Department of Justice officials delayed nearly six months before telling a conservative non-profit that no records exists that were responsive to the group's April Freedom of Information Act request for documents supporting Attorney General Eric Holder's claim of public demand for legal actions against voter ID laws.
During a December 2011 speech at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, Holder defended DOJ's filing suit against state voter ID laws in Texas and South Carolina, saying he had received "a consistent drumbeat of concern from many Americans, who - often for the first time in their lives - now have reason to believe that we are failing to live up to one of our nation's most noble, and essential, ideals [protecting voting rights]."
The April 2012 FOIA request was filed by the National Center for Public Policy Research and sought "any and all records, emails, transcripts, materials, or other internal or external documents created by or received by the Department of Justice." The request also sought copies of all communications between Holder and outside groups or individuals concerning the 2011 speech.
The department's Nov. 9, 2012, response said "no records responsive to your request were found."
"In 2008, the Supreme Court definitively ruled that state-level voter ID laws are a constitutional way for states to help protect their citizens from voter fraud. That is the law of the land. Attorney General Holder ignored the Court, setting the Justice Department on a course to stomp out popular and bipartisan voter ID measures at every turn," said National Center General Counsel Justin Danhof.
"Thanks to our FOIA request, it now appears Holder's public justifications for his crusade were premised on a lie. So what was the real reason the DOJ has made challenging voter ID such a priority?" he said.
Go here for more from the NCPPR, including links to its original FOIA request and the text of Holder's speech.