This week, Broward County, Florida, Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes said, with a straight face, "No one could have anticipated that this election would be so historic and draw as much attention as it has," and defended her choice to oppose expanding early voting hours next week due to "logistical problems."
In addition to the problems in Florida, there are now reports that longtime GOP "voter fraud" hoaxster Pat Rogers (also known for his involvement in the U.S., Attorney Purge Scandal for the bogus "voter fraud" allegations he filed in 2004, and as a board member of the now-defunct and fully-debunked GOP astro-turf group, "American Center for Voting Rights," or ACVR), is apparently using private investigators to intimidate voters in New Mexico.
Details on those stories and many more --- pre-election litigation over polling place photo I.D. restrictions in Georgia and Ohio, absentee military ballots in Virginia, GOP efforts to close early voting polling places in Indiana, GOP calls for the Dept. of Justice to investigate ACORN just days before a federal election --- from across the country, all follow in the detailed round-up below...
For all the Bush Administration and Republican Party's phony sturm and drang about a supposed epidemic of "voter fraud" at the polling place, the DoJ refused to offer a representative to testify at a Senate hearing today on the topic.
According to a statement from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who chaired the hearing this morning in the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, the DoJ refused to allow testimony from the William Welch, Chief of the Public Integrity Section, which has "responsibility for civil and criminal enforcement of such voter fraud to discuss what the Department has found and to help quantify the problem of voter fraud at the polls."
"Only after extensive back and forth between my staff and the Department," Feinstein says, "did they finally send a letter stating that at some future date they would provide an unspecified witness." The full press release, including her opening statement today, is posted at the end of this article.
"In the void left by the Justice Department," Feinstein said, former US Attorney David Iglesias was called as a witness today. As The BRAD BLOG reported in some detail when the hearing was announced several days ago, Iglesias was fired during the U.S. Attorney Purge after he'd refused to bring phony "voter fraud" charges despite pressure from both Republican operatives and elected officials alike.
It's little wonder the DoJ was not allowed to participate in the hearings, despite the well-funded White House and Republican efforts to use discredited "evidence" of "voter fraud" in order to require Photo ID restrictions at the polling place which would succeed in disenfranchising millions of legal, largely Democratic voters, who do not have such ID...
Focus Likely to be on GOP Voter Fraud Front Group 'American Center for Voting Rights' as New Mexico's Fired US Attorney David Iglesias, Missouri's SoS Robin Carnahan and Others Are Set to Testify on the Republican-Run Voter Disenfranchisement Scheme...
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...
Gov. David Cargo (former Republican NM Governor, one of several officials who made the initial allegations)
David Iglesias (the former US Attorney from NM who was fired in the U.S. Attorney Purge after receiving inappropriate phone-calls from Heather Wilson, and Pete Domenici was not able to make it after all)
As you may have guessed, there continues to be much developing on this story. The trick will be continuing to cover it all as I must head out to the road again beginning tomorrow, for a couple of weeks. As always, I'll do our best, even from there, to continue coverage. Your help is much appreciated! (See bottom of this post for one way you can help us immediately!)
POST-SHOW UPDATE: Was a great hour, I think. Both MacCallum and Cargo did a great job of covering the meat and potatoes of it all, along with the always top-notch PBC. I was on live from the California State Ronald Reagan building downtown where I just finished attending and testifying at a hearing on the L.A. County "Double Bubble" ballot debacle. More on that when I can catch my breath (which you'll see I'm quite out of, at the beginning of the hour).
Here's the full hour, which is actually 42 minutes with commercials removed (courtesy of Green960's podcast archive.) Download MP3, or listen online right here...
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Will The 2008 Vote Be Fair? That was the topic addressed by host David Brancaccio and former Justice Department official David Becker on NOW last Friday. Part I (at left, 10:01) begins with a discussion of Photo ID laws to prevent the "invented problem" of voter fraud. The discussion continues at the 6:15 mark on the topics of voter caging and voter purging --- when the DoJ requires jurisdictions to purge their voter rolls when they do not match census estimates.
Part II (at right, 9:50) begins with Becker explaining how the Bush 43 Justice Department has subverted its traditional mission: "During about a five year span, not one single case was brought on behalf of African Americans in the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division". Becker goes on to state that policies were established that favored Republicans and disfavored Democrats in an effort to "gam[e] the system" to retain power.
Next, Brancaccio and Becker explore how the U.S. Attorney scandal fits in to the bigger picture. Becker: "The DoJ, especially under Alberto Gonzales, was being used as an arm of the right wing of the Republican Party to effectuate partisan gains in elections". Finally, the program concludes with a discussion on voting machines and Florida's 13th District.
Veteran Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) is expected to announce tomorrow that he will retire from the Senate in 2008, according to several informed sources, a decision that further complicates an already difficult playing field for Republicans next November.
You'll remember Domenici, of course, as the senator (along with NM Rep. Heather Wilson) who was haranguing US Attorney David Iglesias to bring phony "voter fraud" indictments in the state via several inappropriate phone calls prior to the 2006 election. Iglesias was later fired for not having done so.
Like most Repubs, when called out, he'd rather run (or not run, as the case may be) than fight.
Though Cillizza speculates that NM Gov. Bill Richardson would be the "dream candidate" to run for the seat, it seems he's currently too busy for the moment running for vice president. We'd be delighted to see him change his mind and do something actually useful for the country in 2008.
UPDATE:AP confirms, and notes that "Domenici would be the fifth Republican senator to decline to seek a new term." They've also got more details on the "health issues" that Domenici, who had previously planned on running again, will use as his excuse. We guess "need to spend more time with the family" is getting a bit worn out by now.
Last night --- nearly three years after it was first reported by the BBC --- PBS's NOW finally exposed the Republican Party conspiracy to steal the 2004 Presidential Election. Whaddayaknow?
The 15 minute segment concentrates on "Voter Caging" and features appearances by Greg Palast and former US attorney David Iglesias. Readers will recall that Palast, who originally broke this story in 2004, has written BRAD BLOG exclusives on voter caging and on Tim Griffin, who was one of the leaders of the illegal scheme.
For even more on the NOW story, voter caging, and the Republican conspiracy to steal the 2004 election, listen to the replay of Brad guest hosting on the Peter B. Collins Show yesterday. Brad speaks to Palast in the first hour and interviews Bryan Myers, who produced the NOW segment, in the second hour.
While it's tough keeping up from the road --- where we will be for a long while still --- we rest much easier knowing that Greg Gordon of McClatchy Newspapers continues to lift the rocks and scrape off the slime that's found under them in the name of the disgraced "non-partisan" GOP front group calling themselves the "American Center for Voting Rights" (ACVR) and their vote-suppressor in chief, the Bush/Cheney '04 General Counsel, Mark F. "Thor" Hearne.
"The wheels have come off, the engine is on fire and no one is driving," Captain David Iglesias told me yesterday. I'd asked the Naval Reserve officer, heading off to duty in Norfolk, why he didn't want his old job back, United States Attorney for New Mexico.
The busted, burning, ghost-mobile he described is the Department of Justice, driven by Alberto Gonzales. Or is Karl Rove at the wheel? Or no one? Whomever, he didn't want to jump back into Bush's Justice Jalopy.
Today, Iglesias is in Washington to pull the junker off the road, meeting with the Office of Special Counsel where Obstruction of Justice may be swirling around in the old oil pan laying on the garage floor.
The ex-prosecutor and I, long, long ago, had both worked for the Attorney General of New Mexico, a state where the snakes have less venom than the politicians.
First, there's Senator Pete Domenici, whose hiss is as smooth as his bite is deadly.
Domenici, softball interviewer Chris Matthews notes, is a nice guy. On TV. However, the Republican Senator's call to Iglesias at his home, just before the 2006 midterm election, asking the prosecutor about filing charges against Democrats in the week before the vote, was downright rude. When the prosecutor replied in the negative, the Senator hung up.
And apparently, the Senator contacted one Monica Goodling who, scribbled on a notepad: "Iglesias - Domenici says he doesn't move cases." Oops. Goodling, a political stooge working for Gonzales, was listing the reasons for firing US attorneys. Now, rudeness was no longer the issue. Firing a prosecutor for failing to "move cases" --- handcuff citizens at the request of a Senator --- is Obstruction of Justice.
No wonder Monica took The Fifth.
Of course, the Rove dogsbodies at Justice couldn't tell Congress they fired Iglesias because he wouldn't jump at the Senator's rattle. They reached for another complaint on Monica's list: "absentee landlord." Deputy Assistant Attorney General Paul McNulty used absenteeism as the official reason for dismissal. McNulty's resigned.
As you might expect, there is much more to the "voter fraud" angle in the U.S. Attorneys Purge scandal than initially meets the eye. As you might also expect, we've taken keen notice as we've long been following and reporting on the insidious machinations behind the GOP/White House/Rove scheme to (rather successfully) invent the cynical notion of a "voter fraud" epidemic in America for purely political purposes.
First... Allow me to set the stage for the unenlightened by referring you to an amazingly wonderful new report [PDF] on the manufactured myth of American "voter fraud" as released by ProjectVote.org and authored by Lorraine C. Minnite, Ph.D., an assistant professor of Political Science at Barnard College, Columbia University.
Most voter fraud allegations turn out to be something other than fraud.
There is a long history in America of elites using voter fraud allegations to restrict and shape the electorate.
The historically disenfranchised are often the target of voter fraud allegations.
Finally, an academician thoroughly debunks --- nay, eviscerates --- the long-worked, well-moneyed, and invidious GOP plot to create the illusion of an American "voter fraud" epidemic (as distinct from very real election fraud concerns). The point behind the effort is solely to push for disenfranchising laws and restrictions in an effort to keep legitimate voters away from the polls in our democracy. If you read only one page of this report, "The Politics of Voter Fraud," it will be well worth your time!
Second... The phony "non-partisan" GOP front-group calling themselves the "American Center for Voting Rights" (ACVR), created in 2005 for nothing more than to facilitate the White House/Karl Rove "voter fraud" schemes, seems to have suddenly gone missing! BRAD BLOG readers will recall the despicable operatives who set up their "tax-exempt," "voter fraud" chop shop just three days before testifying at a staged Congressional hearing on the 2004 Ohio Presidential Election before the now-disgraced, felonious former Ohio Rep. Bob Ney of the House Administrative Committee. We broke the story exclusively at the time, and have continued reporting on it in a long series of special coverage reports ever since.
The alleged 501(c)3 group --- which has never produced paperwork to back up its tax-exempt status, to our knowledge --- was founded by the "non-partisan," "former" Bush/Cheney '04 Inc. national general counsel, Mark F. "Thor" Hearne, along with "non-partisan" RNC Communications Director Jim Dyke. Dyke now works for non-partisan Dick Cheney's office. Hearne then, and apparently still now, seems to be working for Karl Rove as one of his top national operatives.
Since news coverage of the tip of the iceberg in the GOP "voter fraud" scam has been revealed as directly related to the U.S. Attorney Purge scandal, it seems that all of a sudden the ACVR's detailed and propaganda-filled website has suddenly disappeared down the memory hole. As of today, both of ACVR's domain names AC4VR.com and AmericanCenterForVotingRights.com each return "Bad Request (Invalid Hostname)" errors.
Gone, but not forgotten. As we find out more on the AWOL ACVR we will, of course, let you know.
Lastly... Though certainly not leastly, John Boyd, an Albuquerque, New Mexico, based elections attorney who worked with the Democratic party in the state during the 2004 election, sends us the following inside account of the scandal surrounding recent reports that purged NM U.S. Attorney David Iglesias was removed for his unwillingness to prosecute claims of "voter fraud" in the state prior to the 2004 Presidential Election.
Before the election, Boyd helped represent the Dems in defending against the scurrilous GOP "voter fraud fraud," as he calls it. After the election, he successfully filed suit, along with the watchdog organization VoterAction.org, against the state concerning failures in their DRE/touch-screen voting system. That suit eventually led to a statewide ban on such systems and a requirement for paper-based elections.
Boyd writes that the firing scandal is actually "far worse than it now appears." His harrowing, first-hand account and reasons for that claim, as sent to us this morning, details how the GOP manufactured their pre-election "voter fraud" crisis in the state, despite lacking any evidence of any actual crimes.
His first-hand description of the events follows in full...