Hans von Spakovsky

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Hans von Spakovsky, of Georgia, was nominated February 10, 2006, by President George W. Bush to be a Member of the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Von Spakovsky replaces Bradley A. Smith, FEC Chairman, who resigned.

Von Spakovsky was appointed to the Commission on January 4, 2006, by President Bush in a recess appointment.

Appointment Protest

Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) protested von Spakovsky's appointment to the FEC, the Associated Press's Deb Reichmann reported January 5, 2006.

"Kennedy said von Spakovsky, a Justice Department lawyer who was Republican Party chairman in Fulton County, Ga., worked toward requiring Georgia voters to have a photo identification - a requirement critics said would harm black voters. Kennedy also contended that von Spakovsky was involved in a decision that rejected a recommendation of career Justice Department lawyers in a Texas redistricting case. Those lawyers had concluded that the redistricting plan violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965 because it eliminated several districts where minorities had substantial voting power and illegally diluted black and Hispanic voting power"

Bush's Chief "Voting Rights" Operative

"Von Spakovsky, a longtime activist in the voting-integrity cause, has emerged as the [Bush] Administration’s chief operative on voting rights. Before going to Washington, he was a lawyer in private practice and a Republican appointee to the Fulton County Registration and Election Board, which runs elections in Atlanta. He belonged to the Federalist Society, a prominent organization of conservative lawyers, and had also joined the board of advisers of a lesser-known group called the Voting Integrity Project," Jeffrey Toobin wrote in the September 20, 2004, New Yorker.

"In 1997, von Spakovsky wrote an article for the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, a conservative research group, that called for an aggressive campaign to 'purge' the election rolls of felons. Within months of that article’s publication, the V.I.P. helped put von Spakovsky’s idea into action. Phillips met with the company that designed the process for the removal of alleged felons from the voting rolls in Florida, a process that led, notoriously, to the mistaken disenfranchisement of thousands of voters, most of them Democratic, before the 2000 election," Toobin wrote. "During the thirty-six-day recount in Florida, von Spakovsky worked there as a volunteer for the Bush campaign. After the Inauguration, he was hired as an attorney in the Voting Section and was soon promoted to be counsel to the Assistant Attorney General, in what is known as the 'front office' of the Civil Rights Division. In that position, von Spakovsky, who is forty-five years old, has become an important voice in the Voting Section. (Von Spakovsky, citing Justice Department policy, has also declined repeated requests to be interviewed.)

"In a [September 2004] speech at Georgetown University, von Spakovsky suggested that voting integrity will remain a focus for the Justice Department, and that voter access might best be left to volunteers. 'Frankly, the best thing that can happen is when both parties and candidates have observers in every single polling place, wherever the votes are collected and tabulated, because that helps make sure that nothing happens that shouldn’t happen, that the votes are counted properly, and that there is transparency to maintain public confidence in elections,' he said. 'Not enough people volunteer to be poll-watchers. ...'," Toobin wrote.


When von Spakovsky was nominated December 16, 2005, by President Bush, he was serving as Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice. "He previously served the Justice Department as a trial attorney for the Voting Reform Initiative. Prior to that, Mr. von Spakovsky served as a government affairs consultant. Earlier in his career, he was Assistant Vice President, Counsel and Secretary for Confederation Life Insurance Company in Rehabilitation. Mr. von Spakovsky received his bachelor's degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his JD from Vanderbilt University." [http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/12/20051216-4.html

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By Hans von Spakovsky

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