Nearly fifty members of Congress have written to Attorney General John Ashcroft to ask for an investigation of a series of coordinated attacks on Bush-Cheney campaign offices yesterday. The attacks were apparently carried out at the direction of the AFL-CIO. In one of the attacks, a campaign volunteer’s wrist was broken. Here is the text of the letter:
October 7, 2004
Attorney General John Ashcroft
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington DC 20530
Dear Attorney General Ashcroft:
This week, in Orlando, Florida, approximately 100 protestors stormed and ransacked the local Bush-Cheney headquarters injuring one campaign staffer who suffered a broken wrist and causing considerable damage.
According to news accounts, similar “protests” occurred yesterday across the country in Miami, FL; Tampa, FL; Kansas City, MO; Dearborn, MI; St. Paul, MN; Independence, MO; and West Allis, WI. All of the “protests” appear to be a coordinated effort by members of a major labor union to intimidate staff and volunteers of the Bush-Cheney campaign. The AFL-CIO took credit on their own website for these protests that included thousands of workers in 17 cities across the country.
In what is apparently one of those coordinated “protests”, the Bush-Cheney headquarters in West Allis, Wisconsin was invaded by more than 50 protestors who disrupted campaign activities and intimidated campaign workers and volunteers. According to the Associated Press, over 100 union protestors physically stormed their way into Bush-Cheney headquarters in Miami, Florida and intimidated volunteers inside. In what could be a related incident, although the perpetrator has not yet been identified, the Knoxville, TN Bush-Cheney office was hit by gun-fire on Tuesday morning, shattering the plate-glass front doors before volunteers showed up for work.
These attacks are not conduct protected by the First Amendment. The activities were carried out on the same day throughout the country, apparently organized by the same national organization. The lack of any notice and the pattern suggest a plan to intimidate volunteers who were supporting their candidate in the upcoming Presidential campaign.
Because these coordinated invasions violate the laws protecting the civil rights of American citizens, we request you direct the appropriate investigative unit within the Department of Justice to promptly initiate an investigation. We strongly urge that the investigation include whether federal laws have been broken, including those addressing civil rights, conspiracy, racketeering, and others protecting the rights to campaign and vote.
Most importantly, we strongly urge you to depose the participants in these attacks, and to gather any evidence regarding a possible ongoing conspiracy to launch more attacks. Those depositions are urgent, as any delay may lead to destruction of evidence that could lead to identification of those who planned and coordinated the attacks, and who should be brought to justice.
Please respond to this letter no later than October 12 with regard to what action will be taken, where it will be taken, and by which element within the Department of Justice.
In addition, we ask that you work with state law enforcement agencies in investigating a series of voting irregularities including forgeries in voter registration forms, casting simultaneous ballots in different states (double voting), and absentee voter fraud. Such activities disenfranchise those who properly register to vote and cast valid ballots.
The right to vote is essential to our democracy. The threat of intimidation and violence to those exercising this right is the antithesis of how a law-abiding and civilized nation conducts itself. Please immediately ensure that those who wish to be involved in the political process can exercise their constitutional rights without fear. All Americans, no matter whom they chose to vote for, deserve to be able to fully participate in this process without fear of intimidation or retaliation.
Escalating violence on the part of the Democratic Party and its supporters is one of the most urgent issues of this campaign season. Over the past two years, the Democratic Party has re-cast itself as a party of hate. Now there are indications that it is becoming a party of violence. This is a trend that absolutely must be stopped.