March 29, 2006

Who is Publius? The Answer Might Surprise You

On October 12, 2005, I had this roundup of reprints on election law articles received in the mail. Among the items I noted was this:

    I also received the first anonymous election law article that I can remember: Publius, Securing the Integrity of American Elections: The Need for Change, 9 Texas Review of Law and Politics 277 (2005). I am not sure why this piece is anonymous (the author's footnote describes the author as "an attorney who specializes in election issues" and the postmark on the envelope I received was from Washington D.C.---obviously no return address). The article makes what I consider to be the standard Republican arguments for greater ballot "integrity" and against the Democratic view on things like provisional voting and voter i.d. requirements. There is much in here that I disagree with, but nothing to be embarassed about (unless, I suppose, one is a lawyer for the Democrats!). Could this have been written by the anonymous Lonely Centrist?

I had not thought much about this article since then, until tonight, when I was perusing the FEC's website. So on Commissioner von Spakovsky's page, there is this link to articles, and the second article listed is indeed a pdf of the Publius article. The author's footnote reads in full: "Publius is an attorney who specializes in election issues. The opinions expressed here are the attorney's own and not that of the attorney's employer."

Who was that employer in 2005? The United States Department of Justice. From the commissioner's biography: "Commissioner Hans A. von Spakovsky was nominated to the Federal Election Commission by President George W. Bush on December 15, 2005 and was appointed on January 4, 2006. Prior to his appointment, Commissioner von Spakovsky served as Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Justice, where he provided expertise and advice on voting and election issues, including of the Help America Vote Act of 2002."

I wonder why he has now decided to reveal his identity as the author of this article.

Posted by Rick Hasen at March 29, 2006 09:04 PM