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Justice Department vs. Republicans

The lawyers from the Criminal Section acknowledged that there are no federal criminal statutes that reach non-violent political activities, yet they are proposing to use those statutes to harass individuals engaged in perfectly legal behavior. For telling the absolute truth about citizenship being a requirement to vote, these lawyers want to drag individuals in front of a federal grand jury to ask questions about their political associations. As far as I know, being a member of a group that is against illegal immigration is not a violation of federal law (yet!), although it is perfectly clear that the partisan career lawyers at Justice think it should be.

Under this reasoning, anyone who says we should secure our borders, enforce our employment laws, and deport illegal aliens is engaging in criminal oppression and intimidation. Should anyone who has expressed his views on this subject, particularly in connection with an election, expect to be called in front of a federal grand jury to answer for his "crimes?" While the views espoused by Walsh, Blumberg, and Kappelhoff are well outside the mainstream, they are perfectly aligned with liberal groups who do not believe that voter registration applicants should have to answer questions about their citizenship, and who in fact make a point of not advising registrants of citizenship requirements.

Regrettably, what is going on here is no different than what has happened in the Civil Rights Division for decades. This part of Justice is the depository of the most left-wing career lawyers in the entire department, and for years they have run mostly unchecked by political appointees. These lawyers will do anything they can to help get Obama elected -- even if it means harassing, investigating and criminally prosecuting Republicans who are engaged in perfectly legal political activity.

Unfortunately, there do not appear to be any political appointees left in the Division with the political fortitude to do anything to stop it. So Republicans involved in the election should make sure they have their defense lawyers ready to go as we get closer to November. The power and authority of the Justice Department and federal grand juries may come down on their heads with all of the force of a hurricane. Or, even better, folks in Congress who respect the Bill of Rights and the First Amendment should let Attorney General Mukasey know that the use of the criminal process for political ends and to chill political speech won't be tolerated. He should also require any Justice employees like Kappelhoff, Walsh, and Russ who have contributed to Obama to recuse themselves completely from any involvement in any matter arising out of the election.

The author is an attorney who specializes in election law. The author has requested anonymity to avoid being targeted for prosecution by the Justice Department for exercising First Amendment rights.