Lefties have been citing an L.A. Times op-ed by a former Justice Department official, who claims that Bush has politicized the Justice Department. It’s an eye-opening allegation — but if you actually read the piece, you quickly conclude that the author’s viewpoint is so skewed as to render his entire piece suspect. For example, he actually sees voter fraud cases as indicative of an intent to depress minority turnout:
[The Justice Department under Bush] has notably shirked its legal responsibility to protect voting rights. From 2001 to 2006, no voting discrimination cases were brought on behalf of African American or Native American voters. U.S. attorneys were told instead to give priority to voter fraud cases, which, when coupled with the strong support for voter ID laws, indicated an intent to depress voter turnout in minority and poor communities.
Or maybe it indicated an intent to fight voter fraud, sir.
I’m sorry, but I can’t take seriously anything the guy says after that. I actually find it disturbing that somebody with such a warped perspective held such a high-ranking position in the Justice Department (his op-ed bio says that he was “chief of the voting section in the Justice Department’s civil right[s] division from 1999 to 2005.”)
Reading on, I find more nonsense:
[Interim U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri Bradley] Schlozman was acting assistant attorney general in charge of the division when the Justice Department OKd a Georgia law requiring voters to show photo IDs at the polls. These decisions went against the recommendations of career staff, who asserted that such rulings discriminated against minority voters.
What? To me, such laws are designed to ensure that voter fraud is not taking place. But Mr. Rich doesn’t seem to care much about voter fraud, except to assert that investigating it shows a motivation to depress minority turnout.
Schlozman continued to influence elections as an interim U.S. attorney. Missouri had one of the closest Senate races in the country last November, and a week before the election, Schlozman brought four voter fraud indictments against members of an organization representing poor and minority people. This blatantly contradicted the department’s long-standing policy to wait until after an election to bring such indictments because a federal criminal investigation might affect the outcome of the vote. The timing of the Missouri indictments could not have made the administration’s aims more transparent.
Wait a second. How does it affect an election to indict somebody for voter fraud — as long as the indictment is legally proper? Doesn’t it affect an election to allow somebody who is committing voter fraud to continue to do so before an election?
But did Schlozman have the goods? As to at least one of those individuals, Dale D. Franklin, he apparently did. Earlier this year, Franklin pleaded guilty to voter fraud:
Dale D. Franklin, 44, of Kansas City, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple this morning to the charge contained in a Nov. 1, 2006, federal indictment.
. . . .
Franklin worked as a voter registration recruiter for ACORN in late September and early October 2006, obtaining voter registrations prior to the Nov. 7, 2006, election. Franklin admitted that he knowingly caused to be furnished to the Kansas City Board of Election Commissioners a voter registration application on which Franklin forged the signature of the applicant and on which the address and telephone number listed were false.
Rich has since joined the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, whose mission statement is “to represent the interest of African Americans in particular, other racial and ethnic minorities, and other victims of discrimination, where doing so can help to secure justice for all racial and ethnic minorities.” Attorneys for this organization can pursue discrimination cases without giving a second thought to whether doing so will drain resources from voter fraud cases. I think Mr. Rich will be much happier there.
I’d read this op-ed with a skeptical eye. If the quoted passages make sense to you, then the rest of the op-ed probably will too. If, like me, they leave you with a furrowed brow and a headache, then (like me) you will be inclined to discount the rest of it as the ravings of an off-kilter individual.