Chickens Come Home to Roost for Hans

UPDATED orginally published -- 2008-04-23 11:19:51 -1000

A new development in the Hans von Spakovsky story ... hat tip [again] to Avahome.

The Washington Post is reporting today that Hans is now working as a special assistant for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

Commissioner Michael Yaki opposed the move. "Usually assistants are young folks out of law school who are excited to learn, not a way station for retreads who've been criticized for their less than sterling defense of voting rights laws," he said.

[end update]

kudos to Avahome for the original research

Hans von Spakovsky

Back in June of 2007, Adam Lambert (with the support of ePluribus Media researchers) wrote a comprehensive, three part article on von Spakovsky. Part I - Hans Von Spakovsky: Right choice for FEC Commissioner? covered von Spakovsky's background in the Georgia Voter ID laws and Texas Redistricting. Part II-Hans in the Sockpuppet looked at his involvement in the U.S. Attorney purges and his advocacy of Voter Roll purges. Part 3-Permanent Recess Appointment reviews von Spakovsky's recess appointment to the Federal Election Commission.

The Federal Elections Commission requires 6 members - 3 from each political party - serving staggered terms. Currently, only two of the six seats are filled, leaving us with an election without a functioning FEC.

So where is Hans now?

Hans was serving on the commission due to a recess appointment by President Bush, but was formally nominated in 2007. The nomination stalled due to an impasse in the Senate Nominating Commission. Sen. Harry Reid has asked President Bush to withdraw the nomination, but

[...] Bush "continues to strongly support his nomination," urging Reid to consider von Spakovsky as part of an entire slate of FEC nominees.

On April 15th,2008 Hans von Spakovsky

withdrew his name for consideration, choosing private-sector work rather than waiting out a confirmation impasse between Senate Democrats and President Bush that has hobbled the agency.

So, Hans is [supposedly] out, but where does that leave the Commission?
Davis of Common Cause is quoted in Mother Jones:

"It doesn't function at a level we'd like it to anyway, but to be out of commission in a presidential election year is outrageous." In essence, he says, the nation could be headed into an election year with effectively no oversight of campaign fundraising or spending.

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For what it is worth...(you be the judge).

Justice Dept. Staff Cleared in Election Report Inquiry

Sunday, March 30, 2008; Page A07

An independent investigation has found that Republican appointees in the Justice Department did not, as had been alleged, censor a bipartisan commission's report on the sensitive topics of voter fraud and voter intimidation.

The findings come in a report by the inspector general at the Election Assistance Commission, which was formed to help states overhaul their election procedures after the highly contested 2000 presidential election.

The probe examined the commission's delay in releasing a report on voter fraud and intimidation. In the final version, a key conclusion -- that there was little evidence of polling-place fraud -- was altered to state that there was a great deal of debate about the pervasiveness of fraud.

If folks think this is just an innocuous appointment, a reread of this article is timely:

But just beneath the surface of the multiple U.S. Attorney scandals lie hints and teasers of the Bush Administration's potentially more damaging politicization of the Justice Department. Indeed, The Civil Rights Division appears to be morphing into a tool to manipulate elections. Control seems to be held by a "shadow" Civil Rights Division - populated by ideologues and their fellow travelers -- which has usurped litigation decisions, the hiring process, training and the Division's traditional civil rights agenda.

The Civil Rights Division under the Bush Administration has been turned inside out -- in the same manner as the Clean Air Act, Clear Skies Initiative and the Healthy Forest Initiative, all of which legislate the very opposite of what their titles suggest.