Meet Hans von Spakovsky
Hans von Spakovsky worked in the civil rights devision of the Justice Department. He is a Bush recess appointment. Von Spakovsky spent more time suppressing voter rights than promoting civil rights. A fellow DoJ colleague does not think highly of von Spakovsky.
"Mr. von Spakovsky was central to the administration's pursuit of strategies that had the effect of suppressing the minority vote," charged Joseph Rich, a former Justice Department voting rights chief who worked under him.
Von Spakovsky helped craft Voter ID laws for Georgia and Arizona in 2005. He overruled career lawyers who feared that monorities would be disenfranchised. When the Election Assistance Commission's research wasn't to his liking; he attempted to change the findings.
Things get weirder. Von Spakovsky wrote about alleged voter fraud problems under an anonymous handle. As Publius, von Spakovsky advocated for voter IDs. He wrote an anonymous article about voter fraud for the Texas Review of Law and Politics. (I can't find the article.)
The email trail is where von Spakovsky's true intent is exposed.
After the commission hired both liberal and conservative consultants to work on the studies in 2005, e-mails show that von Spakovsky tried to persuade panel members that the research was flawed.
In an Aug. 18, 2005, e-mail to Chairman DeGregorio, he objected strenuously to a contract award for the ID study to researchers at Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law, who were teaming with a group at Rutgers University.
Von Spakovsky wrote that Daniel Tokaji, the associate director of Moritz' election program, was "an outspoken opponent of voter identification requirements" and that those "pre-existing notions" should disqualify him from federal funding for impartial research.
The criticism was ironic coming from von Spakovsky, who a few months earlier had written the anonymous article for the Texas Review of Law and Politics, in which he called voter fraud a problem of importance equal to racial discrimination at the polls. Von Spakovsky acknowledged writing the article after joining the FEC.
What we have is evidence of von Spakovsky pushing bogus voter fraud in the Justice Department and the Election Assistance Commission.
TPM Muckraker points to von Spakovsky's links with Bradley Schlozman.
Well, Von Spakovsky was Tweedledee to Schlozman's Tweedledum at the Civil Rights Division. The two worked together in overseeing the voting rights section, and in particular in ensuring that the section, which is tasked with stopping the implementation of voting laws that might impinge on the rights of minorities, did not block voter ID laws. As I reported last month, the two teamed up to make life hell for one section analyst who had had the temerity to object to Georgia's voter ID law (the one ultimately blocked by a federal judge who compared it to a Jim Crow-era poll tax).
"In reaching this conclusion, the Court observes that it has great respect for the Georgia legislature," wrote Judge Harold Murphy. "The Court, however, simply has more respect for the Constitution."
The Georgia legislature passed the Voter ID law. However, the state fall under the Voters Rights Act. The Justice Department had to approve the law. Everything comes full circle.
In other news: von Spakovsky's confirmation hearing will be held June 13th. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say he isn't going to get confirmed.