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Leahy Calls On Justice Department To Investigate Laura Ingraham’s Phone Jamming

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"Leahy Calls On Justice Department To Investigate Laura Ingraham’s Phone Jamming"

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On election day, ThinkProgress posted audio of right-wing radio host Laura Ingraham urging her listeners to obstruct efforts to protect voting rights by jamming a free voter protection hotline.

Yesterday in a Senate Judiciary Commmittee hearing, Pat Leahy (D-VT) asked Wan Kim, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, whether his department would be investigating Ingraham’s phone jamming. Kim said Ingraham’s actions sounded like a “voter fraud scheme,” but that they didn’t fall under his division’s responsibilities, which cover “voter access.” Watch it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2006/11/leahyingraham.320.240.flv]

(HT: Glenn Greenwald)

Transcript:

LEAHY: I hear about so many candidates and political parties trying to interfere or intimidate people so that they won’t vote. According to press accounts, right-wing radio host Laura Ingraham, urged listeners of her radio show to jam a phone line set up by Democrats to investigate alleged voter irregularities. She told her listeners, everybody call that voting line all at the same time and basically mark it inoperative. Is that something that your division investigates?

KIM: Senator, that is a very good question. I share your concern about any sort of dirty trick or scheme to tell people not to vote or have people not vote because I agree with you that voting is the essence of our society and our democratic society and everyone who should vote should get out there and vote on Election Day. Historically, within the Department of Justice, we have divided responsibilities, between the civil rights division — to enforce voter access — and the criminal division — to police voter fraud and voter fraud schemes, like the one you mentioned. For example, it is the criminal division that spearheaded –

LEAHY: But to voter access — but if you’re jamming the things that enable voter access, does that come under your –

KIM: No, no senator.

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