Thursday, March 29, 2007

A Hard Right

In today's Los Angeles Times, Joseph Rich (identified as "chief of the voting section in the Justice Department's civil right division from 1999 to 2005.") weighed in on the current Justice Department scandals. His description of what has been going on in this key department under the Bush administration is damning evidence of just what this cabal has done to our government.

I spent more than 35 years in the department enforcing federal civil rights laws — particularly voting rights. Before leaving in 2005, I worked for attorneys general with dramatically different political philosophies — from John Mitchell to Ed Meese to Janet Reno. Regardless of the administration, the political appointees had respect for the experience and judgment of longtime civil servants.

Under the Bush administration, however, all that changed. Over the last six years, this Justice Department has ignored the advice of its staff and skewed aspects of law enforcement in ways that clearly were intended to influence the outcome of elections.

It has notably shirked its legal responsibility to protect voting rights. From 2001 to 2006, no voting discrimination cases were brought on behalf of African American or Native American voters. U.S. attorneys were told instead to give priority to voter fraud cases, which, when coupled with the strong support for voter ID laws, indicated an intent to depress voter turnout in minority and poor communities.

At least two of the recently fired U.S. attorneys, John McKay in Seattle and David C. Iglesias in New Mexico, were targeted largely because they refused to prosecute voting fraud cases that implicated Democrats or voters likely to vote for Democrats.

This pattern also extended to hiring. In March 2006, Bradley Schlozman was appointed interim U.S. attorney in Kansas City, Mo. Two weeks earlier, the administration was granted the authority to make such indefinite appointments without Senate confirmation. That was too bad: A Senate hearing might have uncovered Schlozman's central role in politicizing the civil rights division during his three-year tenure.

This administration is also politicizing the career staff of the Justice Department. Outright hostility to career employees who disagreed with the political appointees was evident early on. Seven career managers were removed in the civil rights division. I personally was ordered to change performance evaluations of several attorneys under my supervision. I was told to include critical comments about those whose recommendations ran counter to the political will of the administration and to improve evaluations of those who were politically favored.

...Control of hiring went to political appointees, so an applicant's fidelity to GOP interests replaced civil rights experience as the most important factor in hiring decisions.
[Emphasis added]

If Mr. Rich's allegations are true, and they certainly should be investigated, then it is clear that the firing of the eight US Attorneys currently being looked into by Congress is just the tip of the iceberg. People really were trying to establish a Thousand Year Reich for the GOP.

To my way of thinking, November 6, 2006 now looms even larger than September 22, 2001. Five years is long enough for those kinds of crimes to be overlooked.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

hell, yes. the entire federal structure seems to have been compromised and hijacked. this thing, this administration, this cabal of neo-publican brownshirts, this mess of malfeasance has tried to infiltrate and corrupt all the institutions of governance.

7:28 PM  

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