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DOJ Responds to Vitter on Voting Issue That Could Hinder Perez Nomination

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call
Vitter has been threatening to hold up Perez’s nomination over a question about a federal voter registration law.

Appelbaum declined to respond to Vitter’s specific comments about Louisiana, noting that the state’s enforcement of the law is the subject of ongoing litigation with the Justice Department. But she said a federal court recently found Louisiana in violation of Section 7 of the law in a separate, private lawsuit against the state.

For all of the other concerns Vitter has raised, Appelbaum referred the senator to the inspector general’s report.

Appelbaum also highlighted a miscommunication between Vitter’s office and the Justice Department.

Vitter indicated in a news release on the day of Perez’s nomination that he first raised concerns about the National Voter Registration Act in a letter to the Justice Department sent in November 2011, and said he has been waiting for a response since then. But Appelbaum said Friday that the department never received the original letter and only learned of Vitter’s concerns in the hours after Perez’s nomination.

“The department did not receive your letter until this week, and thus we were unable to reply until now,” she wrote. “When we saw the press release your office issued on March 18, 2013, stating that the department had not responded to your letter, we contacted your office to notify your staff that we had no record of receiving the letter. We understand that your office has been unable to confirm the transmittal of this letter to the department before your staff forwarded a copy of the letter to the department via e-mail on March 19, 2013.”

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