the Justice Department fired eight U.S. Attorneys for no good reason. The purge
threw a monkey wrench into several ongoing investigations of political corruption. One large-scale probe was uncovering a
scandal-ridden trail leading from the CIA to the Congress and possibly the White House.
Were these prosecutors getting too close for comfort for this Administration?
Department was using a little-known part of the so-called "Patriot Act" reauthorization passed by the 109th Congress. The
law allows the President to replace the fired prosecutors indefinitely with stand-in partisan cronies who are less likely
to investigate wrongdoers in the Bush Administration.
Thankfully, many of
the fired prosecutors have spoken out and Congress is responding. Hearings are
being scheduled in the Judiciary Committees in the House and Senate. Also, legislation
has been introduced that would put an end to this dangerous partisan cudgel by restoring previous limitations on the ability
of the President to appoint U.S. Attorneys indefinitely.
U.S. Attorneys committed
to cleaning up politics should be honored, not summarily fired. The mass firings
send a chilling message to all who are working to expose government corruption. Let's
stop this dangerous misuse of presidential power and restore our system of checks and balances so we can clean up Washington,
instead of making it worse.
Bush's New US Attorney
Bush appoint as U.S.
Attorney Griffin, who ought to be prosecuted for violation of voting right's law. Not
likely that he will investigate himself.
BBC Television had exposed
2004 voter attack scheme
by appointee Griffin,
a Rove aide.
Black soldiers and the
by Greg Palast
March 7, 2007.
There's only one thing
worse than sacking an honest prosecutor. That's replacing an honest prosecutor with a criminal.
There was one big hoohah
in Washington yesterday as House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers pulled down
the pants on George Bush's firing of US Attorneys to expose a scheme to punish prosecutors who wouldn't bend to political
the Committee missed
a big one: Timothy Griffin, Karl Rove's assistant, the President's pick as US Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas.
Griffin, according to BBC Television, was the hidden hand behind a scheme to wipe
out the voting rights of 70,000 citizens prior to the 2004 election.
Key voters on Griffin's
hit list: Black soldiers and homeless men and women. Nice guy, eh? Naughty or nice, however, is not the issue. Targeting voters
where race is a factor is a felony crime under the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
In October 2004, our
investigations team at BBC Newsnight received a series of astonishing emails from Mr. Griffin, then Research Director for
the Republican National Committee. He didn't mean to send them to us. They were highly confidential memos meant only for RNC
made a wee mistake. Instead of sending the emails -- potential evidence of a crime -- to email addresses ending with the domain
name "@GeorgeWBush.com" he sent them to "@GeorgeWBush.ORG." A website run by prankster John Wooden who owns "GeorgeWBush.org."
When Wooden got the treasure trove of Rove-ian ravings, he sent them to us.
And we dug in, decoding,
and mapping the voters on what Griffin called, "Caging" lists, spreadsheets with
70,000 names of voters marked for challenge. Overwhelmingly, these were Black and Hispanic voters from Democratic precincts.
If these voters were
not currently at their home voting address, they were tagged as "suspect" and their registration wiped out or their ballot
challenged and not counted. Of course, these 'cages' captured thousands of students, the homeless and those in the military
though they are legitimate voters.
We telephoned those
on the hit list, including one Randall Prausa. His wife admitted he wasn't living at his voting address: Randall was a soldier
Randall and other soldiers
like him who sent in absentee ballots, when challenged, would lose their vote. And they wouldn't even know it.
And by the way, it's
not illegal for soldiers to vote from overseas -- even if they're Black.
But it is illegal to
challenge voters en masse where race is an element in the targeting. So several lawyers told us, including Ralph Neas, famed
civil rights attorney with People for the American Way.
himself ducked our cameras, but his RNC team tried to sell us the notion that the caging sheets were, in fact, not illegal
voter hit lists, but a roster of donors to the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign. Republican donors at homeless shelters?
Over the past weeks,
Griffin has said he would step down if he had to face Congressional confirmation.
However, the President appointed Griffin to the law enforcement post using an
odd little provision of the USA Patriot Act that could allow Griffin to skip Congressional
Therefore, I have a
suggestion for Judiciary members. Voting law expert Neas will be testifying today before Conyers' Committee on the topic of
illegal voter "disenfranchisement" -- the fancy word for stealing elections by denying voters' civil rights.
Maybe Conyers should
hold a line-up of suspected vote thieves and let Neas identify the perpetrators. That should be easy in the case of the Caging
List Criminal. He'd only have to look for the guy wearing a new shiny lawman's badge.