Rachel Maddow talks to former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias about the pressure put on him to go after ACORN for voter fraud allegations and how Karl Rove wanted to use the issue of voter fraud as a wedge issue to win elections. As Rachel notes sadly, that plan is still paying dividends with the Democrats being all too happy to cave into political pressure by the Republicans instead of standing up for ACORN.
MADDOW: We have previously reported on this show how corporate interests opposed to ACORN`s really successful efforts to raise the minimum wage targeted the group using Republican-allied P.R. firms that proudly specialized in demonizing their opposition.
But ACORN has not just been targeted by corporations who worry that ACORN`s advocacy for living-wage ordinances and an increased minimum wage will hurt their corporate bottom line. ACORN has also been the subject for years of a purely political smear campaign, a campaign engineered by Republicans who are threatened by ACORN`s work to register young and poor and minority voters.
The American voter is typically older and more wealthy than the typical American, and that tends to give the Republicans an electoral edge among voters as compared to the preferences of the populations at large. But ACORN`s registration drives have gone some distance to changing that. Over the past five years, ACORN registered close to 2 million voters. And, yes, the groups of people that ACORN typically registers tend to vote for Democrats.
Over the last few election cycles, fear of a younger, less wealthy, and, frankly, less white electorate led Republicans, especially in swing states, to go after ACORN aggressively, and, in fact, to try to gin up charges against them, to try to make their voter registration efforts in general seem suspect and perhaps to bring down the group entirely. And when I say "ginned up," I`m not exaggerating.
Do you remember the U.S. attorney scandal, the alleged fire ring of U.S. attorneys because of U.S. political considerations? Recall what that scandal was really about. In 2006, nine U.S. attorneys were fired, surprisingly and suddenly, by the Department of Justice under George W. Bush.
Former U.S. attorney David Iglesias -- one of those U.S. attorneys who lost his job despite positive job reviews -- maintains that his pink slip came after he resisted pressure from Republicans to pursue bogus voter registration cases involving ACORN. The pressure began as early as 2002 when Mr. Iglesias says in his book "In Justice," he received an e-mail from the Department of Justice in Washington, quote, "suggesting, in no uncertain terms" that U.S. attorneys "offer whatever assistance we could in investigating and prosecuting voter fraud cases."
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