Balkinization  

Monday, May 14, 2007

The U.S. Attorney Scandal, in a Nutshell (Upshot -- It's Actually A "Voter Fraud" Scandal)

Marty Lederman

Dan Eggen and Amy Goldstein of the Post summarize what has become increasingly evident. To simplify -- but not by much -- this is the story:

1. There is little, if any, reliable evidence of any serious problem of voter fraud in the United States.

2. After the 2000 election, if not before, Karl Rove and other Republican operatives decided that Republican political prospects would be immeasurably improved if they would only repeat, as often as possible, the unsupported claim that voter fraud is rampant, and take substantial steps to stem such nonexistent voter "fraud" -- all in an attempt to suppress Democratic votes.

3. The bogus claim of a "voter fraud" crisis has been successfully invoked in many states to withstand initiatives to ease voter registration and, even more prominently, to justify unneeded and damaging "Voter ID" legislation. All of which has the effect of suppressing votes, primarily of Democratic constituencies, while doing very little, if anything, to protect against any actual voter fraud. (See, e.g., the links in the middle of this post to the New York Times, Bob Bauer, hilzoy, Rick Hasen and publius.)

[UPDATE: In response to some commenters, especially those over at the Volokh Conspiracy: My argument here obviously does not depend on the extreme and untenable assertion that there is absolutely no such thing as voter fraud, ever, anywhere in the United States. I'm sure that there are some isolated cases, and will be as long as humans are fallible. The point, instead, is simply that there is virtually no evidence of any systemic or new problem of voter fraud that would justify what the Republican operatives have done in recent years.

So, for example, state defendants in high-profile cases attempting to defend voter ID laws predicated on "fraud" (e.g., in Arizona and Missouri) have not been able to adduce any evidence of systemic fraud -- and very little anecdotal evidence, for that matter. Moreover, the May 2006 "status report" of the Election Assistance Commission, written by bipartisan consultants, concluded that there is widespread agreement "that there is little polling place fraud, or at least much less than claimed, including voter impersonation, 'dead' voters, noncitizen voting and felon voters."

Therefore it is quite obvious, I think, that what has prompted Republican officials and operatives since 2000 to systematically (i) push for Voter ID laws; (ii) oppose registration and other enfranchisement reforms; and now (iii) pressure U.S. Attorneys to bring voter-fraud prosecutions, has not been any upswing in actual fraud, but has instead been the realization that the spectre of a widespread "voter fraud" crisis could effectively change the legal landscape in ways that systematically disenfranchise Democratic voters and thus redound to the benefit of Republican electoral prospects.

I am not claiming that every one of the fraud prosecutions that Rove and Co. were pushing were nonmeritorious -- even a stopped watch is correct twice a day. But they were pushing such prosecutions (i) in closely contested states; (ii) close to election time; and (iii) fairly indiscriminately. So, for example, even David Iglesias, who was one of only two United States attorneys in the country to create a voter-fraud task force in 2004, has written of the prosecutions that he was urged to bring:
What the critics, who don’t have any experience as prosecutors, have asserted is reprehensible—namely that I should have proceeded without having proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The public has a right to believe that prosecution decisions are made on legal, not political, grounds. . . .

After reviewing more than 100 complaints of voter fraud, I felt there was one possible case that should be prosecuted federally. I worked with the F.B.I. and the Justice Department’s public integrity section. As much as I wanted to prosecute the case, I could not overcome evidentiary problems. The Justice Department and the F.B.I. did not disagree with my decision in the end not to prosecute.]


4. Karl Rove and others went further: They decided to use the levers of federal governmental power -- the prosecution power, in particular -- to go after nonexistent voter fraud, and thereby to further suppress voter turn-out in closely contested elections, all in order to enhance Republican electoral prospects. (Simultaneously, other sorts of decisions at DOJ (e.g., pursuant to the Voting Rights Act) were also substantially influenced by partisan electoral considerations.)

5. Until this Administration, White House officials such as Rove would not have been permitted to contact persons in the Justice Department in connection with prosecutorial decisions. But those rules were rescinded by the Bush Justice Department.

6. Rove and other White House officials urged DOJ to bring "voter fraud" prosecutions in many contested states and districts -- and even to do so close to the date of elections, contrary to longstanding DOJ policies.

7. Some U.S. Attorneys -- loyal Republicans all -- after concluding that there was, after all, no basis in fact for bringing such prosecutions, especially not so close to elections, when such prosecutions could have an unwarranted impact on election outcomes, understandably declined to prosecute.

8. The President unceremoniously removed many of those U.S. Attorneys -- not because anyone at DOJ thought they were doing a bad job (everyone of note in DOJ has disclaimed responsibility for having identified these officials for removal), but instead because Rove and his operatives in the White House were frustrated at the prosecutors' unwillingness to bring unwarranted voter-fraud prosecutions. (Other U.S. Attorneys were cashiered for analogous partisan electorial reasons, such as their refusal to bring charges against local Democratic officials, or their peristence in investigating Republican officials.)

9. In order to further ensure that the White House has much greater, unfettered, influence over the machinations of the criminal justice system, the Attorney General determined that personnel decisions at DOJ would no longer be subject to the institutional and professional screens that had long been in place, but would instead be delegated almost entirely to undistinguished, inexperienced young attorneys whose only qualification for being assigned that important responsibility was that they were loyal Republican foot soldiers, unequivocally responsive to the direction of Rove, et al.

10. The attempts by government officials to bring pressure on U.S. Attorneys to bring prosecutions -- or to forego ongoing investigations -- for partisan electoral objectives may well have constituted criminal violations of 18 U.S.C. 1505 ("Whoever corruptly . . . influences, obstructs, or impedes or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede the due and proper administration of the law under which any pending proceeding is being had before any department or agency of the United States, . . . Shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years"); and/or 18 U.S.C. 1512(c)(2) ("Whoever corruptly . . . obstructs, influences, or impedes any official proceeding, or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.").

At the very least -- and more significantly -- such efforts constituted a breach of the President's constitutional obligation to "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed."

* * * *

For the most part, the media have understandably been focused thus far on Point No. 8. But the real heart of the scandal -- the much more important long-term outrage -- is Point No. 4, the abuse of governmental authority for partisan ends.

Comments:

Professor Lederman:

For the most part, the media have understandably been focused thus far on Point No. 8. But the real heart of the scandal -- the much more important long-term outrage -- is Point No. 4, the abuse of governmental authority for partisan ends.

It does take a great deal of chutzpah for Dems to argue that firing a handful of US Attorneys for actively obstructing to declining to investigate detailed evidence of Dem voter fraud provided to them before the 2006 elections is somehow an abuse of Presidential power.

It is also journalistic malpractice for the reporters of your WP story not to follow up on this evidence. The most fascinating portion of the WP article reveals that the GOP provided multiple US attorneys with evidence, not mere complaints, of Dem voter fraud which the WP is reporting was completely ignored or actively obstructed:

The Justice Department demanded that one U.S. attorney, Todd P. Graves of Kansas City, resign in January 2006, several months after he refused to sign off on a Justice lawsuit involving the state's voter rolls...

The Kansas City Star provided detail for this case, albeit with the usual Dem spin, which the WP neglected to provide in their article.

Justice had worked months on a lawsuit against Missouri to compel the state to remove fraudulent voter registrations on their voter rolls. The Dems naturally objected to removing fraudulent Dem voter registrations, disingenuously claiming that this would somehow "supress" legal minority voting. Graves refused to file the lawsuit, was asked to resign and Justice filed the lawsuit after he left. In the background of this legal battle, Justice filed criminal indictments against multiple members of ACORN for filing fraudulent voter registrations in the run up to the 2006 elections.

The suit against Missouri was recently dismissed by the federal district court on the basis that the state has no power to compel the local elections officials to clean up their voting rolls. Although this was not necessary to the opinion, the Clinton appointee Judge Nanette Laughrey accepted at face value Dem Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan's assertion that the 29 Missouri counties with more registered voters than actual residents were due to mere clerical errors and claimed she saw no evidence of voter registration fraud.

It is a fascinating exercise in tortured logic for Dems to claim that the Administration may be obstructing justice by removing a US Attorney who actively obstructed a civil legal action to stop criminal voter fraud.

The Washington Post continues:

Last October, just weeks before the midterm elections, Rove's office sent a 26-page packet to Gonzales's office containing precinct-level voting data about Milwaukee. A Justice aide told congressional investigators that he quickly put the package aside, concerned that taking action would violate strict rules against investigations shortly before elections, according to statements disclosed this week.

That aide, senior counselor Matthew Friedrich, turned over notes to Congress that detailed a telephone conversation about voter fraud with another Justice official, Benton Campbell, chief of staff for the Criminal Division. Friedrich had asked Campbell for his assessment of Rove's complaints about problems in New Mexico, Milwaukee and Philadelphia, according to a congressional aide familiar with Friedrich's remarks.

The notes show that Campbell also identified Nevada as a problem district. Daniel G. Bogden of Las Vegas was among the nine U.S. attorneys known to have been removed from their jobs last year.

Rick Hasen, a professor at Loyola Law School who runs an election law blog, said that "there's no question that Karl Rove and other political operatives" urged Justice officials to apply pressure on U.S. attorneys to pursue voter-fraud allegations in parts of the country that were critical to the GOP.

Hasen said it remains unclear, however, "whether they believed there was a lot of fraud and U.S. attorneys would ferret it out, or whether they believed there wasn't a lot of fraud but the allegations would serve political purposes."


Why are the WP and the congressional Dems singularly disinterested in investigating what evidence of Dem voter fraud was provided to the US Attorneys before the election, whether the US Attorneys ignored or actively deep-sixed evidence of Dem voter fraud, and why internal DOJ rules prohibit timely criminal voter fraud investigations before the voter fraud can affect an election?

Professor Lederman, I think you finally uncovered something scandal worthy in this otherwise ridiculous waste of taxpayer money.
 

Succinct and therefore useful summary.

Where's the "obstruction of justice" point? We know that several of the dismissed AGs were engaged in criminal investigations of Republican corruption -- e.g. Lam / Cunningham / Wilkes / Foggo. And so the second objective of Rove's campaign was to quash these investigations. They prototyped this program in Guam to protect Abramoff, if I remember correctly.

Overt politicization of the DOJ is one thing, dishonorable and counter to the best traditions of American government.

Obstruction of justiee is something else again. It's impeachable.
 

Bart,

Just curious, but why do you believe that these US attorneys--all Republicans appointed by Bush--have any motive to suppress a legitimate voter fraud investigation? In other words, if there were sufficient evidence to bring a non-frivolous case, why would these US attorneys refuse to do so?
 

Adam,

I wouldn't even do Bart's argument that much justice. The fact is, his entire argument is based on the idea that a newspaper has better resources and information than the United States' attorneys who investigated the claim...
 

adam said...

[I]f there were sufficient evidence to bring a non-frivolous case, why would these US attorneys refuse to do so?

Really good question which the WP and the congressional Dems should be but are not pursuing.

We know for a fact that there is widespread illegal voter registration in at least 29 counties of Missouri with more registered voters than residents. It is difficult to believe all of this is the result of clerical errors given the scale of the illegal registrations and the background of criminal indictments of ACORN members for filing illegal registrations.

The WP now tells us that Rove provided the US Attorney over Milwaukee with 26 page packet with a detailed precinct by precinct breakdown of what the GOP considered to be voter roll irregularities which the US Attorney intentionally deep sixed before the election. Why isn't the WP pursuing that evidence to determine if there was anything to the allegations. The detail allegedly provided by Rove argues for the WP at least making the packet available to the public and congressional investigation to determine whether voter fraud existed and why Justice is not pursuing it.

Inquiring minds want to know because, unlike the firing of US Attorneys, these allegations of voter fraud involve potential violations of the law.
 

The idea that it was "voter fraud" has been repeated so many times, so successfully, that you bought it yourself. See the title to this post.

It's not "voter fraud". It's "election fraud". It's not on the part of the voters, but on the part of those responsible for the elections.
 

Bart:

This "packet" of "evidence" of "voter fraud" has been made public by TPM.

See http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/archives/003200.php

(My apologies for the lack of an embed.)

In any event, the long and short of it is that this "packet" of "evidence" provided only news clippings regarding allegations of voting improprieties from the 2004 election -- improprieties that had been exhaustively investigated and resulted in approx. 20 prosecutions, but which did not produce the widespread election-stealing conspiracy that the Republicans were convinced existed.

The idea that a Milwaukee-based election fraud investigation was "deep-sixed" is simply nonsensical.

As for Missouri, that was the site of some of the sleaziest Republican tactics. US Atty Graves refused to lodge the civil suit against the State because it was legally baseless -- a fact confirmed by its quick dismissal, which you note. He was replaced in 2006 by hard-core partisan Bradley Schlozman, who quickly lodged the baseless civil suit and prosecuted, within weeks of the election, four ACORN workers for submitting fraudulent voter registrations -- a move that was in direct violation of DOJ guidelines. The point was not to score some mighty victory for Truth and Justice, but to whip up a political issue -- Widespread Voter Fraud!!! -- that would help the GOP at polls, in two ways. First, in the short term, by creating more public and instutional pressure, and therefore justification, for draconian polling place enforcement, i.e., voter roll purges, the lodging of "challenges" to certain voters by GOP operatives, more use of provisional ballots, etc., in order to suppress minority voting and help the GOP in 2006. Second, to create greater political support for stricter voter ID laws -- see, e.g., Georgia -- in order to make it more diffifult for minorities and poor people to vote, i.e., to help the GOP over the longer term.

A rotten business, all of it.
 

Voter Fraud!!!

In addition to your excellent points, I'd add that the phrase "voter fraud" as applied to the ACORN workers is itself a form of fraud. There were no -- zero -- fraudulent voters. What happened was that workers were paid for each voter they registered. In order to get paid more, they threw in some fictitious names (i.e., names of people who never could vote and never did). ACORN itself discovered the scheme and reported it.
 

"We know for a fact that there is widespread illegal voter registration in at least 29 counties of Missouri with more registered voters than residents."


Oh really, Bart? Even if illegal activities really did occur, how do we already know it for a FACT? Your hot-blooded rhetoric exposes your apparent willingness to rush to judgment without having any real facts in your possession.
 

As sick as we all are of the process and even, the term, it is time to begin the consideration of Impeachment hearings.
 

Wonderland said...

This "packet" of "evidence" of "voter fraud" has been made public by TPM.

Thank you for the link. However, TPM says this was provided by the Wisconsin GOP. I am referring to the 26 page precinct analysis by Mr. Rove which was reported in Professor Lederman's WP article.

The Wisconsin GOP evidence is interesting because it did lead to around 20 criminal prosecutions by just one US Attorney and thoroughly debunked the Dems weak claim that voter fraud simply does not exist. Imagine if all the US Attorneys followed up the dozens of press reports of Dem voter fraud as diligently.

However, I am more interested in the new evidence presented by Mr. Rove leading up to the election which was reportedly deep sixed by the US Attorney's office. Whatever you think about him, Mr. Rove does not play games. The GOP runs the most comprehensive voter database in the country and they are likely to have far more data than the press sources used by the Wisconsin GOP. It would be fascinating to see what they unearthed.
 

Charles H. Schmidt said...

Bart: "We know for a fact that there is widespread illegal voter registration in at least 29 counties of Missouri with more registered voters than residents."

Oh really, Bart? Even if illegal activities really did occur, how do we already know it for a FACT?


If the number of registered voters outnumber the residents in a county, some of those registrations must by definition be illegal. Whether the illegal registrations were the result of a criminal act or simple negligence is a completely different issue which is not known and should be the subject of an investigation.
 

"Bart" DePalma continues shillng for the corrupt maladministration (I hope, "Bart" they're paying you enough to compensate for selling your soul, or whatever tattered remains there were of it):

It does take a great deal of chutzpah for Dems to argue that firing a handful of US Attorneys for actively obstructing to declining to investigate detailed evidence of Dem voter fraud provided to them before the 2006 elections is somehow an abuse of Presidential power.

"[A]ctively obstructing"? If you think the fired attorneys did so, then I'd love for you to demand an prosecution for OOJ on this.

This "detailed evidence" crapola of yours has been debunked before.

What role Karl Rove should play in directing DoJ prosecutions for fraud, OTOH, is a different question.

It is also journalistic malpractice for the reporters of your WP story not to follow up on this evidence....

Oh, really? Perhaps they ought to explain how Rove gave a 26 page memorandum to DoJ full of the crapola that has been debunked concerning Milwaukee. Would that make you happy?

... The most fascinating portion of the WP article reveals that the GOP provided multiple US attorneys with evidence, not mere complaints, of Dem voter fraud which the WP is reporting was completely ignored or actively obstructed:

The Justice Department demanded that one U.S. attorney, Todd P. Graves of Kansas City, resign in January 2006, several months after he refused to sign off on a Justice lawsuit involving the state's voter rolls...

The Kansas City Star provided detail for this case, albeit with the usual Dem spin, which the WP neglected to provide in their article.

Justice had worked months on a lawsuit against Missouri to compel the state to remove fraudulent voter registrations on their voter rolls. The Dems naturally objected to removing fraudulent Dem voter registrations, disingenuously claiming that this would somehow "supress" legal minority voting. Graves refused to file the lawsuit, was asked to resign and Justice filed the lawsuit after he left. In the background of this legal battle, Justice filed criminal indictments against multiple members of ACORN for filing fraudulent voter registrations in the run up to the 2006 elections.


Here's your "ACORN" cases. Hardly something that warrants a massive and indiscriminate purge of voter rolls that would disenfranchise actual voters who didn't know they got booted until too late.

The suit against Missouri was recently dismissed by the federal district court on the basis that the state has no power to compel the local elections officials to clean up their voting rolls. Although this was not necessary to the opinion, the Clinton appointee Judge Nanette Laughrey accepted at face value Dem Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan's assertion that the 29 Missouri counties with more registered voters than actual residents were due to mere clerical errors and claimed she saw no evidence of voter registration fraud.

Of course, Netiquette demands that cites should be given.

But "Bart"'s just SOL here; courts looked at it, and said the Republicans were full'o'it.

It is a fascinating exercise in tortured logic for Dems to claim that the Administration may be obstructing justice by removing a US Attorney who actively obstructed a civil legal action to stop criminal voter fraud.

Once again, "activlely obstructed a civil legal action"?!?!? How so? And where's the "criminal voter fraud"? Oh, yeah: here. But the maladministration stepped in and "fixed" things up....

The Washington Post continues:

"Last October, just weeks before the midterm elections, Rove's office sent a 26-page packet to Gonzales's office containing precinct-level voting data about Milwaukee. A Justice aide told congressional investigators that he quickly put the package aside, concerned that taking action would violate strict rules against investigations shortly before elections, according to statements disclosed this week.

"That aide, senior counselor Matthew Friedrich, turned over notes to Congress that detailed a telephone conversation about voter fraud with another Justice official, Benton Campbell, chief of staff for the Criminal Division. Friedrich had asked Campbell for his assessment of Rove's complaints about problems in New Mexico, Milwaukee and Philadelphia, according to a congressional aide familiar with Friedrich's remarks.

"The notes show that Campbell also identified Nevada as a problem district. Daniel G. Bogden of Las Vegas was among the nine U.S. attorneys known to have been removed from their jobs last year.

"Rick Hasen, a professor at Loyola Law School who runs an election law blog, said that "there's no question that Karl Rove and other political operatives" urged Justice officials to apply pressure on U.S. attorneys to pursue voter-fraud allegations in parts of the country that were critical to the GOP.

"Hasen said it remains unclear, however, "whether they believed there was a lot of fraud and U.S. attorneys would ferret it out, or whether they believed there wasn't a lot of fraud but the allegations would serve political purposes.""

Why are the WP and the congressional Dems singularly disinterested in investigating what evidence of Dem voter fraud was provided to the US Attorneys before the election, ...


Who said they were? The evidence, as evaluated by the Republican-appointed and mostly Republican-affiliated USAs, the courts, and various others, is weak to non-existent. Yes, let's look at it (like we did a while back), "Bart". Turns out there's not a problem.

... whether the US Attorneys ignored or actively deep-sixed evidence of Dem voter fraud, ...

Nope. As pointed out many a time, allegations of "voter fraud" don't make a crime.

... and why internal DOJ rules prohibit timely criminal voter fraud investigations before the voter fraud can affect an election?

Because allegations, proved or unproved, grounded or baseless, can have political ramifications, and there's a proper (and non-politicised) way to deal with such. Letting charges hang just before an election is unfair. Either do it far enough in front of the election so that the verdict on the truth of the allegations can be reached, or wait until afterwards.

That Rove was behind this is a mark of it's being political through and through, and not some fairminded attempt to achieve some kind of justice.

Professor Lederman, I think you finally uncovered something scandal worthy in this otherwise ridiculous waste of taxpayer money.

Yes, indeed, "Bart". But you won't like it.

Cheers,
 

A story published in Sunday's Philadelphia Inquirer which said the U.S. Attorney's Office flooded Camden with taped phone messages warning against buying votes in that city's recent election was false. Neither the U.S. Attorney's Office or the Voting Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice had any role in the phone-message blitz.
As U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie noted, the U.S. Attorney's Office would never engage in such a practice, which clearly could have been used as a voter-suppression tactic. The U.S. Attorney's Office was not contacted to authenticate the matter or comment for the story, which implied the office sanctioned or was the source of the recorded phone-message blitz.


The Inquirer's story contained a transcript of the call, which cleverly gave the impression of coming from the U.S. attorney's office, while not actually saying that it was:

"Voters alert!" said the taped message. "Please note that it is a federal crime to be paid for a vote. I repeat, it is a crime. If you or your neighbor have been offered payment, please report it immediately to the U.S. Attorney's Office at 856-757-5026."
 

Bart:

A couple of points. First, I am assuming the packet referred to on TPM and the packet referred to by the Post are one in the same. They are both 26 pages (even though TPM describes it as a 30-page document, there seem to be 4 pages added to the end). I could be wrong.

Second, the Post states that the packet was simply "sent" from Rove's office to Matt Friedrich, not that is was prepared by Rove. This lines up with TPM's reporting, which (exactly like th Post article) states that Friedrich received the packet and quickly put it aside because opening an investigation at that point would have violated DOJ rules. It seems unlikely we're talking about two different instances in which a 26-page packet was sent to this one guy, Friedrich, and two different instances in which he declined to act on the information provided. More likely, TPM and the Post are talking about the same event.

Bottom line is that characterizing Friedrich's decision as "deep sixing" a valid investigation is just wrong. He was following the rules. It's guys like Schlozman who were willing to flout them for the sake of the GOP's electoral fortunes.
 

Is anyone advocating "a massive and indiscriminant" purge of the voter rolls? Personally, I'd like to see a massive purge of the voter rolls, but "indiscriminant" scarcely describes the cleanup I'd like to see.

Whether it's a result of incompetence, non-political fraud, or what have you, the presence of people on the voter lists who don't actually vote is an open invitation to absentee ballot fraud. It's nothing which should be lightly dismissed.
 

Bart wrote...

If the number of registered voters outnumber the residents in a county, some of those registrations must by definition be illegal. Whether the illegal registrations were the result of a criminal act or simple negligence is a completely different issue which is not known and should be the subject of an investigation.

Absent any compelling evidence of an ongoing conspiracy of voter fraud, this is no reason to aggressively pursue such an investigation at election time. It is entirely appropriate to question the motives of pushing an investigation in this way when it would have the effect of suppressing voter turnout. It's the electoral equivalent of screaming "fire" in a crowded theater. There should be real consequences for such a stunt.
 

Hey, Bart, how much do you get paid to post here? I haven't had enough contracts lately, and while my expertise tends towards the numerate, if your trolling work pays well enough, I'd like to apply. Shoot me an email with the details, willya? Thanks.
 

Bart,

I will take this as effectively answering my previous question. You do regard any narrow Democratic victory as presumptively fraudulent. You consider fighting voter fraud and seeking to insure Republican electoral victories as the one and the same. As Arne might say, thank you for clearing that up.

But what about the other part of my question, addressed in #10 of Professor Lederman's post? Since you wouldn't give a straight answer to a hypothetical, answer the specifics.

In New Mexico in 2006 a Republican incumbent was facing a close election in which the Democratic challenger sought to link her to a Republican "culture of corruption" in Washington. The incumbent struck back by accusing the challenger (the NM Attorney General) of ignoring Democratic corruption in NM. Meanwhile USA David Iglesias was pursuing a corruption indictment against various NM Democrats. The incumbent and Sen. Domenici called Iglesias to ask if he could speed up the indictments to before the election. Iglesias refused to do so and was fired with Domenici's strong encouragement.

Assume for the sake of argument that (1) the indictment was meritorious and (2) Iglesias was fired for not bringing it before the election in hopes of influencing the outcome. My question stands. Do you consider this proper? Stop the evasions and answer.
 

arne:

ACORN submissions of fraudulent voter registrations number into the thousands across the country including particularly egregious examples in Florida and Philadelphia

Your linked article notes that the ACORN defendants in Missouri are only charged with a relative few allegations of voter fraud. This is for simplicity of prosecution and does not even begin account for the thousands of bogus registrations submitted in Missouri. Moreover, Missouri ACORN workers were told that they were working for the Dem Project Victory 2006 get out the (illegal) vote campaign

Nope, nothing there that warrants scrubbing the voter rolls...
 

Well written. I mean, you don't say anything at all in the entire thing, but you say enough to leave an impression of wrong-doing. Very clever.

Disgusting and dishonest, but clever.

How about this: try rewriting this with evidence and specifics. Maybe a link for the first two bits. And replace those "some" and "many" and "other" with actual names. I don't think you can.
 

Garth said...

"Voters alert!" said the taped message. "Please note that it is a federal crime to be paid for a vote. I repeat, it is a crime. If you or your neighbor have been offered payment, please report it immediately to the U.S. Attorney's Office at 856-757-5026."

I wonder if any of the morons who did get paid for a vote turned themselves in?
 

no. no one turned themselves in.

perhaps, surprisingly to you, buying votes was not a big problem in need of address.

rather I suspect the DOJ hit the nail on the head when they agreed, "the U.S. Attorney's Office would never engage in such a practice, which clearly could have been used as a voter-suppression tactic."
 

Enlightened Layperson said...

Bart, I will take this as effectively answering my previous question. You do regard any narrow Democratic victory as presumptively fraudulent.

Hardly. So far as I can tell the Dems who ran here in Colorado were elected fair and square. The Colorado elections officials caught the ACORN fraud early on and it did not appear to swing the elections out here.

Assume for the sake of argument that (1) the indictment was meritorious and (2) Iglesias was fired for not bringing it before the election in hopes of influencing the outcome...Do you consider this proper?

Assuming your allegations are true for the sake of argument, of course not. However, it appears that Iglesias was fired for refusing to investigate Dem voter fraud in NM not because he was dragging his feet on corruption prosecutions of Dem politicos.
 

Camden it should be noted is almost entirely poor and black.

Not too many non-citizens though.

Unfortunately, I would bet nearly everyone living there was born there.

No reason to move there.

Ironically, they need good governance badly to repair Time Magazine's 1989 Worst City in America reputation.
 

Here's Iglesias himself.

"As this story has unfolded these last few weeks, much has been made of my decision to not prosecute alleged voter fraud in New Mexico. Without the benefit of reviewing evidence gleaned from F.B.I. investigative reports, party officials in my state have said that I should have begun a prosecution. What the critics, who don’t have any experience as prosecutors, have asserted is reprehensible — namely that I should have proceeded without having proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The public has a right to believe that prosecution decisions are made on legal, not political, grounds.

What’s more, their narrative has largely ignored that I was one of just two United States attorneys in the country to create a voter-fraud task force in 2004. Mine was bipartisan, and it included state and local law enforcement and election officials.

After reviewing more than 100 complaints of voter fraud, I felt there was one possible case that should be prosecuted federally. I worked with the F.B.I. and the Justice Department’s public integrity section. As much as I wanted to prosecute the case, I could not overcome evidentiary problems. The Justice Department and the F.B.I. did not disagree with my decision in the end not to prosecute."

Iglesias - NYT Op-Ed 3/21/2007
 

Politics entered my life with two phone calls that I received last fall, just before the November election. One came from Representative Heather Wilson and the other from Senator Domenici, both Republicans from my state, New Mexico.

Ms. Wilson asked me about sealed indictments pertaining to a politically charged corruption case widely reported in the news media involving local Democrats. Her question instantly put me on guard. Prosecutors may not legally talk about indictments, so I was evasive. Shortly after speaking to Ms. Wilson, I received a call from Senator Domenici at my home. The senator wanted to know whether I was going to file corruption charges — the cases Ms. Wilson had been asking about — before November. When I told him that I didn’t think so, he said, “I am very sorry to hear that,” and the line went dead.

A few weeks after those phone calls, my name was added to a list of United States attorneys who would be asked to resign — even though I had excellent office evaluations, the biggest political corruption prosecutions in New Mexico history, a record number of overall prosecutions and a 95 percent conviction rate. (In one of the documents released this week, I was deemed a “diverse up and comer” in 2004. Two years later I was asked to resign with no reasons given.)

Assume this testimony is true.

Is this legal?

Is this fair?

Bart's ok with this.

Just the healthy growing pains of autocracy.
 

Bart:

You persist in conflating registration fraud with voter fraud. What the AUSAs who investigated found is that the registration fraud doesn't translate into voter fraud.

This makes sense if you take time to think it through. The people who were scamming ACORN had a motive to submit fake registrations; ACORN was foolishly paying them by registration totals. (Their motive wasn't to influence the election though; it was to steal money from ACORN.) No one, however, had any motive to illegally double vote. No one is going to pay you to anonymously, and unverifiably, double vote. That is all risk with no reward.

If you want to steal an election, you don't do it by getting a bunch of people to double vote. That won't work. Instead, you either suppress communities that you expect to vote against you, or you tamper with the ballot counting. Those are the methods that have worked effectively in the past.

Yes, the evidence of registration fraud offered good reason to investigate. And the fired AUSA's did investigate. What they didn't do, that got them fired, was bring unsupported voter fraud indictments that could have influenced the outcomes of elections.
 

garth:

I have no problem with the federal representatives of the People of New Mexico inquiring as to the status of criminal prosecutions by the US Attorney for New Mexico for which indictments had already been obtained.

Here is the question which arises in my mind for Mr. Inglasias: Was there a prosecutorial reason not to have unsealed and served the indictments before the election or were you just sparing the corrupt Democrats a prosecution during the run up to the election?

In any case, there is no evidence in the thousands of documents disclosed or in any of the testimony that this inquiry was connected with Iglesias' firing. Rather, there is evidence that he was canned for not pursuing voter fraud allegations.
 

QuiteAlarmed said...

The people who were scamming ACORN had a motive to submit fake registrations; ACORN was foolishly paying them by registration totals.

ACORN denies that they paid per registration.

If you want to steal an election, you don't do it by getting a bunch of people to double vote. That won't work.

The purpose of fraudulent registration is to allow people to fraudulently vote on behalf of voters who do not exist. Thus, the old saying "Vote Early and Often." Absentee ballots make this much easier because you do not have to bring in a warm body to pretend to be the non-existent registered voter.

If the US Attorneys are unwilling to investigate the predicate voting fraud, what makes you think that they will take the next step and investigate the voter fraud using the bogus registrations?
 

"I have no problem with the federal representatives of the People of New Mexico inquiring as to the status of criminal prosecutions by the US Attorney for New Mexico for which indictments had already been obtained." - bd

this is against the law. period.

no one cares if you have a problem with it. it is a crime and should not have happened.

god are you blind.
 

Brett,

I think the surplus of registered voters compared to actual voters in inner city or similar districts could be shown mathematically to be a function of the observed fact that, in those districts, people move often but the rolls are purged infrequently (by law.)

The only absentee ballot problems I've heard of in the last few election cycles were the disenfranchisement of military members serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.

It's not clear that allowing them to count would have cost the GOP any votes.
 

Then explain this.

Gonzales' former chief of staff, Kyle Sampson, said he couldn't give a reason for Iglesias' firing during his testimony before Congress last month. He did say that if a U.S. attorney wasn't succeeding politically, he wasn't succeeding.

Documentation that has been turned over to Congress doesn't indicate problems with Iglesias' performance from the Department Justice point of view.
 

And what makes you assume a career Republican prosecutor with a record like this;

"A few weeks after those phone calls, my name was added to a list of United States attorneys who would be asked to resign — even though I had excellent office evaluations, the biggest political corruption prosecutions in New Mexico history, a record number of overall prosecutions and a 95 percent conviction rate. (In one of the documents released this week, I was deemed a “diverse up and comer” in 2004. Two years later I was asked to resign with no reasons given.)"

I think this was the WH's problem;

"After reviewing more than 100 complaints of voter fraud, I felt there was one possible case that should be prosecuted federally."

You are so divorced from reality Bart it is impossible to have a conversation with you.

You really do not add anything to the mix unless it's as a pinata for everyone here to smack around.
 

McClatchy helped break this story in March.

"Sen. Pete Domenici and Rep. Heather Wilson of New Mexico pressured the U.S. attorney in their state to speed up indictments in a federal corruption investigation that involved at least one former Democratic state senator, according to two people familiar with the contacts.

The alleged involvement of the two Republican lawmakers raises questions about possible violations of House of Representatives and Senate ethics rules and could taint the criminal investigation into the award of an $82 million courthouse contract.

The two people with knowledge of the incident said Domenici and Wilson intervened in mid-October, when Wilson was in a competitive re-election campaign that she won by 875 votes out of nearly 211,000 cast. "
 

The Wisconsin GOP evidence is interesting because it did lead to around 20 criminal prosecutions by just one US Attorney and thoroughly debunked the Dems weak claim that voter fraud simply does not exist.

You mistake the objections to specific claims for blanket statements. I think the question is more one of organization--is it a felon who doesn't know they can't vote or a massive ACORN-powered conspiracy? Most people are willing to admit that, yeah, felons often vote when they're not supposed to.

What most people don't buy is that there is a conspiracy to steal elections. There are those on the left fringe that will point at Diebold, and those on the right who will start pointing at ACORN.

Yer average guy on the street is going to be very wary of sharing a bus with either of the others.

Was there voter fraud in Milwaukee? You bet: a bunch of felons voted when they weren't allowed to--a bit surprising, perhaps, because felons are usually so good about obeying the law.

Did they do so intentionally? Less certain.

Did they do so as part of a grand conspiracy? Definitely not.

As Steve Biskupic says: "We don’t see a massive conspiracy to alter the election in Milwaukee, one way or another."

14 prosecutions were brought by Biskupic, sure, but how many convictions? Five.

More importantly, were any extra registrations dumped in the system by ACORN-like workers that wanted some extra compensation in exchange for false registrations? Yes, 65.

Were any of these used to vote? Steve-o again: "There is no evidence gathered to date that votes were cast under these specific false names."

Five convictions out of 277,000 votes. To put that in perspective, the incident rate of a person being struck by lightning in their lifetime is about 11 times the incidence rate of proven voter fraud in Milwaukee.

So, I'm still seeing a disparity between the evidence (lack of incidence and absolutely no conspiracy) and the claims of people like Mr. DePalma who use the phrase "Dem voter fraud" as if it were the new "yellow peril" that must be avoided at all costs.

And that's where it really cuts in, this scare is being used in many states to gather support for Voter ID programs that don't come cheap--either to the state or the voters (who get double-dinged for the tax used to fund the new programs as well as the ID cards themselves.)
 

So, now Bart has gone into a conspiratorial mode, wherein he suggests that a Republican prosecutor appointed by Bush who has shown not only no disloyalty to the party, but was quite willing to fall on his sword as long as they left him some minimal dignity (and a good word on his resume) is somehow colluding with Democrats to swing elections their way?

Moles are always possible - but to seriously suggest it on the flimsiest of threads is a sign of either madness, or simply propaganda. If Bart's conspiracy is correct, he is suggesting that the most politically directed administration in a century is filled with moles in the DOJ. That the most incompetent opposition since the Republican collapse mid-century has managed to make such an infiltration, and yet stay locked out of power in the House of Representatives for over a decade. And all of this not in a administrative unit that is prone to moles due to internal secrecy, but the DOJ which is just a bunch of lawyers and not secret operatives of any kind.

What next, are we going to get the Protocols of the Elders of Soros?

And finally, this whole thing rests on voter fraud? Really, that only works at the local level where few vote and a few thousand absentee ballots can make the different - too many fingers in that pie to switch elections at a national level. If you wanted to do it nationally, the only reasonable recourse is election fraud, such as tampering with voting machines - but no allegations of that, eh?

How long are folks going to keep even responding to such blatant nonsense? At least the Diebold allegations are practically possible, requiring only a few hands in the stew. But this? It's pathetic by even conspiracy theory standards. We have Republican appointees conspiring with Democrats to steal elections from Republicans by stealing a few votes, with large numbers of voters across the country multiple times, requiring large organization to organize this.

And note how this derails from any substantive discussion on the original wrong-doing.
 

Bart DePalma: The purpose of fraudulent registration is to allow people to fraudulently vote on behalf of voters who do not exist.

That is not true. I am surprised you don't already have this information, but I will assume you are not willfully misstating the facts.

The claim that registration fraud was committed to influence the election (i.e., voter fraud) was extensively investigated by DOJ, and they found scant evidence of any fraudulent voting. Here is an article discussing the investigation and the scant evidence of voter fraud.

The USAs who were fired investigated the voter fraud claims, found no evidence that the registration fraud was linked to voter fraud and had the integrity not to bring unsupported indictments.

ACORN denies that they paid per registration.

I can't claim familiarity with all of ACORN's press releases. I do know that I have read plenty of articles claiming that ACORN's pay to workers in 2000 was linked to the number of sheets they submitted.
 

Charles H. Schmidt:

["Bart"]: "We know for a fact that there is widespread illegal voter registration in at least 29 counties of Missouri with more registered voters than residents."

Oh really, Bart? Even if illegal activities really did occur, how do we already know it for a FACT? Your hot-blooded rhetoric exposes your apparent willingness to rush to judgment without having any real facts in your possession.


We know it because "Bart" is no flaming hypocrite and supports his claims with cites.

I think it's exceedingly impolite of you to question "Bart" when he backs up his assersions so copiously and so elegantly.

Cheers,
 

"Bart" DePalma:

Thank you for the link. However, TPM says this was provided by the Wisconsin GOP. I am referring to the 26 page precinct analysis by Mr. Rove which was reported in Professor Lederman's WP article....

.... which of course came via the usual channels from the RNC to the White House political officer....

Cheers,
 

Brett:

Is anyone advocating "a massive and indiscriminant" purge of the voter rolls? Personally, I'd like to see a massive purge of the voter rolls, but "indiscriminant" scarcely describes the cleanup I'd like to see.

Perhaps. But quick page search shows no one used the word "indiscriminant" except for you, and no one excpet you knows WTF you're trying to talk about.

Cheers,
 

Brett:

Whether it's a result of incompetence, non-political fraud, or what have you, the presence of people on the voter lists who don't actually vote is an open invitation to absentee ballot fraud. It's nothing which should be lightly dismissed.

It's been suggested that voting be mandatory (for all registered, i.e., legal voters, that is). In some countries you are required to vote. In the U.S., we tend to leave such choices up to the individual.

Cheers,
 

"Bart" DePalma:

ACORN submissions of fraudulent voter registrations number into the thousands across the country including particularly egregious examples in Florida and Philadelphia...

"rottenacorn.com", eh? Think they have an axe to grind? But most of the line items are rather vague and contain either raw allegations or just speculation.

"The Employment Policies Institute is a nonprofit research organization dedicated to studying public policy issues surrounding entry-level employment."

Read: "RW lobbying group/'think tank'"

The third 'source':

"Question: If your last name were Abortion would you name any of your children Alternative? Probably not! So a more pertinent question is this: If you saw the name Alternative Abortion on a voter registration form, complete with an address and a social security number, you’d be suspicious, right?
...
Late last month, Delaware County Assistant District Attorney Joe Brielmann sent out a press release warning residents to be on the lookout for this sort of fraud and identity theft."

So I guess the moral is that if your name is "Abortion Alternative", you'd better be on the lookout for someone voting in your name, eh, "Bart"?

Do you have any evidence that actual cases of false information on voter registrations are not being prosecuted? Oh, yeah, I guess there's this one. I'm sure DoJ will be all over it like flies on ... oh. Right, the FBI did get "involved".

Cheers,
 

"Bart" DePalma:

I have no problem with the federal representatives of the People of New Mexico inquiring as to the status of criminal prosecutions by the US Attorney for New Mexico for which indictments had already been obtained.

Iglesias: "Ms. Wilson asked me about sealed indictments pertaining to a politically charged corruption case widely reported in the news media involving local Democrats. Her question instantly put me on guard. Prosecutors may not legally talk about indictments, so I was evasive. Shortly after speaking to Ms. Wilson, I received a call from Senator Domenici at my home. The senator wanted to know whether I was going to file corruption charges — the cases Ms. Wilson had been asking about — before November. When I told him that I didn’t think so, he said, “I am very sorry to hear that,” and the line went dead."

All clear now?

Your RNC task-masters should dock your pay for being such a stoopid troll.

Cheers,
 

Garth said...

"I have no problem with the federal representatives of the People of New Mexico inquiring as to the status of criminal prosecutions by the US Attorney for New Mexico for which indictments had already been obtained." - bd

this is against the law. period.


What law would that be?
 

"Perhaps. But quick page search shows no one used the word "indiscriminant" except for you, and no one excpet you knows WTF you're trying to talk about."

"Here's your "ACORN" cases. Hardly something that warrants a massive and indiscriminate purge of voter rolls that would disenfranchise actual voters who didn't know they got booted until too late."

Well, excuse my spelling.
 

PMS_Chicago said...

What most people don't buy is that there is a conspiracy to steal elections.

Neither do I. I do not recall a national election fraud conspiracy. Most election fraud is local with the possible exception being ACORN. However, local election fraud can tip races in this era of razor thin victory margins.

Dems undermine their categorical denial that substantial Dem voter fraud is going on with their nearly hysterical attacks on common sense laws to avoid election fraud.

Requiring a photo ID to vote tops the list of Dem targets perhaps because it is both simple and effective. Nearly every substantial transaction requires an ID these days and states will provide you with a photo ID without the requirement of obtaining a driver's license. This is the best method of stopping people from engaging in voter fraud.

Regularly scrubbing the voter rolls to remove the dead and the living who are not eligible to vote runs a close second in drawing Dem fire. Dems usually support keeping all other government data bases current, but not voter rolls.

Ever wonder why?
 

Brett:

Well, excuse my spelling.

You put it in quotes, Brett. Use that <CTL>-C/<CTL>-V action....

Back to the actual subject matter: The Goopers were demanding a voter roll purge that the Dems claimed would be overinclusive and would purge legitimate voters. The courts agreed with the Dems.

And as I said, such a passive purge is not well-tailored to remedying the alleged problem (although it is well-tailored to removing from the voter rolls people suspected of "walking while Democrat". Goopers don't like democracy; the more people vote, the poorer the GOP does....

Cheers,
 

"Bart" DePalma:

However, local election fraud can tip races in this era of razor thin victory margins.

So can voter suppression .. and more effectively (as PMS_Chicago and others have pointed out to you). As well as slime jobs throught unsubstantiated allegations and unwarranted indictments right before elections.

If there is an indictment coming, no need to time it for the election; the perps if any have more problems to worry about than getting (re)elected. But if there is an unwarranted indictment rushed through, the damage may be done at election time even if the accused is subsequently (after the election) vindicated.

This is why the DoJ has rules about such politically sensitive actions right before elections.

Cheers,
 

What most people don't buy is that there is a conspiracy to steal elections. There are those on the left fringe that will point at Diebold, and those on the right who will start pointing at ACORN.


Are you insane? Most people do think Republicans have stolen the last two elections. But forget that polling data for a minute, Mr. All Alone in the non-existent center, I'll have to dig that up. In the mean time, see how many of your fellow fringe lunatics think Bush knew about 9/11, and that's from Rassmussen. I think the poll is poorly designed, but so what.

Here it is:

Poll: 2004 Election Was Stolen, according to viewers of all news networks except Fox News

This is not about whether Bush knew about 9/11, (I doubt that moron knows what day it is), or whether Republicans have engaged in illegal practices designed to ensure their unfair advantage at the polls since before you were born. They have.

It's about the fact that you shouldn't attempt to speak for "most people". "Most people" climbed down off the centrist fence long ago. It was a pain in the crotch, anyway. In point of fact, it's you who is the fringe lunatic, all alone in the non-existent center. Then there are the idiot fringe who watch Fox and think Bush is doing a helluva job.


Little Billy Rehnquist...


Inside each of us the little boy or girl still hides. We may even dress up in private--put on a soldier suit or a silly hat and sneak a peek in the mirror. If we have been careful in our choice of profession, we are even allowed to dress up in public. Look at RuPaul, say. Look at Oliver North testifying in his cool Marine threads. Or look at William Hubbs Rehnquist in his black robe with fat gold stripes so everybody will know he’s The Biggest Justice of Them All.

But underneath that robe hides the same little scamp, Billy Rehnquist, who used to run around the neighborhood terrorizing minority voters forty years ago.

Return with me now to those innocent days of yesteryear.

It is election day in November of 1962. We are in Phoenix, Arizona, where a young former Supreme Court clerk is doing his unlevel best to see that Barry Goldwater is elected president. The young man, William H. Rehnquist, Esq., has been director of “ballot security” operations for the local Republican Party since 1958. On this day he is the sole Republican official at a polling station in south Phoenix, which is overwhelmingly African-American, Hispanic, and Democratic.

On that same day in Phoenix another young lawyer, James J. Brosnahan, is sitting in the office of the United States Attorney in Phoenix. Mr. Brosnahan, a graduate of Harvard Law School, is an assistant U.S. attorney.

Complaints of voter harassment are pouring in from precincts in south Phoenix. Republican challengers are said to be breaking the federal law which makes it a crime to “intimidate, threaten, or coerce . . . for the purpose of interfering with the right to vote.”

Mr. Brosnahan is dispatched, along with an FBI agent, to investigate these charges of voter intimidation. Mr. Broshahan’s sworn testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1986 follows:

“The complaints we received alleged in various forms that the Republican challengers were aggressively challenging many voters without having a basis for that challenge . . .

“Based on my interviews with others, polling officials, and my fellow assistant U.S. attorneys, it was my opinion in 1962 that the challenging effort was designed to reduce the number of black and Hispanic voters by confrontation and intimidation . . .

“When we arrived, the situation was tense. At that precinct I saw William Rehnquist, who was serving as the only Republican challenger (emphasis added). The FBI agent and I both showed our identifications to those concerned, including Mr. Rehnquist . . . The complaints did involve Mr. Rehnquist’s conduct. Our arrival and the showing of our identifications had a quieting effect on the situation and after interviewing several witnesses, we left. Criminal prosecution was declined as a matter of prosecutorial discretion . . .

“I have read the testimony and letter supplied by Justice Designate William Rehnquist to this committee in 1971 . . . He describes his role in the early 1960s as trying to arbitrate disputes at polling places. That is not what Mr. Rehnquist was doing when I saw him on Election Day in 1962.

“At page 491 of the 1971 Record in his letter, William Rehnquist stated: ‘In none of those years did I personally engage in challenging the qualifications of any voters.’ This does not comport with my recollection of the events I witnessed in 1962 when Mr. Rehnquist did serve as a challenger.”

Let’s be fair, though. After all, Little Billy Rehnquist has come a long, long way from those early days in Arizona. It is 2,300 miles from south Phoenix to Washington.

 

Granteed, its not a felony, but;

"The two chambers write their own ethics rules, but both impose limits on how lawmakers can approach an executive-branch agency. Asking for status reports or urging prompt consideration of a matter is acceptable — but not, as the Senate Ethics Manual notes, when the agency is "engaged in an on-going enforcement, investigative, or other quasi-judicial proceeding."

And lest you think there are no non-political costs to this breach of House Ethics Rules consider;

The issues at stake in this case are not just ethical. The Senate manual also warns: "Courts also have set aside agency action when congressional intervention into an ongoing adjudication created the appearance of partiality."


Corrupt Rat Bastards
 

Bart: "Acorn denies that they paid by the registration"

You believe an official denial of that, and don't believe their official denial of committing election fraud? Why is this statement more or less trustworthy than anything else they say?
 

I can only hope that Bart DePalma is not a practicing lawyer--with argument such as the ones he's posted here he'd be laughed out of any court, not just one presided over by a "Clinton appointee". I find it very disturbing that so many Administration supporters are unable to distinguish between fact and fiction, between reality and illusion. It is one thing to be an earnest conservative, but it is quite another to be a willfully blind zealot.

As for the rest of the bunch here--why do you bother engaging someone who is quite obviously deranged? Wouldn't your energies be better spent elsewhere?
 

I'm not seeing the link between new anti- fraud rules and lower Democratic turnout. How does requiring an ID to vote turn away more Democratic voters than Republicans? Are more Democrats unable to obtain an ID at their local DMV? However bad the intention of Republican operatives may be, it depends on Democrats being less motivated to carry a photo ID with them to the polls. That's not a very high bar...
 

John Lynch (great name for you, is it real?) from his lonely "blog"

The Liberal Empire - Less Liberal, more Imperial
...I've always been bothered by the notion that the President is bound by a law just because Congress passes it.

Wow. To think people like this actually live among us...
 

Anonymous Bosch writes: Wow. To think people like this actually live among us...

You mean, dishonest people who would quote one sentence from a paragraph while ignoring the other sentences that explain it?

What John Lynch wrote was that if a law is unconstitutional, it shouldn't be obeyed by the president merely because Congress passed it.
 

After further examination of your blogroll, which features this pinheaded neocon clown, and this site for "serious wargamers", and the rest of the drivel and misinformation you read, I'd feel a lot safer if we had photo IDs for people like you that would preclude you from voting. Any blind, illiiterate, poor black blues picker in the south, with no photo ID, has more brains in his little string pickin' pinky than you do, Lynch.
 

This comment has been removed by the author.
 

What's really frightening is that you are an attorney, David. Where did you pass the bar and do you still have a license to practice in the U.S.?
 

JC said...

Bart: "Acorn denies that they paid by the registration"

You believe an official denial of that, and don't believe their official denial of committing election fraud? Why is this statement more or less trustworthy than anything else they say?


Touche!

I cited ACORN because you appeared to give them credence and you are the party I was trying to convince.

However, given that I think ACORN lies like a rug, the better argument from my viewpoint is that there is no evidence ACORN workers are paid by registration.
 

Good debate, both sides. Logical question:

If the replacement of about 10% of the USAs were indicative of a Rovian plot, what was the outsome of the political prosecutions for voter/election fraud brought by the remaining 90% or so "pliant" USAs?

There must of been prosecutions for them to keep their jobs, if the allegations against the Bush admin are correct, wouldn't there?
 

Dude, have you ever heard of a city named Chicago?
 

What John Lynch wrote was that if a law is unconstitutional, it shouldn't be obeyed by the president merely because Congress passed it.

Even that statement is problematic without further explanation.

How does requiring an ID to vote turn away more Democratic voters than Republicans?

For fairly obvious reasons, poorer, less educated voters tend to be less aware of the legal requirements for voting and less able to find the time or money to comply with them.

None of these efforts to limit voting create an outright barrier. That would be too crude these days. What they do is create friction -- they constitute a drag on efforts to get people to vote. It's a small tax which the higher classes can pay and the lower are less able to.
 

I can only hope that Bart DePalma is not a practicing lawyer--with argument such as the ones he's posted here he'd be laughed out of any court, not just one presided over by a "Clinton appointee".

Bart is, indeed, a practicing lawyer who post to this site as a zealous advocate of his client (the Bush Administration). It's tough representing a client who has a lousy case.
 

Bart: Neither do I. I do not recall a national election fraud conspiracy. Most election fraud is local with the possible exception being ACORN. However, local election fraud can tip races in this era of razor thin victory margins.

Of course, this is a local conspiracy between the local Dem party machinery and the federal Rep USA! Once again, we're not talking about people who already belong to the same group conspiring, but are instead positing moles (multiple) at the federal level. It is indeed a grand conspiracy theory, at the national level with no evidence - just hand-waving. As always, either Bart doesn't understand his own conspiracy theory, or he's a liar.

@EDH: This is most emphatically not a good discussion. It's not a discussion about to what extent voter fraud should be investigated against electoral fraud such as voter suppression - that could be a good discussion. This is a discussion over the grand Republican conspiracy theory to paper over a much smaller and reasonable conspiracy (with actual evidence) to affect election results by replacing competent USAs (their own political appointees in the first place), with more malleable hacks.
 

There must of been prosecutions for them to keep their jobs,

All there needed to be were indictments, or rumors and reports of investigations of Democrats right before election day... and only in key states and tight races.
 

Reed Irvine on conspiracies and conspiracy theories...

During the Clinton administration, in 1998 at the Conservative Political Action Conference, he claimed there was a conspiracy within the Republican Party to "suppress investigations of Clinton administration scandals." He noted, "Conspiracy is a word that has been given a very bad connotation -- it's become synonymous with 'kooky,' " he told a Post reporter. "But really it has a very good connotation." In other words, he elaborated, some conspiracy theories are valid. But not Hillary Clinton's notion of a vast right-wing conspiracy. "She's kooky," he said.

Now that is a wingnut.
 

Bard DePalma wrote: However, given that I think ACORN lies like a rug, the better argument from my viewpoint is that there is no evidence ACORN workers are paid by registration.

Well, there's this guy who claimed on a Fox News "Special Report" that he worked for ACORN and paid workers by the registration form:

FOX NEWS’ MAJOR GARRETT: Mac Stuart used to work for the left wing group ACORN in Miami. He was in charge of collecting petitions there to put an initiative on the ballot to boost the state's minimum wage. Recently, a current ACORN employee brought him this box of voter registrations to prove that ACORN was mishandling a voter registration drive.

FORMER ACORN EMPLOYEE MAC STUART: They had them stored somewhere; most likely copied them.

GARRETT: Stuart said it was common for ACORN to store hundreds, if not thousands of voter registration forms for weeks at a time and then photocopy them. The photocopies were sent to ACORN's national headquarters because the group paid by the petition or registration form.

STUART: I was paying $2 a card. I had one guy making $1200 every two weeks.


Given, though, that anyone who appears in a Fox News "Special Report" (where the transcript ends up hosted on the Republican National Committee website) lies like a rug, we still don't have evidence of ACORN workers being paid by registration...

Seriously, I suspect that the ACORN denial of payment by registration refers to their practices in 2006 (after they realized how foolish it was to pay by registration).
 

I quote the professor: "The point, instead, is simply that there is virtually no evidence of any systemic or new problem of voter fraud that would justify what the Republican operatives have done in recent years"...

Ahhh dude, what planet are you chiming in from? Is it within 80 million light years of reality?

Obviously doing some minor research is beneath you...

Try it again...
 

Here is the research for you, juandos: U.S. Election Assistance Commission Report. The most that the Election Assistance Commission could say is that "there is a great deal of debate about the pervasiveness of fraud in elections." And that was after the Commission had altered the findings to strengthen the appearance of fraud. As drafted by the consultants who did the research, the report originally stated that “there is widespread but not unanimous agreement that there is little polling place fraud.”
 

Bosch, here's another line from Lynch's blog (May 1):
I've become very concerned about the criminalization of politics- throwing people in jail for 'obstruction' when they haven't done anything wrong.
 

Marty -- you're a smart guy. Can you come up with a good reason not to be worried about the double voting that is the subject of this Slate story?

E.g.:

This August, Moschella's name came up in a sweep of voter registration records by the New York Daily News, which found that he and 46,000 other New Yorkers were registered to vote in both Florida and New York. Moschella also had the bad luck to answer the phone when the News reporter, Russ Buettner, called. So, his name appeared in the paper's Aug. 21 story revealing that in the 2000 election between 400 and 1,000 of these double-registrants voted in both states.

Other investigations revealed similar results elsewhere. The Orlando Sentinel found that 68,000 Florida voters are also registered in Georgia or North Carolina (the only two states it checked), 1,650 of whom voted twice in 2000 or 2002.


Keep in mind that some of these double voters just might have been Republicans, and might have swung the 2000 election. So while the kneejerk partisan position is to dismiss accounts of voter fraud, that response might not make sense here.
 

AB:In point of fact, it's you who is the fringe lunatic, all alone in the non-existent center.

Ah, you're wise to me this time. I suppose you won't let me kill the laughter. Dang.

BD:Dems undermine their categorical denial that substantial Dem voter fraud is going on with their nearly hysterical attacks on common sense laws to avoid election fraud.

Requiring a photo ID to vote tops the list of Dem targets perhaps because it is both simple and effective. Nearly every substantial transaction requires an ID these days and states will provide you with a photo ID without the requirement of obtaining a driver's license. This is the best method of stopping people from engaging in voter fraud.


Okay, big maybe, but you've yet to prove that voter fraud is even a problem that we should spend our resources on.

US Attorneys receive $1.5 billion to get their work done. There are many objectives outlined in the DOJ Strategic Plan, and securing voting rights is certainly included as well, albeit in one small paragraph, as opposed to the pages of strategy devoted to corporate fraud, violent crime, and illegal drugs.

Returning to the original post, why should the US Attorneys focus on allegations of voter fraud when there are more pervasive dangers to be dealt with?

That is, why was it made a national priority by the GOP and the administration?

It certainly wasn't justified by the rate of incidence...

US, 2002-2005

People convicted of illegal voting: 24
People who contracted Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome: 59
People reporting losses to Nigerian email scammers: 79
People struck by lightning: 264
People who were convicted by USAs for embezzlement: 3,000
People who were convicted by USAs for violent crime: 10,000
People who were convicted by USAs for illegal drugs: 100,000
People who were convicted by USAs (total): 255,000
People who ate food contaminated with the E. coli virus: 317,000
People investigated by USAs: 535,000+

If it isn't a widespread phenomenon, why make it a firing offense to prioritize something else that is? One reasonable answer is that the investigation itself, rather than any noble quest for justice, was the end goal of the focus on election-related fraud.
 

PMS_Chicago,

See, you just proved Bart's conspiracy. Since there were only 24 convictions, the conspiracy must be true!
 

David Nieporent:

[Anonymous Bosch]: Wow. To think people like this actually live among us...

You mean, dishonest people who would quote one sentence from a paragraph while ignoring the other sentences that explain it?

What John Lynch wrote was that if a law is unconstitutional, it shouldn't be obeyed by the president merely because Congress passed it.


Not quite. More from John Lynch's blog: "If he does he's not following the Constitution. It's not illegal for him to ignore it- it's his duty to do so."

There's a difference between ignoring a law and challenging it. As JaO has pointed out for many, many months here, Dubya will not take his case to court; he uses jurisdictional dodges, complaints about "standing" and the ever-present "state secrets privilege" to try and frustrate any adjudication of any such disputes.

Fine for Dubya to make an assertion that something is unconstitutional (or more specifically, which infringes on his "unitary" powers under Article II). But he should have the courage of his assertions and make that argument to a court of law.

I may think a law unconstitutional, but just ignoring it, without more, is likely to be not only to my discomfort, but also unproductive as well in terms of changing it.

Cheers,
 

Arne says: Fine for Dubya to make an assertion that something is unconstitutional (or more specifically, which infringes on his "unitary" powers under Article II). But he should have the courage of his assertions and make that argument to a court of law.

Arne, you just don't understand. The courts have no more power than Congress to infringe on the President's unitary powers, which include the uniltary right to interpret the constitution.
 

Thanks for the traffic :)

Voter fraud, if it's an issue, should be a non- partisan one. I still don't understand why anti- fraud measures, if applied fairly, would specifically target Democrats.

If they aren't applied fairly then the remedy would be the same as any other misused law.

Thanks for the feedback on my Presidential powers post- I actually started thinking about the relationship between Congress and the President during the Clinton impeachment. It seemed to me that Bill had a case that Congress should leave him alone because he hadn't done anything illegal with his intern.

The impeachment was a precursor to what goes on now- government official lies about something that's not a crime. Then he's prosecuted for lying. Yes, lying to the court system is a crime- but why was the official being investigated in the first place if he didn't do anything? It's politically motivated, just like the AG mess. Gonzales did misuse his power. The AGs really had no choice but to speak up or let their careers be ruined.
 

Mark Field- OK I found your comment. Yeah, it's a tax, but so is voter registration. It seems to me that it's a very low tax especially with 'motor voter' laws that let one get registered at the same time as obtaining an ID.

One would have to measure the benefits of reducing fraud with the cost of losing some voters. I'm not sure that the cost is really that high- how hard is it to get an ID, especially since almost everyone seems to have one already.

But thanks for actually responding to my comment.
 

John Lynch:

The impeachment was a precursor to what goes on now- government official lies about something that's not a crime. Then he's prosecuted for lying.

Ummm, the relevant standard is statements that are believed to be false that are "material" (see, e.g., the Perjury chapter, 18 USC § 1621 et seq.). For instance, perjury can occur in civil trials, regardless of any criminal behaviour (or lack thereof).

Insisting that there was no "crime" involved is to miscast the standard (not to mention ignoring the fact that there was a potential [and still possible] criminal violation of the IIPA that was being investigated).

If you think there was no "crime" involved with Libby, care to explain why at least four (Armitage, Libby, Rove, and Fleischer) maladministration people leaked Plame's identity? And why did they seek to hide this fact, if it was all on the up-and-up? Mens rea, me boy.....

Cheers,
 

It seems to me that it's a very low tax especially with 'motor voter' laws that let one get registered at the same time as obtaining an ID.

Most states with stricter ID requirements do not encourage (to be polite) motor voter registrations. And, of course, many poor don't even own cars. In addition, if you're really poor, pretty much any tax is a real burden.

One would have to measure the benefits of reducing fraud with the cost of losing some voters. I'm not sure that the cost is really that high- how hard is it to get an ID, especially since almost everyone seems to have one already.

That's only half the measurement, though. The other half, and it's the one that Prof. Lederman raised, is the benefit: is there an actual gain from more stringent requirements (i.e., are there elections in which voter ID might affect the outcome)? The evidence seems to be that there is not. Voter ID is a solution in search of a problem; it's gelding the filly.
 

There are more linkages among the unfortunate fired US attorneys as part of a voter fraud prosecution strategy for partisan advantage, but the voter fraud category is one element. People who watch electoral politics and, like I, have worked in it, have perceived this commonality among the firings and the prelude to them.

This is a turbulent thread to write a dispassionate review, and the topic is well worth a 500-word essay. Fortunately for the readers, at least one of the listed expert sources has a long web trail of expertise, Prof. Hasen. I recommend his site. However, learning from that source takes a long while, as it covers many topics. Another more conservative view is at Moritiz at Ohio State, where I favor the view of Prof. Tokaji among the several experts in election law who blog there. Hasen is published widely online, and has SSRN articles, a book; and recently in 2006 gave interesting VRA renewal testimony.

The recounting of the emotion of voting law in the thread above is enough to expose how divisive and particularized it becomes.

Events at the civil rights division at DoJ in 2005 and after, and leading to that turning point also have bearing upon the effectiveness of the US attorney firings. Rather than the firings existing in a void, they occurred in a context of expert onslaught by partisan politician(s) operating with the blessing of the administration, and inside it. It is perhaps most polite to skip the links to web coordinates, though they are numerous.

To examine topically some of the related fields, I suggest the reader research recent campaigns in states with robust initiative processes in the matter of redistricting.

Vote suppression by broad caste targetting is illegal, so initiatives are designed more subtly. There was a recent case in Orange Co., CA involving a letter and public posters targeting immigrants. But the organizing of the various local strategies from the President's inner strategy circle is tantamount to the more excessive local instances such as the one just mentioned.
 

Ah, you're wise to me this time. I suppose you won't let me kill the laughter. Dang.

If you were recording an album, that cut would be called "filler".

What's to get wise to? I had you pegged as a member of the Broderist booboisie long ago. That's fine. Just don't think you "think" for yourself. Dean Broder doesn't speak for the American people and neither do you.


ShadowFox said...
Bosch, here's another line from Lynch's blog


I know.

I read that entire post and looked at other posts, and his blogroll, before coming to the conclusion that he may be slightly more literate and "educated" than Juandos, but no better informed. And only slightly less so than PMS.

Juandos usually hangs out here, BTW.

After you look at the title of the blog and that one line... what else do you need to see?
 

Despite Rove’s Claims, Voter Fraud Wasn’t A ‘Problem’ In Nevada

I've seen all this before. When we finally get to the bottom of all this, Bush will have made his mark on history. His legacy will be assured, even if a home for the G.W.Bush Library isn't, and U.S. Grant will no longer have the most corrupt and criminal administration in American history.
 

Stuart Buck,
Voter ID laws certainly would not solve any problems supposedly revealed in the article. Yet, GOP only insists on voter-ID laws as a remedy.

Lynch,
You say voter registration is a tax, yet it's a tax that takes no monetary value from the voter. How is it a tax, exactly?

Adam,
The courts have no more power than Congress to infringe on the President's unitary powers, which include the uniltary right to interpret the constitution.

I am assuming this is a snark. The power to "interpret the constitution" lies not with the President but with Federal Courts. The President's job is to faithfully execute the laws--including, especially, those passed by Congress. If he (or his minions) suspect questionable constitutionality of such laws, he can take his case to the Supreme Court, but he cannot just override the law as written.
 

Marty -- you're a smart guy. Can you come up with a good reason not to be worried about the double voting that is the subject of this Slate story?

Yes, Marty probably is a smart guy. He probably doesn't read NewsMax, the source of your argument, and that story, even when the recycled drivel from the right wing noise machine that finds it's way into Slate, recycled by a slicker operator than you Mr. Buck, like Bill Gifford. I'd bet Marty, being a smart guy and all, draws the line at Dahlia Lithwick. I know I do. Besides, although not everyone who goes to Dartmouth is a complete wingnut, Bill Gifford is sure to have spent time writing for the Dartmouth Review. It must suck being one of the people who gets fooled all of the time.
 

Shadowfox... Adam,
The courts have no more power than Congress to infringe on the President's unitary powers, which include the uniltary right to interpret the constitution.


Don't be so sure. I have no idea why all of these "flat earthers" have decided to partake of the higher altitude, but perhaps they will learn something if they can hold their breath long enough.
 

This is not a new tactic for Karl Rove. The documentary "Bush's Brain" explores some of the ways Karl Rove has used bogus legal investigations for political purposes, including spurious allegations of "bugging" a campaign office made public close to a close election. I think an allied FBI agent was required for the scheme, if I remember correctly.
 

owencenli:

This is not a new tactic for Karl Rove. The documentary "Bush's Brain" explores some of the ways Karl Rove has used bogus legal investigations for political purposes, including spurious allegations of "bugging" a campaign office made public close to a close election. I think an allied FBI agent was required for the scheme, if I remember correctly.

You do remember correctly. Rove had this FBI guy in his back pocket (if the guy's still with the agency, Dubya's probably giving him merit bonuses for past work above and beyond the call of duty).

Not to mention Rove's days tampering with College Republican elections.

Yes, same old "song'n'dance" from "Bush's Brain". Guess the old dog can't learn any new tricks. But he's been doing this sleazebucket stuff all his life, so what's a guy gonna do? Only problem is that if you do it by subverting the USDOJ, you're maybe asking for more that you can chew.

Cheers,
 

Mark Field- yeah, I see your point. It's still a question of whether fraud is a bigger problem. Republicans can win by fraud, too. There's nothing inherently partisan about fraud.

AB- try making an argument without calling peple names. It's harder but I think you'll be better for it. Think about ideas rather than what side you're on. It's really hard to persuade people if you insult them. I suppose that the 3 people who read my blog might get some odd ideas, but I assure you that it's not worth your time to smear me. I don't matter that much. Go after bigger fish if you think it's important.

Arne- Much of the time partisan zeal that you're getting one of the bad guys overshadows the fact that lying to investigators wouldn't have happened if they hadn't started investigating.

In cases when NO other crime than obstruction is found to have occured, we have to wonder just what the point was. Was the prosecution actually trying to find the truth or will any conviction do? I'm not saying crimes shouldn't be investigated (or that lying is OK), but there's a political component here that I feel is getting out of hand.

Investigations are launched solely to catch people lying about something rather than to find evidence of a crime. Bill Clinton called it the 'politics of personal destruction.'

That is a political take on it, not a legal one. I realize that you know a lot more about the law than I do.

Shadowfox- it's a tax on time. If you impose any extra cost in money or time then on the margin it will have an effect. If one person in a district doesn't vote because of new rules, there's a cost.
 

John Lynch:

Arne- Much of the time partisan zeal that you're getting one of the bad guys overshadows the fact that lying to investigators wouldn't have happened if they hadn't started investigating.

"I'd never have been charged with assault on a police officer if they just hadn't tried to arrest me" -- fleeing bank robber to da judge....

That's a good one, John.

In cases when NO other crime than obstruction is found to have occured, we have to wonder just what the point was....

So do we. Why obstruct if it was all on the up-and-up, eh?

But Fitzgerald explained to you why he wasn't able to come to any conclusions on IIPA or other secrecy law violations (hint: it had to do with the maladministration's obstruction of his investigation). You just weren't paying attention.

... Was the prosecution actually trying to find the truth or will any conviction do? I'm not saying crimes shouldn't be investigated (or that lying is OK), but there's a political component here that I feel is getting out of hand.

Ummm, what's the "political component" here?

Investigations are launched solely to catch people lying about something rather than to find evidence of a crime....

No. Fitzgerald was asked to find out whether the IIPA or other secrecy laws had been violated.

... Bill Clinton called it the 'politics of personal destruction.'

That it was ... there. Glad you discernt the difference.

That is a political take on it, not a legal one. I realize that you know a lot more about the law than I do.

Doesn't take any knowledge of the law to know that Plame was outed, that there are laws that prevent the disclosure of CIA agents' identities, and this is what Fitzerald (on request of the CIA) was looking into.

You still haven't asnwered why you think that four maladministration officials outed Plame, and then some of them (remeber that Rove narrowly avoided an indictment after he changed his "song" to conform a bit closer to the actual facts) lied about the facts and the circumstances of this.

Cheers,
 

AB:If you were recording an album, that cut would be called "filler".

Red Rider to Sum 41? You've got range, I'll give you that.

Dean Broder doesn't speak for the American people and neither do you.

I never claimed to speak for the American people. You're objecting to my use of "most people" in the sentence "what most people don't buy is that there is a conspiracy to steal elections."

From the article you linked to: Overall, the poll found that 39% said that the 2004 election was stolen. 54% said it was legitimate.

First of all, 54% > 39% even when you don't like the outcome. Fox viewers, surprising as it might be, are people, too. I agree that they may not act like it all the time, but they are. Your own source shows that yes, "most people" don't buy that there was a conspiracy to steal the 2004 election.

Secondly, there's a qualitative difference between 1) stealing an election through a massive effort involving thousands of individuals who submit falsified registration forms in thousands of districts in order to clear the way for future abuse and 2) stealing an election through work-to-rule interpretation of statutes by well-placed allies and/or questionable Supreme Court intervention.

Thirdly, if you're going to try to insult me by claiming someone is my political mentor, it might be nice to pick one I actually read regularly.

Lastly, although I suspect you won't take this the right way, I would suggest that you cool down the tone of your rhetoric. There's no reason to insult people so directly to make your point. Using personal information against people when you won't even share your own is an unbalanced game, and in the long run won't be as rewarding as you might think it is now.
 

Bart and others...

Allegations of fraud against ACORN are just that - allegations. The only idictments were in MO in 2006 from Schlozman from information provided by ACORN itself against the workers who gathered the cards.

Beware of using Mac Stuart of Fox News fame as a source. This St. Petersburg Times articel from December 2005 shows how all his "allegations" collaspes in the cold harsh light of a courtroom. http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/sptimes/access/942246431.html?MAC=df0338ce808d4bed0bb7944e2b82fd71&did=942246431&FMT=FT&FMTS=FT&date=Dec+15%2C+2005&author=JONI+JAMES&pub=St.+Petersburg+Times&printformat=&desc=Voter+fraud+charges+collapse

Further Eugene Volokh himself notes this on his own blog, often a meeting place for "voter fraud" conspiracy theorists. http://volokh.com/posts/1139419369.shtml

Finally, as other note, there is no credible evidence that ACORN pays by the card. Not only is this illegal in most states (and that's just what ACORN needs - more lawsuits when they are so easy to avoid), but it's also bad policy because it encourages workers to try to defraud ACORN by submitting bogus cards. ACORN doesn't do it.

Finally if you really thing voter registration fraud is a problem, maybe you should read the EAC report mentioned by numerous posters here OR read the report released by Project Vote in March by Lorraine Minnite from Columbia that comes to the same conclusion. You can find it here (PDF): http://projectvote.org/fileadmin/ProjectVote/Publications/Politics_of_Voter_Fraud_Final.pdf

Cheers to all.
 

Allegations of fraud against ACORN are just that - allegations. The idictments only found in MO in 2006 from the information provided Schlozman.
When we play the runescape, we need the RS Gold to help us become more powerful, as the same, we also need the cheap tera gold to spend less money to get the gold. When we feel tired we need the game to relax, we need the eden gold to play the game and we did this just
for fun and don’t become addiction about it!
 

Its a great pleasure reading your post.Its full of information I am looking for and I love to post a comment that "The content of your post is awesome" Great work Celebrity Plastic Surgery
 

Post a Comment

Home