Exclusive: ACLU Lobbyist Behind Sensenbrenner’s Voting Rights Act ‘Fix’
August 27, 2013 - 11:48 am
Earlier today, J. Christian Adams reported comments made by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) regarding the Voting Rights Act. Sharing the podium with Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, Sensenbrenner told a Washington audience Monday that he wants to “fix” the part of the law that the Supreme Court recently struck down.
Sensenbrenner said he wants to fix the law so that it is immune to court challenges.
“The first thing we have to do is take the monkey wrench that the court threw in it, out of the Voting Rights Act, and then use that monkey wrench to be able to fix it so that it is alive, well, constitutional and impervious to another challenge that will be filed by the usual suspects.”
Sensenbrenner has not said publicly which section of the law he seeks to “fix” — Section 3 or Section 4. The latter would put many state election laws back under federal receivership, jeopardizing measures like Texas’ popular voter ID law. Sensenbrenner has also not said publicly who he believes the “usual suspects” are. Sensenbrenner has also not identified which states he believes are so racist that they warrant continued federal supervision with his “fix.”
He has publicly said, on August 22, that he opposes Attorney General Eric Holder’s lawsuit against Texas’ voter ID law under the Voting Rights Act’s Section 2, and that he wants Holder to wait until the law is “fixed.”
“I spoke with Attorney General Holder today and requested that he withdraw his Section 2 lawsuit until there can be a legislative fix of the Voting Rights Act. The lawsuit would make it much more difficult to pass a bipartisan fix to restore the heart of the VRA that the Supreme Court struck down earlier this year.”
That could be read as Sensenbrenner not opposing Holder’s lawsuit per se, but opposing it only until Congress can “fix” the VRA.
But what shape would that “fix” take? One clue may be found in who influences Rep. Sensenbrenner on the Voting Rights Act.
According to Open Secrets, Phillip Kiko worked in various capacities around the House Republican leadership until this year. Kiko has a long history working for and lobbying to Rep. Sensenbrenner going back decades. His posts include serving as deputy chief of staff to Rep. Sensenbrenner.
Kiko is currently vice chairman the Smith-Free Group, a Washington firm which bills itself as bi-partisan. His lobbying disclosure form tells an interesting story: He is working for the American Civil Liberties Union on the Voting Rights Act.
The ACLU characterized the June 2013 Supreme Court decision striking down Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act as a “huge blow to democracy.” The ACLU says that it is “working with Congress to devise a new formula” for Section 5 pre-clearance.
Worse, Kiko’s lobbying activities are not limited to representing the ACLU. He also lobbies on behalf of the far-left Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
Phillip Kiko, a self-described conservative, is working on behalf of these groups as their lobbyist at the same time his former boss, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, works toward a “fix” for the Voting Rights Act.