No Comment — May 8, 2007, 7:05 am

U.S. Attorneys Scandal—Little Rock

This weekend, BBC reporter Greg Palast quoted a source as stating that Tim Griffin, a Karl Rove protégé whose appointment as U.S. attorney in Little Rock launched the U.S. attorneys scandal, was the target of a pending criminal inquiry relating to voting fraud. Sources close to Griffin denied the report.

Today, voting rights lawyer Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has accused Griffin of running a large-scale voter suppression project and has demanded that he be prosecuted. Kennedy made the comments after examining a group of emails attributed to Griffin involving the use of “caging lists.”

Kennedy based his demand on the revelations by BBC reporter Greg Palast in the new edition of his book, “Armed Madhouse.” On one page of the book, Palast reproduces a copy of a confidential Bush-Cheney campaign email, dated August 26, 2004, in which Griffin directs Republican operatives to use the ‘caging’ lists. This is one of the emails subpoenaed by Congress but supposedly “lost” by Rove’s office. Palast obtained 500 of these, fifty with ‘caging’ lists attached.

‘Caging’ lists are “absolutely illegal” under the Voting Rights Act, noted Kennedy on his Air America program, Ring of Fire. The 1965 law makes it a felony crime to challenge voters when race is a factor in the targeting. African-American voters comprised the bulk of the 70,000 voters ‘caged’ in a single state, Florida.

Palast wrote in his book, “Here’s how the scheme worked. The Bush campaign mailed out letters,” particularly targeting African-American soldiers sent overseas. When the letters sent to the home addresses of the soldiers came back “undeliverable” because the servicemen were in Baghdad or elsewhere, the Republican Party would, “challenge the voter’s registration and thereby prevent their absentee ballots being counted.” The Republicans successfully challenged “at least one million” votes of minority voters in the 2004 election.

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