November 4, 2007
There was an interesting post on Firedoglake (one of my favorite sites) this week about the pending nomination of Hans von Spakovsky to the Federal Elections Commission (FEC). Christy Hardin Smith is speculating that this nomination may be in more trouble than has been publicly known.
For those who haven’t been following the career of Hans, here is the eloquent condemnation by the marvelous Christy at http://www.firedoglake.com/2007/10/28/hans-down/#more-12542
Try von Spakovsky sockpuppeting an article about voter suppression in violation of DOJ rules while he was still an employee there ostensibly working on civil rights issues. Or how about participating in an effort to disenfranchise elderly Native American voters in Arizona on a technicality rather than working to find a way to support their right to vote. Or the entire gaming the system for The Math scheme at the DOJ. Or that a number of his subordinates at the DOJ wrote in to the Senate to say that von Spakovsky has neither the ethical underpinnings nor the commitment to voting integrity that should not be gamed for political purposes to be anywhere near the FEC. And there is so much more: see Digby and Adam at ePluribusMedia, for starters.
Christy was responding to ominous Washington Post musings suggesting that the end of the sky was falling (or something equally dire) if the four nominees for the FEC (including the infamous voter suppression specialist von Spakovsky) were not immediately confirmed. Why, the FEC would be unable to function with only the two current members … it would be short-staffed (gasp of shock). So the Senate should rush right out and confirm the whole bunch — whadya waiting for, folks — hurry, scurry — get it done.
This ignores what Christy rightly calls
the odor of political gaming of voter’s rights that eminates from von Spakovsky’s long record of partisan action
Hans von Spakovsky should not be given a six year appointment to any agency having anything to do with elections, including the FEC.
“This is the first nomination that the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights has ever opposed,” said Wade Henderson, the group’s president. He said he thinks that von Spakovsky would “use his role at the FEC to make it more difficult for voters to exercise their franchise.”…
Because of concerns about von Spakovsky’s track record on voter suppression, Senators Feingold and Obama have both placed holds on the nominations of the block of four current nominees. Because of a “deal” the four nominations (2 Democrats and 2 Republicans) are set to be voted on as a block rather than individually. This “all or nothing” approach would prevent von Spakovsky from getting an up-or-down vote on his own (de)merits.
The block should be busted and each nominee should get a vote on their own record. Then there would be accountability. Then the U.S. Senate would be exercising their true “advise and consent” function under the Constitution. Hans von Spakovsky should be denied a free pass and be voted down based on his record.
October 21, 2007
Von Spakovsky should be in jail for his crimes against voting rights — I agree with Obama that this guy has done nothing to earn a 6-year appointment to the FEC. After turning the concepts of voting rights protection on its head while working in the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ and after being sneaked into his current position via a “recess appointment”, the Senate Dems should show some spine and send him back to whatever rock he crawled out from under. Note what Barack Obama has to say about why he is putting a Senate “hold” on this appointment.
Bush’s FEC nominee undermined voting rights
More than 40 years ago, John Lewis and Hosea Williams, along with hundreds of everyday Americans, left their homes and churches to brave the blows of Billy clubs and join a march for freedom across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Thousands of anonymous foot soldiers – Blacks and Whites, the young and the elderly – summoned the courage to march for justice and demand freedom. A few months later, the Voting Rights Act was signed into law.
It’s because of the sacrifice of these American heroes that we’ve come so far today. But there’s more work to be done. Recent elections have shown unprecedented intimidation of African-American, Native American, low income and elderly voters at the polls. We’ve seen political operatives purge voters from registration rolls for no legitimate reason, distribute polling equipment unevenly, and deceive voters about the time, location and rules of elections.