I've just been asked to jump in tonight (and tomorrow) to guest host for Mike on the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show. He's taken ill, but should be back in fine fettle on Monday.
So scrambling to put together tonight's show, but hope you'll tune in!
We'll be BradCasting LIVE as usual from L.A.'s KTLK am1150 9pm-Midnight ET (6p-9p PT) --- though we'll be pre-empted tonight for hockey in L.A. on KTLK, so see below for LIVE listening links! Join us by tuning in, chatting in, Tweeting in and calling in! The LIVE chat room will be up and rolling, as usual, right here at The BRAD BLOG during the show, so please come on by and say hey while you're listening! (The Chat Room will open at the bottom of this item a few minutes before airtime, see down below, just above "Comments" section.)
The Mike Malloy Show is nationally syndicated on air affiliates across the country and also on Sirius Ch. 146 & XM Ch. 167. You may also listen online to the free LIVE audio stream at affiliate GREEN 960 in San Francisco or via MikeMalloy.com.
Once again proving the well-worn axiom IOKIYAR ("It's okay if you're a Republican"), disgraced former U.S. Attorney, Karl Rove protege and the Republican Party's 2004 vote cager, Tim Griffin has not only been elected as a Representative to the U.S. House from Arkansas' 2nd district, he's also been assigned to a leadership position as deputy whip and has been given a seat on the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, of all places. Guess they had to replace the previously disgraced anti-democracy champion Rep. Tom Feeney (FL-24) with someone, eh?
A few years ago, Tim Griffin was a key figure in of the biggest scandals in the Bush administration. Democrats said --- and the Justice Department Inspector General later concluded --- that the Bush White House and Justice Department pushed out U.S. Attorney H.E. "Bud" Cummins III to give Griffin, a former aide to presidential adviser Karl Rove, a plum spot as interim U.S. attorney that would pad his resume.
Now Griffin, who was elected to Congress from Arkansas in November, has been named by House Republicans to be a member of the House Judiciary Committee --- the very same committee which took a close look at his own role in the scandal that ultimately lead to the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
"Tim Griffin was a linchpin of one of the dirtiest, Washington-insider schemes that brought down the Bush-era Justice Department and now, ironically, House Republicans have appointed him to oversee the very department he helped undermine," Jesse Ferguson of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said in a statement.
"Griffin loves to talk about his 6-month stint as a US Attorney but forgets to tell voters that he was forced to quit amid the national scandal about his hiring," Ferguson added. "It came to light that Tim Griffin was illegitimately appointed to the role of US Attorney as part of a massive controversy over unprecedented political influence over the Department of Justice. Arkansas families are right to question the character of Tim 'Dirty Tricks' Griffin and question his appointment to oversee our justice system knowing his rap sheet."
TPM has more on that aspect of Griffin's "rap sheet", but as The BRAD BLOG has detailed over the years, Griffin was also at the center of a dirty scheme to peel thousands of legitimate voters off the roles in Ohio in 2004, as revealed by his own "vote caging" emails sent to fellow George W. Bush/RNC campaign officials at the time...
And, also speaking of the long-waged Republican War on Democracy, it's nice to see a bit of in-depth coverage of issues that actually matter from local news reporters for a change. Here's Melissa Sims of KARK 4 News in Arkansas last night, on the vote caging of Tim Griffin, the Karl Rove protege installed as U.S. Attorney without Senate confirmation by the Bush Administration during their infamous U.S. Attorney purge.
Griffin, notoriously, was discovered to have sent caging emails to RNC colleagues during the 2004 election in Ohio. He denies any wrong-doing, though BBC investigative journalist and author [and occasional BRAD BLOG guest blogger] Greg Palast who first reported on the caging emails in Griffin's name, believes otherwise. Several other independent reporters similarly confirmed his involvement in the scheme. Griffin has never been held legally accountable, in any case, despite being forced to tearfully resign as USA during the Attorney Purge investigation. He is now, incredibly, the GOP's nominee for Arkansas' 2nd District U.S. Congressional seat, proving --- yet again --- that IOKIYR.
KARK's Simas took the time to cover the matter in some detail --- a 7-minute report is extraordinary for local news --- even as it's been largely ignored by...well, just about everybody, certainly in Arkansas, until now...
UPDATE 10/20/10: Palast picks up on this same story and writes over at Truthout that attorney Robert Kennedy Jr., having looked at the Griffin caging emails, believes that what the SarahPAC-endorsed candidate Griffin did "was absolutely illegal and he should be in jail."
[Updated below with details on the second part of Jacobson's series, just posted at RAW STORY, in which he ties together Hunter's EAC appointment and dubious tenure, representing the RNC's nefarious "voter fraud" fraudster wing (which is to say, pretty much the entire RNC these days!) The second in the series offers important info and a good reminder of the names you'll be seeing again soon, singing the same old phony, discredited "voter fraud" songs once again as November nears, as sure as the sun rises in the East.]
Caroline Hunter, a Bush-appointed Federal Election Commissioner who remains in office, provided misleading statements under oath in an effort to conceal Republican National Committee involvement in vote suppression activities during the 2004 presidential election, a Raw Story investigation has found.
Legal experts say Hunter's submission of such statements under oath is a serious ethical and professional breach which could warrant a bar review and potential disbarment. At the time, Hunter was serving as deputy counsel to the Republican National Committee.
The report goes on to detail how Hunter --- who, as The BRAD BLOG has highlighted over the years, had previously been allowed to serve as a commissioner on the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) --- deceptively misrepresented the facts, on behalf of the RNC, in a 2004 voter caging hearing in federal court.
Jacobson quotes election law experts, including two long-time former DoJ Voting Section attorneys, who argue that while the way she couched her sworn testimony may "shield her from perjury charges," the statements she gave may "still pose ethical problems that potentially could result in her disbarment."...
In brief, I became known to some as the "Diebold Whistleblower" when, in January of 2004, I stole and exposed legal documents [PDF] proving that Diebold Election Systems, Inc. was using and planned to continue using illegal, uncertified software in their California voting machines. (By the way, Diebold recently changed its name to Premier Election Solutions, but don't let that fool you; it's still the same bunch of idiots.) Details about my case can be found here and here [PDF].
The documents I stole were covered under attorney-client privilege, so my theft was a serious crime. In February of 2006 I was charged with three felonies. On November 20, 2006, I plead guilty to one felony count of unauthorized access to a computer, and in exchange for my guilty plea and a restitution payment of $10,000 to the law firm from which I stole the documents, the law firm promised they wouldn't bring a civil suit against me, and I was put on felony probation instead of being sent to jail. The term of probation was to be at least one year, and as much as three years.
Now, one year after my guilty plea, because I've stayed out of trouble and because I'm a first offender, the judge has reduced my felony to a misdemeanor. Sometime in 2008, my lawyers will petition the court to have my misdemeanor expunged.
The bad part is that the most troublesome aspect of my probation is still in force. Before I can accept a job at which I would use a computer networked to one or more other computers (basically any job for which I'd be qualified), any potential employer must write to the judge in my case, tell him that they know about my conviction and that they still want to hire me, and then we have to wait until the judge responds with a "yes" or a "no" before I can accept the job and start work (and then only if the judge says "yes"). So as you can see, employers will be falling all over themselves to hire me.
Meanwhile, my wife (an actor, filmmaker and writer) certainly hasn't lost her sense of humor. She had been calling me Felonious Punk, but now that I'm no longer a felon, she's switched to Mister Meanor. Ain't it great being married to a comedy writer?
To be clear, breaking attorney-client privilege is a very serious crime, and I accept responsibility for what I did. I'm still being punished for it, and so far the punishment has cost my wife and me over $210,000 - and counting. $210,000 is an enormous amount of money to us. My wife and I have paid and are continuing to pay a very high price for my crime.
But, as we're not Republicans, we might have expected that.
Which got me thinking about other crimes in America that have recently been committed or alleged, and what's happened to those involved. Among the first of many, Lewis "Scooter" Libby comes to mind...
Thirteen Democratic Senators have introduced a bill that would outlaw "voter caging," the practice of sending mail marked "Do Not Forward" to a targeted list of voters in hopes of using the returned mailings as a basis to challenge the right of the voters to vote.
The tactic was used by Republican operatives in both the 2000 and 2004 election, despite the Republican party having agreed in two consent decrees in 1981 and 1986 to end the practice.
A press release from Sen. John Kerry's (D-MA) office announcing the new bill is posted in full below.
"The practice of 'caging' is reprehensible and has absolutely no place in our democracy," Kerry says in the statement. "Here in America, every citizen, regardless of race, gender, religion or sexual orientation has the right to cast his or her vote. These are the very foundations of our democracy and this bill will ensure that we protect fundamental freedoms for millions of voters across our country."
The press release goes on to refer to evidence, much of it reported over the years here at The BRAD BLOG, of GOP vote caging that took place in important swing states such as Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania during the 2004 election. Kerry's statement also points out the re-emergence of the topic earlier this year, after former DoJ staffer Monica Goodling testified to a Congressional panel that information concerning the involvement of former Karl Rove associate and GOP opposition researcher Tim Griffin in voter caging had not been fully disclosed during previous Congressional testimony.
Goodling's revelations led to Griffin's sudden (and teary) resignation from his post as interim US Attorney in Arkansas, where he had been appointed by the DoJ under new provisions in the PATRIOT Act allowing such appointments without congressional approval.
The controversial practice of vote caging has been used primarily to target minority voters; evidence has shown that some who ended up on the caging lists were military personnel who were unable to return the mailings because they were deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
A DoJ investigation into Griffin's, and the GOP's, 2004 vote caging activities was then demanded by several U.S. senators last June. The American mainstream media have given little coverage to the issue of caging, despite original reporting from Greg Palast and the BBC prior to the 2004 Presidential Election.
In addition to Kerry, the original co-sponsors of the legislation include Senators Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Barack Obama (D-Ill.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Chris Dodd (D-Conn.)
UPDATE: Here's the actual bill [PDF]. Looks good from a quick read, though the part that allows the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) --- a four-member commission appointed by the President, and which has proven tremendously inept and compromised in all manner of things --- to add new reasons why voters may be challenged is a concern. The EAC shouldn't be entrusted with anything, much less deciding criteria for challenging voters' right to vote. But that's just our knee-jerk opinion.
The press statement from Kerry's office, announcing "The Caging Prohibition Act," is posted in full below...
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.
Slowly but surely, the issue of felonious Republican "Vote Caging" during the 2004 Presidential Election is making its way into the consciousness of media, federal, state, and local elected officials and --- whether they like it or not --- the Bush/Cheney campaign officials who were involved in the practice despite repeated consent decrees signed by the RNC that they would no longer use the tactic to target minority voters for removal from voting rolls.
Today, the Florida Times-Union is reporting that, "Internal city memos show the issue of Republican 'vote caging' efforts in Jacksonville's African-American neighborhoods was discussed in the weeks before the 2004 election, contradicting recent claims by former Duval County Republican leader Mike Hightower - the Bush-Cheney campaign's local chairman at the time."
The report goes on to say that Hightower had previously denied any knowledge of the practice of vote caging, which includes sending registered letters, marked "Do Not Forward," to targeted voters along with a request to return a postcard. When the postcards are not returned, officials might then take measures to challenge the voters at the polls, or remove them entirely from the voting rolls.
Last month, Hightower reportedly told that paper that the issue of caging never came up in county meetings prior to the elections, and that he had never heard "of that expression or that practice."
The Internal memos show otherwise, according to the paper. In fact, the issue came up quite regularly at meetings. Nonetheless, Hightower --- pulling a Bob Dole and referring to himself in the third person --- is sticking by his denial...
Well, the pseudonymous "drational" has now followed up with an excellent analysis of the caging lists which shores up the bulk of Palast's claims and reporting (even if he can't help but take a few more inappropriate and unhelpful shots at the guy who broke the story in the first place, and kept banging on it for two and a half years until Mr. "Drat" finally found the time to investigate the charges).
"Drational" posted a follow-up today on the RNC's "Widespread Caging in 2004" (in FL, OH, NV, WA, and OR, all crucial battlegrounds) and names names of high-level Bush/Cheney officials and others who seem to have been involved in some way.
Also yesterday, Spencer Ackerman at TPM Muckraker posted a similar independent analysis of the Tim Griffin caging lists. His findings, as well, "strengthened allegations that Griffin, working for the Republican National Committee, was involved in an effort to target African-American voters."
All four posts mentioned are worth reading in full, with a reminder that we quoted a bit more from TPM Muck in Alan Breslauer's posting here yesterday of Tim Griffin's recent denial video in which he strains credulity by claiming he didn't even know what caging was, and had to look it up in a dictionary.
Nice try, Tim. In the meantime, any broadcast news outlets ready to run the story yet? Or will they wait until after it happens again, say, in 2008 or so?
Oh, and Mr. "Drat"? You owe a straight up --- unqualified --- apology to Palast for your original, over-the-top, un-researched, knee-jerk attacks on his reporting. Advancing and/or independently verifying someone's reporting is appropriate and appreciated, as you did in your latest. As well, holding folks responsible when elements are incorrect is also helpful. Going off half-cocked, as you did, with claims that Palast's reporting on this was "dangerous" and trying to justify those claims later based on several errors you claim to have found, none of which change the thrust of his original reports, as you did in your very good follow-ups, is less than impressive, in our opinion.
UPDATE: We failed to link, originally, to the ePluribus Media report upon which much of "drational's" article was based. We've now corrected that failure in the above article and have changed both the text and the headline to incorporate and link to their excellent work. The BRAD BLOG regrets the original oversight.
Brad wrote about it a couple of weeks ago. Then Greg Palast offered up a heartfelt apology on BRAD BLOG writing, "Boo-hoo! I made Tim Griffin cry." And now you can watch part of the infamous speech that will surely leave many readers teary eyed themselves. The part available at left is where Griffin denies knowing anything about vote caging, and references Palast --- though he refuses to mention him by name.
Of course, Griffin seems to have known what caging was, and had no similar problem naming names in the spreadsheet documents he sent to other Bush/Cheney and RNC operatives in an email with the subject line "Re: caging". The spreadsheet attachments contained lists of voters --- mostly minority voters, some serving over seas --- which they had planned to challenge at the polls in Florida during the 2004 election.
Thanks to TPMtv/Muckraker for the video. As well, they have done their own analysis of the Griffin caging lists in order to verify Palast's findings
The result? Our comparative analysis of the spreadsheet with Duval County voter rolls shows that most names were of African-Americans. (For more on the analysis, see below.) Such a finding, voting rights experts told me, strengthened allegations that Griffin, working for the Republican National Committee, was involved in an effort to target African-American voters. “It is difficult to explain other than an effort to target Democrats and by extension, minority voters,” Toby Moore, a former political geographer with the Justice Department, said.
Michael McDonald, an Associate Professor at George Mason University and an expert on elections statistics, said that the chance that the list is randomly so different from the population is less than 1 in 10,000. It is illegal to target voters based on their race under the Voting Rights Act.
Yes, "illegal". As we've been reporting for quite some time now. Also, in violation of several consent decrees, signed by the RNC during the 80's, that they would no longer target minority voters in these type of campaigns.
Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty returned to testify before Congress one more time today, but without shedding much new light on the much-criticized firings and hirings, alleged to be politically motivated, in the Department of Justice.
The Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law of the House Judiciary Committee, in another attempt to extract some truth about the DOJ personnel matter, held a hearing with McNulty as the sole witness. Under polite, soft-spoken but excruciatingly poignant questioning by Committee Chair John Conyers (D-MI), McNulty did clarify one thing: indeed it does seem that his part of the DOJ has done very little about “caging.”
Caging, as Rep. Cannon (R-UT) helpfully pointed out, “is a term of art in mailhouses” – it refers to the place where letters go when they have no address, all batched up in a separate room.
As Conyers gently reminded the audience, “caging” in the context of elections “is not an issue of the mail at all.” Voter caging, in the context of elections, means blocking voters out – choosing whole lists of voters whose vote will be challenged, chosen by whom and the criteria for challenge enunciated by whom, under this administration, still not fully explained.
Actually, not explained at all. Though it wasn't for Conyers' lack of trying to get information from McNulty about it...
Following up on a letter sent to the DoJ on Monday by Democratic Senators Kennedy (MA) and Whitehouse (RI) demanding an investigation into the vote caging activities of former RNC/Bush-Cheney '04 operative, former Karl Rove protégé, and now former US Attorney from Arkansas, Tim Griffin, senators from his home state have announced their support of such a probe.
"If a citizen's right to vote is being threatened, I think without a doubt it is a very appropriate thing to investigate," Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) told Stephens News Bureau according to a report today. "There are enough suggestions out there that lend itself to that. Investigators owe it to the American people to find out whether or not (voter suppression) did occur."
Michael Teague, a spokesman for Arkansas Democratic senator Mark Pryor, told Stephens that an investigation is overdue, particularly in light of recent testimony from the DoJ's Monica Goodling. "I think at every turn and every corner at this point, the White House has said one thing and done another," said Teague.
Goodling, the DoJ's now-resigned liaison to the White House, told the U.S. House Judiciary Committee during sworn testimony, under immunity from prosecution, that Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty "failed to disclose that he had some knowledge of allegations that Tim Griffin had been involved in vote 'caging' during his work on the President's 2004 campaign."
"This has a voter-fraud element to it...Why are we having to ask (the Justice Department) to look into this? Shouldn't that be something that's pretty routine?" Teague wondered.
Setting aside that this is about election fraud, not "voter-fraud" as Teague characterized it, both Democratic Senators are correct that an investigation should occur immediately.
Griffin denied wrongdoing in a teary speech in Arkansas last week. He maintained his innocence again to Stephens on Tuesday, telling them, "As I have said before, the allegations are malicious and false."
Vote caging is the practice of sending targeted registered mail to minority voters with "do not forward" instructions, in order to use any returned letters to challenge voter registrations as fraudulent or press for such voters to be removed from the rolls. In 1981 and 1986, after having done the same thing, the RNC signed consent decrees that they would not engage in such activities in the future. Apparently, they were just kidding both times.
In 2004, Greg Palast of the BBC reported on caging lists attached to email mis-sent by Griffin prior to the Presidential election. The lists reportedly targeted minority voters in Florida, some serving overseas in Iraq. The pre-election reports were all but ignored by both Congress and the American media until Goodling's testimony several weeks ago. Since then, The BRAD BLOG has run a number of exclusive follow-up reports by Palast, most notably here and then here. Griffin resigned on June 2 in the wake of the allegations revealed during the US Attorney Purge investigations. He had been named interim Arkansas US Attorney after the previous USA, Bud Cummins, had been one of the first to be forced out of his job during the DoJ/White House purge.
Senators Kennedy and Whitehouse have sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales demanding a probe by the DoJ's Office of the Inspector General and Office of Professional Responsibility into "allegations that the Republican National Committee engaged in 'vote caging' during the 2004 elections."
The letter, sent today to Gonzales, also requests an investigation into "whether any Department officials were aware of allegations that Tim Griffin had engaged in caging when he was appointed United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, and whether appropriate action was taken."
The complete letter and a press release sent along with it are posted in full at the end of this article.
"The Republican Party has a long and ignominious record of caging – much of it focused on the African American community," Kennedy and Whitehouse explain in their letter which gives details of the RNC using voting caging tactics to suppress minority voters in both 1981 and 1986. After both incidents, the GOP had signed consent decrees that they would not engage in the activity in the future.
Nonetheless, email evidence has shown that in 2004, Tim Griffin created and sent caging lists on behalf of the Bush 2004 campaign as originally reported by the BBC to little American media fanfare, prior to the election. Griffin, who became an aide to Karl Rove, was later appointed by the Bush Administration as the US Attorney from Arkansas after they had fired Bud Cummins. Griffin has since resigned from the post in the wake of the scandal.
In recent testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, the now-resigned DoJ liason to the White House, Monica Goodling, admitted that now-resigned Deputy Atty General Paul McNulty was less than forthcoming in his sworn Congressional testimony concerning his knowledge about Griffin's involvement in vote caging during the 2004 campaign.
In her testimony, given under a grant of immunity from prosecution, Goodling said that McNulty "failed to disclose that he had some knowledge of allegations that Tim Griffin had been involved in vote 'caging' during his work on the President's 2004 campaign."
You remember Tim. Karl Rove's right hand (right claw?) man. The GOP's ragin' cagin' man.
Griffin is the Rove-bot exposed by our BBC Newsnight investigations team as the man who gathered and sent out the infamous 'caging' lists to Republican state chairmen during the 2004 election.
Caging lists, BBC discovered, were used secretly as a basis to challenge the right to vote of thousands of citizens - including the homeless, students and soldiers sent overseas. The day after BBC broadcast that the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, John Conyers, sought our evidence on Griffin, Tim resigned his post as US Attorney for Arkansas. That job was a little gift from Karl Rove who made room for his man Griffin by demanding the firing of US prosecutor Bud Cummins.
Last week, our cameras captured Griffin, all teary-eyed, in his humiliating kiss-off speech delivered in Little Rock at the University of Arkansas where he moaned that, "public service isn't worth it."
True. In the old Jim Crow days in Arkansas, you could get yourself elected by blocking African-Americans. (The voters his caging game targeted are - quelle surprise! - disproportionately Black citizens.)
But today, Griffin can't even get an unemployment check. When he resigned two weeks ago following our broadcast, the cover story was that the voter persecutor-turned-prosecutor had resigned to work for Presidential wannabe Fred Thompson. But when Thompson's staff was asked by a reporter why they would hire the 'cagin' man,' suddenly, the 'Law and Order' star decided associating with Griffin might take the shine off Thompson's badge, even if it is from the props department.
Griffin, instead of saying that public service "isn't worth it," should have said, "Crime doesn't pay." Because, according to experts such as law professor Robert F. Kennedy Jr., 'caging,' when used to target Black voters' rights, is a go-to-prison crime.
By resigning, Tim may not avoid the hard questions about caging - or the hard time that might result. When I passed the first set of documents to Conyers (a real film noir moment, in a New York hotel room near midnight), the soft-spoken Congressman said that, resignation or not, "We aren't done with Mr. Griffin yet..."