Wednesday, August 01, 2007

GAO Moving the Goalposts

It's not attracting much attention, but House Democrats are continuing to challenge the results of one House race last year -- the victory of Freshman Republican Vern Buchanan over Christine Jennings. The Government Accountability Office was asked to look into whether malfunctioning voting machines cost Jennings the election, and they were expected to report back before the August Congressional recess. The GAO recently requested more time to conduct a proper review:

Several team members met Friday behind closed doors with task force members for an update into the probe that was begun in May. Democrats on the task force had expressed interest in finishing the investigation by the time Congress leaves for its August break, but GAO officials had suggested they would need more time.

The GAO told the panel it expects to spend the August break analyzing the information it has gathered, said Salley Collins, a Republican spokeswoman.

Gonzalez said the GAO investigators have found two "areas of concern" in the existing studies of the machines - but have not yet said whether they think more tests are needed.

"We're hoping next week they'll be able to tell us whether further testing is required," Gonzalez said.

An investigation by 8 independent experts found no reason to suspect the voting machines, but Democratic leaders in Congress were not satisfied. Nine months after the election, they still hold out the possibility that they will displace the Republican and seat the Democrat. Thus the GAO will get the time it needs to complete its review.

I just find it an interesting contrast with the debate over Iraq.

In this case -- where an independent review has found no reason to doubt the result -- Congressional Democrats have no problem waiting as long as they need to hear the result they want. In Iraq however, where Congressional Democrats confirmed Petraeus to head up the mission and required him to report on progress in September, they can't wait a day to try to end the mission. And when Petraeus, Crocker or Odierno suggests it might take longer for a clear answer, Democrats scream about the administration 'moving the goalposts.'

What's the theme that explains the two results? Partisan advantage.

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