Fund won't let go of outdated lawsuit in smear of Obama DOJ


John Fund continues to promote an outdated lawsuit connected to the Bush-era politicization of the Justice Department to smear the Obama Justice Department as hostile to enforcing voting laws, which he called "outrageous" and "suspiciously like the Black Panther case." But the Justice Department moved to dismiss the case due to outdated evidence.

Fund outraged that DOJ dismissed outdated lawsuit tied to U.S. attorney scandal

From the July 9 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:

FUND: Now, in Missouri, there was a federal lawsuit that was launched in 2005 because one-third of Missouri counties had more people registered to vote than they had adults over the age of 18. So, clearly, there was a problem. That lawsuit went on for three years. As soon as the Obama administration takes office, they drop the lawsuit, even though they were probably going to win it, very suspiciously like the Black Panther case.

Missouri lawsuit tied to Bush-era U.S. attorney scandal

Bush-era case accused Missouri of not purging voter rolls. The Bush Justice Department filed a complaint in November 2005 alleging that the state of Missouri was not effectively removing ineligible voters from registration lists, citing Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act, commonly referred to as the Motor Voter law. After a district court judge ruled against the DOJ in 2007, the Bush administration appealed. In July 2008, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit remanded the case, asking the district court to consider whether local election agencies were complying with voter registration laws, but in October of that year, the court declined a request to reopen discovery. In March 2009, the Obama Justice Department ultimately asked the court to dismiss the case due to outdated evidence and the court's refusal to reopen an investigation into the state's voter registration maintenance procedures.

The motion for voluntary dismissal further explained (from PACER):

The United States now moves for a voluntary dismissal of this matter on the ground that events have overtaken this litigation. Discovery in this action closed more than two and-one-half years ago, and the evidence in the record at that time may have limited applicability to current conditions in Missouri. As the United States would not seek an injunction on old or stale evidence, it hereby moves for this dismissal.

In light of the above, the United States respectfully moves this Court to approve and order the attached Stipulation and Order of Dismissal.

U.S. attorney reportedly refused to file lawsuit and was eventually replaced by Bush political appointee. In a May 2007 article, The Washington Post reported that Todd Graves, the U.S. attorney for Missouri at the time the lawsuit was filed, said he "clashed with Justice's civil rights division over" the voter registration lawsuit and that Bradley Schlozman "signed off on [the complaint] after [Graves] refused to do so." Schlozman later was found to have inappropriately considered political affiliation and ideology when hiring career attorneys in the DOJ. The Post article further reported that Graves said "he was asked to step down from his job by a senior Justice Department official in January 2006, months before eight other federal prosecutors would be fired by the Bush administration." The Post also reported that "Schlozman had been a controversial figure in Justice's civil rights division for stances on voting rights" and that "[a]fter he arrived in Kansas City, he came under fire from Democrats for pushing forward with an indictment of voter-registration activists in Missouri just weeks before last November's elections."

NY Times: Lawsuit against Missouri was part of "highly suspicious case" connected to U.S. attorney scandal. In a May 2007 editorial, The New York Times wrote of the case: "Another highly suspicious case has emerged in the appointment of Bradley Schlozman, a controversial elections lawyer, to replace a respected United States attorney in Missouri. From the facts available, it looks like a main reason for installing Mr. Schlozman was to help Republicans win a pivotal Missouri Senate race." In a June 2007 editorial, the Times further wrote that the lawsuit "could have led to thousands of Democratic-leaning voters being wrongly purged from the rolls," adding that Schlozman "fits neatly into the larger picture. Prosecutors who refused to use their offices to help Republicans win elections, like John McKay in Washington State, and David Iglesias in New Mexico, were fired. Prosecutors who used their offices to help Republicans did well."

DOJ IG: Schlozman violated DOJ policy and federal law by "consider[ing] political and ideological affiliations" when hiring career attorneys. A July 2008 report from the Department of Justice Inspector General's Office and the Office of Professional Responsibility concluded that Schlozman "considered political and ideological affiliations when hiring and taking other personnel actions relating to career attorneys in violation of Department policy and federal law." The same report outlined statements from Justice Department officials who said that Schlozman attempted to remove Democrats and liberals and hire "real Americans" or "right-thinking Americans," which the report determined to mean conservatives.

Fund previously touted dismissal as "evidence backing up" Adams' dubious allegations

Fund cites dismissal as "evidence backing up" Adams. In a July 8 Wall Street Journal post, Fund cited the Justice Department's decision not to pursue the lawsuit against Missouri as "evidence backing up" the dubious allegations of former Justice Department lawyer J. Christian Adams that the Obama Justice Department dismissed voter-intimidation charges against the New Black Panther Party because the defendants were African-American. Adams is a longtime GOP activist who was reportedly hired by Schlozman and has admitted that his allegations against the DOJ are based on hearsay -- not firsthand evidence. Fund asserted:

When filed in 2005, one-third of Missouri counties had more registered voters than voting-age residents. What's more, Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, a Democrat who this year is her party's candidate for a vacant U.S. Senate seat, contended that her office had no obligation to ensure individual counties were complying with the federal law mandating a cleanup of their voter rolls.

The case made slow but steady progress through the courts for more than three years, amid little or no evidence of progress in cleaning up Missouri's voter rolls. Despite this, Obama Justice saw fit to dismiss the case in March 2009.

But the Civil Rights Division decided to drop the case against three of the defendants for insufficient evidence. Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez of the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ testified that the charges against the New Black Panthers were dropped after attorneys at the Civil Rights Division determined that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute the three defendants. Additionally, in an April 23 hearing on the DOJ's decision in the case, Civil Rights Commissioner Arlan Melendez noted that "no citizen has even alleged that he or she was intimidated from voting," which "was clear to the Justice Department last spring, which is why they took the course of action that they did."

Posted In
Elections, Election Law, Voting Rights & Issues
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