This week, the court found largely in favor Louisiana on the NAACP/Project Vote case, stating that since the suit had been filed, Louisiana has been in substantial compliance, but Mr. Schedler’s office is unsure on how this will impact the DOJ’s case — and their data fishing — and as of now, the data for 2.9 million Louisiana voters remains at risk of falling into the wrong hands.
Now, throughout this whole thing, here’s a relationship to keep in mind: In December 2011, the conservative watchdog, Judicial Watch, released documents under the Freedom Of Information Act highlighting a relationship between the DOJ and, among other various pressure groups, Project Vote and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Judicial watch uncovered communications between “Estelle Rogers, a former ACORN attorney currently serving as director of advocacy for the ACORN-connected organization Project Vote” and the DOJ, showing DOJ staffing recommendations and meetings between the two on how to register more welfare recipients — before Election Day.
So during the discovery stage of the DOJ lawsuit, the judge ordered Louisiana’s secretary of state to hand the personal voter roll data of 2.9 million Louisiana voters over to the complainants, who said they need that data for their case (the slang term for this is “fishing”). The data — Social Security numbers, license numbers, dates of birth, mother’s maiden names, dates and places of registration, and all changes to updates to registrations for 2.9 million people — would be released under a revised protective order, which allows for “confidential information” to be shared with those working “on behalf of” the parties, including lawyers, consultants, witnesses, potential witnesses and experts.
So how would this information get from the DOJ to Catalist? “Because Catalist has a lot of PhDs on their staff,” one right-leaning data guru told TheDC. And that is really all an organization needs to be counted as an expert in a trial. In addition, Catalist could be counted as a consultant, and it wouldn’t be the first time Attorney General Eric Holder’s DOJ used Catalist in a case against a state.
In March 2012, the DOJ hired Catalist to assist in a voter ID case against Texas. In a July 5 letter to Mr. Holder, House Committee on the Judiciary Chairman Rep. Lamar Smith complained, “the Department of Justice directly paid Catalist to provide the data on which the department’s experts based their analysis… [and] nothing in the record indicates that the department conducted an open bidding process in obtaining Catalist’s services.”
All in a day’s work: As Catalist’s homepage brags, “Serving the progressive community.”