Charlie Savage of The Boston Globe
has a nice rundown
this morning on Bradley Schlozman's role in the overall U.S. attorney firings' scandal.
We knew that when Schlozman was second in command of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division ('03-'06), he made a practice of hiring strong conservatives. As I reported
a couple of weeks ago, a former attorney in the division says that Schlozman asked him whether a potential applicant was a Republican before considering interviewing him. And Savage comes up with numbers to demonstrate Schlozman's politicization of the Division's voting rights section:
Under Schlozman, the profile of the career attorneys hired by the section underwent a dramatic transformation.
Half of the 14 career lawyers hired under Schlozman were members of the conservative Federalist Society or the Republican National Lawyers Association, up from none among the eight career hires in the previous two years, according to a review of resumes. The average US News & World Report ranking of the law school attended by new career lawyers plunged from 15 to 65.
(Bob Kengle, the former deputy chief of the voting section, gave TPM readers an in-depth account
of what life was like in the section this past week.)
And of course no piece on Schlozman would be complete without a mention of his precious ACORN indictments when he was the U.S. Attorney for Kansas City. Schlozman, you'll remember, rushed the indictments
of four ACORN voter registration workers to land five days before the 2006 election.
The Justice Department is still desperately trying to portray the indictments as uncontroversial. As I reported Friday, the Justice Department's election crimes manual is crystal clear
: "most, if not all, investigation of an alleged election crime must await the end of the election to which the allegation relates." And that's investigations
-- an indictment, obviously, would be an even greater departure from policy.
But here's what the Justice Department told Savage:
The department said Schlozman's office got permission from headquarters for the election-eve indictments. It added that the department interprets the policy as having an unwritten exception for voter registration fraud, because investigators need not interview voters for such cases.
An "unwritten exception." How nice.
Because Schlozman didn't have FBI agents interrogating voters, his indictments had no possible chilling effect, apparently.
Just consider: On November 2, 2006, the indictments were widely reported, many of them featuring a quote from Schlozman that "this national investigation is very much ongoing." That same day, Schlozman released a statement that his office would have a prosecutor on duty on Election Day, ready to pounce at allegations of voter fraud. This was in a climate of trumped-up hysteria about ACORN's efforts to register poor voters both in Kansas City and in St. Louis, where Republicans were charging that tens of thousands of voter registration forms were "questionable."
Schlozman, in other words, knew just what he was doing. And now the Justice Department is inventing "unwritten exceptions" to its policies to cover for him. Note
: You can see TPMmuckraker's past reporting on Schlozman (from his reign of terror
at the Civil Rights Division to his triumphant return to Washington