Robert Bauer, general counsel for Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, sent a second letter to Attorney General Michael Mukasey yesterday asking him again to allow special prosecutor Nora Dannehy, who is investigating the 2006 U.S. attorney firings, to investigate whether senior officials within the Department of Justice broke the law by speaking to reporters anonymously about an investigation into the McCain campaign’s claims that voter fraud is taking place across the country.
The second letter expands upon a letter sent to Mukasey on Friday and asks the attorney general to have DOJ Inspector General Glenn Fine and the Office of Professional Responsibility investigate violations of the department’s internal policies.
In a teleconference yesterday, Bauer said two Justice Department officials leaked the investigation because they wanted to cast doubt on Democratic efforts to register voters.
“Any criminal investigation done by the department must be done so that it does not become a factor in the election,” says Bauer, a partner at Perkins Coie, citing an internal DOJ policy.
Bauer compared the leak of an investigation to the partisan firings of seven U.S. attorneys.
Sen. John McCain, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, other McCain surrogates have said publicly that groups such as ACORN have committed voter fraud by submitting invalid voter registration forms. The Obama campaign has denied any affiliation with ACORN.
Bauer writes in his second letter that there is “an emerging pattern of apparent unlawful coordination between the McCain campaign and the Department of Justice and state law enforcement agencies controlled by Republican officials.”
The letter says having Dannehy investigate possible violations is not enough because her jurisdiction extends only to violations of federal criminal law and she has no power to investigate matters outside violations of the Justice Department’s policies or to protect against misuses of the department for political purposes.
Bauer says the Justice Department has not responded to his request for a meeting with Mukasey to discuss expanding an independent investigation into the McCain campaign’s allegations.
Peter Carr, a DOJ spokesman, says the department “will review the letters.”
Ben Porritt, a spokesman for the McCain campaign, did not return calls for comment. In a previous statement, Porritt called Bauer’s claims “absurd.”