't give me any specific reason."

If the reason isn't clear by now, you're living in a cave. Beyond that, you're all caught up. (Even if the night is still young.)

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Is the Noose Tightening Around Lathrop & Gage, Thor Hearne, Gov. Matt Blunt and the American Center for Voting Rights Corrupt Law Firm?
By Brad Friedman on 5/17/2007 3:46pm PT  

BREAKING from Kansas City Business Journal:

In early April, Tom Stewart announced that he would leave his position as chief executive at Lathrop & Gage LC to become chairman, effective July 1. Instead, he has left the firm altogether.

KC Star's breaking coverage reports that "Stewart held the top job at the firm for 18 years. During his tenure the firm grew from about 60 attorneys to 280."

What might all of this have to do with our coverage of Lathrop & Gage's connection to the U.S. Attorney Purge scandal, as we recently reported in some detail here, with followup here?

Given that BizJournal reports the longtime L&G CEO was slated to become Chairman of the firm, before he recently requested a 90-day sabbatical on April 23rd "for matters having to do with personal and family health," before announcing today's sudden departure, the timing --- and excuses --- are certainly notable.

We'll also note here that April 23rd also happens to be the day of our first report tying L&G to the U.S. Attorney scandal.

L&G is the powerful MO law firm of Mark F. "Thor" Hearne, the high-level GOP operative, friend of Rove, national general counsel for Bush/Cheney '04, and co-founder of the now-defunct "non-partisan" Republican "voter fraud" disinfo group known as the American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR). Hearne, in his capacity at L&G, was also Missouri Governor Matt Blunt's long-time right-hand legal man and vote suppression guy. Both Blunt and L&G were being investigated by the Arkansas U.S. Attorney Bud Cummins in association with the privatization of the lucrative state licensing fee offices when Cummins was axed by DoJ in what may have been the first of the notorious U.S. Attorney purges.

Recently, Cummins was quoted in the Los Angeles Times as saying "Now I keep asking myself: 'What about the Blunt deal?'"

Blunt's sister Amy was also recently hired as an associate at the firm, but there are more L&G shenanigans and tie-ins to all of this that we've been working on for an upcoming report.

Stay tuned for that, and whatever else we can dig up concerning Stewart's surprise resignation today.

(Hat-tip to "overlander" at dKos)

For more information on the "non-partisan" tax-exempt ACVR "Voter Fraud" scam and the snakeoil salesmen who invented it, Bush/Cheney '04 National General Counsel Mark F. "Thor" Hearne and RNC Communications Director Jim Dyke, please see BRAD BLOG's full Special Coverage of the "American Center for Voting Rights" at http://www.BradBlog.com/ACVR. Your donation to The BRAD BLOG in order to help us continue this investigation and many others, is much appreciated!
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UPDATED - DoJ Responds...
By Brad Friedman on 5/16/2007 4:58pm PT  

Senators Schumer, Feingold, Kennedy and Durbin are curious as to why it seems that Alberto Gonzalez lied about whether or not there was concern in the Dept. of Justice over the legality of Bush's domestic wiretap programming run out of NSA.

Gonzales testified in February of 2006 that there had been no such concerns, but the startling testimony of former Dep. Attorney General James Comey yesterday (video here) tells quite a different story, including a late-night trip by Gonzales and WH Chief of Staff Andrew Card to then-AG John Ashcroft's hospital room in hopes of getting his approval after Comey would not sign off the program. To his credit, Aschroft refused as well. Even after the White House --- apparently Bush himself --- called to inform him that Gonzales and Card were heading over.

The Senators sent the following letter today to Gonzales, reminding him of the apparent huge contradictions in his testimony as compared to Comey's, and to ask him for a "prompt response to the following question: In light of Mr. Comey’s testimony yesterday, do you stand by your 2006 Senate and House testimony, or do you wish to revise it?"

UPDATE: Bob Fertik at Democrats.com suggests it's either "impeach or jail" Gonzo. We'll not disagree. And based on Digby's as-always insightful comments on this, we'll guess she may not disagree either.

UPDATE 5/17: WaPo reports the reply from DoJ to the Senators letter. Their response essentially: the Feb. 2006 testimony is Gonzales' story and he's sticking to it.

The letter to Albert Gonzales from the Senators is posted in full below...

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

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Captain Iglesias, Obstruction of Justice, and the Theft of 2008...
By Greg Palast on 5/16/2007 1:17am PT  

*** Special to The BRAD BLOG by Greg Palast

"The wheels have come off, the engine is on fire and no one is driving," Captain David Iglesias told me yesterday. I'd asked the Naval Reserve officer, heading off to duty in Norfolk, why he didn't want his old job back, United States Attorney for New Mexico.

The busted, burning, ghost-mobile he described is the Department of Justice, driven by Alberto Gonzales. Or is Karl Rove at the wheel? Or no one? Whomever, he didn't want to jump back into Bush's Justice Jalopy.

Today, Iglesias is in Washington to pull the junker off the road, meeting with the Office of Special Counsel where Obstruction of Justice may be swirling around in the old oil pan laying on the garage floor.

The ex-prosecutor and I, long, long ago, had both worked for the Attorney General of New Mexico, a state where the snakes have less venom than the politicians.

First, there's Senator Pete Domenici, whose hiss is as smooth as his bite is deadly.

Domenici, softball interviewer Chris Matthews notes, is a nice guy. On TV. However, the Republican Senator's call to Iglesias at his home, just before the 2006 midterm election, asking the prosecutor about filing charges against Democrats in the week before the vote, was downright rude. When the prosecutor replied in the negative, the Senator hung up.

And apparently, the Senator contacted one Monica Goodling who, scribbled on a notepad: "Iglesias - Domenici says he doesn't move cases." Oops. Goodling, a political stooge working for Gonzales, was listing the reasons for firing US attorneys. Now, rudeness was no longer the issue. Firing a prosecutor for failing to "move cases" --- handcuff citizens at the request of a Senator --- is Obstruction of Justice.

No wonder Monica took The Fifth.

Of course, the Rove dogsbodies at Justice couldn't tell Congress they fired Iglesias because he wouldn't jump at the Senator's rattle. They reached for another complaint on Monica's list: "absentee landlord." Deputy Assistant Attorney General Paul McNulty used absenteeism as the official reason for dismissal. McNulty's resigned.

He should have taken The Fifth....

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

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While White House Connections and Other Key Elements Central to the U.S. Attorney Scandal --- Many Long Ago Reported by The BRAD BLOG --- Still Being Overlooked, Ignored
Investigative Endgame Remains Unclear, Even as the ACVR's Thor Hearne and Other Unindicted Co-Conspirators Continue to Erase Their Tracks...
By Brad Friedman on 5/15/2007 4:43pm PT  

A WaPo article from Dan Eggen and Amy Goldstein yesterday, headlined "Voter-Fraud Complaints by GOP Drove Dismissals," reports:

It has been clear for months that the administration's eagerness to launch voter-fraud prosecutions played a role in some of the firings, but recent testimony, documents and interviews show the issue was more central than previously known.

"More central than previously known" to whom? Certainly not BRAD BLOG readers, as we've been reporting on the scam to invent actionable, yet phony "voter fraud" claims via the White House's Thor Hearne-run front group, The American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR), since at least March of 2005.

The swing-state hotspots reported by WaPo and others of late, as named by Rove in 2006, etc., are almost precisely the same ones which led the coordinated ACVR effort going back for years. The same locations --- Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Missouri, etc. --- were named in the ACVR's phony report on phony "voter fraud" released back in July of 2005. We covered it at that time, while few, if any, in the MSM --- certainly not WaPo --- bothered to take notice.

As we reported back then, in our August 2, 2005 article headlined, "Phony GOP 'Voting Rights' Group Delivers Onslaught of Disinfo Today!":

In a massive new attempt today to disinform the American Voting Public and sidetrack the true bi-partisan Election Reform movement in this country, the phony "voting rights" group --- calling themselves deceptively "American Center for Voting Rights" (ACVR) --- issued a new report today charging that Democrats were "Far More Involved In Voter Intimidation And Suppression In 2004."

Five different heavily Democratic-leaning cities were cited in each of six different Press Releases issued at once via US Newswire within the last hour as being amongst the "top Election Fraud Hotspots" in the country.

The complete report, which we linked to at the time, is now found here via the Internet archives, since the ACVR website was taken down shortly after the U.S. Attorney Purge scandal began to expose the entire conspiracy. Here's what the "Letter of Introduction" for their propaganda report said at the time:

ACVR Legislative Fund has identified five cities as "hot spots" which require additional immediate attention. These cities were identified based on the findings of this report and the cities' documented history of fraud and intimidation. ACVR Legislative Fund will work with national and state political parties, state legislators and local officials to create a process that supports local election officials in these cities and ensures that any effort to continue the historic pattern of fraud and intimidation in the 2006 election is exposed and stopped.

1. Philadelphia, PA
2. Milwaukee, WI
3. Seattle, WA
4. St. Louis/East St. Louis, MO/IL
5. Cleveland, OH

Those cities and states, of course, have almost all come into play in the firings of the U.S. Attorneys. Point being that very little of the entire scheme is actually "new" --- it's just that the mainstream media (and even elements of the progressive blogosphere) are finally beginning to wake up to what we've been running around with our hair on fire for years trying to let them know about.

It's all been there all along. The only thing that was missing was the will to investigate and report on it. And it's still being under-investigated and under-reported today.

So, if we might take the liberty, allow us once again to point to the person who holds the key to much of all of this: one Mr. Mark F. "Thor" Hearne, the former national general counsel to Bush/Cheney '04 Inc., friend of Rove, and mastermind behind the ground game for national conspiracy as aided, abetted and orchestrated by the group he co-founded, the still-mysteriously funded ACVR.

Although some light was finally shone onto Hearne and the ACVR in a recent groundbreaking McClatchy report, he and his entire direct connection to the White House remain incredibly under-investigated, even while he and his ACVR co-conspirators have been trying to hide their tracks wherever possible of late. (E.g., Thor's online profile at his very powerful, corrupt Missouri legal firm, Lathrop & Gage --- also very much at the center of all of this, btw --- had described him as "General Counsel for the American Center of Voting Rights (ACVR)" as of April 27, 2007, as seen via the Internet archives. That reference to ACVR has now been quietly excised from Thor's current online profile.)

So again, all we can do is try to get the word out that MSM reporters and progressive bloggers looking into the US Attorney scandal may want to peruse our years of coverage on all of this, nicely indexed for their review at http://www.BradBlog.com/ACVR.

On a related note, moving the ball one step forward...WaPo's piece also goes on to quote Dan Tokaji, election law specialist at Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law, as saying: "There is reason for worry and suspicion at this point as to whether voting fraud played an inappropriate role in personnel decisions by the department."

"Reason for worry and suspicion?" With all due respect to Tokaji, we'd say it's gone far beyond that. We'd suggest "reason for indictments and jail time" would be more accurate.

But the question, however, which occurs to us at this point is: What is the next step? It's unclear where Congress plans to go with this investigation, as it's become clearer and clearer that the White House was directly behind the use of the DoJ as little more than a political bludgeon and an outreach arm of the RNC.

Do they plan to recommend indictments? If so, to whom? The DoJ? Will they ask for a Special Prosecutor to do same? Or will they exercise their Constitutional duty to impeach those Administration officials who have criminally violated their oaths to protect and defend that Constitution?

We don't pretend to know where all of this goes, and the endgame seems hazy right now to say the least, but we'd suggest it's time for Congressional investigators to start thinking and/or talking about it.

We hope to have a fresh Exclusive here tomorrow from Greg Palast, with some new details, which begin to look at exactly that. Stay tuned...

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