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May 24, 2007


EW- what was Har-monica's answer to Ellison's question about Kifmeyer? The "I dont recalls" and use of the term "specific" are sure signs of a tender spot, does Ellison have any evidence that K called or wrote Monica or Rove, it would be harder to dodge that - (BTW gee, what a coincidence, another firebreathing Republican SofS in charge of the electoral apparatus in a swing state to join Blackwell and Katherine Harris!)

In Minnesota our new SOS is the fabulous Mark Ritchie. EW, I am orwarding this post to him.

put another chalk mark in the voting-rights column.

i'd love to hear more about this fire-breathing dragon from you or wampum.

what is strange to me, though, is whether any of the voter repression activities, either lawsuits or id requirements and the like, would ever really discourage enough voters to make a difference in any election other than an extremely close one. in other words to make instituting suppression activities worth the risk.

but maybe that's the controlling assumption, that lots of elections will be very close.

as for heffelfinger he sure muddies the water he stands in

and seems pathetically unwilling to speak forcefully and complain about what happened to him.


Thanks for covering this. I am curious about the Native American aspect of this saga. He has been so quiet about why he left. How did Ellison get the question? Dowd?


Ellison was great at the last two hearings. I am liking these baby dems. Fearless, which is a refreshing change.

"Election Monitor" - just like Rehnquist used to do in Arizona during the 60s, in Rethuglican circles it's like being a "soldier" before you become a "capo".

OrionATL - as I understand the "math", Native American and African Americans vote overwhelmingly for Democrats. Rove and Matthew Dowd calculated that 40% of the Hispanic vote for the Republicans ushers in the permanent majority, less than 30% is a disaster. As these overwhelmingly Democratic groups tend to be in large clusters, either in states with large non-white populations like Texas and NM or Florida, localized ratfucking like gerrymandering, voter intimidation, rickety voting machines, massive police presence near voting places among communities with a traditional distrust or fear of the police can be very concentrated and very effective - all result in the loss of 8 or 9 Democratic votes for every Republican vote. Coupled with the splintering of the New Deal Coalition and white Catholic and other Reagan Democrats voting Republican, it is more effective to use the tactic of suppressing the 80% Democratic vote than to try and win the 10% of white votes that may be up for grabs in any given election. That is why playing along with the "swing state" strategy played to the Republican strength, and the 50 state strategy of Governor Dean gives Karl Rove heartburn - it's very hard for him to win this kind of fight spread over the whole country.

To be fair, you can't tell whether that line was Heffelfinger's only statement about his activities at NAIS. He may well have said, "and while I'm at it, I believe Native American land belongs to Native Americans" but it didn't make the editor's cut.

As far as the tribal ID thing--maybe John or someone else can help me, but it was an active issue on Ritchie's campaign against Kiffmeyer. So it probably didn't take more than 2 + 2 to ask.

thanks ishmael. very informative.

IIRC, there were allegations of suppression of Native American votes in SD in the election that Tom Daschle "lost," and which gave us that luminary Thune.

I'd really like to see some digging in THAT shitpile.

"I rather suspect voting rights is just one part of the reason DOJ has seemingly gutted NAIS of USAs sympathetic to Native American issues."

How about; the last vestiges of ashameful "manifest destiny" legacy of cultural suppression and genocidal eradication?

Kiffmeyer's legal efforts were not only about tribal ID, but also about student ID being used in conjunction with Dorm Contracts as proof of residence for the purposes of compliance with Minnesota's Voting Laws.

Remember, Minnesota is one of nine states in the Union that has same day voter registration at the polls, and we have had that since 1973. If you are not registered, or have moved, changed name, whatever, and can't vote in your old precinct, you just take the proper ID, and fix it at the polls. Simple as that. Kiffmeyer was not only obcessed with Native Americans using Tribal ID, and something else as proof of address, she was also off her rocker about College Students using a Student ID and a Dorm Contract for proof of residency.

The key issue is that she brought the case, but ironically she had to use as her lawyer, Mike Hatch, who was then DFL AG, and she was not all that happy about that arrangement, but if you sue as Sec of State, you use the state AG. She tried to rope Heffelfinger into getting into the case -- Minnesota Voter law in conflict with HAV and all that -- but he refused to engage. So I suspect that was one of his black marks at DOJ. Mary Kiffmeyer is a very very nasty type.

Was it an issue in the last election? Like Hell -- it was a huge issue where there were large populations of College Students. I live near the U of Minnesota, and had two door knocks about her and the student voting matter, plus a couple of lit drops. It was huge in 2004 when she wasn't on the ballot but was trying to condition the electorate to the Bushie culture.

Who is Mark Richie? -- well he is a world class expert on Sustainable Agriculture, who helped organize the peaceful side of the protest at Seattle on this issue way back in the Clinton years. Paul Wellstone's lawyer and major fund Raiser, Sam Kaplan is a huge fundraiser for Richie's Ag interests.

My first interaction with Mark was during the 1990 campaign, and it was about whether or not all campaign events had to provide veggie food as well as meated foods for the "feed" after the door knock or other event. I agreed that all hosts should provide a veggie alternative, and we should request that, but I was not about slamming those who did not do this. (Wellstone ate meat). As a result, Richie always arrived at these sorts of events on his bike balancing an iron pot with veggie stuff inside. He is loveable, but for someone managing a huge campaign, trying to keep everyone singing the same song, it was something some of us laughed about. But what the Hell, Now he is Secretary of State, and does corporate and non-profit incorporations and voting standards and designs the state ballots and all that. Nothing very veggie about it. I think he would really like to be Secretary of Agriculture. (Long Haired Hippy on Bike with Iron Pot full of Veggie Veggie soup, rides into DC!!!) -- almost as good as the arrival of Green Bus.

Anyhow, He understands the problems that Mary Kiffmeyer caused, and has fixed many of them, and should be trusted to fix anything more that comes up. I saw him at an event just before he took office and kidded him about a new rule -- only veggies could use the same day voter Registeration -- and we had a nice laugh. Since the State Caf does not do so much veggie -- I wondered if he would still be taking the iron pot on his bike handles to work? Again a laugh.

So now almost time to fix dinner -- tonight it is baked potato, grilled steak with mushroom sauce, and very special, my favorite veggie, Beet greens cooked with pepper bacon. It is only when they thin the beets that you can find those young beet leaves, (and as Richie would claim, ruin them with smoked pepper bacon).


Goodling's response to Ellison's question was, I thought, quite telling:

ELLISON:Did you receive any communications from Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer regarding Thomas Heffelfinger?

GOODLING:I don't have any recollection of ever seeing anything like that.

The obvious follow-up question, which I hope Ellison poses in writing, would be: "Ok, you did not see anything like that, as far as you are recalling. Did you receive any communication - in any form, not only in a form you might have seen - from Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer regarding Thomas Heffelfinger?"

I would bet the answer is yes.

And I would also bet that it has to do with voter fraud issues, whether it is the use of tribal ID specifically or something else.

I was in a campaign office in New Mexico on Election Day in 2004 when I young organizer called in from one of the Pueblos with the news that NONE of the 400 registrations he'd given to the county clerk had actually been put on the rolls. Lawyers went charging off and the country clerk admitted to getting them, but just couldn't make the changes. Provisionals were voted, in some cases anyway.

The kicker though is that the county clerk was a Dem. Some folks in those rural governments don't want any Indians voting. It is not a partisan matter. Republicans just take advantage of those racist realities.

thanks sara.

a very informative comment, and fun to read.

in virginia, we ran into the issue of college students voting. local officials wanted to prevent their voting in the community where the university was located. as i recall, the issue was resolved thru the courts in favor of the students.

in the south, it's bacon fat and vinegar with beet greens. not too bad if, as you note, the greens are small.

Thanks, Marcy, for addressing this. I have couple of calls into people who work the tribal ID issue, and will let you know if there's anything significant regarding Heffelfinger.

You really are the cat's meow.

it seemed as though the question was specific enough that Ellison knew there is written information about this, and that "har-monica" (I like that, from above) lied about it. she sure likes to minimize her involvement in any issue which she confirms she was deeply involved.

Maybe Har-Har-Monica?

Still, did no one hear Ellison's follow-up?

Oh, I heard it loud and clear, and noted it at FDL in the liveblog.

I've mentioned here that I think there's a Native American thread across many of these firings, which isn't necessarily related to Cobell or Abramoff. Mauimom noted SD in 2004; accusations were also flying in the Johnson/Thune election in 2002.

And Minnesota was considered a swing Senate race in 2006. The Strib's conservative op-ed columnists whined about voter fraud in early 2006.

Lady Ha-Hamonica

From the Star-Tribune

"Ellison acknowledged he can't prove his theory, but he thinks Goodling's assertion that complaints about Heffelfinger derived from his work on Indian issues may have reflected partisan anger at Heffelfinger "because he was not participating in an effort to suppress Native American votes."

Heffelfinger does not subscribe to the theory. He says he never ruled against Kiffmeyer's position on tribal identity cards and said the matter was resolved by the Voting Rights Division of the Justice Department in Washington."

Another question would be about where military vote - at home or where they are stationed. In Alaska, military tend to get Alaska residency in order to qualify for the state's Permanent Fund Dividend. This adds a usually very conservative voting block to our state and local elections. But in any case, this is a choice the military actually have and make themselves.

Has anyone heard what any of the Presidential Candidates of either party what is their agenda for Alaska Native and Native American population? I have not heard anything of where they stand on tribal issues.


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