Von Spakovsky resorts to misrepresentation to prop up flawed New Black Panthers report

Blog ››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

This is just sad.

Presented with a fatally flawed report that omits critical evidence disproving allegations that the Obama administration refuses to enforce voting-rights laws when the alleged perpetrators are racial minorities, Bush era DOJ official Hans von Spakovsky has turned to misrepresentation to revive the phony New Black Panther Party scandal.

Yesterday, Spakovsky got his hands on a draft report detailing the conservative-dominated U.S. Commission on Civil Rights' utterly discredited "investigation" into the DOJ's handling of voter-intimidation charges that were filed against members of the New Black Panther Party. Right-wing activists connected to Bush-era politicization of the DOJ claimed the case illustrated "hostility" within the DOJ toward enforcing voting rights laws when the alleged defendant was a racial minority.

In a Pajamas Media post, von Spakovsky claims the report is "devastating." And to prove just how "devastating" it is, von Spakovsky distorted what the report actually said, taking the report's descriptions of testimony presented by Christopher Coates and J. Christian Adams -- both of whom were connected to the politicization of the Justice Department during the Bush administration -- and presenting that testimony as the conclusions of the commission itself.

Hans von Spakovsky: The commission "concluded" that "[t]here is currently a conscious policy within the Department that voting rights laws should not be enforced in a race-neutral fasion." From von Spakovsky's post:

The draft report of the Commission that was leaked is devastating in its portrayal of the deviousness and politicization of the Obama Justice Department. The Department has misled the public, Congress, and the Commission from the very beginning.

For example, the Department claimed that career lawyers made the decision to dismiss the voter-intimidation case. But the report notes:

[The] record of communications within the Department appears to indicate that senior political appointees played a significant role in the decision-making surrounding the lawsuit. ... [The Department's repeated attempts to hide the involvement of Obama political appointees] raise questions about what the Department is trying to hide.

The Commission's report concludes:

There is currently a conscious policy within the Department that voting rights laws should not be enforced in a race-neutral fashion. ... [The testimony of Adams and Coates provided] specific examples of open hostility and opposition to pursuing cases in which whites were the perceived victims and minorities the alleged wrongdoers.[Pajamas Media, 11/18/10]

USCCR: Adams and Coates claim "there is currently a conscious policy within the Department that voting rights laws should not be enforced in a race-neutral fasion." From the draft report:

In their appearances before the Commission, which the Department attempted to prevent, trial team members Coates and Adams presented testimony that both raises concerns about the current enforcement policies of the Department and provides a possible explanation for the reversal in the course of the NBPP litigation. In sum, they indicated that there is currently a conscious policy within the Department that voting rights laws should not be enforced in a race-neutral fashion. In their testimony, they gave numerous specific examples of open hostility and opposition to pursuing cases in which whites were the perceived victims and minorities the alleged wrongdoers. This testimony includes allegations that some career attorneys refuse to work on such cases; that those who have worked on such cases have been harassed and ostracized; and that some employees, including supervisory attorneys and political appointees, openly oppose race-neutral enforcement of voting rights laws.

Von Spakovsky: The commission concluded that "the dismissal of the Panthers case was 'the result of anger on the part of acting political appointees and other attorneys.'" From von Spakovsky's post:

Further, the dismissal of the Panthers case was "the result of anger on the part of acting political appointees and other attorneys." That anger arose from a "deep-seated opposition to the equal enforcement of the Voting Rights Act against racial minorities." The testimony shows that Obama political appointee Deputy Assistant Attorney General Julie Fernandes specifically ordered a policy of ignoring violations of the voting rights laws. Efforts to obtain more evidence on this policy "have been met with extraordinary resistance by the Department."

USCCR: "The disposition of the Panther case, Mr. Coates testified, was the result of anger on the part of acting political appointees." From the draft report:

The disposition of the Panther case, Mr. Coates testified, was the result of anger on the part of acting political appointees and other attorneys arising from a "deep-seated opposition to the equal enforcement of the Voting Rights Act against racial minorities and for the protection of white voters who had been discriminated against."

Network/Outlet
Pajamas Media
Person
Hans von Spakovsky
Stories/Interests
New Black Panther Party Case
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