« How Does a Nation Repent? | Main | Step It Up! A National Day Of Action To Stop Climate Change »

March 29, 2007

"Voter Fraud" is Itself a Fraud

It's going to be a stressful day for Abu Gonzales' former chief of staff Kyle Sampson. He's slated to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he'll be expected to explain all about his role and his ex-boss's role in the firing of the USA Eight. Hopefully, at least one of the committee members will ask him some questions about the real reason John McKay was booted, because excuses like "insubordination" and "temperment issues" just won't wash.

From an op-ed in today's Washington Post:

But the notion of widespread voter fraud, as these prosecutors found out, is itself a fraud. Firing a prosecutor for failing to find wide voter fraud is like firing a park ranger for failing to find Sasquatch. Where fraud exists, of course, it should be prosecuted and punished. (And politicians have been stuffing ballot boxes and buying votes since senators wore togas; Lyndon Johnson won a 1948 Senate race after his partisans famously "found" a box of votes well after the election.) Yet evidence of actual fraud by individual voters is painfully skimpy.

...b-b-but, but... Bob Williams and Chris Vance said there really is a Sasquatch!

Or consider Washington state, where McKay closely watched the photo-finish gubernatorial election of 2004. A challenge to ostensibly noncitizen voters was lodged in April 2005 on the questionable basis of "foreign-sounding names." After an election there last year in which more than 2 million votes were cast, following much controversy, only one ballot ended up under suspicion for double-voting. That makes sense. A person casting two votes risks jail time and a fine for minimal gain. Proven voter fraud, statistically, happens about as often as death by lightning strike.

What happens more often is actual voter suppression and voter disenfranchisement, courtesy of the Republican party.

Those investigating the U.S. attorney firings should ask what orders went out to other prosecutors in the run-up to the 2006 election. Prosecutors are not hired-gun lawyers on a party payroll. They have a special duty to exercise their power responsibly, particularly in the context of a heated election. Pressure on prosecutors to join a witch hunt for individual voter fraud is a scandal, not just for the Justice Department but for voters seeking to exercise their most basic right.

If only someone could knock some sense into zealots like Tom McCabe. He still believes in witch hunts. But he's not wrong to believe that the goons in the White House will conduct witch hunts if pushed hard enough. He knows that dirty operators like Karl Rove can always be counted on to do whatever it takes to grab -- and hold onto -- power. Even if it means lying to Americans, lying to Congress, or sending emissaries to "push out" insufficiently loyal Republicans when it suits his purposes.

As for those Republicans who haven't yet strayed off the reservation, one sticks out in my mind: that pathetic excuse for a congressman who hails from Washington's 4th district. So I have to wonder if there's just one Democrat out there with the intestinal fortitude to hold Doc Hastings accountable for his ethical failures as a public servant. All it takes is one to file a referral on the ethics complaint made by CREW.

Just takes one.

Posted by shoephone on March 29, 2007 at 12:40 AM in National and International Politics | Permalink


I sure hope you get that referral, shoe - it's long past time to hold Hastings accountable for his actions. It is my hope that before the committee is finished investigating the entire matter, there will be enough information in the record to have Hastings - and any number of others - looking at ethical violations, and possibly criminal ones, as well.

I am very much looking forward to that hearing today; having read Sampson's opening statement, which is arrogantly dismissive of the concerns of the committee, I think Leahy's questioning will not disappoint.

Posted by: Anne | Mar 29, 2007 5:28:27 AM

Does it concern anyone in Washington State that Bob Williams uses the Evergreen Freedom Foundation a 501 (c) (3) non- profit, a charity, to engage in partisan political activity? Whether it is advocating the dismissal of McKay , supporting Bush’s re-election in 2004 , pushing for the Rossi recount in 2004 , defending the Bush Administration’s handling of Hurricane Katrina or advocating “paycheck protection” in California Williams is way over the line and he knows it. That’s why he recently set up a 501 (c) (4), The Evergreen Freedom Action League, to cover his tracks in the future.

I’ve spoken with Washington state reporters who just shrug and say they know what Williams is doing when pressed about his illegal use of a non-profit charity for political purposes. Where is Secretary of State Sam Reed (R) who is responsible for making sure that charities that receive tax-deductible contributions from donors are non-partisan? And where is Washington State’s chief legal officer Attorney General Rob McKenna (R)?

Posted by: Boone | Mar 29, 2007 8:33:33 AM

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

Seems like we've been re-fighting this voters' rights vs. voter supression battle since I started voting as a wee teenager, and I'm sure going back to the Civil War Reconstruction. I have no doubt that this Sisyphean struggle will require eternal vigilance, and everyone involved in this slimy scheme needs to be held accountable.

Posted by: op99 | Mar 29, 2007 8:36:11 AM

One of the cases of voter fraud involved Vern Witte, a long time politico in the Rossi right wing up in Sammamish who is said to have voted for his deceased wife and then claimed that the ballot must have been stolen. People close to the family find this, though sad, to be hard to beleave.

And then there is the evidence presented by the GOP in the contest trial which the court found as proof that 4 fraudulent votes were cast for Rossi and one for Bennett leading the judge to adjust the election vote totals accordingly.

Posted by: Particle Man | Mar 29, 2007 10:00:38 AM

great post, shoe, and, as always, terrific writing.
Sharkansky's is the only voice besides those of his faithful choir that still insists Sasquatch still roams the forests. (he's sounding nuttier and nuttier these days, n'est-ce pas?)
Interesting in the WaPo piece is that the voter fraud meme has been repeated by the R's all over the country- always producing the same dry holes of solid evidence and criminal convictions. The actions serve only to make the electorate more cynical, and thereby less inclined to vote. Voila! the big picture Republican goal, voter suppression, is served.

Posted by: blathering michael | Mar 29, 2007 12:28:50 PM

I never heard back from Adam Smith. I guess he's not going to be making that referral after all.

Meanwhile, if anyone at DoJ knew why they were firing the USAs back in mid-November, they sure forgot to tell their public affairs director. In fact, they forgot to inform her, it seems. She found out about it from the White House. Here's her response about how they would handle the expected controversy:
The one common link here is that three of them are along the southern border so you could make the connection that DOJ is unhappy with the immigration prosecution numbers in those districts.
"You could make the connection". Does that sound like they had a firm reason? This was three weeks before they fired the last seven (Cummins had already been forced out).


Posted by: Cujo359 | Mar 29, 2007 10:54:57 PM

Post a comment