Paul Kiel is over at TPM discussing the latest developments in the confirmation hearing of Hans Spakovsky, which began yesterday. When asked about his tireless support of election regulations that regularly disenfranchise minorities, and that have been struck down as unconstitutional by courts, Spakovsky gave the usual Bush Justice Department answer:

I don’t remember.

Time and again during his confirmation hearing, he cited either the attorney-client privilege or a cloudy memory for his purported role in restricting minorities’ voting rights.

Von Spakovsky couldn’t remember blocking an investigation into complaints that a Minnesota Republican official was discriminating against Native American voters before the 2004 election.

Under oath, he also said he didn’t recall seeing data from the state of Georgia that would have undercut a push by senior officials within the Civil Rights Division to approve the state’s tough new law requiring photo IDs of all voters. The data showed that 300,000 Georgia voters lacked driver’s licenses. A federal judge later threw out the law as unconstitutional.

Apparently, having the courts overturn laws pushed by the now ironically named Civil Rights Division was a regular occurrence for Spakovsky.

Feinstein questioned von Spakovsky about allegations that he impeded an investigation of allegations that Minnesota Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer had wrongly interpreted a new state ID law to bar 200,000 Native Americans from using tribal ID cards to vote.

“I don’t remember that complaint at all,” von Spakovsky said.

Durbin, after listening to von Spakovsky’s memory lapses, remarked that it was “an affliction to which many people in the Department of Justice suffer.” He referred to recent testimony by other department officials who are facing allegations of partisanship.

The Democrats brought up several strong reasons why Spakovsky should not be confirmed, as though his own absent-minded testimony wasn’t incriminating enough. Can you imagine going to a job interview and telling the interviewer you don’t remember half the things on your resume, or why you did them?

Citing a scathing letter from six former senior officials of the Voting Rights Section, Committee Chairwoman Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., told him bluntly: “It is really a problem for this body to vote for someone with this letter on the record.”

Illinois Democratic Sen. and presidential candidate Barack Obama said this week that he thought that von Spakovsky should be rejected “unless he can provide legitimate explanations for his conduct.” Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., expressed similar misgivings.

Feinstein is referring to a letter written by six former colleagues of Spakovsky from the Civil Rights Division, which described Spakovsky as “the point man for undermining the Civil Rights’ Division’s mandate to protect voting rights. “

Of course, the Democrats might confirm him anyway.

Whether Democrats can derail von Spakovsky’s appointment is unclear.

Feinstein cautioned that “a very serious situation could develop if the Senate fails to confirm at least some” of the four nominees by fall because none of the current commissioners has won Senate approval for a full six-year term.

Another problem for foes of von Spakovsky is that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is pushing a home-state candidate, recess appointee Steven Walther of Reno, Nev., and Republicans are likely to put a retaliatory hold on Walther if von Spakovsky is rejected.

The choice the Democrats are facing is whether to confirm someone to the Federal Election Commission who has spent his entire career trying to prevent minorities, blacks and Native Americans in particular, or possibly face a confrontation with their rival party.

The choice sounds clear to me, but apparently it’s not to the Democrats. Which is why my voter registration card still says “Independent.”

Attorney General Gonzales
is already under investigation for possibly obstructing justice for his actions surrounding the U.S. Attorney firings. Yet the Democrats are actually considering whether or not to confirm someone who has been equally dishonest in his Senate testimony.

If the Democrats cannot prevent the confirmation of someone who has made deliberate efforts to disenfranchise American voters based on race, then in my opinion, they don’t deserve to be in office. They certainly don’t deserve my vote.

Related Posts with Thumbnails