Blogged by Brad Friedman on the road...
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.