Friday, June 01, 2007

US Attorney Tim Griffin resigns

Por quoi?

Well it seems those e-mailed caging lists from the GOP's 2004 vote suppression efforts -- the ones that fell into Greg Palast's hands via an e-mail error by Griffin -- have now been delivered into into the hands of the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI). Palast has been all but alone in pursuing this story for some time now. Griffin was a senior assistant to Karl Rove during the 2004 campaign. Griffin replaced fired US Attorney H.E. “Bud” Cummins in Little Rock.

Caging is a felony.

And these emails, at least, are no longer missing.

Palast has details on his site:
Tim Griffin, formerly right hand man to Karl Rove, resigned Thursday as US Attorney for Arkansas hours after BBC Television ‘Newsnight’ reported that Congressman John Conyers requested the network’s evidence on Griffin’s involvement in ‘caging voters.’ Greg Palast, reporting for BBC Newsnight, obtained a series of confidential emails from the 2004 Bush-Cheney campaign. In these emails, Griffin, then the GOP Deputy Communications Director, transmitted so-called ‘caging lists’ of voters to state party leaders.
Palast thoughtfully provided an annotated photo of one of the e-mails. And more:
Experts have concluded the caging lists were designed for a mass challenge of voters’ right to cast ballots. The caging lists were heavily weighted with minority voters including homeless individuals, students and soldiers sent overseas.

[. . .]

Conyers indicated to the BBC that he thought it unlikely that Griffin could carry out this massive ‘caging’ operation without the knowledge of White House Deputy Chief of Staff Rove.
How does "caging" work? Dahlia Lithwick at Slate explains:

Vote caging is an illegal trick to suppress minority voters (who tend to vote Democrat) by getting them knocked off the voter rolls if they fail to answer registered mail sent to homes they aren't living at (because they are, say, at college or at war). The Republican National Committee reportedly stopped the practice following a consent decree in a 1986 case. Google the term and you'll quickly arrive at the Wizard of Oz of caging, Greg Palast, investigative reporter and author of the wickedly funny Armed Madhouse: From Baghdad to New Orleans—Sordid Secrets and Strange Tales of a White House Gone Wild. Palast started reporting allegations of Republican vote caging for the BBC's Newsnight in 2004. He's been almost alone on the story since then. Palast contends, both in Armed Madhouse and widely through the liberal blogosphere, that vote caging, an illegal voter-suppression scheme, happened in Florida in 2004 this way:

The Bush-Cheney operatives sent hundreds of thousands of letters marked "Do not forward" to voters' homes. Letters returned ("caged") were used as evidence to block these voters' right to cast a ballot on grounds they were registered at phony addresses. Who were the evil fakers? Homeless men, students on vacation and—you got to love this—American soldiers. Oh yeah: most of them are Black voters.

Why weren't these African-American voters home when the Republican letters arrived? The homeless men were on park benches, the students were on vacation—and the soldiers were overseas.

. . . risking their lives to provide democracy to Iraqis while their Commander-In-Chief's deputies were stealing it from them at home.

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