Thursday, June 14, 2007

Another Victim of Sgt Schultz' Disease

Ex-Justice Dept. lawyer can't recall his role in controversial policies

Another former Justice Department lawyer went before Congress on Wednesday with few answers for his Democratic interrogators and a spotty memory.

Hans von Spakovsky, who's seeking a full six-year term on the Federal Election Commission, deflected questions about whether he undermined voting rights laws, saying, "I was not the decision maker in the front office of the Civil Rights Division."

Time and again during his confirmation hearing, he cited either the attorney-client privilege or a cloudy memory for his purported role in restricting minorities' voting rights.

Von Spakovsky couldn't remember blocking an investigation into complaints that a Minnesota Republican official was discriminating against Native American voters before the 2004 election.

Under oath, he also said he didn't recall seeing data from the state of Georgia that would have undercut a push by senior officials within the Civil Rights Division to approve the state's tough new law requiring photo IDs of all voters. The data showed that 300,000 Georgia voters lacked driver's licenses. A federal judge later threw out the law as unconstitutional.
Nearly the entire two-hour hearing focused on von Spakovsky and on allegations from [six former senior officials of the Voting Rights Section's] career Justice Department lawyers that he was the administration's "point person for undermining the Civil Rights Division's mandate to protect voting rights" of minorities during his more than four-year tenure.

Citing a scathing letter from six former senior officials of the Voting Rights Section, Committee Chairwoman Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., told him bluntly: "It is really a problem for this body to vote for someone with this letter on the record."
Asked about the Georgia ID law, von Spakovsky declined to disclose the legal advice he gave his superiors, saying it was privileged, but he maintained that the department took the correct position because the courts didn't find that the law violated the federal Voting Rights Act. In overturning the law, the federal courts cited the 14th and 24th Amendments to the Constitution, he said.
Read the last paragraph again ... his excuse is that it wasn't against the law, it was just unconstitutional!

And where does OUR lawyer, (yes, theoretically the DoJ represents the government ... of the people, by the people and for the people), get off saying it was attorney client privilege?

Does anyone else see a pattern? Apparently everyone in the Bush admin has terrible memory lapses and is incapable of making a decision.

(Cross posted at Vidiotspeak)