Monday, June 25, 2007

Op-Ed Takes a Flame Thrower to von Spakovsky

Cynthia Tucker has a column in the Baltimore Sun giving her views on the confirmation of Hans von Spakovsky to the Federal Election Committee (FEC). It would take a rather long post just to list the scandals of the Bush administration to date (and those are only the ones we know about), so don't feel badly if you can't place the name Hans von Spakovsky right away. Here's a refresher by The Nation's Katrina Vanden Heuvel to bring you up to speed.

With all the brouhaha about Cheney's co-presidency, you may have missed this Tucker's op-ed, but it's too good to be overlooked.

Hans von Spakovsky is among the GOP hacks who perverted the U.S. Department of Justice - trashing constitutional principles, rewarding partisanship over competence and converting the entire machinery into an arm of the Republican Party. His specialty was suppressing voting by Americans of color, who are more likely to support Democrats; he played a starring role in a nationwide effort to disenfranchise poor blacks, Latinos and Native Americans.

Now, Mr. von Spakovsky is seeking Senate approval for a six-year term on the Federal Election Commission, which enforces federal campaign finance laws. (President Bush gave Mr. von Spakovsky a recess appointment in January 2006, but he must have Senate confirmation for a full term.) The vote ought to be easy: No, no and no way.

A group of former Justice Department professionals - including a former chief of the Civil Rights Division's Voting Section - have stepped forward to oppose his nomination. According to The Washington Post, more than half the career lawyers in the Voting Section left in protest during his tenure.

Mr. von Spakovsky's blatant disregard for the constitutionally guaranteed right to the franchise should disqualify him from even serving as a volunteer poll worker,much less a commissioner on the FEC. He is a leading light among the Republican activists who have whipped up the bogeyman of fraudulent voting, claiming that illegal ballots can only be stopped by stringent requirements, such as state-sponsored photo IDs, at the ballot box.

Actually, illegal voters are about as common as honest Bush appointees in the Justice Department.

Read the rest here. In addition to denouncing von Spakovsky's bitter and partisan role in the Civil Rights Divison, those former career professionals to whom Tucker referred in her column had some very interesting insights on voter ID legislation. Definitely worth a read.

And after all this, should there still be any doubt, read Gerald Herbert's breakdown of von Spakovsky's confirmation hearing testimony.

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