Limbaugh's attempt to race-bait the DOJ undermined by history

Blog ››› ››› KATE CONWAY

Rush Limbaugh decided to wade into the unsubstantiated allegations made by GOP activist and former DOJ lawyer J. Christian Adams that the Obama Department of Justice improperly decided not to pursue additional charges of voter intimidation against the New Black Panther Party because a mandate has been issued against pursuing such cases against black defendants. Self-described "colorblind" Limbaugh's contribution to the matter was to state that this is "the natural course of events" with "a black attorney general" and "a black president."

But Limbaugh's race-baiting on the issue wasn't finished there. He contrasted the supposed dismissal of the New Black Panther case -- even though Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, Thomas Perez, testified that the "maximum penalty" was actually obtained against one of the defendants -- with the hypothetical failure to prosecute similar cases against white defendants under the Bush administration:

[W]e know that if this guy had quit the Bush Department of Justice because the Attorney General there had said, "No, we're not going to prosecute cases against white people accused of voter discrimination" -- do you know that -- you can well imagine that we'd be hearing nothing about that. Whoever the Attorney General was would be hounded and fired. The media person would be in line for a Pulitzer. The whistle blower would be all over television, would be an American hero.

The problem? Limbaugh's hypothetical situation isn't quite so hypothetical. In 2006, during Adams' time in the Justice Department, the Bush DOJ decided not to pursue charges in a nearly identical situation against white members of the Minutemen who were allegedly intimidating Hispanic voters in Arizona.

And this information is not exactly buried. Perez referred to it in the testimony he gave before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in which he discussed the decision not to seek additional charges in the New Black Panther Party case:

In another case, in Arizona, the complaint was received by a national civil rights organization regarding events in Pima, Arizona in the 2006 election when three well-known anti-immigrant advocates affiliated with the Minutemen, one of whom was carrying a gun, allegedly intimidated Latino voters at a polling place by approaching several persons, filming them, and advocating and printing voting materials in Spanish.

In that instance, the Department declined to bring any action for alleged voter intimidation, notwithstanding the requests of the complaining parties.

Neither Limbaugh nor Adams -- who was reportedly hired by a Bush appointee who politicized the Justice Department -- accounted for this discrepancy while flinging accusations about racial motivations in dropping the charges against some of the New Black Panther defendants.

Rush Limbaugh, J. Christian Adams
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