|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
A New Mexico lawyer who pushed to oust U.S. Attorney David Iglesias was an officer of a nonprofit group that aided Republican candidates in 2006 by pressing for tougher voter identification laws.
Iglesias, who was one of nine U.S. attorneys the administration fired last year, said that Albuquerque lawyer Patrick Rogers pressured him several times to bring voter fraud prosecutions where little evidence existed.
Iglesias believes that he was fired in part because he failed to pursue such cases.
He described Rogers, who declined to discuss the exchanges, as ``obsessed . . . convinced there was massive voter fraud going on in this state, and I needed to do something to stop it.''
Iglesias said he only recently learned of Rogers' involvement as secretary of the nonprofit American Center for Voting Rights Legislative Fund -- an activist group that defended tighter voter identification requirements in court against charges that they were designed to hamper voting by poor minorities.
Rogers, a former general counsel to the New Mexico Republican Party and a candidate to replace Iglesias, is among a number of well-connected GOP partisans whose work with the legislative fund and a sister group played a significant role in the party's effort to retain control of Congress in the 2006 election.
That strategy, which presidential advisor Karl Rove alluded to in an April 2006 speech to the Republican National Lawyers Association, sought to scrutinize voter registration records, win passage of tougher ID laws and challenge the legitimacy of voters considered likely to vote Democratic.
McClatchy has found that this election strategy was active on at least three fronts:
• Tax-exempt groups such as the American Center and the Lawyers Association were deployed in battleground states to press for restrictive ID laws and oversee balloting.
• The Justice Department's Civil Rights Division turned traditional voting rights enforcement upside down with legal policies that narrowed rather than protected the rights of minorities.
• The White House and the Justice Department encouraged selected U.S. attorneys to bring voter fraud prosecutions, despite studies showing that election fraud isn't a widespread problem.
Nowhere was the breadth of these actions more obvious than at the American Center for Voting Rights and its legislative fund.