U.S. Attorney Firings Exposes Rough Justice
The radiance of election success.
Comandante Agi Rights
“Scoop” Independent News
There’s a new clue to the motivation behind the recent firing of federal prosecutors. Reporters Gordon, Talev and Taylor of McClatchy Newspapers established a likely relationship between the post 2000 hard right turn in civil rights policies at the Department of Justice and the promotion of the new cadre of right wing U.S. Attorneys who support restricting voter eligibility. Karl Rove’s own words on the subject indicate a further connection between recent appointments in nine states where very tight Congressional races were anticipated
The Bush Justice Department is imploding after years of consistently undermining the rights and freedoms of those citizens it claims to serve. From the Patriot Act to the unfettered sadism endorsed at White House inspired and sponsored torture centers around the world, the Justice Department stands with the White House. It provides a fig leaf of legal justification for the various adventures which involve war, death a suffering.
Politicians and officials are taking cover from the dangerous debris of the fired federal prosecutor’s scandal. The legislative craftsman who allowed Bush to perform the previously barred dismissals, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), is now openly critical of the firings. The Democrats on Capitol Hill are uniquely focused in their demands that Gonzales go. Even Cong. Tom Tancredo (R-CO), a rabid right wing opponent of immigration, called on Bush to fire Gonzales.
The “Scoop” Independent News analysis of March 12, 2007 suggested that one prime motivation behind the abrupt firing of at least four of the eight U.S. attorneys was their failure to cooperate on election fraud related issues. In the case of two, it was a failure to pursue indictments requested by prominent state Republicans in New Mexico and Washington State. It seems the U.S. Attorneys in Nevada and San Diego went too far in their investigations of sitting Republican office holders. Fired U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden had the FBI looking into problems with Nevada’s must-win candidate for governor, Republican Jim Gibbons (who won). San Diego based U.S. Attorney Carol Lam put former Republican Cong. “Duke” Cunningham in jail and was investigating another Californian, Cong. Jerry Lewis (R-CA).
New evidence and revelations are flooding the media since March 12th. It suggests a coordinated effort to use the “voter fraud” anomaly as a key vehicle to promote the very real phenomenon of voter suppression. There have been 24 convictions in three years of focused investigation, hence the term anomaly rather than problem.
Election Fraud versus Voter Fraud
Lorraine C. Minnite, PhD of Barnard College, Columbia University just published a major article explaining voter fraud. Here distinctions between voter and election fraud are critical:
Voter fraud is the “intentional corruption of the electoral process by the voter.” This definition covers knowingly and willingly giving false information to establish voter eligibility, and knowingly and willingly voting illegally or participating in a conspiracy to encourage illegal voting by others. All other forms of corruption of the electoral process and corruption committed by elected or election officials, candidates, party organizations, advocacy groups or campaign workers fall under the wider definition of election fraud.
Voter fraud is the retail while election fraud is the wholesale corruption of elections.
Florida 2000 provides an excellent example of documented election fraud.. At least 50 thousand eligible, registered voters were removed from the voting rolls before the election by Katherine Harris, Florida’s Secretary of State under Jeb Bush. These voters were almost all black Floridians. During the election, nearly 100 thousand “spoiled” (supposedly uncountable) ballots were disqualified in Florida, most of which in precincts with predominantly black populations. The blatant voter suppression by Harris was acknowledged by the state of Florida in a 2002 consent decree it reached with the NAACP. Florida 2000 election fraud cost Al Gore the election by removing thousands of voters who would have chosen him by overwhelming margins.
Ohio’s 2004 election was the scene of number of well documented charges of election fraud. These included the old standby voter suppression and the new variation, vote switching. One recent analysis demonstrated exactly how this new scheme works by studying precincts with over 160 thousand punch card ballots. In addition to direct examination of ballots, high level statistical analysis shows the wholesale shift of votes to Bush. As a result, he took the presidency again since Ohio was the deciding state.
The Voter Fraud Fantasy – 24 Convictions Nationwide from 2002 through 2005
Voter fraud is hardly a crime wave. In fact with just 24 convictions in 3 years, it’s barely a crime let alone an issue worthy of national focus. Yet considerable time and effort is devoted to this microscopic phenomenon. The McClatchy Newspapers describe Rove’s attention to this non issue in a speech given to a Republican attorneys association.
Rove thanked the audience for "all that you are doing in those hot spots around the country to ensure that the integrity of the ballot is protected." He added, "A lot in American politics is up for grabs." McClatchy Newspapers 23 March 2007
Bush chimed in claiming that “he's heard complaints from Republicans about some U.S. attorneys' "lack of vigorous prosecution of election fraud cases.”
Are these people delusional? We’re able to
find just 24 convictions between 2002 and 2005. The
Republicans controlled all three branches of government
during that period.
Is a national effort producing twenty four convictions the best they could do? There were over 120 million citizens voted in 2004. Did the Department of Justice need more targets? The lack of convictions when uniform national pressure is applied demonstrates that there is hardly any voter fraud occurring in the United States.
Why the Effort to Attack a Problem that
Doesn’t Exist? It’s All About Suppressing the
Why? It’s simple. The payoff in suppressed votes from hostile voting groups is the real goal. Voter fraud initiatives result in solutions to problems that don’t exist. However, those solutions provide a rationale to create the type of problems that are desirable by those who choose to suppress the vote. Which voters am I talking about? The poor, black and Latino citizens in particular, and, to a lesser degree, college and university students strongly favor Democrats. Any process which subtracts voters from these groups adds vote margins to right wing candidates, typically but not always Republicans.
Here’s how it works. You speak repeatedly of the non existent problem of voter fraud, over and over. At the Federal level, you start something called the Ballot Access and Voter Integrity Initiative. It suggests that there are hoards of voters out there who want to vote illegally on their own or, even worse, at the behest of nefarious individuals who might organize these hoards. You hint broadly that these voters are minorities and maybe even illegal aliens.
If there’s an initiative to solve a problem, you assume some people will believe that the problem actually exists. Those who actually know better, state legislators, sponsor and pass legislation like restrictive voter identification requirements for both the registration and voting processes. The net result is a series of laws at the state level that make it harder to vote for the previously mentioned target groups. Missouri’s most recent attempt at a restrictive voter identification law was judged to be unconstitutional before it was ever enacted.
When you are accused of suppressing the minority and poor vote, you engage in the false argument about tradeoffs. You assert that restrictive voter identification requirements are necessary to prevent voter fraud (all eight cases a year!). You say you want people to vote but opponents of voter ID requirements are really promoting voter fraud. It’s all quite brilliant, symmetrical, and self perpetuating.
Former Georgia Governor Roy Barnes simplified the analysis last week when he said
"Georgia's had a long history of being a state where we only want a certain number of people, a certain color of people, to vote," argued former Gov. Roy Barnes, now a private attorney.
Georgia is not alone.
The Fired Federal Prosecutors and Voter Fraud
The fired federal prosecutors’ connection to election fraud has expanded to the combination of the firings, the replacements of those fired, and pre 2006 election appointments of politicized U.S. attorneys. One goal emerges: the full compliance by U.S. Attorneys with the great sham, voter fraud prevention, which results in the suppression of those voters you don’t want voting - minorities, the poor, and students.
The cynicism of this
effort is breath taking. Two consecutive top law
enforcement officers of the United States, Ashcroft and
Gonzalez, used the office of U.S.
Attorney General to promote the fiction of voter fraud knowing full well that the net effect of the effort had nothing to do with the phantom problem they claimed to attack. There is no evidence that a single U.S. Attorney spoke up to object. The efforts were really a fabrication to justify the highly restrictive legislation promoted at the state level to reduce voter participation in heavily Democratic constituencies.
This U.S. Attorney scandal is supposedly about a process of removing government officials without proper deliberation. The development of that scandal opened up a much larger issue; the planned execution of an effort to stop people form voting simply based on their voting preferences and their inability to resist new laws due to their relatively weak political status.
How low with those charged to enforce the laws sink if they’re willing to engage in a sham effort to stop a nonexistent crime which allows them to promote and commit the very real crime of voter suppression?
See “Politicized U.S. Attorneys,” a preliminary analysis of the McClatchy article examining U.S. Attorney appointments in the nine states mentioned in the contest of the 2006 midterm Congressional elections.