Thursday, January 6, 2011

Justice Department whistle-blower J. Christian Adams says Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. “tampered” with two ongoing investigations into voter-intimidation by members of the New Black Panther Party. Tampering or not, Mr. Holder clearly prejudiced the case by publicly misrepresenting it.

“There is no ‘there’ there,” Mr. Holder told the New York Times last month about the Black Panther scandal. “The notion that this made-up controversy leads to a belief that this Justice Department is not color-blind in enforcement of civil rights laws is simply not supported by the facts. All I have on my side with regard to that is the facts and the law.”

To the contrary, two Justice Department lawyers have sworn under oath that Justice’s Civil Rights Division exhibits a pervasive hostility against race-neutral enforcement of the law. They independently cited multiple examples of this hostility, an attitude supported by Obama appointees. Four more former department officials - two in sworn affidavits - confirmed the bias. The same thing was told to The Washington Post last autumn by three current Justice lawyers and corroborated by other officials to The Washington Times.

Mr. Adams, who resigned from Justice in protest, and his former colleague Christopher Coates testified that Deputy Assistant Attorney General Julie Fernandes told Voting Section employees they shouldn’t enforce sections of voting laws seen to protect rights of white Americans. Mr. Coates wrote a memo recommending action against eight states that were in clear violation of these laws, but Ms. Fernandes and the Holder team ignored his counsel and took no public action. The department since has offered only blanket assertions that it promotes color-blind policies, while ignoring lawful subpoenas and blocking all comments from officials directly involved, such as Ms. Fernandes.

Justice’s inspector general and the Office of Professional Responsibility are investigating the department’s mishandling of these issues. As Mr. Adams explains, “Eric Holder sits atop the chain of command” of all the investigators. “For them to reach a finding contrary to Holder’s statements guarantees a bureaucratic headwind from the highest levels of the [Justice Department]. That’s a career killer inside Justice. Few can be expected to have the courage to confront the falsehoods of an attorney general from within the bureaucracy.”

Black Panthers got away with violently threatening voters on Election Day because Mr. Holder allowed it. His policies encourage more of the same.

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