Right-Wing Ex-DOJ Lawyers Begin New Black Panthers Damage Control

Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

J. Christian Adams and Hans von Spakovsky have a problem. For some time now, these right-wing operatives and former Justice Department lawyers have been beating the drum over the Obama Justice Department's actions in the New Black Panthers pseudoscandal. With that manufactured controversy continuing to fall apart, they are now desperately lashing out at perceived enemies in a frantic attempt to salvage it.

According to them, the decision by senior career lawyers at DOJ to drop charges against some of the defendants in the case demonstrates racially biased corruption. These claims never stood up to scrutiny, and now, according to Adams' DOJ sources, the DOJ's Office of Professional Responsibility is preparing to issue a report that will find that the attorneys who overruled Adams and his trial team did not act improperly.

Adams and von Spakovsky are responding by declaring that "the fix is in" and that the report is a "whitewash" (yes, they both use the exact same language). They are also attacking OPR and its head as "partisan." The irony is thick.

It's unsurprising that the pair of right-wing ideologues and GOP operatives have determined that any report that does not support their own theory is a partisan "whitewash" -- their entire case is based on the idea that it is impossible for anyone to disagree with them in good faith. But their own histories make the charge of partisanship especially rich.

Adams was reportedly hired by Bradley Schlozman, the Bush-era political appointee whom OPR and the DOJ's Inspector General's Office found had "considered political and ideological affiliations when hiring and taking other personnel actions relating to career attorneys in violation of Department policy and federal law." Adams is now a right-wing blogger for Pajamas Media, and his legal clients include King Street Patriots, a tea party group that has allegedly intimidated minority voters. Last month, he spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference, where he called the DOJ's Civil Rights Division a "beacon" for "the craziest, most leftist crackpot attorneys."

Von Spakovsky was a Bush appointee in that politicized DOJ. He was recess-appointed to the Federal Election Commission after a career of pushing for more restrictive voting standards that would have the effect of disenfranchising voters and serving as what several career DOJ civil rights lawyers called the "point person for undermining the Civil Rights Division's mandate to protect voting rights." He's now a blogger for National Review Online and a Heritage Foundation fellow.

Both are especially offended by the reports from Adams' sources that OPR is considering whether Adams and other members of the New Black Panthers trial team may have themselves acted improperly in the manner in which they pursued the case. Of course, investigating allegations of misconduct by DOJ attorneys is literally OPR's function.

Arlan Melendez and Michael Yaki, Democratic commissioners on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, have pointed to one possible impropriety:

Ultimately, it seems that the account of the events that the trial team settled upon wasprovided to them by Republican political consultant Mike Roman. On December 11, 2008 - eleven days before the J Memo was issued - Mr. [Mike] Roman offered to provide Mr. Adams with a "definitive chronology" and informed Mr. Adams that he planned to "make contact with each [Republican voter in the precinct] to determine if they felt any intimidation at the polling location." Mr. Adams described Mr. Roman's offer to interview witnesses for him as "fantastic."

Yes, the trial team allegedly received help with their investigation from a GOP political consultant and BigGovernment.com blogger. But it's OPR that's overly partisan.

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