I just watched this, and it is absolutely awesome. Rep. Connolly utterly demolishes Hans von Spakovsky at a House hearing on political activities at the IRS. They hypocrisy by the hyper-partisan (of the far-right-wing variety) von Spakovsky is simply breathtaking. For instance, check this out:
Von Spakovsky’s tenure at the Justice Department was marked by a focus on voter eligibility and voter fraud. In 2005, he led the Department’s approval of a controversial Georgia law requiring voters to produce photo ID, despite strong objections from Justice Department staff that the law would disproportionately harm and disenfranchise African-American voters. Von Spakovksy subsequently acknowledged that he had written a law review article supporting such photo ID laws under the pseudonym “Publius”, prompting concerns that he should have recused himself from the Justice Department decision. The Georgia law was subsequently overturned by a federal judge, who compared it to a “Jim-Crow era poll tax”. During von Spakovsky’s tenure, more than half of the career Justice Department staff left the voting section in protest.
Von Spakovsky also served on the Board of Advisors of the Election Assistance Commission, a government commission created by the Help America Vote Act of 2002. He clashed with the Commission head, Paul DeGregorio. Several individuals with knowledge of the situation, speaking anonymously to McClatchy Newspapers, alleged that DeGregorio had resisted an overtly partisan agenda and his removal was therefore engineered by von Spakovsky.
Von Spakovsky received his recess appointment by President Bush to the FEC in January 2006. His confirmation hearings were contentious, as Democratic Senators criticized von Spakovsky’s Justice Department tenure and accused him of partisanship. A group of career Justice Department staff wrote a letter to the Senate arguing against von Spakovsky’s appointment, saying that he “played a major role in the implementation of practices which injected partisan political factors into decision-making on enforcement matters and into the hiring process, and included repeated efforts to intimidate career staff.” In response to questioning from the Senate, von Spakovsky repeatedly asserted that he could not remember or recall his involvement in various controversial Justice Department decisions, drawing comparisons to the testimony of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
Faced with mounting opposition, von Spakovsky ultimately withdrew from the FEC confirmation process. He subsequently assumed a position with the Heritage Foundation, a politically conservative think tank.
In this hearing, Rep. Connolly points to egregious, extremely partisan, right-wing political activities by the Assistant Attorney General to the Civil Rights Division in the Bush administration. Rep. Connolly notes that a DOJ Inspector General’s report found that Deputy Assistant Atttorney General Bradley Schlossman, for whom von Spakovsky worked, had “violated federal law and department policy by considering political affiliations in hiring decisions and other personnel actions such as the assignment of cases to career attorneys.” According to the IG, Schlossman “placed limitations on the assignment of cases to attorneys who he described as ‘libs’ or ‘pinkos’ and he requested that important cases be handled by conservative attorneys he had hired instead.” Wow.
So, the question is, why wasn’t von Spakovsky horrified at – and why didn’t he speak out against – Schlossman’s outrageous politicization of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division when he worked for Schlossman? Yet now von Spakovsky is deeply concerned at the supposed “scandal” at the IRS under a Democratic administration? What a pathetic joke. Anyway, thank goodness Rep. Connolly came armed with reams of facts (a foreign concept to the von Spakovskys of the world, apparently) to this hearing and utterly demolished this right-wing political hack.
P.S. Connolly also noted that Schlossman sent von Spakovsky an email saying “if I recall correctly, a certain voting section attorney is a crazy lib, Hans am I right? a detail would be a great way to get him out of our hair for six months.” Not suprisingly, Von Spakovsky dodged Connolly’s question about whether or not this was appropriate.