Politics

Did White House Pull Nomination To Avoid Questions Over 2004 Minority Voter Suppression?

tgriffin.jpg Tim Griffin — a “37-year-old protege” of Karl Rove and the former research director of the Republican National Committee — has become the poster boy for the Bush administration’s politicization of the office of U.S. attorney.

On Feb. 15, Griffin suddenly announced that he had “made the decision not to let my name go forward to the Senate” for approval. Instead, he will serve indefinitely as an “interim” prosecutor. By avoiding Senate approval, Griffin will also avoid having to answer questions under oath about his role in a plan to supress Florida votesprimarily those of African-American servicemembers — in the 2004 election. From the LA Times, 10/28/04:

The Bush campaign is planning an election day effort to disrupt ballot casting by African Americans by challenging voters whose names are on a “caging list,” according to a British news report.

Citing an internal GOP e-mail with the subject line “caging,” the BBC reported Tuesday that Florida Republicans had a list of 1,886 names and addresses of voters in largely black and traditionally Democratic areas of Jacksonville. …

But African American leaders Wednesday called the list another “shameful” Republican effort to keep blacks from voting.

Yesterday, the public radio station KUAR in Arkansas aired an interview with Griffin, in which he denied involvement in this scheme. He called the report “patently false.”

Congressional sources tell ThinkProgress that the White House has decided not to proceed with the Griffin nomination because it would bring up questions about the 2004 caging scheme. If Griffin wasn’t involved, he should say that under oath. Congress and the public deserve the opportunity to question a U.S. attorney about his possible role in suppressing minority voters.

Transcript:

RON BREEDING, KUAR HOST: Well, Mr. Griffin, if I may interrupt. One of the specific things that has been talked about — I know you worked on campaigns, but it’s been alleged you were involved in voter suppression efforts and that sort of thing. Can you speak to the types of work you did on campaigns?

TIM GRIFFIN, U.S. ATTORNEY: Sure. I was — First of all, the allegations of voter suppression, or whatever you were referring to, I’m intimately familiar with those allegations. That is a web article on the Internet. It is patently false. I have told Sen. Pryor it was patently false. I have explained that in detail.