May 31, 2007
"Voter Fraud" Scandal Update [Updated]
The Los Angeles Times offers this front page report, "Minnesota case fits pattern in U.S. attorneys flap; A prosecutor apparently targeted for firing had supported Native American voters' rights." It begins: "For more than 15 years, clean-cut, square-jawed Tom Heffelfinger was the embodiment of a tough Republican prosecutor. Named U.S. attorney for Minnesota in 1991, he won a series of high-profile white-collar crime and gun and explosives cases. By the time Heffelfinger resigned last year, his office had collected a string of awards and commendations from the Justice Department. So it came as a surprise-- and something of a mystery -- when he turned up on a list of U.S. attorneys who had been targeted for firing. Part of the reason, government documents and other evidence suggest, is that he tried to protect voting rights for Native Americans. At a time when GOP activists wanted U.S. attorneys to concentrate on pursuing voter fraud cases, Heffelfinger's office was expressing deep concern about the effect of a state directive that could have the effect of discouraging Indians in Minnesota from casting ballots." Josh Marshall comments and Paul Kiel fills in the Schlozman/von Spakovsky details.
Meanwhile, Murray Waas turns his attention to the Missouri angle in all of this, including a look at Thor Hearne, who is at the center of the collapse of the American Center for Voting Rights. Two snippets from the must-read article:
It is hard to imagine who that private attorney could be besides Jason Torchinsky. [UPDATE: Jason Torchinsky writes via email that he does not know who Waas's source was, but it was not him.]
And a stunning admission in the article:
While Waas notes that ACVR "now appears to be defunct" he does not report what Lunde or anyone else had to say about its sudden disappearance. My earlier Slate piece on Hearne and ACVR is here.
UPDATE: Connecticut Republicans are pushing an amendment to an election day registration bill to require voter id in the name of preventing voter fraud.]
UPDATE 3: Via comments to this TPMmuckraker post, I found this video interview with former U.S. Attorney for New Mexico David Iglesias. About halfway through the interview, Iglesias makes the claim that Pat Rogers, working for ACVR (which he incorrectly identifies as "American Citizens for Voting Reform"), pressured Iglesias to bring voter fraud prosecutions at the behest of Karl Rove. It is worth listening to the interview.