What's a Few Broken, Ignored Federal Election Laws Between Friends?
(Especially When It May Even Help On That Little Matter of White House
Hans von Spakovsky. A German industrialist? A compatriot of artist Hieronymus
Bosch? No. He is an attorney who is presently the head of the Department of
Justice Civil Rights Division Voting Section. He is a member of the right-wing
Federalist Society, and joined other Bush cronies in the Florida recount battle
in 2000, and he is President Bush's newest recipient of a crony-nomination.
According to an article in today's Washington
Post, von Spakovsky was nominated to the Federal Election Commission on
The nomination of von Spakovsky, a Republican, has already raised the hackles
of some Democrats. According to WaPo:
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 [Justice]
Department's enforcement of federal civil laws."
WaPo added this:
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.
It is clear that von Spakovsky had the ear of another "crony nomination"
recipient, Alberto Gonzales, when it came to making decisions on the Georgia
Voter ID issue and Texas
redistricting, both of which had been recommended against by the Justice
Departments' career professionals in the Voting Rights Division, but were given
acceptance by the DoJ anyway.
The Georgia law has since been found unconstitutional as a "Jim Crow-era
Poll Tax" by two Federal courts, and the Texas redistricting, concerning
which former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay now faces indictments, has just
been agreed to be looked at by the United States Supreme Court.
One other very notable point here. A Democrat, Robert D. Lenhard, has also
been nominated to the FEC by Bush. As pointed
out by Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake: "He's the husband of [Time Magazine
reporter] Viveca Novak, whose testimony now provides the foundation for Karl
Rove's defense in the CIA leak case."
As well, Lenhard was "quite helpful to the 1600 Crew as part of the legal
team that challenged the constitutionality of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance
law," according to Jane.
Neither point, as Jane noted, was in either the White
House Press Release or the WaPo's stenographic reporting of same.
Additional reporting on this story by Brad Friedman