ACORN is being haunted by the ghost of Bradley Schlozman.
Last week, ACORN and other groups sent a “letter of intent to sue” to the Missouri Department of Social Services for failing to enforce the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). That law requires states to provide opportunity for voters to register at public assistance offices. But a report just released by Project Vote demonstrates that the voter registrations at public assistance agencies:
“have dropped from 143,000 in 1995-1996 to just 16,000 in 2005-2006.” …
“Although hundreds of thousands of citizens in Missouri remain unregistered, many of them low-income citizens, the number of people the state is registering in agencies is one-tenth what it once was.”
As soon as their letter of intent was public came the refrain they expected: You’re the scum that got sued last fall for faking registrations. The second half of Jo Mannies’s article had to recapitulate that old news.
That refrain is part of the legacy that Schlozman left to the Missouri Republican Party, a gift that keeps on giving in the ongoing GOP effort to keep po’ folks from voting.
Republican Vote Suppression: Think Ohio 2004. Think Florida every even-numbered year. Think Voter I.D. laws. Think Bradley Schlozman.
Our state is a high priority battleground for Republicans. That’s why they sent Schlozman here in 2005 to replace U.S. Attorney Todd Graves in western Missouri. Graves, a Republican–but with ethics–had already peeved the DoJ by insisting on pursuing civil penalties against a convicted cross-burner. But then he really stepped in it at the Department: he refused to sign a letter to Robin Carnahan threatening her with a lawsuit unless she did more to remove unqualified voters from the registration lists. (For “unqualified”, read “poor blacks”.) So D.C. sent in its hit man to replace Graves.
Schlozman, of course, pursued the suit against Carnahan. A federal district judge recently threw out the suit, ruling that Carnahan was taking all reasonable measures. But, with Schlozman long since gone from Missouri and now even from the DoJ, the spirit of their hit man lives on (in Blue Girl’s phrase) at “Just Us”. They’re appealing the district judge’s ruling.
They’re doing what any politicized Justice Department would do: pretending to ferret out voter fraud while they’re busy suppressing those no-count po’ folks.
The Carnahan suit hasn’t panned out so well, but Schlozman scored a coup by tarring ACORN right before the ’06 election. ACORN played into his hands by not checking every new registration its workers collected, and Schlozman salivated when he caught some of the paid workers submitting bogus signatures. Instead of doing what U.S. Attorneys have always been instructed to do, waiting until after the election to file suit in order to avoid politicizing an election, he splashed it all over the headlines five days before the vote.
That was the hit man’s gift that keeps on giving to the Republican party. Naturally, ACORN fired the workers who cheated and it began checking every registration before submitting them, but it was too late. Now, every time ACORN moves its little finger, Republicans scream, “You’re those vote fraud criminals.”
Schlozman and his mentors in the Gonzales group are smirking as ACORN squirms.