Five former high-ranking Justice Department lawyers urged Attorney General Michael Mukasey on Friday to continue vigorously looking into whether ACORN and other liberal groups committed fraud when registering hundreds of thousands of new voters ahead of Tuesdays election.
We hope that you will assure the American people that your Department intends to investigate and prosecute any and all instances of voter registration and other fraud occurring in the days leading up to the election, and that you will enforce all of the federal voting rights laws that are important to preserving the fairness and security of the election process, former elections regulator and Justice Department lawyer Hans von Spakovsky wrote on Friday.
Former Assistant Attorney General William Bradford Reynolds and former Deputy Assistant Attorneys General Roger Clegg, Michael Carvin and Robert Driscoll also signed the letter.
Fridays letter comes amid an ongoing FBI investigation into ACORN and a week after six former Justice Department lawyers pleaded in a letter to Mukasey to make sure voter registration investigations dont keep eligible minority voters from the polls on Election Day, according to an Associated Press report.
Initiating federal criminal investigations into allegations of election fraud in the immediate pre-election period can have a serious chilling effect on voters, especially minority voters who have experienced a long history of discrimination and intimidation at elections, the six attorneys wrote in their Oct. 24 letter.
Von Spakovsky and other former Justice Department lawyers, however, are now disputing their former colleagues claims, arguing that failing to turn over every rock would actually dampen voter participation.
Precisely the opposite is true, they wrote. It is the protection of legitimate voting activities that demands immediate and uncompromising pursuit of voter registration fraud by the Department especially during election cycles.
Otherwise, the legitimate votes of both minority and non-minority voters will be threatened with vote dilution by those who fraudulently register and cast a fraudulent ballot, they continued. In truth, the only voters intimidated by strong enforcement of our election laws are those behaving fraudulently.
Von Spakovsky, who abandoned his bid for a full term on the Federal Election Commission earlier this year amid criticisms by Democrats and civil rights groups, is now a visiting legal scholar at the Heritage Foundation.
Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act on July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.