The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights was set to vote on a 131-page draft report about the Obama administration’s decision to drop the Black Panther voter intimidation case today — but a partisan Democratic member prevented the commission from doing its job. Michael Yaki walked out of the meeting before the vote, preventing the commission from reaching quorum, a procedural motion designed to stall for time. A report now seems unlikely to be released until after the midterm elections.
However, the left-wing blog Talking Points Memo obtained a leaked copy of the report, which details credible allegations of Justice Department evasion, dissembling, and possible perjury before the commission. The document reveals a commission at the end of its rope dealing with a “recalcitrant” administration that refuses to investigate “serious allegations” of selective and racially discriminatory law enforcement, harassment of dissenters, and a politically controlled Justice Department bowing to the demands of left-wing pressure groups rather than the dictates of justice. (And contrary to TPM, “Much of the commission’s draft report is” not in fact “based on an anonymously sourced story” that appeared in the media. As the report makes clear, several DoJ career officials exposed a pattern of wrongdoing in the decision making process that reached at least as high as the Attorney General of the United States, Eric Holder.
The stakes could scarcely be higher. The draft report notes, “If the testimony before the Commission is true,” the Justice Department’s handling of the case would “encompass inappropriately selective enforcement of laws, harassment of dissenting employees, and alliances with outside interest groups, at odds with the rule of law.”
Among its most serious allegations, it presents a conflict over the testimony of Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Thomas Perez that could indicate perjury. Perez testified under oath before the commission on May 14 that the decision to drop the voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party after the case had essentially been won was simply “a case of career [Justice Department] people disagreeing with career people.” He testified there had been no “political leadership involved in the decision not to pursue this particular case.”
His testimony was a catalyst for both Christopher Coates and J. Christian Adams to ignore a Justice Department gag order and correct the record.
And the report makes clear, at least five separate officials have corroborated aspects of Adams’ and Coates’ testimony.
Political Officials May Have Dropped Case
Perez’s testimony asserted that Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Loretta King and Assistant Deputy Attorney General Steve Rosenbaum made the call on their own, unbidden, and both were “career” officials. Both claims seem false.
The draft report notes, “At the time the decisions were made with regard to the litigation, however, both Ms. King and Mr. Rosenbaum were temporarily serving in political position…It has been argued that, under the Vacancies Reform Act, Ms. King and Mr. Rosenbaum were, in fact, political appointees.”
But they are the veritable tip of the iceberg of political influence.