Paul Kiel at TPM Muckraker has an interesting article about the timing of indictments against the Missouri chapter of ACORN involving alleged "voter registration fraud":

It had been the longstanding practice of the Justice Department not to bring such indictments so close before an election. That's according to Joe Rich, the former head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Section, and a Justice Department manual written by Craig Donsanto, head of the Election Crimes Branch at Justice, which advised that "Federal prosecutors and investigators should be extremely careful to not conduct overt investigations during the pre-election period or while the election is underway."

Even Alberto Gonzales himself said just two weeks ago that "We have guidance about that, doing those kind of investigations near an election," to be "sensitive about the effect it has on particularly minority participation."

But if [Bradley Schozman, deputy head at the DOJ Civil Rights Division] was trying to be sensitive, he didn't show it. In addition to issuing the statement that the "national investigation" into ACORN's registration of mostly poor, minority voters was "very much ongoing," Schlozman also announced the next day that his office would be monitoring the election for fraud. An assistant U.S. attorney would be on duty all day to "ensure public confidence in the integrity of the electoral process."

And there is evidence that the indictments were rushed to come down before Election Day.

According to the article, ACORN was the victim of workers who forged registration forms to justify getting paid, and ACORN discovered the fraud and turned the documents over to the DOJ.

But rushing the indictments through, after review by DOJ officials in Washington according to the article, brought intense local and national media scrutiny, including Fox News coverage, suggesting that "liberals" were trying to steal the November 2006 election -- just before the election.

It's also interesting that the DOJ would take such an intense interest in this particular case of alleged voter registration fraud just before an election in light of a recent Congressional hearing that found a "very troubling pattern of the politicization of the [Civil Rights] Division's work" and "relentless political interference" by a "Shadow Civil Rights Division."