Editorial: Indian voting rights and Heffelfinger

"In a few short weeks, former U.S. Attorney Thomas Heffelfinger has gone from believing that he left his post in the good graces of the Justice Department to realizing that he not only was on an early list of prosecutors to be fired, but was on it for political reasons. If Heffelfinger's head is spinning, others should be rolling.

Why was he on such a list? Los Angeles Times (and former Star Tribune) reporter Tom Hamburger reported, "Part of the reason, government documents and other evidence suggest, is that he tried to protect Indians' voting rights." It certainly appears that he was getting in the way of widespread GOP efforts to curb voting by people who typically vote Democratic.

In Minnesota, then-Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer seemed to see voter fraud behind every tree. She directed that Indians living off the reservation couldn't use their tribal ID cards to identify themselves for the purpose of voting. Heffelfinger's office was concerned that this would harm Indian voting rights; a federal court eventually ruled that the IDs could be used.

A jigsaw puzzle of evidence is starting to line up, and the picture that's emerging looks a lot like a nationwide effort to disenfranchise certain voters -- with the help of state officeholders and federal prosecutors. It isn't pretty."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Senate: Press hard on Minnesota angle (The Minneapolis Star Tribune 6/2)

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