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...
He reports that von Spakovsky may have been behind the removal of EAC Chair Paul DeGregorio for not being partisan enough in that post! An astounding charge given so much of what we've reported on these pages concerning the partisan gun-slinging of DeGregorio. Given last week's testimony of Dep. AG James Comey, however, showing the lengths to which the Bush Administration was willing to go to strong-arm an ailing John Aschroft --- no leftie pinko, he --- into signing on to the domestic wiretap program he believed to be illegal, we probably shouldn't be surprised by now that nobody was extreme enough for this band of Banana Republican Thugs who've hijacked the American government.
Gordon describes an email exchange concerning a referenced "deal" purportedly between von Spakovsky and DeGregorio. The exchange also serves to demonstrate the direct and inappropriate influence the White House has --- whether this particular attempt at strong-arming was successful or not --- over the EAC, the body officially mandated by the horrible Help America Vote Act (HAVA) to oversee the entire United States elections apparatus, and up for an extension via pending legislation in the U.S. Congress:
DiGregorio sent a testy message asking von Spakovsky if the note from Capitol Hill was "an attempt by you to put pressure on me."
"If so, I do not appreciate it," he wrote.
The next day, von Spakovsky wrote DeGregorio that he thought they "had a deal" under which the department would reconsider its position on provisional ballots if the commission would allow Arizona to modify the federal voter registration form to require proof of citizenship.
"I do not agree to 'deals,' especially when it comes to interpretation of the law," DiGregorio replied.
If they could make an unlikely "hero" out of Ashcroft, it should come as little surprise by now that they'd even succeed in doing the same for the hopelessly partisan, DeGregorio, a St. Louis, Missouri compadre of the disgraced Thor Hearne, co-founder of the now-defunct American Center for Voting Rights.
DeGregorio was replaced last February by Caroline Hunter, an RNC/Bush operative who earned her voter supression bones by challenging some 23,000 voters in Ohio during the 2004 election. She also had no experience in elections administration (in violation of HAVA) when she was named to the post by Bush and approved by Congress. Gordon suggests DeGregorio, who had been with the EAC since its inception, may have been pushed out by these incidents, rather than leaving on his own accord.
As we previously reported, Hunter was confirmed to her new post at the EAC by unanimous voice vote in the Senate last February without any oversight or confirmation hearings by the Democratic-led Senate Rules Committee.