John Podesta, Bill Clinton’s chief of staff during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, rallied his liberal donor base by decrying fake letters designed to suppress the vote in Florida — but he doesn’t acknowledge that those letters are targeting Republican voters.
“I have been involved in politics for over 40 years—long enough to have even seen Nixon’s dirty tricks,” Podesta says in the Center for American Progress email. “But frankly, the past few months have shocked me. From a widespread campaign to limit voting through ‘voter ID’ laws to registration forms being tossed in the garbage, it’s clear that those who fear a fair election are waging war on one of our most basic rights.”
Podesta never mentions the Republican Party by name, but he’s criticizing the voter identification laws that Democrats have argued all year reflect a Republican effort to bring back Jim Crow era policies. He talks about fighting voter ID laws in Florida and Pennsylvania — which Republicans advocated — before sneaking in a line about Florida.
“Voters in Florida are receiving fake letters saying that their citizenship is being investigated,” he says.
Given that he’s complaining about “dirty tricks,” that line is kind of a shocker. Podesta, the co-chairman of Barack Obama’s 2008 transition team, didn’t mention one inconvenient fact: those fake letters target Republican voters.
“Officials on Monday said voters who had received the letters thus far are white, registered Republicans who consistently vote in elections,” Local 6 wrote last week in it’s first report on the issue. Republican Party of Florida chairman Lenny Curry even received one, which prompted the FBI to open an investigation.
“This type of activity is not only disgusting, it is criminal, and must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” Curry said in a statement. “I call on Florida Democrats to join me in condemning this false letter writing campaign that appears to target likely voters in Florida, and help RPOF get the word out about this false campaign.”
Here’s Podesta’s full email:
I have been involved in politics for over 40 years—long enough to have even seen Nixon’s dirty tricks. But frankly, the past few months have shocked me. From a widespread campaign to limit voting through “voter ID” laws to registration forms being tossed in the garbage, it’s clear that those who fear a fair election are waging war on one of our most basic rights.
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Our reporting has helped beat back suppression tactics in Florida and Pennsylvania, but now, with just 6 days to go, we’re uncovering new, disturbing efforts to keep Americans from the polls: Even though the voter ID law in Pennsylvania was struck down, state-sponsored ads are still telling residents they have to show ID. Seniors in Florida, Indiana, and Virginia are getting phone calls falsely claiming that they can vote by phone. Voters in Florida are receiving fake letters saying that their citizenship is being investigated.
This is about equal rights and justice. This is our democracy at stake. We can’t let it slide, especially with only days to go before voters head to the polls.
We have reporters ready to hit the ground in Ohio, but it will take more resources to get them to other key states like Florida, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Click here now so that they can expose voter suppression tactics wherever it’s happening.
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Chair, Center for American Progress Action Fund