he Justice Department today missed the deadline to respond to an inquiry from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) about the Department's decision to hire an explicitly Democratic data firm to conduct analysis on the Texas voter identification law. According to court documents, the Justice Department's decision to block the implementation of the Texas law was based, in part, on the analysis provided by Catalist, a firm described by The Atlantic as a "big Democratic data warehouse."
In a letter sent last week to Attorney General Eric Holder, Chairman Smith expressed concern about the credibility of the Department's case and the appropriateness of Catalist's involvement. Chairman Smith requested that the Department explain its decision by Monday, July 9. The Department has yet to respond.
The federal trial challenging Texas's voter ID law began today in Washington, D.C.
Chairman Smith: "It is an injustice that the Justice Department has refused to answer questions about why it hired a partisan firm to analyze the Texas voter ID law. The Administration's lawsuit relies on information provided by Catalist, a data firm that works primarily on behalf of Democratic campaigns and candidates.
"Catalist's client list includes the Democratic Congressional and Senatorial Campaign Committees, the Democratic Governors Association, Obama for America, and at least 43 Democratic members of Congress. DOJ should explain why they are paying a partisan firm to analyze data in their lawsuit against Texas. The Department's refusal to produce answers raises suspicions about what they have to hide.
"Voter fraud is a real problem and it undermines the integrity of all elections. If you need a photo ID to board a plane or enter a federal building, why should the same standard not apply to the exercise one of our most cherished and valued freedoms? Efforts by states to guard against voter fraud should be encouraged, not demonized by the Department.
"If the Justice Department cannot defend their decision to hire a firm with Democratic ties, then they should drop their partisan challenge to the Texas voter ID law."
Enacted in 2011, the Texas voter ID law requires nearly all voters to show a valid, state-issued photo ID when voting in person.