Justice Official Accused of Blocking Suits Into Alleged Violations By Greg Gordon McClatchy Newspapers http://www.mcclatchydc.com/200/story/17102.html Tuesday 19 June 2007 Washington - A former Justice Department political appointee blocked career lawyers from filing at least three lawsuits charging local and county governments with violating the voting rights of African-Americans and other minorities, seven former senior department employees charged Monday. Hans von Spakovsky also derailed at least two investigations into possible voter discrimination, the former employees of the Voting Rights Section said in interviews and in a letter to the Senate Rules and Administration Committee. They urged the panel to reject von Spakovsky's nomination to the Federal Election Commission. <snip> Meanwhile, Democratic Sens. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island asked Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to order a Justice Department investigation into allegations that a former White House aide and others attempted to suppress minority votes in the 2004 presidential election. The allegations revolve around whether Tim Griffin, a former aide to White House political strategist Karl Rove, engaged in "vote caging" - in which a political campaign sends mail marked "do not forward" to a targeted group of eligible voters. Letters that bounce back are then used to challenge those voters' legitimacy, limiting them to provisional ballots that may not be counted. Griffin, who last year was named the interim U.S. attorney for Arkansas but left the post last week, has denied involvement in caging. In their letter, Kennedy and Whitehouse cited testimony in which Monica Goodling, a former counsel to Gonzales, said she'd discussed concerns about Griffin's involvement in caging with Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty.