Maybe Kris Kobach Is What's The Matter With Kansas

Maybe Kris Kobach Is What's The Matter With Kansas

If, indeed, power corrupts, then what bulwark does the public have when absolute power tries to corrupt absolutely? One vital defense, it seems, is the happy tendency of those who have committed malfeasances to sit down and write all about it, then put it in an email and send it out to everyone in the world. That's what's Kris Kobach, the chair of the Kansas GOP did last week. Guess who ended up getting a copy of the email? And guess what it said?

To date, the Kansas GOP has identified and caged more voters in the last 11 months than the previous two years!

Wow! What an accomplishment! Only, what is this "voter caging?" Here's how former Justice Department apparatchik Monica Goodling defined it:

"'s a direct-mail term, that people who do direct mail, when, when they separate addresses that may be good versus addresses that may be bad."

Spoken like a Juris Doctor from that highly regarded legal institution, Regent University! So, on second thought, better let Slate's Dahlia Lithwick explain:

Vote caging is an illegal trick to suppress minority voters (who tend to vote Democrat) by getting them knocked off the voter rolls if they fail to answer registered mail sent to homes they aren't living at (because they are, say, at college or at war).

So, this is some chutzpah Kobach has, bragging about having taken the illegal practice of disenfranchising voters to new heights. Sadly, however, it's hardly without precedent.

In 2004, similar emails were accidentally forwarded to an email address at the parody site Investigative reporter Greg Palast noted that these emails implicated Tim Griffin, then the Research Director and Deputy Communications Director of the Republican National Committee. Griffin later became one of the interim U.S. Attorney appointments (he has since resigned) that followed in the wake of Alberto Gonzalez's controversial attorney dismissals (which is why esteemed legal scholar Monica Goodling is on the record about voter caging in the first place).

So, while on one level, it seems completely insane that a political official would quantify and disclose their illegal activities in an email, it all makes sense when you consider the case of Tim Griffin. If you want your career in the GOP to advance, you'd better not be shy about whipping out your scorecard on the issues that matter - like keeping people from voting.

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