GOP lawmakers concerned about DOJ voter ID law challenge
What is really behind the controversy?
- Duration 8:17
- Date Jul 5, 2012
What is really behind the controversy?
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Fox News alert new questions this hour about a DOJ court battle over -- requirements in Texas and why the Justice Department turned.
To a highly partisan group to help.
With their -- in the letter obtained by Fox News Republican congressman Lamar Smith asks attorney general Eric Holder to explain.
Why the -- used a firm that works for president Obama's reelection campaign.
To provide research on whether the lone star State's voter ID law would prejudice the rights of minorities in Texas.
Chief Washington correspondent James Rosen is gonna set this up much better that I just it he's -- in Washington James -- I -- your service -- attorney general Eric Holder is fighting in court to block Texas.
From enacting its new voter ID law which requires all registered voters possessed of valid state issued photo ID.
Proponents say this -- will help curb voter fraud DOJ civil rights division argues it will -- minorities from the voting Booth.
An expert witness retained by DOJ indicates a Harvard professor of government in -- retained the data firm called catalyst.
To give him the numbers of white and minority voters in Texas and other data.
I had previously conducted several studies using the catalyst data the professor testified.
And I found that nearly all persons identified by catalyst -- black white or Hispanic identified themselves in the survey as being of the same rates projected by catalyst.
But check out catalysts website its clients include the democratic house and senate campaign -- EMILY's List Planned Parenthood and Obama for America.
Indeed the firm describes its mission as quote.
To provide progressive organizations.
With the data and services needed to better for identify understand and communicate.
With the people they need to persuade and mobilize -- quote.
House Judiciary Committee chairman Lamar Smith a Republican from Texas wants attorney general holder to explain why DOJ's expert.
Apparently without any competitive bidding process chose such an openly partisan firm to provide data for an executive branch agency.
That is ostensibly nonpartisan quote there is -- at least the appearance Smith wrote to the attorney general this morning in a letter obtained exclusively by Fox News.
But rather than election laws that protect Texans right to vote.
In a secure and fair election catalyst might prefer that texas' election laws favor Democratic Party candidates -- -- The litigation that will settle this dispute Texas -- holder is set to begin here in the nation's capital in DC federal court.
-- Texas -- older something a great card game Jane thank you.
All right so there obviously some questions about whether there is a conflict here.
That undercuts the DOJ in connection with this case and joining me now to discuss its Mark -- this former aide to the Kerry and Obama presidential campaigns.
And -- web -- of -- David Webb -- and co-founder of the Tea Party 365.
So the DOJ reaches out to the good professor who mark knows and says professor help us out find out whether.
-- you know there is a problem with this law and then the professor looks to this firm that's aligned with all these you know progressive causes and says.
Could you help me gather my statistics.
Thumb on the scale mark.
I think the credibility of catalyst as a company is is.
Beyond repute here and and beyond reproach rather I think you know you have.
Universities all over the country Yale University Harvard University Brigham young used university hardly in a bastion of liberalism using.
The catalyst this it's this data mining company to to gather together data that no other private company is able to do.
They in their charter yes ally themselves with progressive causes but they're an independent company that works for any range of it.
You know environmental causes.
I think it yeah there -- glad that I think -- -- lament.
The political scientist professional political scientists working in universities -- there after a truth you know they're they're they're seeking the truth and they're in the business of knowledge production they're not after a partisan political.
Agenda or motive -- Well and made you president universe there's this yeah.
We think that okay the the good folks at Harvard university and are somehow on and not credible but now Lamar Smith has a credible source and I was like you know generally universities -- you put it aren't exactly in the best in him liberals and -- Bastion of conservatism a conservatism and not honestly they're -- they're not the bastion of either that's the point Lamar Smith we know witness the bastion of -- -- -- -- this yeah.
-- what's good about Bobby yeah.
You're digging in here and I'm gonna get to a back hole in the second I had a problem but there are certain number of other companies -- if you really wanna read each other's company -- Westpac they work heavily even with Census -- very much like them.
If you wanted to do that but what's important here.
It is we can argue about whether these big catalyst is -- or not.
Let's go to the assistant that your district -- -- attorney general for civil rights in Texas when he looks at the numbers.
93% of Hispanics are registered now I've lived in Texas -- And you have to drive to the polling locations and I've voted in Texas so how do you get there you drive you have a driver's license what's the problem -- voter ID.
Not that not everybody good night and the next because we're going to -- -- -- just so are clear because.
Texas wants voter ID laws right in right -- -- have to go to Madrid until the DOJ is challenging that -- hasn't been just -- bring up images is set up so this is what it's all right that Texas wants this -- the DOJ doesn't like this law they think it disenfranchises minority and other voters -- and so now they're looking -- it sort of find out the truth does it doesn't do that so.
DOJ turns to the professor and a professor in -- catalysts and there's a question about whether catalyst.
Has its thumb on the scale or not it won't what did they have to put it out to competitive bid.
Is that aren't they require I don't -- our.
That's news has confirmed one way or another I mean maybe they have whether or not there was a competitive bidding process I talked to a friend of mine who worked for catalyst for four years before coming on today.
And he wasn't he he was going through his old files and was -- to -- -- video.
David is saying that you would -- crazy by the way they -- -- -- -- let us now.
-- a competitive bid by the ways a public record so it's really easy to find after some digging.
Whether they had it out for competitive bidding or not you can get that don't require FOIA law.
Find out they they did so reluctantly you know they're so here's the problem is voter addition -- don't know let's let's start this coming I had that debate and I really really in the snow there better than that with the US how an -- 2.2 million people -- -- -- -- eligible registered voters in 2008 -- -- you don't have always had held up because of their.
All that -- that they didn't have we had that debate we've had we've had that debate this today's debate is about whether they are using a firm they should not be using.
In the context of trying to find an objective source in this closet.
Now David mark says that catalyst has been used you know by many organizations to provide an independent voice them are -- necessarily biased just because they have some affiliation with progress there.
There aren't necessarily biased but if -- bias comes out contrary to the overwhelming.
Existing evidence in Texas.
When it comes to registered voters in the number of people that are registered.
And I'm talking based on voter rolls whether it's Hispanic black or otherwise.
If that doesn't match up with what catalyst produces that I would question their data in their results it's now that this is.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- They take all the publicly available data across -- though they don't commercially as it is in the methodology it's not what.
I read the methodology that they really want to cross reference they could also count -- cross reference it -- exist -- Census Bureau data.
Which also collect some of that so they didn't and they -- they went for a specific race based identification.
And their methodology.
To come up with a point they sought a point eight.
Isn't that what they're supposed to be doing trying to find out -- they are a number of minorities or disenfranchise alleged.
And it came out that and again I'm going with the Texas Department of Justice on this -- shows that 93% of Hispanics are registered which means disenfranchisement.
Now let's look at.
The deal on me can't look at -- market replica Nokia.
I don't believe he's on that note -- all the other problem negatives might we will have you back ever solved and we'll have you back we'll talk about we'll talk about it some more cash and maybe we'll get into honest.
Numbers this might know anything about building mainly my mind stimulated stimulating thank you very much -- -- -- couple times and all I can understand it better.