Category Archives: voter intimidation

Supreme Court to rule on voter ID laws

Here is the test of the Republican strategy to win the 2008 elections by disenfranchising millions of Americans who are poor, elderly, or don’t drive.  The Republicans also rely on purging voter roles of those whose names are similar to felons’, and on creating long lines in Democratic precincts, and on spreading disinformation about voting times and places. And of course, they rely on the Republican appointees on the Supreme Court to bail them out.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to decide whether voter identification laws unfairly deter the poor and minorities from voting, stepping into a contentious partisan issue in advance of the 2008 elections.

The justices will hear arguments early next year in a challenge to an Indiana law that requires voters to present photo ID before casting their ballots. The state has defended the law as a way to combat voter fraud.

The state Democratic party and civil rights groups complained that the law unfairly targets poor and minority voters, without any evidence that in-person voter fraud exists in Indiana. The party argued that those voters tend to be Democrats.

Courts have upheld voter ID laws in Arizona and Michigan, but struck down Missouri’s. Earlier this month, a federal judge dismissed a challenge to Georgia’s voter identification law, saying the statute does not impose a significant burden on the right to vote.

Election law experts had urged the court to take the Indiana case to instruct courts on how to weigh claims of voter fraud versus those of disenfranchisement. “The court better resolve this question before ballots start getting counted next fall,” said Stanford University law professor Pamela Karlan.

The court is expected to issue a decision by late June, in time for the November general election.

The Indiana law enacted in 2005 was upheld by a federal judge and by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago. Before the law’s passage, an Indiana voter had only to sign a poll book at the polling place, where a photo copy of the voter’s signature was kept on file for comparison.

“The purpose of the Indiana law is to reduce voting fraud, and voting fraud impairs the right of legitimate voters to vote by diluting their votes,” Judge Richard Posner said in his majority opinion.

But in a dissent, Judge Terence Evans said, “Let’s not beat around the bush. The Indiana voter photo ID law is a not-too-thinly veiled attempt to discourage election-day turnout by folks believed to skew Democratic.”

Bill Groth, an attorney who has represented the Indiana Democratic Party in the lawsuit, said he was thrilled that the nation’s highest court will take up the case. He said the appeals court made light of the right to vote in its decision, but the Supreme Court has guarded that right more seriously.

“The court has over and over stressed that the right to vote should be protected, and any state law that burdens that right should be carefully and meticulously reviewed,” Groth said.

The voter ID challenge was among 17 new cases accepted by the court in advance of the start of its new term on Monday.

The cases are Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, 07-21, and Indiana Democratic Party v. Rokita, 07-25.

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The politicization of the Department of Justice started long before the US attorney scandal

link

Elizabeth de la Vega at Atlantic Free Press:

Ashcroft did not disappoint. Almost immediately, he delighted Christian conservatives by gathering his subordinates together on federal property to participate in daily Pentecostal Christian prayer meetings. (Hey, they were voluntary meetings and anyone — Jew, Muslim, Pagan, Buddhist, Atheist, Wiccan — could participate, so what is the big deal?) In May 2001, he turned to another top priority: undermining gun prosecutions by formally advising the NRA that the DOJ would no longer take the position that the Second Amendment does not guarantee private citizens the right to bear arms, a 180 degree shift from longstanding DOJ policy.

Using the DOJ to repay the gun lobby that had donated over $1 million to the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign was a trifle, however, compared to the decision to pull the plug on over 50 environmental cases against air-polluting power plants and refineries that had also, coincidentally, been huge donors to the Republican party in the 2000 election. In late June of 2001, the DOJ not only suspended its lawsuits against the energy companies, but advised them to abandon the pollution-control upgrades they were implementing as part of pending settlement agreements. This, as we now know, was merely the beginning of the administration’s use of both the Ashcroft and Gonzales DOJ to benefit big business at the expense of the environment — an assault that is now in its sixth year.

Also in its sixth year is the assault on civil rights and liberties Bush and Cheney set in motion in 2001 — with the wholehearted cooperation of Ashcroft and so many others in the highest levels of the very agency specifically designated to uphold those rights and liberties.

It was, for example, the head of the DOJ’s criminal division — the current Director of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff — who, in the fall of 2001, supervised the round-up of over 1000 Arab and Muslim non-citizens within the United States, holding them as “material witnesses” to offenses that were never quite specified. Although the men were imprisoned for months, often in solitary confinement, Chertoff refused to allow them to have lawyers, because — he argued without apparent irony — they were not charged with a crime. In 2003, the DOJ’s inspector general called this draconian mass detention “indiscriminate and haphazard.” Ashcroft’s response to that charge? He would “make no apology.”

It was Ashcroft who, in 2001, first lobbied Congress for broad expansion of government surveillance powers in the form of the Patriot Act, which included changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. What we did not know, however, was at the same time the attorney general and his minions were secretly acquiescing to widespread violations of that same law. Because the administration has slithered away from oversight and accountability at every turn, we still — six years later — know almost nothing about the executive branch’s illegal surveillance.

Of all the lawlessness sanctioned and nurtured by the DOJ since Bush and Cheney took office, none is more horrifying than the treatment of the thousands who have been detained in the name of the undeclared “War on Terror.” As we now know, on September 25, 2001, Attorney General Ashcroft’s subordinate John Yoo penned a memo which informed the president that he had virtually unlimited authority to take retaliatory or preventive action against “terrorists.”

Beginning in October of 2001 — with the door to any and all forms of illegal government conduct having been thrown open by the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel — Ashcroft, Chertoff and many other DOJ officials watched and offered counsel to advance a program of mass detentions in Afghanistan and elsewhere that were, more often than not, based on unreliable information and even mere whim. They acquiesced in the torture of these prisoners by both our own and foreign governments, attempting to justify this unspeakable conduct with the now-withdrawn memo John Yoo submitted to then White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales in August 2002. (That our highest government officials felt the need to commission such a memo and allowed it to remain extant until 2004 is proof enough of widespread guilty knowledge on the part of both White House and DOJ officials.)

Nearly six years after they were first captured on foreign soil in the fall of 2001, 375 of these men are still imprisoned by the United States at Guantanamo Bay — and they have never had a hearing.

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Bush/Cheney declares itself dictator. This is not a joke.

This is no joke. Bush issued an executive order declaring that he can freeze the assets of US citizens that HE and his executive branch appointees believe:

i) to have committed, or to pose a significant risk of committing, an act or acts of violence that have the purpose or effect of:

(A) threatening the peace or stability of Iraq or the Government of Iraq; or

(B) undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq or to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people;

and do so without warning, notice or hearing.

Freezing your assets means you can’t get any of your money, you can’t sell anything, you are in essence an instant churchmouse. As in penniless. As in you can’t even pay your bills or hire a lawyer. Your president now thinks he has that power over every single person in the US.

And all you have to do to become penniless is be “at significant risk” for committing an “act of violence” that might undermine or threaten whatever Bush is dreaming of for Iraq. Or be associated with anyone who does.

Does this mean having bumper stickers that say “get out of Iraq”? signs? T-shirts? Chanting antiwar slogans on the Mall in Washington? or contributing money to support a rally? Sorry, people, Bush is losing his mind here, and we are losing our freedoms right and left. Bush’s puppet Department Dereliction of Justice will slap this on protesters in a heartbeat. A big anti-war rally is planned for Washington DC in September. This order is clearly designed to chill, if not abort, this protest.

Bush and Cheney are nuts, people. They are un-American, anti-freedom, anti-truth, and they are evil-doers. They are now going into serious bunker mentality. They have to be impeached. Call your congressperson. Today.

Could Democratic politicians be declared subject to Bush/Cheney’s order? Look at this….. 

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Fired New Mexico US Attorney was attacked by “voter fraud” agitator

News from McClatchy News Service on the New Mexico US Attorney firing:

A New Mexico lawyer who pressed to oust U.S. Attorney David Iglesias was an officer of a nonprofit group that aided Republican candidates in 2006 by pushing for tougher voter identification laws. Iglesias, who was one of nine U.S. attorneys the administration fired last year, said that Albuquerque lawyer Patrick Rogers pressured him several times to bring voter fraud prosecutions where little evidence existed. Iglesias believes that he was fired in part because he failed to pursue such cases.

He described Rogers, who declined to discuss the exchanges, as “obsessed … convinced there was massive voter fraud going on in this state, and I needed to do something to stop it.”

Iglesias said he only recently learned of Rogers’ involvement as secretary of the non-profit American Center for Voting Rights Legislative Fund – an activist group that defended tighter voter identification requirements in court against charges that they were designed to hamper voting by poor minorities.

Rogers, a former general counsel to the New Mexico Republican Party and a candidate to replace Iglesias, is among a number of well-connected GOP partisans whose work with the legislative fund and a sister group played a significant role in the party’s effort to retain control of Congress in the 2006 election.

“Voter fraud” was investigated in NM and none was found, just as it has been discredited in the rest of the country. But this issue is a common thread in the US Attorney controversy, and one which links it directly to Karl Rove, who is obsessed with the subject. Claims of voter fraud are simply a way of suppressing the vote, intimidating voters and those who register voters. This highly undemocratic tactic is only one of the many “dirty tricks” developed by Karl Rove.

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US Atty NJ Chris Christie: Bush pioneer got on and off ‘the list’

This may be a case of the right hand not knowing what the left hand was doing. In this case, the GOP money-grabbing hand didn’t know what the MoniKyle listmaking hand was doing…Chris Christie, NJ USA, was a Bush Pioneer, who got put on the list after the 2006 elections, apparently for ignoring a “voter fraud” case handed to him by local Republicans, with a great deal of fanfare.
From the Atlantic Highlands Herald.

Republican Assembly candidates Jennifer Beck and Declan O’Scanlon called today for United States Attorney Chris Christie to look into voter fraud in Monmouth County …an investigation by the Republican State Committee turned up rampant voter fraud, including voters who voted in two states, voters who voted in two separate counties in New Jersey, and votes being cast by people listed as deceased.
It’s obvious that we need the United States Attorney’s office to get involved because once again, the Attorney General just doesn’t seem to be up to the task”, said Beck. …It’s the middle of September already. If he doesn’t want to do it, the let Chris Christie handle it.”

… “Obviously, we need better oversight of these local election boards, and better cooperation so we can constantly crosscheck the voter rolls.

How did Christie get off the list?
By a lot of partisan prosecutions and hollering,

in 15 months, that’s one conviction, two subpoenas to [GOP] party organizations during an investigation of the Democratic leadership, and a letter clearing a Republican Mayor.

During the same time period, there have been 63 investigations, subpoenas, indictments or convictions of Democrats.
[view in Google Docs] That sounds bad, but there are all of 12 convictions with well over half of those involving John Lynch and Charles Kushner.

Of course this is necessarily unscientific, in part because the US Attorney’s office has not returned repeated calls from a Blue Jersey representative seeking the list of convictions Christie regularly speaks about, or for the list of public places he’s spoken at. We cannot know – nor should we know – about all of the US Attorney’s investigations, but we do know the ones that made the papers.

And 94 percent of those are of or related to Democrats in the past 15 months.

So the US Attorney’s actions in the newspapers are 94 percent against one party, and then goes on a speaking tour urging voters to get engaged and kick the corrupt politicians out of office. People hearing him speak – at swearings-in, on 101.5 with The Jersey Guys, at colleges, and elsewhere – can’t help but think he means the party he is investigating 94 percent of the time.

Perhaps 94 percent of the time is reasonable for the US Attorney, but the speaking tour is not, and improperly influences the electorate toward the Republican Party. Note that Christe has raised and donated hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Republicans, and is the front-runner to serve as its 2009 standard bearer for New Jersey Governor.

Seems like a pretty good Bushie, yes? Am I wrong? So it would appear that Christie’s sojourn on the list was not atypical; like USAs in other states, he got put on for ignoring local calls for election fraud prosecutions; in Christie’s case, he seems to have gotten off the list not by finally doing something about “voter fraud,” but by rabidly partisan behavior.

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US Atty Silsby (Maine) on “the list” after 2004 elections, off by 2006.

Unknown persons placed a number of US attorneys on MoniKyle’s list to be fired, and later removed most of these from the list after the 2006 elections. What changed?

I have been poking around trying to discover whether some USA’s who were put on the list after 2004, and then removed in 2006, seemed to fit a pattern of doing nothing with potential voter fraud cases in 2004, but then getting headlines on the same issue before the 2006 elections. USA Paula Silsby of Maine seems to fit the pattern.

To keep the job, apparently, required overt actions that demonstrated a willingness to politicize the office. Much has been written about political bias in possible public corruption cases in Wisconsin, California, New Mexico, etc. The White House, it seems, wanted pre-election headlines that would scream that Democrats were crooks.

So-called “voter fraud” prosecutions by US attorneys may also have been an important determinant of who was placed on the list. These have gotten less attention than public corruption cases, but do have an important role in the GOP strategy of how to win elections, through voter suppression and intimidation.

There were actually two voter controversies in Maine in 2004, but so far I haven’t found evidence that the US attorney roused herself to become significantly involved in either one. The first was an issue of whether college students would be allowed to vote if their residences were not in Maine.

link
The way it was explained to me, the Maine GOP will try and assert that there are laws in certain states- like Minnesota- which prohibit those who make their primary residence in state to register to vote out of state. At the moment, the Maine GOP is trying to determine how to argue that Maine state law, which allows out of state registrants, does not supersede voting laws in other states.

In addition, Maine had not come into compliance with new national guidelines for compiling statewide voter lists. More on this below. I could not find any evidence that Maine USA Paula Silsby made any noise on either one of these potential cases.

It was after this election that Silsby was put on Kyle Sampson’s list to be fired. I don’t know whether she knew she was in trouble with Rove or not. But when the next election came around, however, the USA had found a voter controversy to get involved in, and she made it sound like voter fraud and made sure it got in the papers.
McClatchy:

Since 2005, department civil rights lawyers have sued election officials in seven states – Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Maine, Missouri, New Jersey and New York – and sent threatening letters to others, in some cases demanding copies of voter registration data.
….

Joseph Rich, a former chief of the Justice Department’s Voting Rights Section, said that Hans von Spakovsky, a former division counsel, directed him in early 2005 to start what Rich called “an initiative” to enforce the provision requiring states to maintain accurate registration lists.

Department spokeswoman Magnuson said “there was no initiative” and that the agency was merely enforcing the law.

Rich said the department changed priorities under the motor voter law “from expanding registration opportunities – the primary purpose of the statute – to unnecessarily forcing jurisdictions to remove voters from their voter rolls.”
“Aggressive purging of the voter rolls tends to have a disproportionate impact on voters who move frequently, live in cities and have names that are more likely to be incorrectly entered into databases,” said Rich, who’s now an attorney with the liberal-leaning Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights. Primarily, he said, this means poor, minority voters.
In late 2005, the department sued Missouri’s Democratic secretary of state, Robin Carnahan, charging that her state had failed to eliminate ineligible voters from registration rolls. A federal judge threw out the suit …

The remaining lawsuits were settled with the states pledging to abide by the law.

The suits accused Alabama Secretary of State Nancy Worley and Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, both Democrats, of failing to meet the deadline for setting up statewide databases of registered voters, which they blamed on technical complications.

In Worley’s case, the department took the extraordinary step of persuading a federal judge nominated by President Bush to relieve her of her authority to oversee the 2006 election and to give Republican Gov. Bob Riley that authority as a “special master” of the court.

Worley called the suit “incredibly political,” noting that it was filed shortly before she was due to face Democratic primary voters in a re-election bid and blaming it for her defeat.

Dunlap said the company that was hired to create the database in Maine ran into technical problems and couldn’t complete the job. Nevada, he said, used the same vendor and also experienced problems, but the Justice Department didn’t sue its Republican secretary of state, Dean Heller, who was running for Congress at the time.

Maine fired the company that was to provide the state voter database, and was sued by the DoJ. They finally reached an agreement, and USA used that opportunity to trumpet the “voter fraud” meme:

The agreement sets forth the state’s plan for ensuring that each polling place has a voting system that is fully accessible to individuals with disabilities and can generate a permanent paper record that can be manually audited. The agreement also sets forth the state’s plan for creating a statewide computerized voter registration database that will help to identify and remove ineligible voters from the state’s voter rolls. A lawsuit, filed contemporaneously with the agreement, followed a Justice Department investigation that found that Maine had not yet fully complied with HAVA’s requirements that each polling place have a voting system accessible to disabled voters, and that the state create a statewide computerized voter registration database. The Justice Department’s investigation also found that Maine’s voter rolls contained a significant number of ineligible voters.

“Maine has a proud tradition of voter participation,” said Paula Silsby, U.S. Attorney for the District of Maine. “These measures will provide immediate and lasting reform and will help ensure the integrity of Maine’s elections.”

The agreement, which must be approved by the federal district court in Maine, requires the state to provide each polling place with a voting system that is fully accessible to individuals with disabilities. The agreement also requires the state to develop a centralized statewide database and to begin conducting a program of list maintenance. Maine’s Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap added, “Maine and the Justice Department share a common goal of full and successful implementation of the Help America Vote Act. We’re working to modernize our election process and make it even stronger, and are pleased that the DOJ has agreed to our plan for doing so.”

Needless to say, after this performance, US attorney Silsby’s name was removed from the list of those USAs to be fired. Silsby’s case seems similar to those of Florida USA Gregory Miller, and Western Pennsylvania USA Mary Beth Buchanan. It will be impossible to know, without further evidence, if these voter fraud cases were the determining factor in who was put on the list to be fired or alternatively, judged a loyal Bushie. But there does seem to be a certain pattern. The GOP is a minority party of the rich and whatever ignorant southerners and “faithbased” voters it can successfully propagandize with Fox News Network. As such, it depends on various strategies for suppressing the vote of the rest of the country. The net result will be that more and more Americans will be barred from their basic right to vote, simply because they have moved, or because they have a parking ticket.

This diary may just be moving a few grains of sand, but hopefully other, more locally-based “ants” will continue the work.

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UPDATED:Mary Beth Buchanan: how did she get on (and off) the US attorney “LIST”?

Time to find more US attorney dots and try to connect them.

Mary Ann Buchanan was and is, by almost all accounts, a loyal Bushie US attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania. She investigated and prosecuted the hell out of Democrats in the Pittsburgh area, while turning a blind eye to alleged sins committed by Republicans. She received special assignments and had a leadership position amongst the US attorneys. Yet, as with some other apparently loyal and capable USAs, Mary Beth Buchanan’s name was, at one point in time, placed on the list of USAs to be considered for firing. WTF? over?

Since voting issues seem to have been prominent factors in the firings of some USAs, I did some googling of things like Pittsburgh, voter fraud, 2004, things like that, which led me to this interesting letter to the editor of a Pittsburgh paper, alleging voter fraud in Allegheny County:

link

Thursday, October 21, 2004

In the Oct. 15 article titled “[Gov. Ed] Rendel will send monitors to elections offices,” it was not surprising to find a quote by the Allegheny County Chair of the Democratic Party, Tom Flaherty stating, “I could see if we had a history of voter fraud, maybe, but Allegheny County has always run impeccable elections, no matter which party is administering them.” Sure, Tom, maybe you forgot that Allegheny County spent $15,000 in 2002 to have an independent investigation into the allegations of rampant voter fraud in Kennedy Township. Or maybe you should spend some time in the Allegheny County Department of Elections after an election to see how many challenges to absentee ballots are mounted.

Voter fraud is alive and well in Allegheny County and one of the reasons is due to the shoddy leadership within the Department of Elections for not monitoring and cleansing the voter rolls. As of this writing, there is still an active investigation into improprieties in Kennedy by the U.S. Attorney’s office and the Pennsylvania State Attorney General’s Office.

As Stalin said, “Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything.”

[signed]

Kevin Parent, [resident of] Kennedy [PA]

Wow; what a juicy morsel for Rovian fraud-yellers….A bit more poking around (actually a lot more) informed me that Mr. Parent is the husband of a woman who lost in a close local Republican primary election in 2001 in a heavily Democratic area. Apparently most of the voters were actually Democrats, who switched affiliations to try to mount a challenge to the local Democratic Party “machine.” There was a local investigation, and there was some pretty good evidence that fraudulent absentee ballots were involved, probably a couple dozen, and that there was one guy who seemed to have his handwriting on most of the bad ballots. There was some testimony that suggested that irregularities were also present in the 1999 primary, but there was insufficient evidence to make a solid case.

Link to report of local investigation into irregularities in voting in Kennedy in 2001.

Mr. Parent is an interested party to the Kennedy vote fraud issue, and a vocal one. Though I don’t know that he’s a Republican, he seems to have some knowledge of what the US Attorney has under active investigation; I wouldn’t be surprised if he had made a complaint to that office, and to Republican officials.

But apparently no indictment or newspaper headlines came as a result of whatever investigation might have been undertaken. Perhaps the USA, who was Mary Ann Buchanan, figured that the Republican/Democrat party switching would confuse the issue, or realized that this was just too small a case to bother with, or felt like the state authorities could adequately handle a couple of local grafters.

But I have no doubt that the Kennedy “non-prosecution” reached the desk of somebody in Washington, [UPDATE ONE:]because it was pretty big news in Pittsburgh:One blogger noted:

One thing to consider is that Mary Beth did not consider that prosecuting Mel and John Weinstein for voter fraud was worthwhile. From my perspective it was a slam dunk case, and yet there were no charges filed. They are Democrats, and one is the county treasurer.

Even the TeeVee news had it:

It’s not the first time we’ve reported on irregularities in Kennedy Township elections. But this time it could decide which candidate gets to run in November.

County election officials say two mysterious absentee ballots have turned up in last week’s Republican primary in Kennedy. Why are just two votes important? Because the primary was decided by one vote.

Republicans Tony Perri and Bob Muha squared off in last week’s Republican primary for the right to run in November against incumbent Kennedy treasurer Mel Weinstein, a Democrat.

Weinstein is also the father of County Treasurer John Weinstein. Perri won the GOP primary by one vote. But now, an irregularity has surfaced. …

“It could be possible that our office made a mistake and mailed two Republican ballots to registered Democratic voters,” he said.

But the county GOP committee says there’s also another possibility.

Perhaps Republican absentee ballots were marked by someone else, not Republican voters, and added into the total group of absentee ballots in an attempt to change the outcome of the election,” said county GOP solicitor Robert Owsiany.

And the papers told sordid details of the investigation:

John Weinstein appears to have filled out five 1997 Kennedy absentee ballots, although Dresbold said she couldn’t reach a definitive conclusion without reviewing additional handwriting samples.

[end of update 1; see update 2 below]

And, unfortunately for Ms. Buchanan, as it turned out, the headlines about voting irregularities in the Pittsburgh area immediately before the 2004 elections featured alleged Republican, not Democratic, malfeasance:

link

students have said they signed such a petition but were then asked to fill out the signature and address portions of voter registration forms in order to verify their identities. Those forms were later filled out to register the students as Republicans. In the latest case, students say they never saw a registration form.

“My son never put a change of address in anywhere,” said Mara O’Neill, whose son, Sean, 22, was among the Pitt students who signed the petition. O’Neill said her son listed an address where he stays with friends during the school week and that he has never listed that address any other place. He receives his mail at home in O’Hara, and, until he was suddenly reassigned as a Republican voter in Shadyside, has always cast his ballots near his home.

A friend of O’Neill’s, Camilla Kydland, also signed the petition, but listed her home address in Fox Chapel. That’s where she received her notice that she is now enrolled in the Republican Party.

I can imagine that such people as, say, Karl Rove, would be plenty po’ed to find out that a real case of voter fraud did not achieve headlines in Pittsburgh in the fall of 2004, while GOP dirty tricks did.

Whoever put Mary Ann Buchanan’s name on the list of US attorneys to be fired was obviously NOT a member of the knowledgeable senior staff of the DoJ; Buchanan, like Gregory Miller in Florida, was always in favor with those who worked with her. It seems likely, therefore, that the list was being made by those whose most important affiliations, if not titles, were outside the DoJ itself (yes, I’m lookin at you, Kyle and Monica). It would seem that being placed on the list had really nothing to do with the overall performance of the USAs, but was rather the instant and perhaps poorly considered action of a powerful person, perhaps within the White House, who had no tolerance for a missed opportunity to trumpet “Democrat voter fraud” immediately before the election (yes, Karl, I’m lookin’ at you….). I’m betting that somewhere there is an email or a memo signed by the Rovester or his COS that says something like,

“if ANYBODY sees ANY evidence that ANY USA failed to prosecute AND PUBLICIZE ANYTHING that smacks of voter fraud, I want to know about it, YESTERDAY.

I can’t say if this little episode was the cause of “blacklisting” Mary Beth Buchanan. But I wouldn’t be surprised if it were pretty darn close. There must be locals who can shed more light on it.

How did MBB get OFF the list?
I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody just called bullshit, because MBB was such a model Rovian in every other way. UPDATE 2: But just prior to the 2006 elections, somehow she got the message that she hadn’t measured up in 2004, and she fired off a press release touting her public corruption activities, including, notably, the Weinstein voting fraud investigation:

Dirty cops and crooked politicians beware — federal, state and local authorities are teaming up to fight public corruption in Western Pennsylvania.U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan said she will meet with other agencies in coming weeks to establish a special working group. Other members are likely to include the FBI; Pennsylvania State Police; the state Attorney General’s Office; and the offices of several local prosecutors, including Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr.

The region has had numerous high-profile public corruption cases recently:
• Dr. Cyril Wecht, the former Allegheny County coroner, was indicted by a federal grand jury in January on 84 counts related to charges that he used his public office for private financial gain.

• The federal investigation into former Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy ended in June without federal charges filed.

• Three high-ranking officials in the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office were convicted as part of the ongoing federal investigation into campaign-finance abuses and other misconduct.

“We’ve investigated more public-corruption cases in the past four years than we have in the past 10 years,” Buchanan said.

Federal investigators are busy investigating other cases of possible public corruption.

In addition to the ongoing investigation into the office of outgoing Sheriff Pete DeFazio, the list of federal public-corruption investigations incudes wrongdoing in the Plum Police Department; special treatment given to certain people by Washington County District Attorney John Pettit; and allegations of absentee-balloting fraud by Allegheny County Treasurer John Weinstein and his father, Democratic powerbroker Mel Weinstein, of Kennedy.

The majority of public-corruption cases are filed by federal prosecutors. From 1994 to 2004, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Pittsburgh won 60 convictions in public-corruption cases, according to U.S. Department of Justice figures. Statewide during that time, 515 public officials were convicted of corruption in federal court.

So, I can see Mary Beth Buchanan printing off a copy of that newspaper story and firing it off to Monikyle with a “so shove it up your ass” note, with a carpetbombing cc to the rest of freakin DoJ. I’m betting that got her off the list.

A short rant on voter “fraud”/suppression/intimidation:

Greg Palast estimates that 3 million votes/voters in this country were challenged or impeded in attempting to cast their votes, essentially all of them by Republican Party operatives. How many fraudulent ballots were cast? a few dozen, most by people who just didn’t know better, who just didn’t understand that their criminal or immigration status did not allow them this particular privilege. Voter fraud allegations are simply a form of voter suppression, and are an attack against democracy, by the party that trumpets the “purple fingers” in Iraq, but tries to silence the “brown fingers” and the “black fingers” in this country.

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