Democrat stonewall on Black Panther case continues

Hans von Spakovsky:

As the scandal over the dismissal of the New Black Panther Party (NBPP) voter intimidation case percolates in the media, letters have been flying through the corridors of power.

On July 22, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) sent a letter to President Obama demanding that he appoint a special counsel to look into the Justice Department’s handling of the case.

On July 28, Gerald Reynolds — chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights — sent Attorney General Eric Holder another letter once again demanding the testimony of Christopher Coates, who had been previously subpoenaed by the Commission. The former career chief of the Voting Section at the Civil Rights Division, Coates recommended that the lawsuit against the NBPP go forward.

Meanwhile, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has exchanged letters with the Committee’s seven GOP members, who demanded that an investigation be opened.

On July 29, Leahy denied their request in a letter filled with factual and legal errors.

At the Civil Rights Commission, what has grated most throughout its investigation is Holder’s refusal to let Coates testify about what happened in the NBPP case. Holder has a clear conflict of interest here, yet the Commission must rely on the Justice Department to enforce its subpoenas and Holder has refused to appoint a special counsel.

Also galling is the Justice Department’s flimsy justification for its stonewalling: a vague claim of “deliberative process” privilege. As the Commission has correctly noted, such a claim is insufficient to override the Justice Department’s statutory duty to comply “fully” with all Commission requests for information, as outlined in 42 U.S.C. §1975b(e).

The only exception to this statutory mandate is if the president claims executive privilege, something Obama has specifically not done in relation to the NBPP case.
There is much more.

Leahy continues to be a partisan hack protecting Democrats from investigation of their misdeeds on this matter. His opponents should use it against him this fall, and Republicans should use it against all Democrat Senate candidates in the fall election.

It seems clear that the only way justice can be done in this case is to give Republicans a majority in the Senate.


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