Meet the new boss? Same as the old boss ... page 2

Original Publication Date: 
Saturday, March 24, 2007

4. Former Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson:

In 2005, Thompson was mentioned as a potential Supreme Court nominee before the appointment of Samuel Alito. Currently, Thompson serves in the private sector as Senior Vice President Government Affairs, General Counsel and Secretary for PepsiCo. He is a close friend of Justice Clarence Thomas (he was also a witness and advisor for Thomas during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings), and was the Deputy Attorney General under John Ashcroft until 2004, when he left the Justice Department for a position with the Brookings Institute before moving on to his position with PepsiCo.

According to the Washington Post article cited above, Thompson handled prosecution of both anti-terrorism and corporate crimes:

In addition to his daily involvement in the department's stepped-up efforts to uncover terrorist threats, Thompson has also headed the corporate crime task force pursuing prosecutions against industry giants including Enron Corp., Worldcom Inc. and HealthSouth Corp.

Thompson had two stints with and was a partner in the Atlanta law firm of King & Spalding, specializing in civil and criminal litigation. According to his bio on the Brookings website, he also served as U.S. Attorney in Georgia:

Meet the new boss? Same as the old boss ...

Original Publication Date: 
Sunday, March 25, 2007

With current speculation rampant about an imminent departure (either by resignation or being asked to step down) of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, it would only be appropriate to provide relevant information about those mentioned as a possible replacement.

Some mentioned as early candidates include current administration officials as well as other long-term former government officials. And even though it may be premature to speculate on the next Attorney General, it is not too soon to compile a "dossier" on people perceived as frontrunners to replace Gonzales as Attorney General.
 

Snapshots of five of the individuals whose names have been mentioned so far -- 1) Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, (2) SEC Chairman Chris Cox, (3) White House anti-terrorism advisor Francis Fragos Townsend, (4) former Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson and (5) former Solicitor General Theodore Olsen -- begin below.

1. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff

As far as credentials go, Chertoff has a strong resume. Per his bio on the White House website:

Interview with Dr. Donald Shields

Original Publication Date: 
Friday, April 27, 2007

Since February 18th 2007 when ePluribus Media published the ongoing study The Political Profiling of Elected Democratic Officials, it has been widely referenced. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Patrick Leahy (D-NH) quoted the study's findings on the Senate floor; Paul Krugman has summarized its findings; and Dr. Shields was interviewed by Stephen Colbert. 

Roxy Caraway of ePluribus Media interviewed Dr. Shields to discuss all the attention and find out how the on-going study is progressing.

ePluribus Media: Dr. Shields, thank you for taking the time for this interview. We understand there have been many questions about the "basis" for your study. Let me start out with an easy question. What do you mean by investigated?

Dr. Donald Shields: When we say investigated, we mean that the popular press (newspapers or television stations) ran a story naming a particular elected official or candidate as being under investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ) under the direction of a U.S. Attorney-led grand jury or U.S. Attorney's Office.

ePMedia: Investigation -- isn't that rather ephemeral? What about charges, dismissals, dropped, closed, pled guilty, and convictions?

DS: The focus of the study was the reporting (and thus the leaking) of federal investigations from supposedly secret grand jury subpoenas, federal agent inquiries, and grand jury testimony. Those press reports are not ephemeral at all. That's why we give the approximate date of each story (or indictment, if any) -- so that readers can go search it out for themselves and confirm the investigation.

ePMedia: So, the study tracks the leaks of "investigation." Why is that newsworthy?

The GOP, GeorgeWBush.com and the line that jumped the Congressional Firewall

Original Publication Date: 
Tuesday, May 8, 2007

In the virtual worlds of computer security, networking, and email, the lines separating the inner workings of the current government in Washington D.C. and the outer world of partisan politics exist only in theory.

The recent discovery that top strategists emailed plans for dismissing 8 U.S. Attorneys using accounts on the gwb43.com and georgewbush.com domains, hosted and paid for by the RNC, is just one indication of the theoretical nature of this separation.

Not only are the lines now blurred, but they became so years ago. Indeed, at the very inception of the Bush Administration, there was an effort to leverage partisan loyalty on the outside to valuable contracts inside of the dot gov information infrastructure.

The recent stories, diaries and articles surrounding the use of external email servers by senior White House members only scratch the surface. Come along to discover who is behind the dot com twins, georgewbush and gwb43, but be careful not to trip over the OhioGOP line below.



At ePluribus Media, we've spent many months investigating the 'virtual real estate' and why the neighbors seem to look so much like each other. The researchers were struck by the image and how it clarified the linkages: ohgop_index_nline.gif.

As one can pretty much guess from the name, it's an index divider graphic used for the Ohio GOP.  That image is one that NewMedia Communications used on a website built for the Ohio GOP. (The CEO of New Media Communications is one Mike Connell; remember that name if you don't already know it.)

Here's the html used to do so:

img src="http://ohiogop.org/images/ohgop_index_nline.gif"

Simple enough. Nothing unusual. Nothing out of the ordinary.   Only, why is there is an image with exactly the same name and, indeed, the very same visual look on Intelligence.House.Gov?

Voter Rights: Is Robert Popper the Fox Guarding the Henhouse?

Original Publication Date: 
Monday, May 21, 2007

ePluribus Media has interviewed sources who once worked in the Department of Justice and they suggest that Robert Popper, Special Litigation Counsel for the Voting Section, may have been instrumental in the disintegration of voter rights in minority districts.

Popper joined the Voting Section of the Justice Department at the beginning of 2006 during the wave of new hires that replaced attorneys who were allegedly forced out because they were not "loyal partisans" and replaced by members of organizations such as the Republican National Lawyers Association and Federalist Society. As Special Litigation Counsel, Popper’s charter is to be one of the chief "enforcers" of the Voting Rights Act. Ironically, Popper has been involved in at least a half-dozen cases which purportedly tried to accomplish exactly the opposite of guaranteeing the rights of those he has been charged with protecting.

Background

Popper graduated from Northwestern University Law School and was admitted to the NY Bar in 1990.  He became a lobbyist for the National Tax Limitation Committee1, and was also involved in a number of initiatives that were geared towards limiting the rights of voters.  These initiatives and acts included developing standards for redistricting and challenging the legality of districts that happened to generally be largely minority.

Permanent Recess Appointment - Part III

Original Publication Date: 
Monday, June 11, 2007

Part 1 of this series covered von Spakovsky's background in the Georgia Voter ID laws and Texas Redistricting. Part 2 looked at his involvement in the U.S. Attorney purges and his advocacy of Voter Roll purges. Part 3 reviews von Spakovsky's recess appointment to the Federal Election Commission.

Tenure at the Federal Election Commission

Part 1 and Part 2 of this series document von Spakovsky's efforts in the aggressive pursuit of Voter ID laws. And indeed, President Bush gave von Spakovsky a recess appointment to the Federal Election Commission in December 2005. This appointment was strongly opposed by Senator Edward Kennedy, who drafted a letter to Senate Rules Committee Chairman Trent Lott contending that von Spakovsky "may be at the heart of the political interference that is undermining the [Justice] Department's enforcement of federal civil laws".
 

Ironically, von Spakovsky (who helped Tom DeLay's redistricting plan in Texas amid revelations of significant donations by Jack Abramoff's tribal clients to DeLay's political action committees) immediately went after tribal donations upon his appointment to the FEC. A February 2006 Indianz.com report indicated that von Spakovsky broke with other FEC Commissioners regarding the regulation of Indian tribes:

Hans in the Sockpuppet - Part II

Original Publication Date: 
Monday, June 11, 2007

Appointment to and Tenure at Department of Justice

Von Spakovsky joined the Justice Department in Bush's first term, as were many of the individuals who had a hand in helping Bush get elected. As noted in Part 1 of this series, von Spakovsky was involved with the Florida recount:

Von Spakovsky, fresh from serving as a Bush volunteer during the Florida recount battle, became the administration's point man on voting. A veteran of efforts to keep down the Black vote in the run-up to 2000, von Spakovsky tenaciously advocated felony disenfranchisement through the Georgia Public Policy Foundation. He also served on the advisory board of the now-defunct Voting Integrity Project (VIP), which was involved in the massive purge of voters in Florida before the 2000 election.

With a resume consisting of efforts many claim were intended to disenfranchise and suppress minority voting rights, it wasn't long before von Spakovsky spearheaded initiatives at the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division to accomplish similar results. His illustrious career at DOJ included many acts which went against the basic premise of "Helping America Vote."

Texas Redistricting

Von Spakovsky approved the mid-census redistricting in Texas that was engineered by Tom Delay - which the U.S. Supreme Court later held in violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. A December 12, 2003 Justice Department Memorandum indicates that von Spakovsky and Brad Schlozman (who later became US Attorney for the Western District of Missouri) overrode seven DOJ voting rights experts who indicated that the Texas redistricting violated the Voting Rights Act. According to the Lone Star Project (.pdf linked above):

Hans Van Spakovsky: Right choice for FEC Commissioner? - Part I

Original Publication Date: 
Monday, June 11, 2007

Part 1 of this series covered von Spakovsky's background in the Georgia Voter ID laws and Texas Redistricting. Part 2 looked at his involvement in the U.S. Attorney purges and his advocacy of Voter Roll purges. Part 3 reviews von Spakovsky's recess appointment to the Federal Election Commission.

Hans A. von Spakovsky has been nominated for a full term on the Federal Election Commission (FEC), having already received a recess appointment from President Bush in early 2006, despite his long history of positions and [actions] which have served to limit the rights of voters, especially minorities.

Hans A. von Spakovsky's "credentials" include efforts in Georgia which curtailed minority voting rights and made it tougher for many likely Democratic voters to be eligible to vote; a stint in the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division; membership in the conservative Federalist Society; and service on the national advisory board of the "Voting Integrity Project" (VIP), whose efforts Jeffrey Toobin in a 2004 The New Yorker suggests served more to keep people from voting than it did to ensure that all votes were counted.

Georgia On My Mind

Von Spakovsky cut his teeth in Georgia during the 1990s, prior to his activity on the national level. According to the White House announcement of his interim appointment to the FEC in December 2005:

Mr. von Spakovsky currently serves as Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice. He previously served the Justice Department as a trial attorney for the Voting Reform Initiative. Prior to that, Mr. von Spakovsky served as a government affairs consultant. Earlier in his career, he was Assistant Vice President, Counsel and Secretary for Confederation Life Insurance Company in Rehabilitation. Mr. von Spakovsky received his bachelor's degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his JD from Vanderbilt University.

Hans von Spakovsky: Right choice for FEC Commissioner?

Original Publication Date: 
Sunday, June 10, 2007

Hans von Spakovsky, only recognizable to a small percentage of Americans, has over the past two decades had a tremendous impact on our right to vote.

Currently, von Spakovsky is serving on the Federal Elections Commission. He was appointed by Bush as a recess appointment in late 2005 over the objections of Congressional officials and voting rights groups alike.

Why would a man whose career is dedicated to the area of voting rights be challenged so vigorously for a position on this country's highest Election Board? This series attempts to answer that question.

About the Author: Adam Lambert is a tax consultant living and working in the New York City area. Blogging under the name "clammyc", he has researched and written extensively on issues involving Iraq, the Bush administration and the "war on terror," the US attorney purge and election fraud issues.

ePluribus Contributors: Publius Revolts, Standingup, cho, AvaHome, GreyHawk, wanderindiana, Roxy and jenn718 contributed to this story.

Caging the Vote - 2004

Original Publication Date: 
Friday, June 22, 2007

Investigative journalist, Greg Palast, winner of six Project Censored Awards originally brought the "caging lists" from Duval County, Florida to widespread attention in his report for an October 26th, 2004 BBC Newsnight program.

ePluribus Media reporters also conducted an inquiry into DuvalCounty "caging".  Our analysis of the available data seems to point to discrepancies and contradictions with what was reported by Palast. Since any efforts to suppress voters by caging would be serious __ and possibly illegal __ we believe the reporting on caging should be restricted to the facts.

In his book, Armed Madhouse, and in press releases, Palast cites one "Randall Prausa" as an example of an African American Serviceman disenfranchised by caging. On page 204 of this book he reports:

We checked one list that included 50 black soldiers. We called one, Randall Prausa. His wife indicated that his address had changed because he was shipped overseas. Go to Baghdad, lose your vote. Nice. A black soldier's vote gone. Mission Accomplished.

In addition, in a June 2nd, 2006 report, by Palast contains this:

Was it deliberate? Oh, my God, yes. I'd like you to take a look at the "caging" lists the Republican National Committee concocted to challenge voters with "suspect" addresses. It included page after page of African-American soldiers, like one Randall Prausa, shipped overseas. Mission accomplished, Mr. President?

The problem with this choice of Randall Prausa to illustrate disenfranchisement of African American servicemen by caging is that __ Randall Prausa is not black. [see photo above of Seaman Randall Prausa]

Pages

Author: 
Polydactyl
Original Publication Date: 
Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Editors' Note: On the first year anniversary of Katrina, Louisiana resident and writer, Polydactyl reflects on her in-the-moment journals and diaries to remind us of what it was like in the eye of the storm.

about the author: Polydactyl dons her blogger's hat in Central Louisiana between shifts as a wife, mom, cat-herder and computer healer.