Before President Bush fired his sorry ass, US Attorney David Iglesias of New Mexico, in a last sad attempt to suck up to his Republican padrones, allowed his chief mouthpiece, Norm Cairns, to speak with me. He shouldn’t have.
That was two years back, while I was investigating strange doings in New Mexico and Arizona, where, simultaneously, state legislators, Republicans all, claimed they had evidence of “voter fraud.” Psychiatrists call this kind of mutual delusional behavior folie a deux. I suspected something else:
I smelled Karl Rove.
In the New Mexico legislature, a suburban Albuquerque political hackette, Justine Fox-Young (her real name), claimed to have “several” specific cases of vote identity rustling. Like Joe McCarthy waving his list of “Communists,” she waived documents of “evidence” of illegal voting on the floor of the Legislature. I called Ms. Fox-Young and asked her to send me the papers.
The “evidence” never arrived. Maybe her fax machine was broken. I called Justine.
Q. Justine, you’ve uncovered criminals! Did you turn their names over to the US Attorney?
A. Well, no, but someone did.
Whose initials are Karl Rove?
She swore to me that US Attorney Iglesias would back up her story: he was investigating the evil voters and was about to indict them.
So I got Iglesias’ guy Norm on the phone. Was Iglesias prosecuting, or actively investigating, one single real case of voter fraud?
Norm went into a lengthy swirly-whirly river of diving, ducking bullshit. I dove in.
Me: In other words, you can’t back her story?
Norm: Well, yeah, uh, I guess you’d say that’s true.
I guess I will say that, Norm. Fox-Young had just plain made it up; fibbed, lied, faked the evidence.
There was a multi-state con in operation. But what was it? Each of these bogus claims of voter fraud was attached to a sales pitch for a state law to tighten voter ID requirements ”” to prevent these ne’er-do-wells from voting twice. In Arizona, one crack-pot Republican legislator, the Hon. Russell Pearce, claimed he had evidence that five million Mexicans had illegally crossed the border to vote.
The point: Rove knew that a “challenge” operation by the Republican Party, run from his office, knocked out 300,000 voters ”” mainly poor ones, voters of color. His crew wanted to hike that higher.
The notable thing about this crime of voter identity theft is that it doesn’t happen. You are more likely to encounter ballot boxes that spontaneously combust. I found cases of voters struck by lightening ”” but out of 120 million votes cast, I couldn’t find a dozen criminal cases of a bandit stealing someone’s identity to vote.
Since the Republicans couldn’t find such criminals, they had to make them up. Force prosecutors to bring false charges against innocent voters (one did just that in Wisconsin) or at least claim they were hot on the trail of the fraudulent voters.
Iglesias, though a Republican, wouldn’t bring bogus charges. And he wouldn’t lie about active investigations that didn’t exist except in Rove’s imagination.
That was his mistake.
Rove’s right-hand hit-man, Tim Griffin, added Iglesias to the hit list of prosecutors who were cut down on December 7, 2006.
Griffin himself, after the December 7 firings, was appointed by Attorney General Gonzales, at Rove’s personal request, to one of the newly-vacated slots as US Attorney for Arkansas. The sleeper cell of Rove-bot US attorneys is now in place to bless voter suppression games in 2008.
I’ve previously reported for BBC that Griffin was the Man in the Memos who directed the massive, wrongful purge of African-American soldiers in 2004 ”” the ”˜caging’ list scam. Based on that expose, voting rights lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr., said, “Griffin and Rove should be in jail, not in office.” That, too is another story ”” But the important thing to pick up here is:
1. It’s all about the 2008 election.
2. It’s not about Gonzales.
We’ve been here before. Gonzales is getting Libby’d. Takes the bullet for Karl Rove and the White House. If you wondered why the Republican jackals like the sinister Senator Specter piled on Gonzales ”” it’s because they were told to.
These guys learned from Richard Nixon. In 1973, when Nixon was getting hammered over Watergate, he threw the Senate Committee his FBI director, a schmuck named L. Patrick Gray III. Famously, Nixon’s own Rove, a devious creep named John Erlichman, told Nixon to leave the Gray, “twisting slowly in the wind.”
Rove and Bush are doing the Nixon Twist on Gonzales.
Look, I have no sympathy for Alberto the Doomed. He’s guilty of a crime I employed in racketeering cases: “Willful failure to know.” It’s a kind of fraud; Alberto was going way out of his way to not know what he had to know, that Rove and the President were toying with prosecutors.
Gonzales is their glove-puppet. Why fire him? The nation watches these hearings and wants to kill something. But why shoot the puppet? It’s time to fire the puppeteer. Eh, Mr. Rove?
This is based on “The Theft of 2008”³ from the new, expanded edition of Armed Madhouse: From New Orleans to Baghdad – Sordid Secrets and Strange Tales of a White House Gone Wild, released this week by Penguin. Get it here.