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Desperation at the DOJ

The DOJ’s refusal to let John Tanner testify before the House Judiciary Committee reeks of desperation. After all, Brad Schlozman and Hans Von Spakovsky have already testified before Congress. Alberto Gonzales has testified repeatedly. What possible excuse can DOJ make not to allow Tanner to testify, ostensibly a career employee?

The absence of any good reason to refuse the request for his testimony suggests DOJ–and the Administration–is particularly worried about what he would say under oath. He would have to admit to:

There may be one more thing DOJ and the Bush Adminsitration are trying to prevent Tanner from admitting under oath. This ePluribusMedia article suggests that Tanner’s single-minded interest in becoming Vote Section chief seems to be stronger than his racism and Republican partisanship. Which raises the possibility he adopted such racist policies in exchange for the job he has wanted for over a decade. If that were true, it’d sure be interesting to learn who offered him that exchange.

In other words, Tanner may have testimony that could be as damning as Harriet Miers’ testimony–directly implicating those ordering the efforts to politicize our nation’s judicial and voting systems. Thing is, DOJ’s refusal to let him testify has only a shred of the legitimacy that Harriet’s already dubious invocation of executive privilege has. They can stall on this, but I suspect Tanner will be forced to testify. Which may be very interesting testimony indeed.

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Marcy Wheeler aka Emptywheel is an American journalist whose reporting specializes in security and civil liberties.