Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Timothy Griffin, Karl Rove’s assistant, the President’s pick as US Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas Caught in Scheme to Disenfranchise Black Soldiers

Bush’s New US Attorney a Criminal? by Greg Palast

BBC Television had exposed 2004 voter attack scheme by appointee Griffin, a Rove aide.

Black soldiers and the homeless targeted.

by Greg Palast

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 pressure.

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

However, Griffin 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.

Griffin scheme was sickly brilliant. We learned that the RNC sent
first-class letters to new voters in minority precincts marked, “Do not
forward.” Several sheets contained nothing but soldiers, other sheets,
homeless shelters. Targets included the Jacksonville Naval Air Station
in Florida and that city’s State Street Rescue Mission. Another target,
Edward Waters College, a school for African-Americans.

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 shipped overseas.

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.

Griffin 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
questioning altogether.

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.

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