Note: Action item down at the bottom of this diary
I haven’t seen this posted anywhere, and with the focus no longer being on the US attorney firing scandal and the relationship between many of the US attorneys and election integrity issues, I think it bears pointing out. The deal involves the reconfirmation of Hans von Spakovsky, a hyper partisan republican who has many MANY shady ties to voter suppression tactics over the past couple of decades, as one of six members of the Federal Elections Commission.
Back in May, Ice Just Ice wrote a great diary called ”Keep Yer Vote Thievin' Hans Off the Federal Election Commission: Action Alert!”, and I followed it up (with much help from the ePluribus Media folks) with the three-part series on Hans von Spakovsky that is linked above. Needless to say (as I will highlight yet again below), von Spakovsky is quite possibly the worst person to serve as one of the FEC Commissioners, and his recess appointment was protested by Senator Kennedy as well as a number of other legal scholars.
Additionally and more recently, von Spakovsky was implicated in a voter suppression flap in Missouri, where he shot down a lawsuit that would more fairly represent the voters and representation for local elections. Of course, the lawsuit would have allowed more minority board members as a result of the district being a largely minority district, and probably would have resulted in less republicans being elected.
All of this being said, Senators Reid and Schumer are ready to cut a deal that would allow him to be reconfirmed for a full term, despite his large role in voter suppression, controversial and illegal voter ID laws, sockpuppetry and the illegal TX redistricting that was engineered by Tom DeLay.
According to a recent post at the Campaign Legal Center blog, Reid and Schumer are looking to cut a deal that would allow one of Schumer’s choices to be confirmed at the FEC in exchange for not challenging the reappointment of von Spakovsky (original article is at Roll Call (behind a subscription wall):
"Senate Democrats are expected to name a top lawyer for Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Charles Schumer (D-NY) to fill a vacancy on the Federal Election Commission (FEC), a potentially safe selection that would avoid a brewing showdown with Republicans over a controversial GOP commission pick.
"Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) office plans to ask the White House to nominate Cynthia Bauerly, Schumer’s legislative director, to replace Democratic-nominated commissioner Ellen Weintraub, whose term expired last spring. Weintraub has said she will continue to serve on the commission until her successor is confirmed."
And if Senators on both sides of the aisle were willing to take their partisan hats off for just a split second, they would agree, both with regard to von Spakovsky’s unfitness for the Commission and the need to fix the structure of this ineffective agency.
Now, some would argue that the FEC really doesn’t have much sway or much influence, but isn’t that one of the major reasons why the campaign finance laws and the election laws are in the shape they are in, and isn’t that one of the major reasons why there is such a cloud over our electoral system and so many people don’t trust the election system? And isn’t that what was a major contributing factor to the fact that there is such a question over the 2000, 2002 and 2004 elections?
Just as a bit of a refresher, here are just some of the egregious things that von Spakovsky has done over the course of his “career” that have contributed to the state of our current electoral system:
- Member of the advisory board of the “Voting Integrity Project”, which served more to keep people from voting than it did to ensure that all votes were counted.
- Wrote an article for the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, a conservative research group, that called for an aggressive campaign to "purge" the election rolls of felons.
- Laid the foundation for a Georgia voter ID law that was so controversial it’s rejection was strongly recommended, only to be overturned by von Spakovsky himself while at the Justice Department.
- Argued to keep Green Party members of the ballot, in the name of “too many choices would be frustrating to voters and depress turnout”.
- Served as a Bush volunteer during the 2000 Florida recount.
- Not only assisted with the Texas redistricting that was later overturned by the Supreme Court, but overrode the unanimous decision by seven voting rights experts at the DOJ to let the redistricting plan pass.
- Authored an article in the Texas Review of Law and Politics under the pseudonym "Publius," which argued for the very voter ID law von Spakovsky was pushing in the Justice Department over the objections of career voting rights experts.
- Tried to cut a deal over a matter of law and tried to exert influence over a controversial voter ID law in both Arizona and Georgia, overriding decisions that these laws would be unfair to minority voters.
- As FEC Commissioner, tried to push new rules that would allow interest groups more flexibility over ads that can be run within 30 and 60 days before elections (over the objection of other FEC commissioners).
Of course, that is only a quick list of some pretty major things. And many people in this country know how bad the electoral system is, and have little faith that their vote will be counted – that is if they are even allowed to vote.
Hans von Spakovsky has proven over and over that he has the “permanent republican majority” in mind with all of his actions, and is one of the last people in this country that should be involved in the election system. Oh yeah, and when he appeared before Congress back in June, he damn near perjured himself with his testimony.
Unfortunately, election integrity, the potential of three stolen elections and the entire election system being gamed from the inside isn’t important enough for Senators Reid and Schumer. They would rather fold on a man who may have done more than any single person to ruin election integrity in the United States than do what it takes to try and take some relatively minor steps in order to potentially help the electoral system significantly.
At the bottom of this diary by Ice Just Ice are the phone numbers of the Senators who should be contacted, including Reid and Schumer. Please please please call them, especially if they are your Senator and let them know that von Spakovsky will set back voting rights by decades – even more than he already has.