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Lewis Says Georgia’s Voter ID Checks are Harassment

By Staff

Oct. 13, 2008, 4:40 a.m.  Voting rights groups last week filed a suit against the Georgia Secretary of State charging that the voting rights of a Cherokee County citizen had been violated. 

       This suit came one day after concerns were lodged by the U.S. Department of Justice that Georgia’s attempts to verify voter identity violated the Voting Rights Act, a federal law which mandates states with a history of discrimination clear any voting procedures with the Department of Justice before they are implemented during an election.  

       The Social Security Administration has also raised questions about the number of Georgia’s requests. Georgia has asked to verify the identities of 2 million voters.  

       Rep. John Lewis, of Georgia, made this statement in response to these events:

        “I was deeply disturbed when I heard about the allegations made in the case of Mr. Jose Morales, as well as the Justice Department’s valid inquiry into violations of the Voting Rights Act in Georgia.  Georgia is not the only state where questions are mounting.  In Ohio and in Florida and other states around the country it seems that obstacles are being created to keep citizens from participating in this election.

          “I think there is a deliberate, systematic effort to depress the turn out of African American, Latino and other minority voters on November 4th. This is harassment.  It is intimidation, and it places an undue burden on some citizens.  Who decides, based on what standards which 2 million voters deserve greater scrutiny than any others?  I think these actions violate both the letter and the spirit of the Voting Rights Act.  They should be pursued by voting rights groups and the Department of Justice with all deliberate speed so we can make the way clear for registered voters to freely exercise their constitutional rights.

        “I urge all the register voters of Georgia to become informed and know your rights so that no one can discourage you from casting your vote on Election Day.  I can assure you I will be in touch with the Justice Department officials about this matter and will be monitoring the developments in the Morales case very closely.”


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Cummings, Waxman, Braley, Speier Urge Paulson to Stop Profligate Spending by Corporations

Following a House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing examining the $85 billion bailout of AIG and subsequent profligate spending by the company, Congressman Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), a senior member of the Committee, joined Chairman Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Iowa), and Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) in sending a letter to Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson, Jr., urging him to protect taxpayers’ dollars by putting an end to the spending (text of the letter below).

“It is shocking to the conscience that AIG would take 85 billion taxpayer dollars to fund an executive spa week that included expensive resort suites, manicures, pedicures, massages, and bar tabs,” Cummings said. “If the Treasury Secretary allowed our taxpayer dollars to be wasted in this instance, how can Americans be confident that the $700 billion recovery package will be spent any differently?”

The hearing was the second of five planned by the Oversight Committee to examine the causes that led to the nation’s recent financial meltdown. The hearing revealed numerous instances of extravagant spending by AIG, including a week-long, half-million dollar conference at an exclusive resort in California held only one week after the government bailout was signed. The hearing also revealed that AIG continues to pay one million dollars a month to a former executive who helped bring about the country’s downfall.

“Every day, I see my neighbors in inner city Baltimore struggling to pay their bills, keep their homes, and feed their families while the government is spending billions of tax dollars on golden parachutes for executives who were reckless and irresponsible with their business practices,” Cummings said.  “I sincerely hope that Mr. Paulson takes whatever measures are necessary to put an end to the wasteful spending of American tax dollars.”

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