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McClatchy continues to be front and center on the U.S. Attorney scandal.  They are walking the story backward from Karl Rove to the national Republican strategy to use the faux voter fraud issue in the battleground states.  The story weaves back and forth between the current U.S. Attorney scandal, the White House, the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. DOJ, the Republican controled Missouri State legislature, fake non-partisan voting rights group and more.

2006 Missouri's election was ground zero for GOP is a must read.  

In fact, the threat to the integrity of the 2006 elections was seen as so grave that Bradley Schlozman, the acting chief of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and later the U.S. attorney in Kansas City, twice wielded the power of the federal government to try to fix it.

Even the Republican-controlled Missouri General Assembly stepped into action

Missouri was one of several states including Indiana and Georgia passing new voter ID laws prior to the 2006 elections.  Flashback to a previous McClatchy article:

The administration's presence was felt last year in at least one state legislative battle over voter identification.

In Missouri, where Republican Sen. Jim Talent was fighting to hang onto his seat and hold the U.S. Senate for the GOP, a Republican-backed photo ID requirement cleared the state House of Representatives by one vote in May 2006 after an intense lobbying effort in which backers alleged voter fraud in heavily Democratic St. Louis and Kansas City.

"The White House was heavily involved" in the effort to win passage, state Rep. Bryan Stevenson, the Republican floor leader, said in a telephone interview. Stevenson said he wasn't privy to the details of the White House efforts.

Who might have been involved with close ties to the White House?  

Republican state Sen. Delbert Scott of Lowry, Mo., chief sponsor of the photo-ID bill last year, said Hearne had helped draft it and served as a key adviser.

This is truly the culmination of years of work on the part of the Republican party.  The groundwork goes back to the 2000 election and everything seemed to come together in 2006 where control of the Senate hinged on one state.  Why Missouri?  Aside from the obvious neck and neck race between incumbent Senator Jim Talent and Claire McCaskill, the state had the necessary Republican infrastructure in place.  

Missouri Republicans have railed about alleged voter fraud ever since President Bush narrowly won the White House in the chaotic 2000 election and Missouri Republican Sen. John Ashcroft lost to a dead man, the late Democratic Gov. Mel Carnahan, whose name stayed on the ballot weeks after he died in a plane crash.

Joining the push to contain "voter fraud" were Sen. Christopher Bond, R-Mo., who charged that votes by dogs and dead people had defeated Ashcroft, Missouri Republican Gov. Matt Blunt, whose stinging allegations of fraud were later debunked, and St. Louis lawyer Mark "Thor" Hearne, national counsel to Bush's 2004 re-election campaign, who set up a nonprofit group to publicize allegations of voter fraud.

Unfortunately, for the Republicans, the MO Supreme Court struck down the 2006 Missouri Voter ID Act a few weeks before the election.  But not to fear, Bradley Schlozman was there (as Paul Kiel eplains):

But Bradley Schlozman -- the former U.S. Attorney for Kansas City and controversial deputy head at the Civil Rights Division -- broke with the policy. Not only that, but there's evidence that he rushed four indictments to land just before last November's election.
Indeed, timing aside, even Schlozman's decision to pursue the cases at all is questionable in light of established Justice Department practice. Although trumpeted as cases of voter fraud, the cases alleged only registration fraud, and there's no evidence that those registrations were intended to result in actual fraudulent votes. For that reason, other U.S. attorneys have passed on pursuing similar prosecutions. But Schlozman, who'd worked to push voter I.D. laws while in the Civil Rights Division, leapt at the opportunity.
News coverage of the indictments tended to buttress the notion that liberal groups like ACORN were conspiring to steal the election. The indictments were covered by Fox News (where a Kansas City election official was quoted as saying that it was "the worst case of registration abuse in the last quarter century"), as well as the AP, CNN, and other nationwide outlets. Schlozman announced in a statement that "This national investigation is very much ongoing."

I have run out of fair use material from the McClatchy article.  And I really can't do justice to their reporting with my writing.  The article covers much more, including a suit Schlozman intiated against the State of Missouri while he was still in the Civil Rights Division, a Republican appointee on the St. Louis Board of Elections attempt to disqualify 5000 minority voters and last but not least, a visit from Karl Rove.  

roxy317 and cho posted Faux Voter Fraud Engine used to Suppress the Vote in Missouri over at ePluribus Community.  They add slighty different focus and some statistics on ballot fraud reported by the DOJ since 2002.  Take a hop over for a read and better explanation of "Voter Fraud versus Vote Suppression."  

Originally posted to standingup's blog on Wed May 02, 2007 at 10:38 PM PDT.

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