Blogged by Brad from Houston...
It's difficult to keep up with everything from on the road, in a hotel without C-SPAN, and while being on air (at least) three hours every day right now. So we're grateful to reader SG, who took the opportunity to "be the media" and send us the following overlooked item from yesterday's Gonzales hearings in the Senate.
During the Gonzo hearing yesterday, Diane Feinstein brought up the fact that the new 2007 version of the "Federal Prosecution of Election Offenses" [PDF] guidebook had significant alterations and omissions from the prior version (1995) in the area related to preventing new prosecutions from being timed in a manner that could impact the results of an election. As I'm sure you know, there were some pretty strict guidelines related to that which were violated by some of Bush's US attorneys in their quest to gain Republican advantage.
Here's the relevant portion of FDL's liveblog:
[FROM SEN. FEINSTEIN QUESTIONS] Read to you what has been dropped from the earlier addition of the DOJ manual. (1) restriction on bringing a voter fraud case close to an election. (2) Care for overt investigations in the pre-election period and while election is underway. “Most if not all prosecutions and investigations should await the end of the election.” — underlined in the prior volume — has been removed. Reason for that was to not impact the election. Gonzales, predictably, has no idea what Feinstein is talking about and can’t answer why those changes were made.
Feinstein says that this is relevent because two, possibly three, USAttys did not bring these small cases which could have impacted the elections. And when you look at the changes in the regs on this, something is rotten.
Hope that is helpful.
Helpful indeed. Thank you, SG.
BRAD BLOG readers likely recall the questions given to Bradley Schlozman during Senate Judiciary Hearings last May after the DoJ Civil Rights Unit "Voter Fraud" zealot turned Missouri US Attorney "Voter Fraud" zealot brought voter fraud indictments just days before the November '06 general election in the Show Me state, where a razor thin Senate election was raging. The indictments, so close to an election, were in contradiction of written DoJ policies, and led to an extraordinarily angry exchange between Schlozman and Sen. Patrick Leahy during those hearings (video here).
In that exchange, Schlozzie admitted that he could have brought the same indictments two weeks later --- well, after the election --- without otherwise damaging his case. He also blamed others at Main Justice for giving him the okay to bring the obviously politically-timed indictments. Shortly thereafter, facing pressure from those he'd blamed at DoJ, he was forced to recant his testimony to take responsibility himself for bringing the indictments.
Unfortunately, we can't dig deeper into the Feinstein/Gonzales exchange for the moment, but welcome readers who can to leave more info on this in comments as they are able to unearth it.