Obama campaign wants Attorneygate prosecutor to probe GOP's 'sham anti-fraud campaign'
The current spate of trumped-up allegations of "voter fraud" coming from John McCain's campaign and his Republican allies and the FBI's decision to investigate represents exactly the same sort of politicization of justice that is at the root of an ongoing investigation into the firing of federal prosecutors, Barack Obama's campaign alleges.
Obama attorney Bob Bauer has asked Attorney General Michael Mukasey to expand the authority of the special prosecutor appointed to investigate the US Attorney firings to also include the fraud allegations. The campaign released a seven-page letter (.pdf) Bauer wrote to Mukasey on Friday requesting the investigation.
"Now, on the emerging evidence of recent conduct undertaken by Bush Administration officials, Republican Party officials, and representatives of the McCain-Palin campaign," he wrote, "it appears that further misconduct of the same nature, directly relevant to the work of the Special Prosecutor, requires that the scope of the Special Prosecutor's assignment be expanded."
Bauer cites the case of former US Attorney David Iglesias, who represented the District of New Mexico until 2006. Bush administration officials reportedly conspired to sack Iglesias in part because of his unwillingness to bring specious voter-fraud charges before an election. Iglesias this week called the voter fraud investigations a scare tactic and said he was shocked to see the FBI was pursuing an investigation based on similarly unmerited accusations of fraud.
On a conference call with reporters Friday, Bauer slammed the "illicit involvement of senior law enforcement officials" in leaking the details of the so-called fraud investigation. The Obama lawyer noted that the leak came "literally within 24 hours" of McCain's statement at Wednesday night's debate that ACORN was threatening the "fabric of our democracy."
The McCain campaign has turned attacking ACORN into a central theme of its campaign in recent weeks, with vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin continuing the assault at a rally in Ohio on Friday.
The community organization, witch which Obama has previously been involved, has produced a relatively small number of inaccurate registration forms in connection with its drive to sign up a million new voters, but it has not been registering voters directly on Obama's behalf and there's no evidence that it's actions in this or any previous election cycle have led to widespread voter fraud.
Bauer said the "reckless and incendiary" attacks from the McCain campaign were aimed more at intimidating voters than at ferreting out fraud. ACORN primarily registered low-income and minority voters, and voting rights advocates fear those voters might not turn out on Election Day to avoid potential harassment at the polls.
The Supreme Court also delivered a setback to the GOP on Friday, ruling against Ohio Republicans who have been feuding with the Secretary of State over registration rules.
Bauer said the conduct he outlines is "directly relevant" to the special prosecutor's investigation and requested a meeting with Mukasey to discuss expanding the investigation.
"Once is more than enough," he wrote. "The Department has yet to recover its credibility after the calamitous politicization of its mission in this Administration and the documented misconduct ... that resulted from the corrupt injection of politics into federal law enforcement."