Today the Department of Justice inspector general released a report on potential Labor secretary nominee Tom Perez’s DOJ Civil Rights Division. The timing of the release to coincide with his nomination was certainly accidental, because the report paints a damning portrait of the DOJ unit he managed.
The full report is here.
The 250-page report offers an inside glimpse of systemic racialist dysfunction inside one of the most powerful federal government agencies.
The report was prepared in response to Representative Frank Wolf’s (R-VA) outrage over the New Black Panther voter intimidation dismissal. In response to the report, Rep. Wolf said today, the “report makes clear that the division has become a rat’s nest of unacceptable and unprofessional actions, and even outright threats against career attorneys and systemic mismanagement.”
Today’s report paints a disgusting portrait, confirming our accounts.
Chris Coates, in response to today’s report:
As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted by the Obama administration in 2009, the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ was not enforcing the voting laws in a race-neutral manner, contrary to the Constitutional guarantees of equal protection. That pattern of racially selective enforcement of the voting laws must stop. I hope that the IG report facilitates that needed reform.
Though the report took almost four years to complete, it was worth the wait. Though the report commenced as an investigation into the New Black Panther dismissal, seemingly every rock the investigators turned over resulted in more creatures fleeing the sunshine. The final report captures a range of outrageous conduct, including the following examples:
– “Numerous witnesses told us that there was widespread opposition to the Noxubee case among the Voting Section career staff.” Noxubee was a case in which white voters were victimized.
– DOJ employees opposed the bringing of a case against a black defendant to help white victims in Noxubee County, Mississippi.
The report: “Coates and other career attorneys told the OIG that they were aware of comments by some Voting Section attorneys indicating that the Noxubee case should have never been brought because White citizens were not historical victims of discrimination or could fend for themselves. Indeed, two career Voting Section attorneys told us that, even if the Department had infinite resources, they still would not have supported the filing of the Noxubee case because it was contrary to the purpose of the Voting Rights Act, which was to ensure that minorities who had historically been the victims of discrimination could exercise the right to vote.”
– “Many of those individuals told the OIG that they believed that the reason the voting rights laws were enacted was to protect historic victims of discrimination and therefore the Section should prioritize its resources accordingly. Additionally, some of these individuals, including one current manager, admitted to us that, while they believed that the text of the Voting Rights Act is race-neutral and applied to all races, they did not believe the Voting Section should pursue cases on behalf of White victims.”
– Threats were made to African American employees by other Justice Department staff.
The threats were made because the black employees were willing to work on cases like the New Black Panther voter intimidation case and a case in Mississippi involving a black wrongdoer and a white victim. I testified about this disgusting hostility toward race-neutral enforcement of the law, and today’s report confirms it took place.
– Attorney General Eric Holder was approached by Acting Assistant Attorney General Loretta King: King complained about cases that Voting Section Chief Chris Coates was bringing. King didn’t like that Coates was willing to use civil rights laws to protect white voters. Coates had brought and managed the New Black Panther voter intimidation case.
Holder greenlighted King: do what was necessary to take care of Coates.
– Attorney General Holder told us that he understood from what others told him that Coates was a divisive and controversial person in the Voting Section and that one concern about Coates was that he “wanted to expand the use of the power of the Civil Rights Division in such a way that it would take us into areas that, though justified, would come at a cost of that which the Department traditionally had done, at the cost of people [that the] Civil Rights Division had traditionally protected. ”