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June 09, 2007


Impeachment keeps them from ever working in gov't again, right? That's when.

OT: You know, I didn't make the connection between Pace and Libby until someone pointed out that Pace was one of Libby's letter-writers. EW, do you think Pace's walk of shame is at all connected to Libby? I still haven't figured out who's playing hardball in the background here. The players on Team Libby's side are all pretty vocal, so we know who most of them are. But I have the sense that many rank-and-file intelligence people--even some who are pretty die-hard Republicans--are not at all happy about how this administration has belittled both Plame and intelligence in general (in so many ways). George "slam dunk" Tenet wasn't willing to diss Plame in his bio, and I keep wondering if it has anything to do with the fact that his successor resigned in disgrace shortly after minimizing this scandal. (I also seem to recall that he was one of Cheney's cronies, and Cheney wasn't happy when he got the boot.) Libby and Cheney have both repeatedly fucked with both the CIA and the FBI. I can't help wondering if more than a few people are fucking back. How many of Libby's letter writers still have their government jobs?

At the time of the indictments, Schlozman sent the following statement to the Kansas City Star:

Those who commit fraud in the electoral process dilute the votes of their fellow citizens and undermine the integrity of our democratic system. The Department of Justice will not allow such fraud to go unpunished.

This national investigation is very much ongoing.

In 1975, I saw Stanley Sporkin, then director of enforcement for the SEC, at a convention of securities lawyers in Boulder. He entered from the back of the room, wearing all black, including, as I recall, a black beret, and there was an audible murmur as he stalked to the dais. In those days, the SEC was feared and respected as a real force in the industry.

No one fears the SEC, or any other agency, or anyone in the Congress. It is to the shame of the Senate and the House that the AG and his deputies just lie. There is not the least hint of concern that the spineless democrats will take any action. The self-respect of the Senate is gone. What an embarasment.

Masaccio, you know, that is regrettably quite right. For years it has been Kennedy, Wellstone and then Feingold against the world on the seminal constituional and similarly weighty issues in the Senate. A few others came came and went depending on the issue, but on a consistent basis, that was about it. I see some hope with Whitehouse, Sherrod Brown and Jim Webb. It is going to be along climb back though to any real level of respect. When they have 72% of the country behind them solidly, and still can't muster any noticeable backbone or intellectual honesty on Iraq, and are still cowed by the least popular President in history, it is pretty depressing.

Investigation of ACORN may not have been national, but seems to have taken place in more than one battleground state. My memory is fuzzy, but one or two ACORN employees admitted to forging some registrations in the 2004 election cycle.

In March 2007 Katrina Vanden Heuvel wrote that "between 2002 and 2005, 24 people were convicted of or pleaded guilty to illegal voting at the federal level – an average of eight people per year," and referred to Project Vote's report, The Politics of Voter Fraud (pdf).

A comment responding to Vanden Heuvel referred to investigations in Washington and Missouri in the 2006 election cycle and earlier investigations in Ohio, Florida, and New Mexico. Wikipedia's Allegations of voter registration misconduct appears to have been the source used by the commenter.

The Project Vote report contains an illuminating case study about very fishy lawsuits against ACORN in Florida. ACORN prevailed and obtained a defamation judgment against one of the plaintiffs.

Thank you for all your very fine work, emptywheel.

The Bush Administration has successfully undermined the pillars of our democracy with little resistance. I am astonished at how quickly and easily it was accomplished. The People's House, neutered. The Senate, neutered. The Courts, neutered. Justice, not only often delayed but all too often denied.

It's going to be a long slog back. It will require new faces in the House and the Senate. The current crop of House and Senate members, with a few exceptions, have aided and abbetted the neutering through their inaction, their silence and their willingness to go along to get along in the never-ending quest to remain in power to simply be in power.

Schlozman argued he didn't apply--or know about--the potential opening in WD MO (Todd Graves' old job) until it was published. Only once it was, Schlozman tells it, did he apply for the job...But he applied for the job and--only because they needed someone within 2 weeks, Schlozman said--he was hired.

This doesn't exactly square with Todd Graves' testimony, who says he was told by Mike Battle that there were no performance issues involved, and that the department wanted to give someone else an opportunity....AND when Graves asked to stick around to prosecute a death penalty case, he was told "no."

"The current crop of House and Senate members, with a few exceptions, have aided and abbetted the neutering through their inaction, their silence and their willingness to go along to get along in the never-ending quest to remain in power to simply be in power." --Jon

Yeah, Jon, Nine-eleven never happened, there was no complicity from the press in covering up every single Bushco crime, they haven't been stealing elections for eight years on an epic scale, and the 109th Congress wasn't run into the ground in an effort to bilk as much money out of the Treasury as possible.

But according to you it's the Democrats fault.

Funny thing how when we got control of the Committees again, suddenly the crony's are being squeezed out into view, and indictments are imminent.

Also funny is how the 140+ Dem Representatives (and the Speaker who rose to power at their lead) and 19+ Dem Senators who have consistently opposed this thuggish rightwing takeover get no credit from you, reduced to being a "few exceptions."

p luk

Yup, that story is one of the ones on which I can imagine Schlozman getting busted for lying to Congress. AFAIK, Paulose has not yet told it under oath.

All of this rings with a note of great interest for many reasons. In Ohio, ACORN was hit with voter fraud and "blockades" from Ken Blackwell and gang for both the 2004 and the 2006 elections. Yet with the fraud cases in both elections, no wrongdoing was found after a year of investigation. It was interesting that many conservative websites smeared ACORN during both elections (and their smears were up and running the same day the voter fraud claims were made.) It was EXTREMELY orchestrated as though everyone involved in trying to bash ACORN had prior knowledge and planning. The Employment Policies Institute started a swiftboat type of campaign with links to an ACORN bashing website. Of further interest, ACORN had voter fraud actions taken against them in both 2004 and 2006 (most being announced in August- critical election timing) in about 12 states including New Mexico, Florida, Colorado, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Virginia, Arizona, Kansas and Ohio (an interesting list). The work done against ACORN in Ohio in both elections was significant. Cleveland, a highly DEM area, was the focus quite often. A DEM area of Columbus was also a focus of one of the voter fraud inditements. Me thinks the "numbers game" was being played... Hmmm... Hitting the electiion fraud filing date with many questions seems "spot on" and significant...

i have just put together a
video mash-up -- bradley schlozman
vs. senator barack obama

the youtube version should show
up at the above link in mere moments,
but it highlights sclozman's inaccurate
testimony on june 5, and senator barack
obama's testimony before the same committee
two days later, about a new bill to add
criminal penalties for the sorts of
dirty tricks schlozman, et al., were
up to in the 2006 mid-term elections,
among other matters. . . do take a look.

could there be a more unctous-face, or
wheasely-voice, for the GOP/DoJ vote-
supression efforts, going back to 2000,
in florida?

i think not!

some of the testimony EW refers to is
live in this under two-minute clip. . .

c h e e r s!

Additional ACORN states of interest:

Forgot about the kicking of dirt by ACVR (thanks to Mark Hearne) in California, Arkansas and Washington state. Forgot about ACORN's work in California in terms of registering Native American voters (and a strong focus on this in a few other key states with large native populations).

More pondering the numbers...

Let's see if the blog will accept a link-dense post. All of these are pretty much on topic. It is true, a formal Schlozman and Graves SJC hearing transcript so far is unavailable for free, though there is a well known subscription service like the one WaPo utilizes for high profile hearings to obtain same day professional transcripts.

Links: Heffelfinger as Indian vote registration enthusiast.

voting by tribes, especially MN.

Schlozman history piece.

Graves during the preSchlozman takeover timeframe.

Compendium of US atty purge list more than 30 attorneys, somewhat based on TPmuck's ongoing database.

PA US atty, who likely met this week with SJC in private.

Placing the 6 defendant ACORN case in numeric perspective:
25 falsified : registrations; investigated by county DA; no further information available, so far.

>3,000 faked registrations; consigned to county DA for investigation; no more data found online.

~14,000 Ethnic profiling campaign mailers and neighborhood posters (forgiven by state AG 1 year later).

Schlozman and the email monitoring: my first thought was the NSA program alerting Karl who then notifies DoJ operatives, who then tell Schlozman what to do. Wish I knew the truth, but at least this is a more concrete explanation than the circular reasons Schlozman gave for having the power to monitor emails and knowing whom to monitor.

Great links John. I'll try to get posts with like info up on the other states. When you overlay the purge list, with the voter fraud issues the picture becomes quite clear. And "someone's numbers quote" becomes intensely clear... We almost need to do a state-by-state timeline of voter fraud issues with the purge info interjected from 2004 and 2006 (gee, maybe even 2000). Thanks again for posting the links.

One of the ACORN problems here in Minnesota in 2004 (or was it 2002?) involved a part-time worker, hired by ACORN, who was found to have was it nearly a thousand filled out and signed registeration cards in his trunk which were not turned in. Eventually they learned the guy was actually a Republican operative! Of course even if you are not on the rolls come election day, you can still vote if you have some acceptable ID and someone registered in the precinct to vouch for you. But just the same it was apparent that Republican Operatives were trying to screw the ACORN project.

ACORN got better in 2006 simply because they got some outside help with training their workers and redesigning some parts of their project. But in general, I would far better see party workers or representatives of candidates do the registeration -- they are much more likely to understand why detail is important and do it properly. Over the years ACORN has had some sort of national grant system to pay low income people to do this work, and at least initially, they didn't do quality training. (Which is probably why they hired a Republican Operative as Team Captain here in MN, and then he just put the cards in his trunk.)

As to Kiffmeyer -- the SOS in MN at the time, If I were on Leahy's staff I would go to two sources. First, I would ask Senator Amy Klobuchar, who was Hennepin County Attorney at the time, to supply records regarding the response to Kiffmeyer's ruling that Tribal ID could not be used. I believe she or one of her staff appeared in State Court when Kiffmeyer's ruling was challenged (successfully mind you), and my guess is that if asked, she could provide much of the detailed record. Ironically, by saying stay away from local election boards and local prosecutors in this case they were saying, stay away from Amy Klobuchar. (and most urban Indians enrolled in tribes live in Minneapolis.)

You have to comprehend that in this little dispute, Kiffmeyer wanted the case in Federal Court, with the HAV rules governing, but once her ruling was made, local election officials went into state court under State Election Law, and prevailed. Kiffmeyer's idea was to destroy the state laws (which she was sworn to uphold) and which give her little latitude for interpretation. HAV was new, no case law, so had she been successful, she could have had her way with the election rules. Heffelfinger's unwillingness to join her effort to get into Federal Court is probably the core of his eventual problems.

Anyhow, the new SOS is Mark Richie, a progressive DFL'er, and should one want to see if Kiffmeyer talked to the WH or DOJ at critical times, I would imagene he could check phone records and E-Mails and all in his now office. Leahy's staff should see what he can provide.

Thanks, Sara. That's an amazing tidbit of knowledge.
It seems the Republicans know the law well enough to devise and attempt endruns around it.

How hard is it going to be to take some of these players to court for federal election tampering some day soon?

Yes, pdaly, we should never believe they are dumb and don't know exactly what they are doing.

In my opinion, the key is to have people in the party who carefully watch the process of preparing for an election, and a well studied group of lawyers, on retainer to the party, who know how and when to get down to the courthouse. And you also have to make the cases and arguments very public. I really doubt if you can make every trick that can be tried illegal -- but if you have in statute law at the state level all your protections, then you can handle the cases as they come along. Kiffmeyer tried something every election for eight years, and the state courts smacked her down each time. In the Indian ID case there were a number of groups that combined to make the case, Led by the DFL Lawyer who has been doing it for 40 years, the MCLU, Tribal Legal rep's, and others led the case -- and then they were able to pull in others as support.

When Kiffmeyer tried to take away the right of Indians to use Tribal ID as personal identification, she also ruled that each polling place had to be "decorated" with "Help America Vote" stickers and signage. Many poll workers just "forgot" about the decorations, and Mary Kiffmeyer ran around croaking that they were not following her direction. She was tragic yet funny.

But in many states the best thing progressive lawyers could do for the party would be to either volunteer or negotiate a fairly low cost retainer -- and then really get up to speed on State Election Law and how to very quickly gain access to the State Judiciary. Volunteer lawyers at the last minute don't help all that much if you don't have a core group that has read and debated all the case law as well as the statutes, and has all the necessary contacts at hand. I think too few States are blessed with this kind of resource. Among other things Howard Dean should add organizing this sort of thing to the 50 State Project.

Since in the ACORN cases there was registration fraud only (that is, there was no plan for anyone to actually vote illegally), Schlozman was lying when he characterized this as "diluting" votes.

On the email monitoring, I think something was said, but missed by the senators: Schlozman read the emails prior to getting okay from OPR. At one point he said the OPR responded that Schlozman should do the monitoring...because he was already set up for it. Very similar to the way he got advice for bring the indictments. He makes it sound like he was directed.

He seems to be pretty good at this trick, by messing up the times when things happened. First monitor, then ask for advice, then apply advice. Report to senators as: ask for advice, apply advice, monitor. When asked, simply talk about one of the three, not the order in which they occurred. Except for his slip about already having access to the email traffic, his response was pretty confusing.

Klynn's comments above regarding Minnesota are almost all incorrect, and the evaualtion of ACORN's training programs is questionable at best. Short version of what really happened: The County registration office spotted a duplicate card turned in the course of a successful registraion drive that enfranchised over 20,000 voters in Minnesota. ACORN's quality control operation was able to identify the worker who turned in a duplicate card and he was fired. Appearantly, bitter at being fired he either failed to turn in or stole a batch of completed cards.

The cards were later discovered in a traffic stop, turned in to the secretary of state, and all the voters were properly registered. ACORN staff worked with the county attorney's office to have the fired worker prosecuted. The Young Republicans and then other partisan figures made all sorts of wild statements about an incident that did not at any point involve anyone trying to register improperly.

ACORN has invested a great deal of resources and time in training voter registration workers and volunteers, who come from the low income communities where they work and have put in long hard hours to help enfranchise 1.6 million voters nationally since 2006.

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