Purgegate Update

PURGEGATE UPDATE….Tom Hamburger of the LA Times writes today about Tom Heffelfinger, one of the U.S. Attorneys whose name turned up on a list of potential firees a few weeks ago. But why was this “embodiment of a tough Republican prosecutor” targeted? What had he done?

Part of the reason, government documents and other evidence suggest, is that he tried to protect voting rights for Native Americans.

….Citing requirements in a new state election law, Republican Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer directed that tribal ID cards could not be used for voter identification by Native Americans living off reservations. Heffelfinger and his staff feared that the ruling could result in discrimination against Indian voters. Many do not have driver’s licenses or forms of identification other than the tribes’ photo IDs.

….Newly obtained documents and interviews with government officials suggest that what displeased some of his superiors and GOP politicians was…his actions on Indian voting.

About three months after Heffelfinger’s office raised the issue of tribal ID cards and nonreservation Indians in an October 2004 memo, his name appeared on a list of U.S. attorneys singled out for possible firing.

Needless to say, this is yet more evidence that (a) “voter fraud” was indeed behind much of the U.S. Attorney purge, and (b) it was almost certainly directed from somewhere within Karl Rove’s domain. It’s the political operation in the White House, after all, that’s obsessed with suppressing Democratic-leaning voters by trumping up voter fraud charges whenever it can.

Of course, it’s worth keeping in mind that just because voter fraud was a big part of Purgegate, that doesn’t mean that was its sole purpose. It looks to me like maybe half of the fired USAs were targeted for reasons related to the voter fraud crusade, while some of the others were targeted for other reasons. Heck, some of them might even have been targeted just because they weren’t doing a good job. Stranger things have happened.