April 19, 2007

Yet Another Possible Angle on U.S. Attorney Investigation and Voter Fraud Allegations

This one is news to me. Via this story at the Brad Blog, it turns out that fired U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas Bud Cummins has alleged in this LA Times article and this article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that his firing may have had to do with an investigation of Missouri governor Matt Blunt and the law firm of Latrhrop and Gage. The Dispatch: "Cummin'' investigation had focused on Missouri's openly political system of fee offices that dispense drivers licenses and license plates. The governor awards the contracts, which often go to political allies under a long-standing patronage system. Blunt had come under fire because his administration had privatized some state branches that dispensed the licenses and had allowed Lathrop & Gage to set up a behind-the-scenes system of private management firms that run dozens of offices. On Oct. 4, Cummins announced that the investigation had concluded and that no charges were filed against anyone." Cummins in the Los Angeles Times: "In an interview Thursday, Cummins expressed disgust that the Bush administration may have fired him and the others for political reasons. 'You have to firewall politics out of the Department of Justice. Because once it gets in, people question every decision you make. Now I keep asking myself: 'What about the Blunt deal?'""

The Brad Blog notes that a partner at the Lathrop and Gage firm is Thor Hearne, who headed American Center for Voting Rights (an organization that has mysteriously disappeared), which has been the main NGO pushing the argument that voter fraud was rampant was deserved investigation and new election administration rules, such as voter id laws. The blog questions whether there is any connection between Cummins' firing and potential favoritism for the Lathrop firm. This is certainly worthy of further investigation.

Posted by Rick Hasen at April 19, 2007 11:42 AM