Former Department of Justice attorney J. Christian Adams has blown the whistle on politicization within Justice in enforcing election laws, specifically the laws requiring cleaning voter rolls of the deceased and convicted felons. While the main focus of the media (such as it is) has been on the politics of the issue, Adams wants to get more of a focus on the consequences of politicization. He talks with Twin Cities talk-show host Chris Baker about the impact of this politicization in Minnesota, a subject that Minnesota Majority knows all too well. The conservative organization has spent the past 20 months attempting to get the attention of the DoJ on this very subject, to no avail:
Minnesota Majority has experienced the DOJ’s refusal to investigate these kind of cases first-hand. On November 17th of 2008 (immediately following the 2008 General Election and while the Coleman-Franken recount battle was getting underway), Minnesota Majority president Jeff Davis sent a certified letter to then Voting Section chief of the Civil Rights Division at the DOJ, Christopher Coates, requesting an investigation into apparent failures to comply with HAVA by Secretary of State Mark Ritchie. No response was forthcoming.
Since the DOJ in Washington DC failed to follow up on Davis’ complaint, Minnesota Majority contacted the local FBI office and lodged the same complaint. Special Agent Brian Kinney responded and visited the Minnesota Majority office to examine Minnesota Majority’s findings. At that time, he said, “based on what I see here there is more than enough evidence to initiate an internal complaint.” He gave his assurances that he would bring the matter to the attention of his supervisors. There was no further follow-up.
By October of 2009, Minnesota Majority had compiled evidence of further violations of HAVA in Minnesota, including a finding that ineligible felons were not being detected and flagged for challenge or removal from the voter rolls. This resulted in hundreds of fraudulent votes by ineligible felons being counted in Minnesota’s 2008 election. Davis sent another certified letter to Voting Section Chief Christopher Coates. Like the first complaint from nearly a year prior, the second letter went unanswered.
Minnesota Majority’s experience supports J. Christopher Adams’ claims that the DOJ’s policy is not to pursue violations of HAVA’s anti-fraud provisions. The dismissal of the voter intimidation charges against members of the New Black Panther Party who brandished nightsticks outside a Philadelphia polling place during the 2008 General Election was the last straw for Adams, who resigned in protest. He claimed that his superiors also ordered himself and other attorneys not to comply with subpoenas issued by the US Civil Rights commission, placing them in what Adams called, “legal limbo.”
Voting Section Chief Christopher Coates, who worked with Adams on the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case was demoted and transferred to a post in South Carolina earlier this year.
The Civil Rights Commission has subpoenaed Coates to testify on the matter but his DOJ employers are currently blocking his testimony.
Why would the DoJ block testimony from one of its attorneys on the internal policies of Justice? Perhaps Congress should be looking into this, too.