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'Minorities Die First' Comments by DoJ's Voting Chief, John Tanner Continue to Reverberate in Advance of House Judiciary Hearings Next Week
National Journal Calls on the DoJ to Fire Tanner; Alternet Says His Recent Outreach to Latinos Suggests Still Further Politicization of the Civil Rights Division...
By Brad Friedman on 10/22/2007 6:19pm PT  


Heat and new, disturbing allegations continue to build in advance of next week's House Judiciary Committee hearings featuring the DoJ's Civil Rights Division Voting Section chief, John Tanner, following on BRAD BLOG's exclusive report on his offensive comments at a recent event in Los Angeles. (A short video recap of his comments, courtesy of our friends at TPM, is at left.)

The video-taped comments prompted a letter from Barak Obama to the Acting Attorney General, calling for Tanner's immediate dismissal.

While that letter was covered far and wide, late last week, two different articles today, one at National Journal and one at AlterNet follow up on the matter, and offer additional concerns and allegations that are likely to come up during next week's hearing, tentatively scheduled for Oct 30th.

(NOTE: Our own Alan Breslauer, who taped Tanner's comments originally, hand-delivered a copy of the video to the House Judiciary Committee today, as he happened to be in DC on other business.)

Tanner told audience members during an October 5th panel in Los Angeles at the National Latino Congresso, that it was a "shame" that some elderly voters would, in fact, be disenfranchised by restrictive polling place Photo ID laws that he approved on behalf of the DoJ, but that minorities needn't worry because they "don't become elderly the way white people do. They die first."

National Journal's Eliza Carney notes, in her column today, that should AG-nominee Michael Mukasey be confirmed, "His first step should be to replace John Tanner with someone less patently biased and ill-informed."

While AlterNet's Steve Rosenfeld points out that it appears the Civil Rights Voting Section, under Tanner, has become politicized in its outreach to Latinos and Asian-Americans, in order to curry GOP votes, while completely ignoring (or even exasperating) polling place access issues for African and Native Americans...

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

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As Insiders Express Hope that the Voting Section Chief's Days Are Numbered
'That's All Anybody's Talking About' in the Civil Rights Division, The BRAD BLOG Has Been Told...
By Brad Friedman on 10/19/2007 4:13pm PT  

In addition to the earlier AP-reported "grossly misconstrued" response by a DoJ spokesman to John Tanner's "minorities die first" remarks, Paul Kane at Washington Post files yet another defense of the embattled Tanner from yet another DoJ spokesman. Kale posts the entire "full-throated defense" from Brian Roehrkasse on his Capitol Briefing blog.

Even as a DoJ insider source of ours writes to say "thanks for starting the ball rolling on what may be the end of John Tanner."

"That's all anybody's talking about" today, the source tells us.

Despite suggestions to the contrary, as made this week by Bush's AG-nominee Michael Mukasey during his AG Senate confirmation hearings, things are not quite as peachy keen inside the Civil Rights Division as the Bushies would love you to believe.

"It is a constant uphill struggle against hand-picked Bush administration appointees like John Tanner," the insider wrote, "That is why we are so often demoralized: they won't let us do our work."

You wouldn't know it, of course, if you listened only to the Bush administration's hand-picked spokesmen/deniers.

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Wire Service Reports on Obama Letter, Fails to Cite BRAD BLOG for Breaking Story, Misses Much of the Point in General...
By Brad Friedman on 10/19/2007 1:46pm PT  

AP is notorious for refusing to give appropriate credit to blogs that break stories. They've done so again in their coverage today of Barack Obama's letter calling for the firing of DoJ Voting Rights section chief John Tanner in the wake of our video coverage of his recent objectionable comments [emphasis ours]:

"That's a shame, you know, creating problems for elderly persons just is not good under any circumstance," Tanner said, according to video posted on YouTube. "Of course, that also ties into the racial aspect because our society is such that minorities don't become elderly the way white people do. They die first."

Setting aside the de rigueur BRAD BLOG slight, AP received a response to Obama's call for Tanner's head from DoJ spokesman Erik Ablin:

"Mr. Tanner is an attorney who works to protect civil rights on a daily basis," Ablin said, adding that the official had won numerous awards from African-American groups. "Nothing in his comments deviated from his firm commitment to enforce the law, and it is unfortunate that they have been so grossly misconstrued."

"Grossly misconstrued"? AP does not detail in what way Ablin believes the comments to have been "grossly misconstrued," but quotes him as saying the department "continues to have full confidence" in Tanner.

Former colleagues of Tanner's, however, don't seem to agree that the comments were misconstrued...

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

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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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The Loyal Bushies at DoJ 'Wanted to Emasculate' the Voting Rights Act, Says Our Source...
By Brad Friedman on 6/6/2007 6:55pm PT  

Despite the spotlight being shone on the DoJ's politicization of the electoral system in Missouri and similar "swing" states all across the country, and despite a crushing defeat to their frivolous prosecution against the Show-Me State's Sec. of State Robin Carnahan, which was damn near laughed out of court last April, the DoJ has now signed the paperwork to file an appeal in the very same case.

We were tipped off to the appeal by one of our insider DoJ sources who yesterday had referred to Bradley Schlozman's Senate Judiciary Committee testimony as being "on the razor's edge of perjury." We've got some follow up details on that comment in a moment from the source we'll now call DoJ-Throat.

But as to the Missouri case --- in which Schlozman and the DoJ charged improper voters on the registration rolls, and "voter fraud" of all un-evidenced sorts --- rising yet again from the dead, there is little reported so far, other than a blog in Columbia, MO, quoting SoS Carnahan decrying the appeal.

"The judge who heard this case was clear and unequivocal that the Office of Secretary of State had done its job," says Carnahan, according to the Politics Blog at the Columbia Tribune.

Indeed, as we reported last April, after the case was dismissed, U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey pulled few punches in her criticism of the case. "It is also telling that the United States has not shown that any Missouri resident was denied his or her right to vote as a result of deficiencies alleged by the United States," Laughrey decided. "Nor has the United States shown that any voter fraud has occurred."

But, as Republicans are wont to do, apparently, it's time to fire up the judicial system yet again for more partisan, frivolous litigation, we suppose. They refuse to go away. Like Jason, in yet another bad Friday the 13th movie. If they continue their forum shopping all the way up to the Supreme Court perhaps they'll find some Bush-appointed judges who are more friendly to the Bush-appointed US Attorneys bringing the action.

For clarity, this is not the "voter fraud" case that Schlozzie brought just days before the '06 election against several ACORN workers in Missouri. You know, the one which was brought in violation of the DoJ's own written rules mandating such cases not be brought when they might have a political impact on elections. The one which was made to look as if ACORN had done something wrong when, in fact, it was ACORN themselves who had alerted the state to concerns about registration forms submitted by their own workers, and with which nobody had ever actually cast a fraudulent vote. That's the case which Schlozzie admitted, in his testimony yesterday to Sen. Patrick Leahy, could have just as well been brought two weeks after the election instead of just days before it. (If you haven't seen the video of the Leahy/Schlozman exchange on this, we strongly recommend it.)

Rather, the case being appealed by DoJ is the one which former Missouri USA Todd Graves refused to bring in 2005, but which Schlozman insisted on bringing. The one alleging improper maintenance of the voter registration rolls by the state, no doubt, at the recommendation of the GOP's St. Louis "voter fraud" scammer in chief, Thor Hearne of the ACVR, as NPR finally reported on this morning.

As to the former "voter fraud" zealot/chipmunk Schlozman --- who moved from his inappropriate position overseeing the DoJ Voting Rights unit to his inappropriate position replacing Graves as US Attorney for Missouri's Western District in order to bring more frivolous and inappropriately timed "voter fraud" cases in to intimidate Democratic voters during a very close Senate election last year --- our DoJ source had some additional thoughts after yesterday's "razor's edge of perjury" testimony in the Senate...

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

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DOJ SOURCE TO BRAD BLOG: Schlozman's Senate Judiciary Testimony 'On the Razor's Edge of Perjury,' Says Tanner Promoted at DoJ to 'Take Hit for Schlozzie' on Photo ID/'Voter Fraud' Cases...
CONFIRMED: No Republican Senators Bothered to Show Up For Hearings
By Brad Friedman on 6/5/2007 12:18pm PT  

Oh, my god. Brad Schlozman is testifying right now before the Senate Judiciary Committee. (Former US Attorney Todd Graves, whom Schlozman replaced after Graves was pushed out, will testify later.)

I don't usually care to cast personal aspersions, but this guy sounds exactly like a chipmunk. Not kidding.

He's being questioned on his partisan 'Voter Fraud'/ACORN prosecutions right now, and Feingold is currently asking a line of questioning that could lead to Thor Hearne and the ACVR scam. We'll see...

Listen/watch for yourself at C-SPAN 3 online...

UPDATES/LIVE OBSERVATIONS...
[NOW UPDATED WITH COMMENTS FROM A DOJ SOURCE]

• Leahy: "Mr. Schlozman, you seem to have broken AG Gonzales's record for saying 'I do not recall' in your testimony so far."

• Schlozman says he spent "25 to 30 hours" preparing for this testimony today.

• ...Says he doesn't think 'Voter Fraud' indictment brought in Missouri just days before '06 election (in violation of DoJ written guidelines) influenced the election, despite MO RNC press release issued in wake of the indictments. A previous case Schlozman/DoJ brought against the Democratic Missouri SoS alleging problems with voter rolls was later dismissed as the judge found "that the United States has not shown that any Missouri resident was denied his or her right to vote as a result of deficiencies alleged by the United States...Nor has the United States shown that any voter fraud has occurred." - Video of the exchange, with an angry Leahy, now here...

12:41pm PT - Committee takes a recess...

1:10pm PT - Committee now back in session. Live observations continue below...

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

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Two MSM Articles Today Detail Long Overdue Congressional Scrutiny Finally Coming to Bear Against the Agency of Presidential Appointees Responsible for Overseeing the Entire U.S. Election System
As well as a Newly Noted Connection Reported Between the EAC and the Politically Appointed Bush Players at DoJ...
By Brad Friedman on 4/23/2007 4:32pm PT  

Given all of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC)'s extraordinary failures of late, there's little time for the moment to review them all. See our EAC category page for the tip of the iceberg.

That said then, two notable articles are published today which go to town (and rightly so) on the EAC, detailing just some of their most recent failures --- namely, their withholding and/or rewriting of two important reports for clearly partisan reasons, but at whose direction? --- and the newly awakened Congressional response to those failures. As well, a few names are named that are names we've heard named before as being at the center of the politicization of the DoJ's Civil Rights voting unit, but popping up again over at the EAC. Whodathunkit?...

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

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DoJ Staff Attorneys Now Barred From Offering Opinions in VRA Cases After WaPo Exposed Political Appointees Overruled Civil Rights Division Staffers
By Brad Friedman on 12/10/2005 1:15pm PT  

The beloved 40 year-old Voting Right Acts, implemented by Lyndon B. Johnson after violence and death to Voting Rights activists in Selma, Alabama in 1965 has been all but gutted by the George W. Bush administration. The VRA celebrated it's 40th anniversary this summer, even as Bush's Department of Justice was destroying one of its most important measures by covert political caveat.

That gutting now appears to be becoming a still greater threat to our democracy as it is being institutionalized by recent policy changes which bar career Voting Rights staffers and attorneys in the DoJ from offering opinions on new laws that fall under the jurisdication of the VRA.

Two recent reports by Dan Eggen of the Washington Post revealed that Bush political appointees in the DoJ has overruled the recommendations of career staffers and attorneys in the Voting Rights division tasked with determining the legality of two separate laws sent to the department for "pre-approval" under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

Section 5 requires that states with a history of discriminatory election practices --- like Texas and Georgia --- must receive pre-approval from the DoJ before implementing any changes to their voting systems. It prohibits "retrogressive" changes to voting laws, or laws that would bring harm to minority voters.

In the last several weeks Eggen has reported on remarkable memos leaked by DoJ staffers showing that they had recommended against approval of new laws both in Georgia, where the legislature had insituted a new Photo ID requirement at the polls, and in Texas, where then Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) had helped to redistrict the state to allow for more Republican representatives after the GOP gained control of the state house in 2002.

Georgia's law has since been ruled unconstitutional by two Federal Courts who deemed the law to be a "Jim Crow-era Poll Tax". Texas' law has resulted in 7 additional Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives. The fallout from the DeLay led gerrymander of Texas districts has resulted in several indictments for DeLay and his cronies who helped force it through the legislature and allegedly conspired with the Republican National Committee to launder money in support of GOP candidates running for the new seats. The Texas law, which had been unanimously recommended against by 8 DoJ staffers, including the lead attorney in the Voting Rights Act division, still stands.

Today Eggen reports that such staff opinions are now completely banned in Bush's Department of "Justice"!

The Justice Department has barred staff attorneys from offering recommendations in major Voting Rights Act cases, marking a significant change in the procedures meant to insulate such decisions from politics, congressional aides and current and former employees familiar with the issue said.

Disclosure of the change comes amid growing public criticism of Justice Department decisions to approve Republican-engineered plans in Texas and Georgia that were found to hurt minority voters by career staff attorneys who analyzed the plans. Political appointees overruled staff findings in both cases.

The one ray of hope that Eggen offers is that Sen. Arlen Spector (R-PA) is considering Senate Judiciary Committee Hearings...at least on the Texas redistricting case.

We often bristle when we hear those on the Left criticize the Bush Administration as Fascistic. It's simply too easy to ascribe to them the worst possible traits as a blunt political weapon. But if the issues discussed above don't send a shiver down the spine of every democracy-loving American it's either because they don't understand what's actually at stake --- and being dismantled in the process --- or they simply don't give a damn about this country's most important legacy to the world: A free and fair electoral system where all citizens are given an equal voice in the selection of our leaders...or at least a system as close to that as we can possibly muster.

Our Republic is in grave danger.

Another in our series of occassional and annoying reminders that it is your support that allows us to keep going. Please help support The BRAD BLOG with a donation if you can. It means the world.
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