This is a rush transcript from "America's Election HQ," October 28, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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MEGYN KELLY, CO-HOST: Well, the Department of Justice is supposed to enforce the federal voting rights law, but now we learn from the Wall Street Journal that just two weeks after justice attorneys met with left-wing activist groups, they decided to abandon the DOJ's practice of sending criminal attorneys to the polling stations. That will not be happening any more this year, even though it' been happening since 2002.
And it turns out -- the same lawyers who reportedly supervised voting issues are also donors to Barack Obama's campaign. So, is that legal?
Reaction now from Cleta Mitchell, a Republican attorney specializing in election law. She has actually testified before the House Judiciary Committee about that left-wing group ACORN we've been hearing so much about this election season.
CLETA MITCHELL, ELECTION LAW ATTORNEY: Hi. How are you, Megyn? Nice to see you.
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KELLY: I'm fine, thanks. Thanks for being here.
OK. So, let me ask you first about these criminal lawyers. So, they're no longer going to be sending criminal prosecutors to the polling stations. Is that -- you know, I can see their argument. That's not a good idea to do because if you have a criminal prosecutor in there, it might intimidate the voters.
MITCHELL: Well, the fact is that the whole reason that you have criminal prosecutors who are trained in the election laws is to make certain that they are there observing along with others. It's not like they're there alone. But, this is the first time in a number of years that there have been no prosecutors who are there watching to make sure that people are not violating the federal laws related to voter fraud. And that was a decision that was apparently made by these very same people in the Justice Department who have given money to the Obama campaign.
KELLY: Let me ask you, it says -- would it have been a Civil Rights Division who made that decision?
KELLY: OK. So, but -- and there are, according to "Wall Street Journal," several attorneys within the Civil Rights Division who have donated to Barack Obama -- James Walsh, $300, his boss, Mark Kappelhoff, of course, $2,250.
KELLY: . and John Russ, at least, $600.
KELLY: Wouldn't it be the criminal division that would send the criminal prosecutors?
MITCHELL: Well, the whole observer program is set up and then run by the Civil Rights Division, the voting rights section, and then they get people from around the federal government from various agencies, Office the Personnel Management, and historically, they have also included on the team one person from the local prosecutor's office, the U.S. Attorney's Office in that area.
And these people who are Obama donors are the ones who made the decision about the team, and that this year, when we have so much in the way of voter fraud, going on all over the country and voter registration fraud.
KELLY: I see.
MITCHELL: . these same people who are Obama supporters are the ones who decided, oh, this year we just won't send any prosecutors.
KELLY: Let me ask you about the Department of Justice. We looked it up and there are several attorneys who work for it who donated for Barack Obama but also several who donated to McCain -- more to Obama than McCain but still.
MITCHELL: Many more.
KELLY: Of course, to both sides -- many more. But is that legal? Should we be having our Department of Justice employees able to donate to the campaigns that they, you know, in an election that they are supposed to be supervising?
MITCHELL: You know, I think that it is -- though (ph) it is a legal under the Hatch Act, it certainly should be a violation of internal policy at the Department of Justice. That's a very people who are supposed to be neutral and enforcing the law, evenly, regardless of party, regardless of candidate, that these people have given money to Obama.
There might be some people in the Justice Department that's given money to John McCain, but I will tell you, the wire report yesterday showed that $250,000 has been given to the Obama campaign by the Department of Justice employees, and I just think that's really wrong.
KELLY: Yes, it's in the field of $80,000 for -- donations to John McCain.
KELLY: I've got to go, Cleta, but the bottom line -- that the DOJ leans left, I guess.
MITCHELL: I think so. And I think everyone should call the White House and tell the president to tell the Department of Justice to get those prosecutors back on those teams.
KELLY: I'm sure the White House will be really happy you said that.
MITCHELL: I know.
KELLY: Cleta Mitchell, thanks so much for being here.
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