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.