Just wanted to parse the "clarification" (otherwise known as a "stay out of jail free card") that Brad Schlozman sent to Senator Patrick Leahy.
I wanted to take the opportunity to clarify my testimony with regard to the timing of the voter registration fraud indictments against four employees of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now ("ACORN"). Although I later clarified my testimony in responding to Senator Whitehouse's questioning at the hearing, I did state in response to various questions during my testimony that the long-time career head of the Public Integrity Section's Election Crimes Branch had "directed" me to file the indictments prior to the November 2006 election.
Shorter Schloz: Craig Donsanto told me I either correct the record or he would.
As required by Section 9-85.210 of the U.S. Attorney's Manual, at my direction, the Assistant United States Attorney assigned to the case consulted with the Election Crimes Branch prior to the filing of the indictments.
Shorter Schloz: Remember how I told you that I might or might not have read the US Attorney's Manual? Well, I've read it since last Tuesday. And gosh, you'd be surprised by the things you find in there!! And watch me pretend to be all diligent by citing it here. (Of course, the truly diligent thing would have been to tell the AUSA to hold off on the indictments, but even though I'm correcting my testimony, I still have contempt for you elected Democrat [sic] Senators, so I'm going to pretend you're too dumb to notice.)
I want to be clear that, while I relied on the consultation with, and suggestions of, the Election Crimes Branch in bringing the indictments when I did, I take full responsibility for the decision to move forward with the prosecutions related to ACORN while I was the interim U.S. Attorney.
Shorter Schloz: Did I mention that Craig Donsanto made it very clear I needed to correct my testimony?
My written testimony explicitly stated that the Department's informal policy of not interviewing voters during the pre-election period, which is intended to avoid actions that could conceivably have a chilling effect on voting, does not forbid the filing of any charges around the time of an election. While the ACORN matter arose in October, Department policy, as confirmed by the Elections Crime Branch (the director of which authored the Department's election crimes manual), did not require a delay of this investigation and the subsequent indictments because they pertained to voter registration fraud (which examined conduct during voter registration), not fraud during an ongoing or contested election. Consequently, the Department's policy was not implicated in this matter.
Shorter Schloz: This one's tricky, Mr. Democrat [sic] Senator, so watch closely. First, yes, I admit that my written testimony also suggested it was cool to bring indictments before the election. I will insist that the Department's policy, inscribed in a fancy red manual you all seem to have read closely, is just informal. Because, you see, I'm a Republican and ... never mind. Anyway, I'm going to pull a fancy trick of grammar, now that I'm not sitting right in front of you any more, and blame the "Elections Crime Branch"--and not Craig Donsanto himself--for allowing me to file the indictments before the election. You like that trick, how I blamed the "Elections Crime Branch," but then followed it immediately with an unrelated reference to Craig Donsanto? You don't? Damn, you elected Democrat [sic] Senators have no sense of humor. And how about how I use the passive in that last sentence, "the Department's policy was not implicated"? A pretty fancy way of avoiding any mention of who made the final decision here, right?
If I were Leahy, I'd haul Schlozman's ass back before the Committee and keep asking questions until he provided the subject of that now-passive sentence. Who made the decision to go forward with the indictments? Because this "clarification" does nothing but continue to obscure the key facts.