Blogged by Brad Friedman from the road...
The insidious nexus between phony GOP charges of "voter fraud" and the U.S. Attorney Purge scandal will finally be explored in a Senate Hearing on "In-Person Voter Fraud: Myth and Trigger for Disenfranchisement?" this Wednesday in Sen. Dianne Feinstein's (D-CA) Rules Committee. The complete witness list and press release from Feinstein's office, announcing the hearings, is posted at the end of this article.
Witnesses will include, among others, former NM U.S. Attorney David Iglesias, believed to have been fired for his unwillingness to bring phony voter fraud charges in the state despite pressure from folks such as Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM), Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM), and a representative of Republican operative Thor Hearne's now-defunct "American Center for Voting Rights," (ACVR) which The BRAD BLOG originally outed as a White House/GOP front group in a long series of investigative reports dating back to 2005, which began just after the supposedly non-partisan group (co-founded by two very high level White House/GOP operatives) first appeared on the scene...
The ACVR's mission, as run by Hearne out of his offices at the high-powered Republican lawfirm Lathrope & Gage in Missouri --- a battleground state and initially ground zero for the well-organized and well-funded GOP Voter Disenfranchisement scheme --- was to create propaganda concerning allegations of Democratic "voter fraud" in order to create a perceived need for Photo ID restrictions at the polling place in order to disenfranchise largely Democratic-leaning voters wherever they could implement such restrictions. One prong of the strategy was to counter the success of legitimate voter registration organizations, such as ACORN, by attempting to discredit --- and in fact, bring illegitimate prosecution against them just prior to elections --- for heading some sort of voter fraud scheme. All of that, despite the paucity, by the Bush DoJ's own numbers, of any actual such voter fraud via registration campaigns or at polling places (other than by Ann Coulter, anyway).
In today's Baltimore Chronicle, Jason Liepold offers an excellent, detailed backgrounder on the entire affair so far, pulling together many of the dots in the shameful saga to date, and how it all ties directly into the White House/DOJ's U.S. Attorney Purge scheme.
Election Attorney Just Levitt, of NYU's Brennan Center for Justice, is scheduled as one of the witnesses for this Wednesday's Senate hearing. He best summed up the broad, well-financed GOP voter-suppression conspiracy in a Washington Post article last year when he wrote: "the notion of widespread voter fraud... is itself a fraud. Evidence of actual fraud by individual voters is painfully skimpy."
Leopold tees up the context for this week's hearing, describing the White House/Rove-headed anti-democracy operation, its intended Demcoratic-voter disenfranchisement, and the way it all sits at the heart of the U.S. Attorney purge thusly...
Now a Senate panel chaired by California Democrat Dianne Feinstein is investigating whether the myth of voter fraud has led to "disenfranchisement" among individual voters.
On Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration is scheduled to hold a hearing to explore the matter. Iglesias is one of the witnesses who will testify about the issue. In an interview, he said he intends to recount how his office was pressured by a close confidant of former White House political adviser Karl Rove to file criminal charges against Democrats for voter fraud.
Iglesias said in an interview that he had set up a task force and launched an in-depth investigation into claims of voter fraud in New Mexico and found the allegations to be “non-provable in court.” He said he is certain that his firing was due, in part, to the fact that he would not file criminal charges of voter fraud in New Mexico. Iglesias added that, based on evidence that had surfaced thus far and "Karl Rove's obsession with voter fraud issues throughout the country," he now believes GOP operatives had wanted him to go after Democratic-funded organizations in an attempt to swing the 2006 midterm elections to Republicans.
In addition to Leopold's detailed backgrounder, we'll also, once again, strongly recommend Columbia Unversity's political science expert Lorraine Minnite's superb "The Politics of Voter Fraud" report [PDF] as essential reading on this matter.
Further, as additional background we'd recommend New Mexico Attorney John Boyd's detailed explanation of what really happened in the state, prior to the 2004 election, when the GOP first launched their "voter fraud" scheme there, pushing for the prosecution of some 6,000 allegedly fraudulent voters on the rolls. (None of them were.)
The BRAD BLOG featured exclusive insider details from Boyd, who had been an election attorney working for the state Democratic Party at the time, on all of this, detailing what Iglesias had faced from his own party as they rolled out their scheme in the Land of Enchantment.
He summarized what he described as "a three-pronged scandal" for us, this way...
It should also be noted that Pat Rogers, a still-high-ranking GOP muckety-muck in NM, was said to have been working for the now-discredited ACVR at the time he was applying political pressure to Iglesias' office to bring the fraudulent "voter fraud" charges. Leopold covers that aspect in some detail in his report today.
Rogers has again appeared as the face of the NM GOP recently, forwarding still another fraud himself in the recent "vote-buying" allegations that have surfaced over the last week, as covered in some detail by The BRAD BLOG. Late last week, reporter Dennis Domrzalski highlighted a phony invoice produced by Rogers in an attempt to swiftboat the former Republican Governor who is one of several state officials who have alleged "vote-buying" took place at a recent NM GOP Delegate Nominating Convention.
Our Special Coverage Page on the New Mexico Republican/Rep. Heather Wilson "vote-buying" scandal is now posted here.
Our Special Coverage Page on Thor Hearne, the ACVR, and the related GOP "voter fraud" scam is available here.
And if you're interested in some actual voter fraud, our Special Coverage Page on Ann Coulter's so-far unprosecuted felony voter fraud in Palm Beach, Florida, along with all of the documents to prove it, is posted here.
The announcement of the hearings from Feinstein's office follows in full below...
Washington, DC – On Wednesday, March 12 at 10:00 a.m., U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) will hold a hearing of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee on voter fraud. Senator Feinstein chairs the Rules Committee and will preside over the hearing.
Specifically, the hearing will focus on the issue of purported charges of rampant in-person voter fraud; as well as the drive for voter photo identification laws, despite concerns that these requirements could disenfranchise vulnerable voters.
The hearing will feature testimony from:
- Robin Carnahan, Missouri Secretary of State;
- Robert Simms, Georgia Deputy Secretary of State;
- David Iglesias, Former U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico;
- Professor Jeff Milyo, University of Missouri-Columbia; and
- Justin Levitt, Counsel, Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law.
What: “In-Person Voter Fraud: Myth and Trigger for Disenfranchisement?”
When: Wednesday, March 12, 2008, 10:00 a.m.
Where: 301 Russell Senate Office Building
Serious questions have been raised about whether a photo ID requirement, when rigorously enforced without adequate alternatives, could prevent vulnerable voters from exercising their constitutionally guaranteed right to vote, one of the most essential rights in our democracy. In particular, concerns have been raised about the potential impacts on voters who have historically encountered obstacles at the polls – disabled, poor, minority, and senior voters.
The hearing will also examine the evidence of charges about rampant impersonation of registered voters at the polls, which is the primary type of fraud that could be prevented by a strict photo identification requirement.
Despite a major effort by the Bush Administration to investigate charges of voter fraud, and after millions upon millions of voters cast ballots in 2002, 2004 and 2006, no federal cases of impersonation voter fraud have been successfully prosecuted.