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.

  1. pol says:

    I believe these people now think they don’t have to provide a reason for disallowing someone to testify. After all, they’re above the law, dontcha know?

  2. Dismayed says:

    I knew this post was coming. Bottom line, I don’t see the administration sending over ANYONE else to testify. I’ll be suprised if Sara shows back up.

    They’ve thrown down the gauntlet, nothing happened. They’re done – fuck you, congress – no more oversight.

    How loud do we have to scream impeach – screw the rest of it – screw going to court – impeach that’s where the power is.

  3. Neil says:

    ”the Department [of Justice] refused to make Voting Section Chief John Tanner available to testify.” link

    Did DOJ/Alberto Gonzalez give a reason?

  4. JohnJ says:

    Thank you for that link, Neil.

    Sweltering here in this lovely state of Florida, I wondered if anyone had noticed. This is the land of Jeb Bush and Cathrine Harris in 2000. Where before the 2006, Jeb’s felon purge list forgot to include any Hispanics(oops)!

    We have improved; we went from hanging chads to touch screen machines that lose 15,000 votes.

    If this voting problem isn’t fixed (the whole thing), nothing else will matter. There will be a permanent Repuglicant majority.

    Sorry for ranting OT; it’s the heat.

  5. Katie Jensen says:

    Could this be part of a strategy to just block everything from here on out to diffuse the focus on Harriet Meirs??

  6. albert fall says:

    I kind of agree with the sentiment above that Bush wants the Executive Branch to secede from the Government.

    This Tanner guy sounds like he might even have committed one or two of the clearly demonstrable crimes we have been looking for (other than, you know, the perjury and obstruction of justice stuff).

    Under Bush doctrine, does my mailman have executive privilege?

    Or is this the ”We really are tired of having to deal with Democrats, can’t we have it back the way it used to be?” privilege?

  7. orionATL says:

    thanks for covering this.

    it fits in with your other coverage

    of ice


    of indian affairs and the u.s. attorneys issue.

    what’s missing for me is

    details of john tanner’s background.

    i cant’ find them in a quick search of the internet.

    alabama + civil rights ought to be some sort of trigger that more info is needed.

    tanner had years and years at doj in civil rights,

    and then this behavior?

    how to explain that.

    is this guy an uncle tom?

    a joe lieberman?

    a nixon mole?

    i know one is not supposed to ask these questions in public,


    they need both asking and answering.

  8. Marky says:

    You guys must have read about the Drug Czar using federal funds to pimp for Republicans last election—ouch!

  9. turtlens says:

    Is it clear that DoJ REFUSED to let Tanner testify? Or did they substitute for some unspecified reason? I know that Tanner is the witness of choice, just trying to understand if this is outright refusal. My attempts to visit most any .gov website are timing out.

  10. Kentucky Jelly says:

    Imprisoned Cunningham outlines depths of corruption to FBI…..bribe.html

    In two days of prison interviews with federal agents this year, disgraced former Rep. Randy “Duke†Cunningham described a level of corruption on his part more extensive than previously known and dealt a potentially devastating blow to the defense being waged by one of the defense contractors alleged to have bribed him.

  11. clem says:

    Does this help qualify Gonzales as the author of high crimes and misdemeanors?

    Failure to enforce the laws and protect the electoral process.

    Concealing the evidence

    Refusing to account

    Sounds serious to me.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Hey Marcy. I’m gonna leave this here and maybe you will see it. I read something yesterday in David Corn’s Bush Lies book that I did not know. He said a senior CIA agent told McClatchey News in 2002 that the White House had been briefed on Wilson’s 2002 trip to Niger. I don’t recall ever knowing this had been confirmed. Joe always says he assumes his report got back to the VP and bits and pieces show up in various places (via CIA and State), but this sounds different. Did you know this?

  13. Anonymous says:


    First of all, we know that Cheney WAS told about the trip–it’s in his briefing from 2/14/02. But much of what OVP appears to have been doing in 2003 was to see whether there was any documentary proof that OVP had been briefed. There is not, though there was documentary proof of Rummy getting a briefing in early March 2003.

    I suspect the briefing happened, but that it didn’t happen in the normal briefing process. WINPAC may have done it, and they tended to shill for the war pretty shamelessly.

  14. looseheadprop says:

    On Topic (sorta)

    Dianne Feinstein has a ill that will totally screw everything up

    What does it do? Why is it wrong? Suggested solutions!

    Overview — Control of election administration is shifted from local and state governments to the federal level

    S1487 takes control of elections out of local and state hands and gives it to the federal government. Is this wise?

    There has been no national or Congressional debate, and no Congressional hearings at which citizens can speak. There has been no request for such a shift of control from citizens or local or state governments. Our federal system should not be so profoundly altered in this casual way.

    S1487 would accomplish the shift in two ways. First, it imposes dozens of new requirements on states, and second, it converts the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) from a temporary commission with minimum responsibilities that have not been successfully accomplished into a permanent regulatory agency with control over dozens of functions currently controlled by local and state governments. Here are links detailing the EAC’s past dysfunction:

    a. EAC, past dysfunction:
    b. GAO Report: All Levels of Government Need to Address E-Voting Challenges
    c. EAC has failed its mission, Testimony of Ellen Theisen, March 13, 2007…..-13-07.asp
    d. EAC: political, secretive, unresponsive to citizen concerns, protective of vendor and
    ITA interests.…..ission.asp

    Many of S1487’s requirements carry minimal benefit–the bill touches on important topics but in a trivial way. For example, it mandates â€election observers†access to poll sites, along with enormous administrative overhead to states, but the observers are mandated permission only to watch three procedures that commonly are not performed in poll sites.

  15. orionATL says:

    oh good,

    after six years of watching the bush gang manipulate national and state elections to its benefit with all sorts of clever schemes,

    diane feinstein comes along and offers up a bill that will make it easier for any future authoritarian to control american elections art all levels.

    question for the senator:

    would you like hans von spikovsky to have the opportunity to chair the â€elections assistance commissionâ€?

    what gifts congress has recently given to our next would-be dictatorship:

    1)a department of homeland security

    readily convertible to the functions of a â€ministry of interior†so popular in communist countries.

    2) action precedents and legal arguments for spying on american citizens

    and now

    3) a proposed elections supervision agency.

    is this even constitutional?

    i thought elections was one of those governing jobs that was left up to the states to do.

  16. John Lopresti says:

    Constitutional Law Center blog has a collection of letters about the von Spakovsky effort to attain approval from the Senate Rules committee in June 2007, and background. A few days ago, a month after his hearing, he filed a 22p letter with the committee responding to interrogatories, mostly an attempt on his part to refute a last minute letter to the committee on the eve of his hearing cosigned by a group of former subordinates in the voting rights section. For fairness I include both the subordinates’ catalog of revelations June 11, 2007 about his work at DoJ, and his rejoinder filed with Senate Rules June 29, 2007, though much of his work goes way back farther.

    The GA voter ID standoff continues to morph; the essence there is it is a state that requires permission slips, so called, before regerrymanders, based on a safety feature in federal oversight law that makes regions of the US with history of vote suppression to obtain DoJ permission before tinkering with gerrymanders and the like. Recently the GA legislature has weighed in to try to force a voter ID proviso thru; it continues a live issue there. One issue with DoJ is if one appoints foxes to populate cubes in the voting right section, voting hens might have their gerrymander, or voter ID, appeals ignored.

  17. John Lopresti says:

    Addendum: Ostensibly, EAC has released the gag order on Tova Wang; I read the EAC legalese as couched in terms; let the reader decide what she will be allowed to say. Also, the academia politics of OH State Univ have bearing on this, ever attempting to steer a middling course as is their proclivity.

    Also, for voter ID afficionados, there is the curious history of von Spakovsky’s authorship of a letter approving of the AZ law instituting voter ID there before the last election, but the letter bore the signature of a person who quit working in the department the week prior. See Hebert’s thorough review published last week at Constitutional Law Center’s archive on the von Spakovsky effort to receive US Senate vetting after having passed a full term as a recess appointee at Federal Elections Commission. The usual caveat is worth adding, that von Spakovsky and Hebert have had legal jousting matches of long standing on voting matters.

  18. Anonymous says:

    And they should be desperate. Those who are not dirty, have not resigned or been fired, must be getting to feel a bit isolated by now. They must go home and scream in a closet…talk about desperate. Those who are compromised, have committed fraud, done illegal things, covered up the wrongdoings of others, are desperate, because they cannot allow any of this to see the light of day!