Monday – 03/19/07
I’m really flabbergasted (what a great word…) about the following. I’ll just let the article excerpts speak for itself…
The following are culled from an article appearing on the MSNBC web site, which in turn got it from the Washington Post…
WP: DOJ praised attorney it later fired
N.M. attorney had been invited to train others on election fraud issues
By Amy Goldstein
The Washington Post
Updated: 12:16 a.m. ET March 19, 2007
(EXCERPT) The fact that Justice officials held out Iglesias to his colleagues as an exemplar of good work on voter fraud conflicts with an explanation offered last week by a senior aide to President Bush that eight U.S. attorneys had been removed in part because of complaints that some had been lax in pursuing election fraud.
Iglesias and another U.S. attorney fired in December, John McKay of Seattle, said they were surprised by the White House’s explanation because they had coordinated closely with Justice attorneys in handling allegations of fraudulent voting in recent elections. Justice officials had never expressed disagreement with their judgment, the two said.
McKay said in an interview that his staff had been “pretty much in daily contact” with the attorney in charge of election crimes in the department’s public integrity section during a preliminary inquiry into alleged fraud in Washington state’s 2004 gubernatorial election — contact that continued when he concluded no federal crimes had occurred.
(EXCERPT) As the controversy over the firings escalates, the circumstances of Iglesias’s and McKay’s dismissals demonstrate the pressure federal prosecutors have faced over election fraud inside the Justice Department and among Republican activists in swing states.
Among Republicans, “you had this widespread belief that voter fraud exists, combined with close elections,” said Doug Chapin, director of electionline.org, a group that monitors electoral reforms. “They were either pushing the U.S. attorney or pushing the administration to push the U.S. attorney to investigate.”
(EXCERPT) Several former Justice attorneys from the voting rights division, which handles civil violations of the Voting Rights Act but does not prosecute fraud, said the agency has focused intensely on rooting out vote fraud since shortly after the contested 2000 election that brought Bush to office. “Ever since John Ashcroft was the [attorney general], very shortly after he came in, he launched . . . a voting integrity initiative, which was supposed to be half civil rights and half voter fraud, but the focus very clearly was finding and prosecuting voter fraud,” said Robert Kengle, a former deputy chief in the voting rights section who resigned in 2005.
Roehrkasse said the department has held five annual voting integrity seminars as part of its focus on fraud. As of last summer, he said, 119 people nationwide had been charged with ballot-fraud offenses and 86 had been convicted.
Democrats contend that the GOP exaggerates the extent of such fraud, and that some eligible voters have been disenfranchised by new voter-identification requirements and other election changes pushed through by Republicans.
(EXCERPT) In New Mexico and Washington state, Republicans and their allies complained to Justice that the U.S. attorneys were resisting election fraud investigations or prosecutions, according to interviews and government e-mail messages released last week.
In May 2005, the Evergreen Freedom Foundation, a conservative group based in Olympia, Wash., urged Justice to investigate McKay for misconduct. In a three-page letter to the department’s inspector general, the foundation contended that McKay, who comes from a prominent local Republican family, “has committed malfeasance by systematically refusing to act on evidence of election fraud delivered to his office.”
Jonathan Bechtle, director of Evergreen’s voter integrity project, said he thinks the inspector general turned over the complaint to the Justice office that oversees U.S. attorneys. But he added: “I couldn’t get any information out of them as to the conclusion.”
Evergreen and several GOP leaders in Washington alleged fraud in the gubernatorial election, in which Democrat Christine Gregoire was declared the winner by 129 votes after three recounts. They were angry that McKay did not impanel a grand jury after a preliminary inquiry by his office and the FBI.
McKay told reporters that during an interview last September for a possible nomination to become a federal judge, then-White House counsel Harriet E. Miers asked him why he had “mishandled” the governor’s race. He was not nominated.
(EXCERPT) In the interview, McKay said he had sent Justice a “closeout” memo detailing the steps taken in the preliminary inquiry and recommending that the case be closed, and he never heard back. “We had lots of instances of incompetent handling of an election,” he said, including elections officials who mistakenly sent ballots to 1,000 convicted felons. “What we didn’t find was a criminal act.”
In the New Mexico case, two prominent Republican attorneys, Mickey Barnett and Patrick J. Rogers, met last June with Gonzales’s senior counsel, Monica Goodling, to complain that Iglesias was inattentive to voter fraud. Goodling met with them after a colleague sent her a note saying, “It is sensitive — perhaps you should do it,” an internal e-mail exchange shows.
Iglesias said the fraud allegations are baseless. He formed a bipartisan task force to examine possible vote fraud in September 2004 — two months before that fall’s elections — after hearing reports of “lots of low-level fraud going on. . . . I figured where there was smoke, there was fire. I wanted to sound a message: We need to have integrity in our election process.”
A toll-free telephone number set up by the task force and operated by the FBI generated about 100 calls, three or four of which involved possible violations, Iglesias said. He said he considered prosecuting one case involving a woman signing up voters who put false information on registrations. But, Iglesias said, the case had “evidence problems” that made it difficult to prove the woman was trying to skew the election’s outcome.
He said he conferred with the chief of the election-crimes branch of the Justice Department’s public integrity section, who was “very lukewarm. So we kind of, in collaboration . . . decided to shut it down.”
Staff writer Dan Eggen contributed to this report.
� 2007 The Washington Post Company
� 2007 MSNBC.com
Am I the only one who finds the irony of the situation painful? Is this really happening?
The guys who won a Supreme Court decision to disallow thousands of votes in the 2000 race, the guys widely accused of voter fraud in Florida in the same race and in Pennsylvania and Ohio in 2004, are crying ‘foul’…?
What’s the matter? You not getting enough of the pie? You won’t be happy until all the pie is yours?
Is it an example of the old joke, where half a glass of water is seen by the Democrats as half full, while the Republicans want to know who drank half their water?
Our guy couldn’t POSSIBLY have lost. There’s no way sane people could have voted for the other guy. Therefore, someone MUST be cheating, and I want heads to roll. Don’t you feel like bowling? Then you’re fired, and we’ll get a serious bowler from within our own club to take your place.
Never mind that the ball has no finger holes, there’s no lane to bowl on and the pins are non-existent…
When will you have had enough, people…?