GOP: If You Can’t Disenfranchise Brown People at the FEC, Disenfranchise Them by Vote-Caging

I’m not surprised that the RNC is hiring former insta-US Attorney and expert vote cager Tim Griffin.

Indicating what lies ahead is the McCain campaign’s plan to bring in Tim Griffin, a protege of Karl Rove, who is a leading practitioner of opposition research — digging up derogatory information about opponents. Although final arrangements have not been pinned down, Griffin would work at the Republican National Committee, as he did in Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign.

I’m rather more struck by the timing.

Griffin’s return comes just days after Mark McKinnon, who refused to use smear tactics to campaign against Obama, stepped down.

More alarming still, it comes just days after Hans von Spakovsky, whom Bush had selected to be the FEC’s expert in disenfranchising brown people, gave up his bid for that position.

I guess the Republicans felt they couldn’t run this year without having somebody in charge of disenfranchising brown people.

All of which leaves me wondering. If Tim Griffin helps McCain win the Presidency using the same methods he did in 2000 and 2004, how will President McCain reward him? Will he try to illegally fire Justice Souter and replace him with Tim Griffin?

20 replies
  1. emptywheel says:

    Thanks for the links, drational.

    I knew that Don McGahn is terrible. He was almost certainly involved on at least the tangents (though I suspect it is much worse than that) of the RNCC fraud, and is probably complicit in illegal coordination between the RNCC and the GOP 527s.

    The nomination of these two–in lieu of Mason–pretty much tells you how these guys are going to try to win.

    • drational says:

      sent you an email with PDF containing her emails from the Ohio caging court case.
      There is a 2004 meeting list for a meeting pertaining to “ballot security” with, in addition to Griffin and Hunter, Jim Dyke and Jill Holtzman Vogel (wife of Alex Vogel (founded ACVR with Thor Hearne)).
      This is a Hornet’s nest of Vote Suppressors, and the GOP is placing them where they will make a difference to influence elections.

      • Citizen92 says:

        Bravo. As you know, Mrs. Panstreppon and I have been on Jill’s case for some time now. She’s an unindicted co-conspirator in all of this.

        But now as a Virginia State Senator, she has a few more potential ethics violations to contend with, if she’s ever caught.

        Blaise Hazelwood “mother of microtargeting” and the 72-hour campaign also needs to be closely watched. She too was at the RNC in the 2002-2004 nirvana time.

  2. WilliamOckham says:

    At a broader level, what is happening is the Bush-Rove team (minus the Texas locals) takeover of McCain’s campaign. I’m starting to wonder if Rove didn’t advise McCain to dump the lobbyists for that very reason.

    • drational says:

      This is a little different; these snakes are at RNC and (soon to be) FEC, “separate” from the McCain Campaign. Mr. Straighttalk gives the appearance of keeping his nose clean, while the Bush Legacy team does the important dirty work.

  3. dosido says:

    I’m starting to think we need a “fantasy baseball” type site to keep track of these dirty tricksters who don’t pop up in the news all that often. Have little baseball cards with their “stats”

    Players can rig their own elections.

    • scribe says:


      a “fantasy baseball” type site to keep track of these dirty tricksters

      I was thinking pretty much the same thing, only with citations to criminal charges (for cross-reference purposes).

      I mean, as the wise men of baseball are known to say: “Over the course of a career, people play to their baseball cards.” Meaning, if someone’s a lifetime .300 hitter, they’ll play (up or down) to that level in the longer run.

      Or maybe playing cards, like those Iraq’s Most Wanted cards that were so popular?

      • dosido says:

        Playing cards are good, but I like baseball cards better because then you can see who was traded to who like Monica Goodling was on the federalist society team and traded to the DOJ.

        I want rosters with team owners (cheney, rummy, etc)

  4. scribe says:

    Don’t let’s forget that Monica Goodling was one of the hotshots working in his opp-research shop during the 04 election. Caught on video, I remember her having been.

  5. Citizen92 says:

    This stench has been wafting in for some time. It’s like the RNC is getting the “gang” back together again for a re-run of 2004.

    In addition to Griffin and Caroline Hunter back at the helm, I was startled to see that voting fraudster Mark F. “Thor” Hearne, II was quoted in the New York Times on May 12. Hearne was bold enough to claim an association with the defunct American Center for Voting Rights (AC4VR). AV4VR has not existed since 2005, and from 2005-2007 “Thor” has taken huge steps to back away from his association with the fraudulent group.

    (note: the NYT changed its online version after complaints that “Thor” was misrepresenting himself – the original quote is below)

    “Supporters of citizenship requirements, however, say the threat of voting by illegal immigrants is real. Thor Hearne, a lawyer for the American Center for Voting Rights, a conservative advocacy group, cited a California congressional race in 1996 in which a Republican, Bob Dornan, was narrowly defeated. Mr. Dornan contested the results, claiming that illegal immigrants had voted.

    After a 14-month investigation by state, county and federal officials, a panel concluded that up to 624 noncitizens may have registered to vote. The report came to no firm determination of whether any of those people had actually voted.

    Mr. Hearne said the requirement would not pose a significant hardship on voters.

    “There were a lot of the same alarmist charges regarding Indiana voter ID law and how it would disenfranchise so many people,” Mr. Hearne said, “and those allegations were not accepted by the Supreme Court.” He added that if states actively provided a free form of identification proving citizenship, the number of people who would be disenfranchised would be very low.

    “To those who have spent great energy opposing some of the voter registration or voter identification requirements, I would say their energy would be much better spent working toward trying to provide identifications to those who need them or assisting these people with getting registered,” Mr. Hearne said.

    Here’s Brad Friedman’s story on how the Times changed the story.

    Anyway, Thor’s return to the scene should also be closely watched.

  6. drational says:

    This Griffin thing got me thinking about the USA scandal again.

    Could it all have been electoral?
    did at least some of the firings originate in a desire to place partisans in as USatty in the states where the nominees were going to come from (to Oppo Research or defend likely Presidential nominee from investigations)?

    1. David Iglesias- New Mexico- Bill Richardson
    2. Paul Charlton- Arizona- John McCain
    3. Bud Cummins- Arkansas- Hillary Clinton, Mike Huckabee (Tim Griffin RNC Oppo Researcher)
    4. Carol Lam- S California- Duncan Hunter?
    Was Fitz ever on the list (as Sampson suggested)?- Obama

    This leaves:
    5. Kevin Ryan- N California- Duncan Hunter?
    6. Daniel Bogden- Nevada- Harry Reid in 2010?
    7. Margaret Chiara- W. Michigan?
    8. Todd Graves- Missouri- Vote suppression? (Schlozman replaced)
    9. John McKay- W. Washington- Payback for Gregoire?

    • emptywheel says:


      First, the Democratic party in W MI is trying hard to come back from defunct status. (The district covers Lansing, and the UP, which features Bart Stupak, but still.)

      And Las Vegas? No one thought Reid would be a nominee, and he won’t be up for re-election until after Bush’s USAs are gone.

      • drational says:

        certainly don’t all fit, esp MI and NV as you note, which is why I had a?
        have to get rover under oath….

  7. pinson says:

    Couple of thoughts:

    – Getting “the gang” back together just ties McSame closer to W than ever. How did that work out for the GOP last week when McCain embraced the “appeasement” nonsense? Gillespie’s whiny letter to NBC tells us: they perceived it as a disaster, and it was – for both McCain and Bush. The GOP middle east policy over the past 8 years has been a colossal failure. Every day McCain is talking about Iran or Iraq is a day he’s playing defense and losing. Similarly, the more McCain is seen as a creature of the Bush machine, the harder it gets for him.

    – Novak and others are braying that McCain is going to be able control the electoral battlefield: “McCain is not about to disarm. His campaign has no intention of fighting this battle on Democratic turf.” Please. The country is at war, and in a recession. Wrong-track numbers are in the 80% range. Republicans in red districts in red states are getting beat by Democrats. They ran on teh gay and Rev. Wright. Not working this time.

    • masaccio says:

      John McCain, the Hubert Humphrey of Repub 2008, balls neatly stored in Bush/Rove’s pocket.

  8. JohnLopresti says:

    In McCain reorganizing there is recent word by a fairly ‘moderate’ election law prof discussing Campaign Legal Center personnel sabbaticals related to likely work for the Republican, some of which surprised even me, dilettante that I am in these matters. CLC is libertarian, I have surmised, but sometimes that has meant their protesting at the corruption of the civil division and voting rights oversight under Gonzales, von Spakovsky, and their associates. Although the departure in 2008 of J.”don’t become elderly the way [your ethnic group here]do” Tanner seems to have eased the most strident problems at Civil div., there remained questions, at last glance, concerning his former implementers Susana Lorenzo-Giguere and Yvette Rivera.

    One of the 2004 OH caging embarrassments for the Republicans was driven by Republican partisan zeal of an assistant US attorney, who, since, has left OH but gone to the southern district of FL become US Attorney, R.Alex Acosta.

    Caging is a longtime Republican dirty politics ploy. The RNC had to sign consent decrees in other fairly recent elections when caught perpetrating the strategy, in NC for Jesse Helms‘ use of the trick return receipt postcard mass mailer, e.g.

  9. MrsPanstreppon says:

    A lot of Republican operatives are flying under the radar.

    Rob Portman left his position as Director of the Office of Management and Budget last year because he wanted to “spend more time with his family.” He returned to Ohio and joined the very Republican law firm, Sanders, Squire & Dempsey.

    Sanders, Squire & Dempsey were consultants to the American Center For Voting Rights and the more obscure but even more damaging Free Enterprise Coalition.

    Jim Nussle replaced Portman at OMB. Nussle, former Iowa representative, ran a losing campaign for Iowa governor in 2006 and then did a brief stint as an advisor to Guiliani’s campaign in parnership with a DCI operative.
    Nussle has had a long association with the DCI Group.

    Not so coincidentally, Nussle’s guys have been linked to Republican front, American Future Fund, a 501(c)(4) rumored to be this year’s Progress For America.

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