Trump's Fraudulent Voting Commission Accidentally Got Some Democrat On Itself
Should that be a 'Members Only' Jacket?
The Kris Kobach Voter-Fraud Is Everywhere Circus rolled into New Hampshire Tuesday, and not everyone is in love with it. There's no doubt the panel will eventually reach its preordained conclusion that, Yes, Virginia (and any other state that went for Hillary), There Is A Voter Fraud, but at least his latest round of stupid isn't being taken at face value outside of the wingnuttosphere. Kobach's claim that thousands of people illegally voted in New Hampshire in 2016 has been debunked, with everyone who knows the state shaking their heads and saying "College students, dude," and now the few Democrats allowed onto the fraudulent voter commission are condemning Kobach for playing fast and loose with evidence. Or as the New York Times fastidiously puts it, "the most telling discussions of the [New Hampshire] session addressed declining confidence in the commission itself."
New Hampshire's own secretary of state, Democrat William M. Gardner, is a member of the commission, and warned against "the specter of extreme political partisanship" at work in the commission. Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, who also has a "D" after his name, publicly scolded Kobach for his claims about the 2016 New Hampshire vote. One member of the commission sent a long-distance denunciation:
Even a commission member not in attendance made his critical voice heard. The panel “should be expanding the rights of our citizens to vote, instead of arguably looking for ways to keep people from voting,” wrote Alan L. King, a Democrat and probate judge in Jefferson County, Ala., in a stinging letter.
“Some parts of our electorate wish to beat their chests on so-called ‘voter fraud,’ and there may be some isolated instances” of irregularities, he wrote. “But, I would venture to say, thousands upon thousands more people are stricken from voter rolls without justifiable cause or have their vote suppressed.”
And now we learn that Hans von Spakovsky, one of the Republicans on the commission, sent a message to the Justice Department in February warning that no Democrats -- and no "mainstream" Republicans for that matter -- should be allowed on the commission because they aren't True Believers in the Vote Fraud fairy. The Campaign Legal Center got a copy of the email via a FOIA request. While the sender's name was redacted by the DOJ, the Heritage Foundation confirmed the sender was Hans von Spakovsky, who, along with Kobach, is one of the top peddlers of the voter fraud myth. (See this outstanding New Yorker profile for more on his history of electoral fuckery.) And What did the Heritage Foundation's Voter Fraud Expert have to say about the inclusion of anyone but True Believers on the commission?
See, If you're going to have a commission on voter fraud, you have to make sure there are no Democrats, academics, or even mainstream Republicans, because they simply don't understand the real truth of voter fraud. When it comes to voting, "bipartisanship" is as ridiculous as letting scientists testify before the House Science Committee.
Helpfully, the Heritage Foundation confirmed to Gizmodo reporter Dell Cameron that the email was written by von Spakovsky:
The Heritage Foundation is scrupulously nonpartisan. Hans von Spakovsky is a former member of the Federal Election Commission and has managed our Election Law Reform Initiative for many years. He brings a wealth of knowledge and insight to the discussion of voter fraud, and holds strong views on the topic. The views expressed in the email are his own
Funny thing, though! Shortly before Gizmodo posted its story Tuesday, Pro Publica reporter Jessica Huseman asked Spakovsky if he had written the email, and he said nuh-uh, wasn't him:
By this morning, Huseman doesn't appear to have received any follow-up answers from von Spakovsky or the Heritage Foundation, but here is a very nice recording of the guy claiming he never wrote the email:
Friend of Wonkette Charlie Pierce was there and heard the denial as well:
Dell Cameron, the Gizmodo reporter, thinks it rather strange von Spakovsky doesn't recall saying No Dems (or AcaDems) allowed:
Needless to say, this doesn't look so great for the ol' Find The 5 Million Illegals Who Voted For Hillary Commission, since it's just one more sign that it's stacked with rightwing hacks. Vanita Gupta, the former head of the DOJ's Civil Rights Division under Barack Obama, tweeted that at a minimum, von Spakovsky should resign, but really, the commission should just be disbanded since it's rotten from the get-go:
At Mother Jones, voting rights expert Ari Berman notes von Spakovsky is hardly new to the game of political ratfuckery; in 2005, while he was working in George W. Bush's DOJ, von Spakovsky wrote a pseudonymous law review article praising voter ID laws -- at the same time he was part of the legal team "deciding" whether Georgia's voter ID law was legal under the Voting Rights Act. Fun, huh?
Justice Department ethics guidelines clearly stated that von Spakovsky should have recused himself from consideration of Georgia’s law, given his longstanding advocacy for voter ID laws and the strong viewpoints in his then-anonymous article. Instead, he played a key role in approving the law, among the first of its kind, even though several lawyers on the review team recommended that it be blocked for discriminating against African American voters.
Still, you have to give von Spakovsky some credit: He was right in predicting that no one outside his cabal of voter fraud fetishists is convinced that his hobbyhorse is even a real thing. If only he'd yelled "Deep State" and "Leftists!" a bit louder.
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