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freedomfries Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-17-05 06:07 PM
Original message
dkos: voter suppression expert nominated to the FEC! Who are the others?
http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2005/12/17/92148/310
Bush to nominate voter suppression specialist to the FEC
by david blue

A big hat tip to Rick Hasen who noticed this White House press release (buried in the Friday night trash). President Bush is going to nominate Hans von Spakovsky to the Federal Election Commission.
Who?
david blue's diary :: ::
Well, Hans von Spakovsky is a long-time activist in "voting integrity." Translated, he is a long-time activist in keeping people away from the polls. His ideas led to the notorious purge of Florida's voting rolls before the 2000 election in which thousands of mostly-eligible, mostly-Democratic, and mostly-minority voters were removed from the voting lists. Von Spakovsky also was a volunteer for Bush in the Florida recount. Want more? It's all here.
This guy is a disaster. There is no way he should be on the FEC.

FEC Commissioners are subject to Senate approval, so WRITE OR CALL YOUR SENATOR.
UPDATE: Several commenters have asked which Senate committee holds hearings on FEC nominees. It is the Committee on Rules and Administration. Chair is Trent Lott; ranking Dem is Christopher Dodd. Other Dems are Byrd, Inouye, Feinstein, Schumer, Dayton, Durbin, and Ben Nelson; other Republicans are Ted Stevens, Mitch McConnell, Thad Cochran, Santorum, K.B. Hutchison, Frist, Chambliss, Bennett, and Hagel. Some heavy hitters on both sides.
http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2005/12/17/92148/310
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freedomfries Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-17-05 06:25 PM
Response to Original message
1. excellent kos post
check it out!
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freedomfries Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-18-05 10:23 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Bradblog: "Voter Integrity" activist at the Federal Election Commission?
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-18-05 11:51 AM
Response to Original message
3. Thank you -- so this guy was responsible for Bush being selected our
president in the first place! Recommended.
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texpatriot2004 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-18-05 12:56 PM
Response to Original message
4. Yet another CRONY nomination by * to a position that needs
integrity.
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BrklynLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-18-05 02:21 PM
Response to Original message
5. Is this the husband of that reporter, Novak, that was just questioned by
Edited on Sun Dec-18-05 02:25 PM by BrklynLiberal
Fitzpatrick? I read somehwere that her husband was just nominated to the FEC.

EDIT. No, just found the answer at http://www.politicalmoneyline.com /

Also nominated was Robert D. Lenhard, a Democrat and Associate General Counsel at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). Lenhard is a native of Baltimore, Maryland, graduated from Johns Hopkins University and the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law. His spouse, Viveca Novak works for Time Magazine and testifed before Fitzgerald's grand jury regarding her conversations with an attorney for Karl Rove in the Valerie Phame leak investigation. In the 1970s and early 80s she was the key investigative reporter for Common Cause Magazine. Lenhard nomination was supported by former Senator Tom Daschle and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.


Here is the story on von Spakovsky

Nominated for the first time was Hans von Spakovsky, a Georgia Republican, and a Justice Department lawyer. Von Spakovsky was alleged to be one of the two Department of Justice lawyers who overruled the DOJ experts recommendation that the DOJ file a formal objection to the DeLay Texas redistricting plan under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Von Spakovsky has supported state programs to require voters to have photo identification. He has also written supporting stronger enforcement of the Beck decision, and informing workers they cannot be forced to pay dues for political, social or charitable contributions made by their unions. An October 2004 article by Jordan Green in Southern Exposure stated von Spakovsky worked as a volunteer for the Bush campaign during the Florida recount effort. Von Spakovsky would fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Republican Commissioner Brad Smith.
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-18-05 02:35 PM
Response to Original message
6. This just makes me heart sick. More of the same.
"Spoiled" ballots are the old "technical" version of voter suppression. Now it's more sophisticated with limitations imposed through registration databases (i.e., "felon purges"), "machine problems" that always favor Republicans, and hackable systems. Now this. I find the entire process of putting this guy on the FEC so appalling, it stuns me.

There better be some push back this time from the Democrats. Lets let them know.

Great find, just great. Recommended.
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Nothing Without Hope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-18-05 02:40 PM
Response to Original message
7. ***More from WASH POST on von Spakovsky & the other 2 nominees:
Edited on Sun Dec-18-05 02:42 PM by Nothing Without Hope
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20...

Bush Picks Controversial Nominees for FEC


By Thomas B. Edsall and Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, December 17, 2005; Page A09

(snip)

In a letter to Senate Rules Committee Chairman Trent Lott (R-Miss.), Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) wrote that he is "extremely troubled" by the von Spakovsky nomination. Kennedy contends that von Spakovsky "may be at the heart of the political interference that is undermining the Department's enforcement of federal civil laws."

Career Justice Department lawyers involved in a Georgia case said von Spakovsky pushed strongly for approval of a state program requiring voters to have photo identification. A team of staff lawyers that examined the case recommended 4 to 1 that the Georgia plan should be rejected because it would harm black voters; the recommendation was overruled by von Spakovsky and other senior officials in the Civil Rights Division.

Before working in the Justice Department, von Spakovsky was the Republican Party chairman in Fulton County, Ga., and served on the board of the Voter Integrity Project, which advocated regular purging of voter roles to prevent felons from casting ballots.

(snip)


The same WaPo article talks about the two DEMOCRATIC nominees by Bush for the FEC, David Mason (nominated for a 2nd term) and the controversial Robert Lenhard. Lenhard was part of the legal team arguing against the contitutionality of the McCain/Feingold campaign finance law, and he has opposition:


The Lenhard nomination, first proposed in July 2003, has provoked strong opposition from advocacy groups seeking tough enforcement of campaign finance laws, especially the 2002 McCain-Feingold bill.


But Harry Reid, a crony of Lenhard, issued this statement:

{I am} very pleased the president acted today upon my two recommendations for Commissioners on the Federal Election Commission. {Walther and Lenhard}


The article does not mention any statement by Reid about von Spakovsky, nor is Reid concerned about the past actions of Lenhard in opposing the campaign fincance-reform bill.

Let's not forget: Harry Reid was one of the top recipients of cash - #10, with $47,000 - in the Abramoff scandal:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/graphic/20...
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freedomfries Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-18-05 03:18 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. kick - pay-back time, again...
Hidden DOJ Memo Details Texas Voting Rights Violations
(Dec 02, 2005)

LONE STAR PROJECT
December 2, 2005
(202) 547-7610 - FAX (202) 547-8258
Contact: Matt Angle

Hidden DOJ Memo Details Texas Voting Rights Violations
Bush political appointees overruled experts to approve illegal DeLay redistricting plan

The Lone Star Project has obtained an internal memo written by U.S. Department of Justice voting rights experts on December 12, 2003.

Click Here For The Full Memo (PDF)at
http://www.lonestarproject.net/file1.pdf

The memo details major voting rights violations under the redistricting plan Tom DeLay forced through the Texas State Legislature in 2003. The document is under quarantine within the Justice Department and its authors were put under a gag order to prevent public, or even internal, discussion of the memo. An examination of the memo makes clear what the Republicans want to hide and confirms long-held suspicions by minority rights advocates that Bush political operatives ignored the law, ignored the facts, and were willing accomplices in the political crime against minority voters that DeLay orchestrated in Texas.

In a seventy-three page memo, seven Department of Justice voting rights experts and their section chief unanimously recommended that the Department of Justice file a formal objection to the DeLay plan under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Their recommendation directly and unambiguously describes how the DeLay plan illegally reduces minority voting strength in Texas to advance the partisan goals of DeLay and the Republican Party.

The DOJ experts recommendation was overruled by two Bush Administration political appointees, HANS VON SPAKOVSKY and Brad Schlozman. SPAKOVSKY is a political operative who has written extensively advocating widely criticized voting changes that make it more difficult for minorities to register and vote. Prior to his DOJ appointment, SPAKOVSKY worked as part of the infamous Voter Integrity Team which worked to remove African Americans from the voter rolls in Florida during the 2000 General Election. (Source: New Yorker, 9/20/2005) Schlozman, much like Michael Brown at FEMA, was assigned to the Voting Rights Section of the Justice Department although he had no experience in civil rights law or minority voting rights.

Excerpts from the DOJ voting rights staff memo and section chiefs concurrence:

DeLay Plan Retrogressive and Discriminatory:
Our examination of the proposed plan indicates that it will lead to an impermissible retrogression in the position of minorities with respect to their effective exercise of the electoral franchise. (Source: DOJ Section 5 Recommendation Memorandum, December 12, 2003, page 31)
The State of Texas has not met its burden in showing that the proposed congressional redistricting plan does not have a discriminatory effect. (Source: DOJ Section 5 Recommendation Memorandum, December 12, 2003, page 66)
Effective Minority Seats Weakened and Eliminated:

with regard to minority voters ability to elect the candidate of their choice the so-called safe seats there is a net reduction of two seats. (Source: DOJ Section 5 Recommendation Memorandum, December 12, 2003, page 31)
the net result of the plan reduces by one the number of districts in which the Hispanic minority community can safely elect candidates of their choice to office. (Source: DOJ Section 5 Recommendation Memorandum, December 12, 2003, page 31)
There is classic retrogression in the benchmark District 23 (Bonilla)With the extreme level of polarization in the district, Hispanic voters simply no longer have any ability to elect their candidate of choice. (Source: DOJ Section 5 Recommendation Memorandum, December 12, 2003, page 68)
black voters have the ability to elect the candidates of their choice in 18 (Jackson Lee), 24 (Frost), 25 (Bell), and 30 (Johnson). In the proposed plan, black voters can no longer elect their candidate of choice in proposed 24 (Frost). (Source: DOJ Section 5 Recommendation Memorandum, December 12, 2003, page 31)
moreover, while proposed 15 (Hinojosa) is no longer a safe district, it is not a total loss; it moves from the safe category to the coalitional category. (Source: DOJ Section 5 Recommendation Memorandum, December 12, 2003, page 31)
In sum, the proposed plan reduces the level of minority voting strength because it eliminates the ability that minority voters have in Benchmark 15 (Hinojosa), 23 (Bonilla) and 24 (Frost) to elect candidates of choice. In each of these districts, the state failed to follow its traditional redistricting principles preserving communities of interest and forbidding fragmentation or packing of minority voters. (Source: DOJ Section 5 Recommendation Memorandum, December 12, 2003, page 69)
Overwhelming Minority Opposition:

Of the 55 African American and Hispanic legislators in the legislature, 53 voted against the redistricting plan. (Source: DOJ Section 5 Recommendation Memorandum, December 12, 2003, page 11)
We have either met with or spoken to 22 state house representatives and 13 state senators, of whom 14 are Hispanic, 11 are African American and nine are Anglo. Of the minority legislators to whom we talked, all but two opposed the redistricting plan. (Source: DOJ Section 5 Recommendation Memorandum, December 12, 2003, page 11)
In total, the Section received 335 comments against the proposed plan, none in favor of it. (Source: DOJ Section 5 Recommendation Memorandum, December 12, 2003, page 11)
Staff Experts Recommendation:

For the reasons set forth above, we recommend that you interpose an objection of H.B.3, which provides for the redistricting of the congressional districts in Texas. (Source: DOJ Section 5 Recommendation Memorandum, December 12, 2003, page 71)


Section Chief Concurrence:

Our review indicates that the factors identified as relevant to each prong of the totality of circumstances test demonstrates that the plan is retrogressive. (Source: DOJ Section 5 Recommendation Memorandum, Section Chief Concurrence, December 12, 2003, page 71)
in the end we concluded there was a net reduction of one safe Hispanic seat and one safe black seat (Source: DOJ Section 5 Recommendation Memorandum, Section Chief Concurrence, December 12, 2003, page 72)
Background:
At the insistence of Tom DeLay, the Texas Legislature took the unprecedented step of redrawing Texas congressional district lines in 2003. DeLay had been infuriated at the inability of GOP candidates to unseat long-time Democratic incumbents and wanted to redraw the districts to guarantee more GOP-held seats. In 2002, he had engineered a political plan, which included the money laundering scheme that led to his indictment, to insure a Republican majority in the State House which he would later use to redraw congressional lines. DeLay didnt hide his intentions when he said, I am the majority leader and I want more seats. (Source: Washington Post, 5/9/2003)
The Texas Redistricting case gained national attention when, at different times, Democrats in the Texas State House and Texas State Senate left the State of Texas and caucused first in Ardmore, Oklahoma and later in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to block action on the DeLay plan. Ultimately, after direct intervention by DeLay and support from top Bush aides, Karen Hughes and Karl Rove, Republican leaders in Texas changed legislative rules and forced through the redistricting plan.( Source: Houston Chronicle 7/11/03 and Dallas Morning News 7/8/03)
Once the plan was forced through the State Legislature, it was submitted for review by the U.S. Department of Justice. It is now clear that professionals at DOJ determined that the plan violated the Voting Rights Act and recommended that the department file an objection. Their recommendation was overruled by political appointees. When the plan was challenged in federal court, the approval by the Department of Justice shifted the burden of proof to those opposing the plan, and was cited by both the state and the bench as a key element in the case. Had DOJ filed an objection to the plan, as was recommended by its voting rights experts, it is unlikely that it would have been approved by the federal court. The legal challenge to the DeLay plan is now pending review by the U.S. Supreme Court.
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freedomfries Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-18-05 05:57 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. kick
This is another cynical, racist move on the part of the * Administration. Please help circulate this information around. Thanks
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Nothing Without Hope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-18-05 10:27 PM
Response to Original message
10. kick - I'd vote for it again if I could n/t
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Beam Me Up Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-26-05 06:40 PM
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11. .
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