Bradley Schlozman has emerged as a central figure in the politicization of the Justice Department, particularly for his focus on squashing the voice of minorites prior to major elections.
As an interim U.S. attorney in Missouri, Schlozman brought felony indictments of four workers in the minority advocacy group ACORN just a week before the 2006 election. That move ran counter to a longstanding policy in the Justice Department, and voter fraud charges against ACORN were dismissed. Schlozman also killed an investigation of Native American voter suppression in Minnesota, a practice that was resulting in “electoral discrimination against Indian voters.”
As TPMMuckraker noted, Schlozman played dumb today when asked about the political leanings of ACORN. But later in the hearing, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) caught Schlozman baselessly labeling groups that reach out to minority voters as the “liberal” counterparts to the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society. Watch it:
As Schumer pointed out, the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund, which “fosters sound public policies, laws and programs to safeguard the civil rights of the 45 million Latinos living in the United States,” and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, which “advocates for the legal needs and interests of the APA community,” are nothing like the Heritage Foundation (a right-wing think tank) and the Federalist Society (a right-wing legal organization).
Schlozman’s labeling of these advocacy organizations suggests that he never truly consulted with liberal groups and carried out his position in a political manner. As Schumer noted, “I think the record here is speaking for itself.”
SCHUMER: Why did you reach out to the conservative ones and you had others reach out to the liberal ones?
And give me the name of one liberal one that you ordered, asked — give me the name of the person you told to call and the organization you told him to call.
SCHLOZMAN: John Tanner, the chief of the Voting Section.
SCHLOZMAN: And we had — I had him reach out to, I know to various organizations we work with. I believe…
SCHUMER: Like, give me a name of a liberal organization. You just said that you — you were very definitive…
SCHUMER: … that you had someone else reach out to, quote, liberal organizations, John Tanner. Name a liberal organization you reached out to.
SCHLOZMAN: I believe he reached — my understanding is, is that he reached out to MALDEF, to NAPABA to — I mean, I don’t have the exact list of people who he reached. I mean, I said, Reach out to organizations with whom you work.
SCHUMER: Yes, but MALDEF is not the equivalent of the Heritage — the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society have an ideological hue to them. These others are Native American organizations, Hispanic American organizations. Those are different.
So you want to think about it? Did Mr. Tanner reach out to liberal organizations that would be, sort of, the mirror image, if you will, of the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society?
SCHLOZMAN: Senator, I guess — and what my response will be — I just don’t recall today exactly what — I mean, I’m happy to check what organizations he reached out to.
SCHUMER: Again, I think the record here is speaking for itself.