| I've already pointed out in exhaustive detail the efforts of high-level Republicans and administration officials to promulgate the myth of voter fraud as part of its strategy of discouraging Democratic supporters to go to the polls. In today's Washington Post, there's an account of yet another attempt by politically motivated government officials to continue the myth of voter fraud.
In it, Tova Andrea Wang recounts her experience working for the Congressionally created Election Assistance Committee (EAC), formed in the aftermath of the 2000 election. Wang and her bipartisan group were appointed by the EAC to conduct a preliminary investigation into voter fraud and intimidation.
After the report was submitted to the EAC, that body later released the "results" of the study:
We said that our preliminary research found widespread agreement among administrators, academics and election experts from all points on the political spectrum that allegations of fraud through voter impersonation at polling places were greatly exaggerated. We noted that this position was supported by existing research and an analysis of several years of news articles. The commission chose instead to state that the issue was a matter of considerable debate. And while we found that problems of voter intimidation were still prevalent in a variety of forms, the commission excluded much of the discussion of voter intimidation.
We also raised questions about the way the Justice Department was handling complaints of fraud and intimidation. The commission excised all references to the department that might be construed as critical -- or that Justice officials later took issue with. And all of the suggestions we received from political scientists and other scholars regarding methodologies for a more scientifically rigorous look at these problems were omitted.
So?what happened between the time that Wang's group submitted its findings, and the EAC released the report?
It's still unclear, but it is worth noting that during the time the commission was holding our draft, claims about voter fraud and efforts to advance the cause of strict voter identification laws were at a fever pitch in Congress and the states. And it has been reported that some U.S. attorneys were being fired because they failed to pursue weakly supported voter fraud cases with sufficient zeal.
We have learned that several Republican officials, including a state official, a former political appointee at the Justice Department and current Federal Election Commission member (Hans Von Spakovsky), and a Capitol Hill staffer complained about our project, particularly about my role in it. Officials at Justice were actively involved in the report throughout the process and even exerted some degree of editorial control over the new report. And it is evident from the commission's "document dump" that its Republican general counsel assumed primary control over the rewriting of the report.
(Hans Von Spakovsky, wouldn't you know, was a controversial member of Alberto Gonzalez' Department of Justice. As a member of the DoJ's Civil Rights' division, he was an advocate of anti-voter-fraud policies, including the unconstitutional Georgia voter ID bill, that helped suppress minority voting.)
Not that is should come as a surprise to anyone who's been following current events, but the Bush administration has politicized the federal government and made it a vehicle of partisanship.
Now I'm all for partisanship - in blogs, in debate, in how we select our representatives. And I agree that government should be run based on our elected representatives' philosophies, instituting programs and legislation that, in their view, best benefits the country. That's how the system should work.
However, the Bush administration has instead made the government work not for any philosophical or ideological ideals, but to act solely in the interests of the Republican party. In this case, political officials suppressed an investigative report that contradicted political rhetoric and government programs of voter intimidation that helps the Republican party win elections.
So what's worse? Larry Craig seeking blow jobs in public bathrooms, or officials abusing the power of government to intimidate U.S. citizens from exercising their basic right to vote?