The Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) cannot shake the New Black Panther Party scandal. Every week new revelations emerge about the racism and political favoritism that are corrupting our nation’s top law enforcement agency.
Last week, Judicial Watch released to the public brand new documents from the Obama DOJ that provide further evidence that top political appointees at the DOJ were intimately involved in the decision to dismiss the voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party.
And just like previous documents we’ve uncovered, this new evidence directly contradicts sworn testimony by Thomas Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, who testified before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights that no political leadership participated in the decision.
Remember this exchange between Perez and the Commission?
COMMISSIONER KIRSANOW: Was there any political leadership involved in the decision not to pursue this particular case any further than it was?
ASST. ATTY. GEN. PEREZ: No. The decisions were made by Loretta King in consultation with Steve Rosenbaum, who is the Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General.
Perez also suggested that the dispute was merely “a case of career people disagreeing with career people.”
The new documents include a series of emails between two political appointees, former Democratic election lawyer and current Deputy Associate Attorney General Sam Hirsch and Associate Attorney General Thomas Perrelli, indicating both DOJ officials were involved in detailed discussions regarding the New Black Panther Party decision. For example, in one April 30, 2009, email from Hirsch to Perrelli, with the subject title “Fw: New Black Panther Party Update,” Hirsch writes:
I need to discuss this with you tomorrow morning. I’ll send you another email on this shortly.
If you want to discuss it this evening, please let me know which number to call and when.
Another smoking gun email shows that Hirsch, who worked in the Attorney General’s office, seems to have edited the final order that the DOJ proposed to the court! The proposed order only sought relief against one of the four original defendants.
These emails were put into further context by an updated Vaughn index obtained by Judicial Watch, describing New Black Panther Party documents the Obama DOJ continues to withhold. This document, which was attached to the DOJ’s Motion for Summary Judgment filing in a Judicial Watch lawsuit, includes a description of a May 13 email chain that seems to suggest political appointee Sam Hirsch may have been orchestrating the New Black Panther Party decision.
Acting DAAG [Steven Rosenbaum] advising his supervising Acting AAG [Loretta King] of DASG’s [Hirsch’s] request for a memorandum by the Acting DAAG reviewing various options, legal strategies, and different proposals of relief as related to each separate defendant. Acting DAAG forwarding emails from Appellate Section Chief’s and Appellate Attorney’s with their detailed legal analyses including the application of constitutional provisions and judicial precedent to strategies and relief under consideration in the ongoing NBPP litigation, as well as an assessment of the strength of potential legal arguments, and presenting different possible scenarios in the litigation. [Emphasis added]
Moreover, Hirsch sent an April 30, 2009, email to Steven Rosenbaum (then-Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights in charge of voting rights) thanking Rosenbaum for “doing everything you’re doing to make sure that this case is properly resolved.” The next day, the DOJ began to reverse course on its New Black Panther Party voter intimidation lawsuit.
Here’s something else certainly suspicious and potentially incriminating: Judicial Watch also uncovered two email reports sent by former Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, Loretta King, to Attorney General Eric Holder.
The first report, entitled “Weekly Report for the Week ending May 8, 2009,” was sent on May 12, 2009, notes, “On May 15, 2009, pursuant to court order, the Department will file a motion for default judgment against at least some of the defendants” in the New Black Panther Party lawsuit. The report further notes that the New Black Panther Party for Self Defense “has been identified as a racist hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Anti-Defamation League and the founders and members of the original Black Panther Party.”
The second report, entitled, “Weekly Report for the Week ending May 15, 2009,” was sent on May 18, 2009, demonstrates that the DOJ did an abrupt “about face” on the New Black Panther Party issue: “On May 15, 2009, the Department voluntarily dismissed its claims” against the New Black Panther Party and two of the defendants, the report noted. The DOJ moved for default judgment against only one defendant.
What happened in the week before the first and second reports? That’s what we’re trying to break through the Obama DOJ’s stonewalling to find out.
It is now obvious to me why the Obama administration continues to be so secretive regarding the DOJ’s New Black Panther Party decision. These documents show that not only was the New Black Panther Party decision shamelessly politicized by the Obama administration but also that Obama officials lied to cover up the scandal. These documents raise more questions about Attorney General Holder’s involvement as well.
You will recall that the DOJ filed its lawsuit against the New Black Panther Party following an incident that took place outside of a Philadelphia polling station on November 4, 2008. A video of the incident showing a member of the New Black Panther Party brandishing a police-style baton weapon was widely distributed on the Internet. According to multiple witnesses, members of the New Black Panther Party blocked access to polling stations, harassed voters and hurled racial epithets. Nonetheless, the DOJ ultimately overruled the recommendations of its own staff and dismissed the majority of its charges.
Current and former DOJ attorneys have alleged in sworn testimony before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights that the DOJ’s New Black Panther Party and other civil rights-related decisions are made on the basis of race and political affiliation.
Despite the efforts of Obama officials to sweep this mess under the rug, news continues to break on a weekly basis.