A senior Justice Department official on Tuesday defended his decision to bring a Missouri voter fraud case just days before the 2006 election, despite guidelines discouraging such cases because of the potential to influence voting.
Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee pointed to the case as another example of the department acting out of partisan political motives under the Bush administration.
Bradley Schlozman, who now works in the office that oversees all U.S. attorneys, filed the lawsuit when he was serving as interim U.S. attorney for Kansas City, Mo.
“Wasn’t the timing of your action, on the eve of it, filing criminal charges not against a large conspiracy but against a few individuals — wouldn’t that be contrary to the policies that are right here in the book?” Judiciary Chairman Pat Leahy of Vermont asked Schlozman.
Schlozman denied any political motives in his decision to prosecute four activists from the liberal-leaning group ACORN for allegedly submitting bogus voter registration forms. He testified that he received approval from Craig Donsanto, the head of the department’s Election Crimes Branch, before bringing the case.
“I did not think it was going to have any effect on the election in this case, no, Senator,” Schlozman said.
“You’re amazing,” Leahy said dismissively.