They’re doing it with voting rights reports, too (hat tip bmaz).

Because my approach to election issues tends to be more closely alignedwith Democrats, I was paired with a Republican co-author. To furtherremove any taint of partisanship, my co-author and I convened abipartisan working group to help us. We spent a year doing research andconsulting with leaders in the field to produce a draft report. Whathappened next seems inexplicable. After submitting the draft in July2006, we were barred by the commission’s staff from having anythingmore to do with it.

What was the problem? In all the time we were doing our research anddrafting the report, neither the staff nor the commissioners, who werecontinually advised of our activities and the substance of our work,raised any concerns about the direction we were going or the researchfindings.

Yet, after sitting on the draft for six months, the EACpublicly released a report — citing it as based on work by me and myco-author — that completely stood our own work on its head.

The author, Tova Andrea Wang, ties the manipulation of the report to the corruption at DOJ.

We also raised questions about the way the Justice Departmentwas handling complaints of fraud and intimidation. The commissionexcised all references to the department that might be construed ascritical — or that Justice officials later took issue with.


What was behind the strange handling of our report? It’s stillunclear, but it is worth noting that during the time the commission washolding our draft, claims about voter fraud and efforts to advance thecause of strict voter identification laws were at a fever pitch inCongress and the states. And it has been reported that some U.S.attorneys were being fired because they failed to pursue weaklysupported voter fraud cases with sufficient zeal.

Not a surprise, really. BushCo took the HAVA and used it as an opportunity to roll back voting rights. And the manipulation of this report is just one step in that process.



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