Conyers’ letter

by Michael O. Allen on October 17, 2008

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr., (D-Michigan), wrote a letter to AG Michael Mukasey and FBI Director John Mueller on Thursday to let them know that he’s watching their disgraceful investigation of the community organizing group ACORN. Here’s a link to the letter: conyers081016

Excerpts:

It is with shock and disappointment that I read today’s Associated Press report that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has opened and leaked an investigation into whether ACORN, a longstanding and well regarded organization that fights for the poor and working class, is involved in nationwide voter fraud.

As an initial matter, it is simply unacceptable that such information would be leaked during the very peak of the election season. Such leaks of information about ongoing criminal investigation matters are always inappropriate, and likely violate the provisions of the U.S.

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Moreover, this news is all the more troubling in light of the proven wrongdoing at the Justice Department in the United States Attorneys scandal. As you are aware, there is extensive evidence that political operatives improperly pressured United States Attorneys to investigate and prosecute spurious claims of vote fraud in close proximity to an election. When some did not, they were terminated. Thus, one must view the timing of this extraordinary leak with added suspicion, given that it comes less than 24 hours after the Republican Presidential candidate raised these allegations in a nationally televised debate.

I know that it has become a right-wing cottage industry to cry wolf over alleged “voter fraud” during an election season (only to have such claims evaporate after the election has concluded). Indeed, using superlatives that would make P.T. Barnum blush, Senator John McCain, the Republican Presidential candidate, said in the debate last night, that ACORN “is now on the verge of maybe perpetuating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.” One would hope the Justice Department and FBI would more skeptically examine such sensational accusations than some cable news outlets. And this is particularly true where the allegations, even given their fullest reading, simply do not support such alarmist and unreasonable claims.

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At the same time, numerous allegations have emerged that political operatives are engaged in supression of eligible voters and this activity has apparently failed to receive the intense attention that the federal government is now reportedly devoting to ACORN. For example, there are reports that the chairman of the Republican Party in Macomb County, Michigan, a key swing county in a key swing state, has planned to use a list of foreclosed homes to block people from voting in the upcoming election as part of the state GOP’s effort to challenge some voters on Election Day. Additionally, the Columbus Dispatch reports that the Ohio GOP in Franklin County, “has not ruled out challenging voters before the election due to foreclosure-related address issues.

Mukasey let it be known during his confirmation hearing that his Justice Department would not follow the rule of law. But, what about Mueller?

He has made gestures in the past that he wanted no part of being a henchman, that he would restore luster to the Federal Bureau of Investigations as a premier law enforcement organization. He should not be part of this investigation, which stinks to high heavens, on the eve of one of the most important presidential and Congressional elections in our nation’s history.

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