On Friday the McClatchy Washington Desk reported this:
WASHINGTON - Only weeks before last year's pivotal midterm elections, the White House urged the Justice Department to pursue voter-fraud allegations against Democrats in three battleground states, a high-ranking Justice official has told congressional investigators.
In two instances in October 2006, President Bush's political adviser, Karl Rove, or his deputies passed the allegations on to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' then-chief of staff, Kyle Sampson.
Sampson tapped Gonzales aide Matthew Friedrich, who'd just left his post as chief of staff of the criminal division. In the first case, Friedrich agreed to find out whether Justice officials knew of "rampant" voter fraud or "lax" enforcement in parts of New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, and report back.
But Friedrich declined to pursue a related matter from Wisconsin, he told congressional investigators, because an inquiry so close to an election could inappropriately sway voting results. Friedrich decided not to pass the matter on to the criminal division for investigation, even though Sampson gave him a 30-page report prepared by Republican activists that made claims of voting fraud.
"Only weeks before last year's pivotal midterm elections..."
Huh, what happened then?
Oh yeah, as noted in the now-classic Brawler post "Did the State GOP consult with the White House on an 06 voter suppression effort?" , the state GOP claimed 1,600 suspect addresses were on voting lists and once again raised the specter of widespread voter fraud.
From the October 27, 2006 Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
GOP leaders held a news conference in a south side parking lot, across from a freeway bridge. They said someone had voted after giving their address as 2056 S. 5th St., which is vacant land beneath I-43/94.
That was just one of more than 1,600 such suspect addresses, the Republicans charged.
"It means people are voting from these addresses, and they don't live here," said state Sen. Ted Kanavas (R-Brookfield).
State GOP Chairman Brad Courtney said city election officials "have failed the voters of Wisconsin" by not correcting the errors.
The MJS, noting that St. Steven Biskupic had found no evidence of a conspiracy to tilt the 04 election, gave the charges short shrift -- as they should have the equally ridiculous charges the Republicans lodged leading up to the 04 election.
But you can't blame a party based on dirty tricks for giving it a college try, can ya?
Now the way the Republicans found all these "bad addresses" -- often cases where digits were transposed, things like that -- by sending post cards to 2,900 addresses. To plan, organize, ship and receive undeliverable addresses would have taken a fair amount of time, the Brawler imagines. But because the state GOP is such a ruthlessly efficent organization, as demonstrated by their electoral success last November, let's say the whole thing started Sept. 1. (Though the Brawler suspects this operation began much earlier. But let's give them the benefit of the doubt.)
Then you would have a timeline like this in Wisconsin, roughly:
Sept. 1: State GOP embarks on post card drive.
End of September: State GOP receives more than 1,600 undeliverable post cards.
Meanwhile, in Washington, we have this date:
October 11: Alberto Gonzalez discusses Wisconsin "voter fraud" issues with President Bush. AG remembers discussing the same thing with Karl Rove in the fall, but shucks, he can't remember exactly when.
The Brawler's only question is whether the White House pressed its case to Justice before or after the Republicans held their October 26th press conference?
(Actually there's another couple two three questions. In the case of Wisconsin what exactly was the White House pressing Justice to investigate? Voter fraud? Or was it the voter rolls and "lax enforcement" of voter fraud. And what is meant by a "related matter"? Were these "bad addresses" the basis of the White House's case to Justice? Was this press release held after knowing Justice wasn't going to do anything and the GOP wanted to raise as much as a stink as they could?)
Now the Brawler doesn't have what you lawyer folks would call concrete evidence, but it seems that there's some circumstantial evidence to say that the state GOP was laying the groundwork for the White House to cry "voter fraud" and send Justice on the matter. And thereby sending Charlie Sykes, and likely the MJS, into another lather. "Here we go again."
Now, the Brawler is not a blog triumphalist by any stretch. He knows reporters and has a great respect for them. It's hard work -- if you're good it's hard work -- for little material reward. (And the phrase "Milwaukee's Stupider Media" is pointed specifically at the TMJ talkers and that layout guy who now writes columns.)
But still, the Brawler -- armed with nothing but a cheap computer, an internet connection and the truth -- pointed out that former state GOP exec director Rick Wiley was a likely suspect for the guy who complained to White House about Biskupic three full weeks before Daniel Bice (the tough-talking, blogger-bashing Bice) said, uh, yeah, it was Wiley. And the Brawler would argue he was, once again, ahead of the pack in raising questions about the White House's drive to suppress the vote in 2006.
When will the MJS wake up and realize the fact the state GOP has been working with the White House to suppress the vote in Wisconsin for two consecutive election cycles constitutes a major story? Or is that a story someone else will tell, as the NYT did with the sorry tale of Kimberly Prude?