Votelaw, Edward Still's blog on law and politics: April 2010 Archives

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April 29, 2010

Texas: DeLay's trial delayed no longer

TPMMuckraker reports: Five years after he was charged with conspiracy and money laundering in an alleged scheme to funnel corporate money into the 2002 Texas elections, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay may soon stand trial after a ruling by a state appeals court cleared perhaps the final remaining obstacles in the case. ...

DeLay and the two other men allegedly raised $190,000 in corporate money in Texas through a fundraising committee, Texans for a Republican Majority, and sent it the Republican National Committee, which in turn distributed the money to candidates in Texas, where corporate donations are banned.

Overturning a lower court Wednesday, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled in a case brought by DeLay's two co-defendants, John Colyandro and Jim Ellis, clearing the way for the case to move forward. Read the whole story --> DeLay Money Laundering Case May Finally Be Headed To Trial | TPMMuckraker

April 28, 2010

DOJ Voting Section -- new deputy chief position is open

The Voting Section’s deputy chief ad has been reopened to reflect the addition of one more vacancy. The ad describes the new procedures for applying.

The ad states that “This vacancy is a reposting of vacancy announcement 10-ATT-007, Deputy Chief, to fill an additional position. Applicants who applied to the previous vacancy announcement, by the original deadline, do not need to reapply to this announcement to receive consideration for the additional position being filled.”

Alabama: Candidate, indicted for failure to file campaign report, claims others did it too

The Talladega Daily Home reports: A city schools board member was recently indicted on charges of campaign form violations.

But several other officials, including candidates for Alabama governor and state school board members, may have made one of the same violations.

Troy "Skip" Smithwick was charged January 29 with failure to file annual campaign contribution reports and improper reporting of contributions. Both charges are Class B misdemeanors under state law.

Smithwick's attorney, Rod Giddens, has filed motions on his behalf to dismiss the claims based on "selective prosecution." Read the whole story including names of late filers --> The Daily Home - Smithwick defends allegations

April 27, 2010

Alabama county to sue DOJ over Section 5 constitutionality

The Shelby County Reporter reports: The Shelby County Commission approved a resolution at its April 26 meeting to allow the county to file a lawsuit against the federal government over part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

County attorney Butch Ellis said Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act forbids cities and towns in nine states, including Alabama, from making changes in voting practices or procedures without approval from the federal government. The lawsuit will challenge the constitutionality of such a requirement.

?It doesn?t matter what you do, if it has anything to do with elections, you have to get clearance from Washington, D.C.,? Ellis said at the meeting.

The lawsuit will be paid for in full by the Project on Fair Representation, a not-for-profit legal defense fund supporting challenges against racial preferences in state and federal courts.

Ellis said the lawsuit would be filed swiftly, although he did not have an exact date for the filing. Read the whole story --> Shelby County Reporter | County to sue federal government over Voting Rights Act

Note: The Project on Fair Representation website claims credit for the NAMUDNO lawsuit and the current City of Irving, TX, suit -- both of which attacked the Voting Rights Act.

April 1, 2010

Mississippi: DOJ objects to law requiring runoffs in some school board elections

The U.S. Attorney General has objected under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act to a Mississippi law requiring runoffs in certain municipal school board elections. The letter should be used as a case study in how a State can fail to carry its burden of proof in a Section 5 preclearance request. A copy of the letter is shown below:

2010 03 Objection to Miss Re Sch Bds