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U.S. Attorneys Scandal—Kansas City

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Today, former Kansas City U.S. Attorney Brad Schlozman is set to make his appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee (he had bowed out of the date originally proposed by the committee, stating that he would be “on vacation”). In preparation for his appearance, the Los Angeles Times provides a solid backgrounder. Schlozman, the Times reports, was viewed by career attorneys in the Civil Rights Division as “the enemy.” His major functions there consisted of attempting to pack the division with unqualified political hacks and pushing the notion of Jim Crow-style legislation designed to limit access of minorities to the ballot box, particularly in states like Georgia, with a long track record of voting rights abuse.

After his appointment to Kansas City, Schlozman immediately moved electoral manipulation to the top of his office’s agenda.

One of Schlozman’s priorities was filing a suit against a black political boss in Mississippi who was allegedly violating the rights of white voters. The complaint was the first time the Justice Department ever claimed that whites suffered discrimination in voting because of race. The case is pending.

The department also began aggressively enforcing a law requiring states to maintain accurate voter registration lists. On Schlozman’s watch, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit in November 2005 against the state of Missouri, where in some counties the number of registered voters exceeded the voting-age population. The government said the lists were rife with potential for fraud.

Todd Graves, then the U.S. attorney in Kansas City, reportedly had reservations about the suit, and refused to sign the complaint. Graves, who has said he was ordered to resign last year by department headquarters, is also scheduled to testify at Tuesday’s congressional hearing.

Graves’s clashes with Schlozman over voter manipulation issues apparently led to a discussion to demand his resignation. Today Murray Waas offers further detail in the Huffington Post about Graves’s conflicts with main Justice that led to his dismissal, including a heart-wrenching pharmaceuticals fraud case that Graves handled but in which main Justice was uninterested.

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