Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer
w/ Brad & Desi
w/ Brad & Desi
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...
|MORE BRAD BLOG 'SPECIAL COVERAGE' PAGES...|
Has the Washington Post been fooled (again) by high-level ‘leakers’? It sure looks that way.
On Tuesday, March 20, the Post ran a front-page article on the DOJ-U.S. Attorneys scandal that led off:
The item was sourced to unnamed “administration officials” who gave it to two WaPo reporters “yesterday.”
This juicy lede graf was followed up:
The major problem with this story? It’s not true. The Department of Justice never 'ranked' U.S. Attorney Fitzgerald negatively or as 'undistinguished.' According to sworn testimony by D. Kyle Sampson, today in the Senate Judiciary Committee, Fitzgerald was rated 'very strong' internally in the DOJ.
So who fed the Post that story? And why did they run it without pinning it down first?...
From attorneys Michael Waldman and Justin Levitt of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law in today's WaPo...
Allegations of voter fraud --- someone sneaking into the polls to cast an illicit vote --- have been pushed in recent years by partisans seeking to justify proof-of-citizenship and other restrictive ID requirements as a condition of voting. Scare stories abound on the Internet and on editorial pages, and they quickly become accepted wisdom.
But the notion of widespread voter fraud, as these prosecutors found out, is itself a fraud. Firing a prosecutor for failing to find wide voter fraud is like firing a park ranger for failing to find Sasquatch.
And three more notable money quotes from the piece worth running here...
Arlen Parsa of The Daily Background, and now BRAD BLOG Guest Blogger (see his story yesterday on the ties between the U.S. Attorney Purge and gaming the 2008 Election), files a story today at TruthOut destroying the DoJ claims that the reason for some of the purges was that the prosecutors were too lenient on immigration issues.
You'll be stunned to learn that the immigration claims were little more than a cover story hatched by the DoJ communications team as they initially prepared (and, apparently "misunderestimated" the need for) their public explanations for the politically-based firings. All exposed in new email docs dumped late last Friday, following the 3000+ pages dumped earlier in the week.
The skinny version of Parsa's TO report today...
Just out from Waxman's office. A letter [PDF] to House and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairs Conyres and Leahy disputing Bush's contention yesterday that he is giving Congress "unprecedented" access to White House information and officials.
The letter begins this way...
Yesterday President Bush asserted that the White House would give Congress "unprecedented" access to information regarding the Administration's recent dismissal of U.S. Attorneys. This statement is misinformed. As you continue discussions with the White House regarding your investigation of the U.S. Attorneys matter, I wanted to bring to your attention relevant precedent.
The President said yesterday that he would not allow White House aides including Senior Advisor to the President Karl Rove, former White House Counsel Harriet Miers, deputy counsel William Kelley, and political aide J. Scott Jennings testify under oath and on the record about the dismissal of the U.S. Attorneys. Contrary to the President's contention, there is extensive precedent for officials in these positions to appear before Congress.
When Republicans controlled Congress during the Clinton Administration, they routinely insisted that White House officials appear before Congress. During the prior Administration, a series of White House Counsels testified to congressional committees publicly and under oath:
Click here for the full letter [PDF], which outlines not only numerous White House officials who testified under oath before Congressional committees during the Clinton Administration, but even Bush Administration officials who were allowed to do so, as recently as last week!
This page at the House Oversight Committee has links to additional info and reports on the matter.
Cunningham, who by this point was acutely aware that Lam's investigation was breathing down his neck, was a co-author of a letter 19 House Republicans sent to the Attorney General complaining about Lam's record on prosecuting cases related to illegal immigration. However, at the same time, Department of Justice reports indicate that Lam's office was doing a good job prosecuting immigration related cases.
Also: after Lam notified the DoJ that more investigation was expected following the investigation that put Cunningham behind bars for more than eight years, the White House got a letter from the Department of Justice saying there was a "real problem" with Lam. A week after the White House was alerted to the "Lam problem," one Republican lawmaker Darryl Issa (R-CA) [from the Congressional district adjacent to Cunningham's] stepped up his efforts to smear Lam's record on immigration, leaking altered documents about Lam to the Associated Press and appearing on CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight to complain about Lam's performance.
3,000 pages were just released to the House Judiciary Committee by the Dept. of Justice in re: the U.S. Attorney purge. Judiciary is getting 'em posted as quickly as they can, even as we type. Says Conyers in a statement just released:
Earlier from U.S. News & World Report:
The fear that virtually any piece of communication will have to be turned over has paralyzed department officials' ability to communicate effectively and respond in unison to the crisis...
Accountability sucks, huh? Welcome to it. We believe your nightmare is just beginning.
In its fumbling attempts to explain the purge of United States attorneys, the Bush administration has argued that the fired prosecutors were not aggressive enough about addressing voter fraud. It is a phony argument; there is no evidence that any of them ignored real instances of voter fraud. But more than that, it is a window on what may be a major reason for some of the firings.
In partisan Republican circles, the pursuit of voter fraud is code for suppressing the votes of minorities and poor people. By resisting pressure to crack down on “fraud,” the fired United States attorneys actually appear to have been standing up for the integrity of the election system.
John McKay, one of the fired attorneys, says he was pressured by Republicans to bring voter fraud charges after the 2004 Washington governor’s race, which a Democrat, Christine Gregoire, won after two recounts. Republicans were trying to overturn an election result they did not like, but Mr. McKay refused to go along. “There was no evidence,” he said, “and I am not going to drag innocent people in front of a grand jury.”
It's becoming clearer and clearer that the Bush Administration used their Dept. of Justice for little more than a blunt political bludgeon. If all of this isn't grounds for Impeachment, we don't know what is. But we've felt that way at least a dozen times over the past four years.
If that's how this bunch abused their power at the DoJ, one can only imagine the abuses they continue to wreak under the absurdly over-reaching powers of the PATRIOT Act.
One other point of note from the recommended Times editorial today, which leads, in turn, to a much larger point that everyone --- particularly Congress --- ought to be made aware of...
We can't imagine why anybody would want to continue giving money to the Los Angeles Times.
After the better part of the last year or two, since being purchased by the Rightwing Chicago Tribune, the paper has been gutted. It's become little more than the Fox "News" Channel on newsprint. While that may be an exaggeration, it's not much of one. We were reminded again of that tonight when we finally took a few minutes' break from sifting through the avalanche of actual news as available on the Internets, to get a quick look at today's carbon-based LA Times front page.
Yesterday, as the U.S. Attorney Purge scandal was hitting its most fevered pitch to date, with Gonzales, Rove, et al. being thoroughally sucked into the vortex with all manners of leaked e-mail, documents, statements, calls for resignation, and more flying out...Josh Marshall at TPM filed this hysterical squib:
And then what do you suppose we find on the front page of today's LA Times...
As you might expect, there is much more to the "voter fraud" angle in the U.S. Attorneys Purge scandal than initially meets the eye. As you might also expect, we've taken keen notice as we've long been following and reporting on the insidious machinations behind the GOP/White House/Rove scheme to (rather successfully) invent the cynical notion of a "voter fraud" epidemic in America for purely political purposes.
First... Allow me to set the stage for the unenlightened by referring you to an amazingly wonderful new report [PDF] on the manufactured myth of American "voter fraud" as released by ProjectVote.org and authored by Lorraine C. Minnite, Ph.D., an assistant professor of Political Science at Barnard College, Columbia University.
Among the report's key findings [PDF]:
Finally, an academician thoroughly debunks --- nay, eviscerates --- the long-worked, well-moneyed, and invidious GOP plot to create the illusion of an American "voter fraud" epidemic (as distinct from very real election fraud concerns). The point behind the effort is solely to push for disenfranchising laws and restrictions in an effort to keep legitimate voters away from the polls in our democracy. If you read only one page of this report, "The Politics of Voter Fraud," it will be well worth your time!
Second... The phony "non-partisan" GOP front-group calling themselves the "American Center for Voting Rights" (ACVR), created in 2005 for nothing more than to facilitate the White House/Karl Rove "voter fraud" schemes, seems to have suddenly gone missing! BRAD BLOG readers will recall the despicable operatives who set up their "tax-exempt," "voter fraud" chop shop just three days before testifying at a staged Congressional hearing on the 2004 Ohio Presidential Election before the now-disgraced, felonious former Ohio Rep. Bob Ney of the House Administrative Committee. We broke the story exclusively at the time, and have continued reporting on it in a long series of special coverage reports ever since.
The alleged 501(c)3 group --- which has never produced paperwork to back up its tax-exempt status, to our knowledge --- was founded by the "non-partisan," "former" Bush/Cheney '04 Inc. national general counsel, Mark F. "Thor" Hearne, along with "non-partisan" RNC Communications Director Jim Dyke. Dyke now works for non-partisan Dick Cheney's office. Hearne then, and apparently still now, seems to be working for Karl Rove as one of his top national operatives.
Since news coverage of the tip of the iceberg in the GOP "voter fraud" scam has been revealed as directly related to the U.S. Attorney Purge scandal, it seems that all of a sudden the ACVR's detailed and propaganda-filled website has suddenly disappeared down the memory hole. As of today, both of ACVR's domain names AC4VR.com and AmericanCenterForVotingRights.com each return "Bad Request (Invalid Hostname)" errors.
Gone, but not forgotten. As we find out more on the AWOL ACVR we will, of course, let you know.
Lastly... Though certainly not leastly, John Boyd, an Albuquerque, New Mexico, based elections attorney who worked with the Democratic party in the state during the 2004 election, sends us the following inside account of the scandal surrounding recent reports that purged NM U.S. Attorney David Iglesias was removed for his unwillingness to prosecute claims of "voter fraud" in the state prior to the 2004 Presidential Election.
Before the election, Boyd helped represent the Dems in defending against the scurrilous GOP "voter fraud fraud," as he calls it. After the election, he successfully filed suit, along with the watchdog organization VoterAction.org, against the state concerning failures in their DRE/touch-screen voting system. That suit eventually led to a statewide ban on such systems and a requirement for paper-based elections.
Boyd writes that the firing scandal is actually "far worse than it now appears." His harrowing, first-hand account and reasons for that claim, as sent to us this morning, details how the GOP manufactured their pre-election "voter fraud" crisis in the state, despite lacking any evidence of any actual crimes.
His first-hand description of the events follows in full...
Guest Blogged by Luke Ryland
Last week, more than thirty 'good government' groups including the ACLU, POGO, CREW, Liberty Coalition, and September 11th Advocates called on Henry Waxman's Committee "to hold public hearings into the case of FBI Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, and the erroneous use of the State Secrets Privilege to shut down all court proceedings in her case."
Sibel Edmonds says: "Thanks to Brad and Bradblog readers. Exactly twelve months ago, Bradblog helped launch this petition and we had a great response. Fifteen thousand people signed the petition and we have delivered it to Congress. Now we'd like to ask for your help again."
We've had solid indications that Waxman is ready and willing to hold public, open hearings into Sibel's case. We need to give Waxman a final push and get him to commit to a date, in May or June, and that's where you come in. We want you to call the offices of Congressmen Henry Waxman, John Conyers, Patrick Leahy, and Charles Grassley and demand, beg, and implore them to publicly announce that they will have hearings.
Sibel has already told her story in classified briefings to the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Senate Intelligence Committee, Henry Waxman's staff, and the 911 Commission, and her case has been investigated by the Department of Justice Inspector General. All of them have verified Sibel's claims. As Republican Senator Charles Grassley said (YouTube) on 60 Minutes in 2002: "Absolutely, she's credible. And the reason I feel she's very credible is because people within the FBI have corroborated a lot of her story." ...
The good Catherine Crier of Court TV's Catherine Crier LIVE let's loose tonight on a number of the now nearly too-numerous-to-count Bush Administration scandals/failures.
Crier, a former Texas judge, who in a previous "Crier Wire" commentary last year filed perhaps the all-time best televised editorials on the insane dangers of e-voting, unleashes tonight on everything from the U.S. Attorney firing scandals, to the Libby case, to Halliburton's recent announcement that they're ditching America in favor of their real friends, the Arab nation of Dubai.
In tonight's piece which begins "something stinks in Washington D.C.", the Fox "News" escapee and former Dallas County district judge opines: "the more we dig, the more the Department [of Justice] looks like a mob of self interested, self protecting thugs."
The producers of the show were kind enough to rush us a transcript (blame them for the ALL CAPS), which we've posted in full at the end of this item. We'll try to post a video of the commentary as an update here later if we're able to trap it.
Here are a few snippets to whet your appetite:
On the America-hating Halliburton:
And, as a woman after our heart, she points out what we're forced to point out far too frequently: These are not issues of "Right and Left" but rather "Right and Wrong." That, even as both bad guys and the guys who ought to know better continue to incorrectly characterize the reporting of such issues --- and indeed this blog --- as "partisan". What a ridiculous world. About which Crier concludes:
The transcript from Crier's complete special "Crier Wire" commentary follows in full...
It's been amusing --- if exasperating --- to watch the latest like-clockwork contortions of the wingnuts in their desperate, if predictable, attempt to spin the U.S. Attorney firing scandal into a "voter fraud" scandal. That, they tell us in lock-step is the "real scandal" that the "liberal media" is conveniently overlooking in their attempts to victimize poor poor George W. Bush.
As we previously noted, we are unaware of any actual "voter fraud" alleged in the New Mexico case, but rather voter registration fraud. And even those allegations seems to have little, if any, substance behind them.
All the while, the dead-end wingnutters happily ignore the fact that their own continuing attempts to forward the myth of a "voter fraud" epidemic (and a Democratic-based one at that) have failed time and again. The most recent attempt was a report on "voter fraud" as officially sanctioned by the partisan-comprised U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC). Despite desperate attempts to show such an epidemic, the study came up embarrassingly empty handed on the issue and so the EAC subsequently refused to release their final report.
(NOTE: EAC Chairwoman Donetta Davidson promised to turn over the spiked report last week to Congress during a hearing in which was called to testify. We'll keep our eye out for that report, as we are still waiting for Davidson to send us another report which they promised to us nearly two weeks ago on a related story we've been working on.)
The Bush Apologist Bloggers also happily ignore one of the only clear and actually documented cases of voter fraud: That which was actually committed by rightwing sycophant/hate-monger, Ann Coulter in Florida.
Nonetheless, in the wingnuts blogosphere's continuing quest to remain in utter denial of Reality, they're reaching for a new set of straws. Here's a few chuckle-worthy examples...
A report from McLatchy Newspapers Saturday night has busted the thing wide open, placing Rove and the White House smack dab in the center of the scandal in which 8 U.S. Attorneys from the Dept. of Justice were canned. As if they weren't already.
While both the now-disgraced Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) and Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM) have already admitted their own inappropriate intervention in the matter, the state's Republican Party Chair, Allen Weh, has now gone on record directly implicating Karl Rove.
Further, we learn that one of the points the NM Republicans were upset about was Iglesias's failure to move fast enough on a "voter fraud" investigation. However, the McClatchy report indicates (as usual) that it wasn't actually a "voter fraud" investigation, but rather a "voter registration fraud" investigation in question.
We'll add here, for those who hadn't noticed, Wilson was named the winner over her Democratic opponent Patricia Madrid last November by fewer than 800 votes. Since New Mexico's new automatic recount law didn't kick in until the first of this year, there was no recount. That, despite our own discussions with Madrid after the election and our encouragement that she ask for a recount on her own.
(We'll hope, at least, that she kept her "Madrid for Congress" signs around, since depending on how things shake out down here there could be a Special Election in the not-too-distant future as more details of both Wilson and Domenici's inappropriate pressure as applied to Iglesias continue to come out.)
Between last night's report placing Rove at the center of the controversy, and a follow-up later in the evening from AP, it appears, according to Talking Points Memo (who has been all over this story), that someone --- oh, let's say Rove, just for the fun of it --- "may have gotten to Weh." In AP's later coverage, Weh appears to be attempting to mitigate his original account of the Rove incident, suggesting it happened after the attorneys had already been canned.
At the same time, New York Times has now gone on record calling for the termination of U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in the wake of this particular mess, and several other failures including his gutting of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The key details from each of the various relevant stories follow, as well as our recommendation about who really needs to be fired at this point...
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