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The Justice Department Condones Perjury … Again

Why should we be surprised? Look at how Eric Holder and the DOJ have mishandled the investigation into Operation Fast & Furious and repeatedly misled Congress. Related: More on Perjury Confessions Inside DOJ

by
Hans A. von Spakovsky

Bio

December 21, 2011 - 8:01 pm
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After the admission, Ms. Gyamfi returned to the Voting Section distraught, crying and sobbing. She was consoled by another career employee to whom she confessed what had happened. This was witnessed and heard by other Voting Section staff, and the story of what occurred during the IG interview was soon known all over the Section.

Amazingly, despite Ms. Gyamfi’s admission of committing perjury not once, but three times, she so far has been neither terminated nor disciplined by the Justice Department. In fact, her boss, Voting Section Chief Chris Herren, continues to assign her to the most politically sensitive of matters, including the Department’s review of Texas’s congressional redistricting plan.

More disturbing, according to my sources, is that Ms. Gyamfi is now being treated as a hero by some of her Voting Section colleagues. Many of them are gratified at her efforts — illegitimate or not — to make the Bush administration look bad in its preclearance of Texas’s earlier redistricting submission.

Readers may recall that Bush political appointees, overruling the recommendation of the Voting Section career staff, precleared Texas’s plan back in 2003.  This led to fierce and wildly unfair criticism by Democrats and the liberal media. However, as Abigail Thernstrom pointed out in her book, Voting Rights—And Wrongs, the career staff’s leaked memorandum was a “rambling, barely coherent memo” which, as a second confidential legal memo (that was not leaked) highlighted, was full of “factual and legal inaccuracies, mistakes, and misrepresentations.”

Not surprisingly, when the Texas congressional redistricting plan ended up before the Supreme Court in LULAC v. Perry, the Court embraced the arguments of the Civil Rights Division’s political leadership and repudiated the claims advanced in the career staff’s leaked memorandum.  Specifically, the Court agreed that there were only eight minority districts that needed to be preserved under the Voting Rights Act, not 11 as erroneously argued by the career staff.

And who was the civil rights analyst whose name was on the “rambling, barely coherent memo” leaked to the Washington Post?  It was Stephanie Celandine Gyamfi.  For the Voting Section chief to assign this admitted perjurer to review Texas’s 2011 decennial redistricting submission is a serious affront to justice. It should greatly concern Texas authorities, who have a right to expect an objective, impartial, nonpolitical, and nonideological review of their plan. An admitted criminal who harmed Texas before should not sit in judgment of the state’s current redistricting plan.

Then again, why should we be surprised?  Look at how Eric Holder and his Department have mishandled the investigation into Operation Fast & Furious and repeatedly misled Congress. Holder told Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI.) that whether you are lying or misleading Congress “has to do with your state of mind.” Perhaps Holder believes that perjury is now passé, or at least that a DOJ employee does not have the requisite “state of mind” when the ideological cause is deemed righteous enough.  But when zealots like Ms. Gyamfi, for whom the truth is no obstacle to the pursuit of partisan gains, are allowed to control the levers of justice, we all suffer.

Related: More on Perjury Confessions Inside DOJ

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Hans A. von Spakovsky is a Senior Legal Fellow at The Heritage Foundation and a former counsel to the assistant attorney general for civil rights at the Justice Department. He is the coauthor of the book “Who’s Counting? How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk”.
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