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. ”
- – Report: “We were surprised and dismayed at the amount of blatantly partisan political commentary that we found in e-mails sent by some Voting Section employees on Department computers.”
– Report: “The OIG also uncovered e-mails in which current and former Voting Section attorneys criticized and mocked Coates’s work on the Noxubee case. . . . Likewise, a non-attorney employee in the Voting Section wrote in an e-mail to a Section attorney: “[P]ersonally i think that the architects of the [Voting Rights Act] and those who fought and died for it are rolling over in their graves with that perversion of the act … im sorry, but [White people] are NOT covered for a reason.” During the course of the Noxubee trial, a group of current and former Section attorneys exchanged e-mails that celebrated perceived setbacks for the Department’s case and appeared to express hope that Coates and the Department would lose the Noxubee trial.”
– In another instance, conservative attorneys were attacked online by liberal DOJ coworkers. The report: “Karen Lorrie, [non real name] a non-attorney employee in the Voting Section, initially denied under oath to us that she had posted comments to websites concerning Voting Section personnel or matters. Later in her second OIG interview she admitted that she had posted such comments, identified several of the statements that she had posted, and acknowledged that she had lied under oath in her first OIG interview. She also told the OIG that she understood that the comments she had posted would remain on the Internet and follow the targets in the future. Lorrie told the OIG that she posted comments online as a way of ‘relieving the never-ending stress on the job.’”
– The Report: “During this period, at least three career Voting Section employees posted comments on widely read liberal websites concerning Voting Section work and personnel. The three employees who we were able to identify with certainty included three non-attorney employees. Many of the postings, which generally appeared in the Comments section following blog entries related to the Department, included a wide array of inappropriate remarks, ranging from petty and juvenile personal attacks to highly offensive and potentially threatening statements. The comments were directed at fellow career Voting Section employees because of their conservative political views, their willingness to carry out the policies of the CRT division leadership, or their views on the Voting Rights Act. The highly offensive comments included suggestions that the parents of one former career Section attorney were Nazis, disparaging a career manager’s physical appearance and guessing how he/she would look without clothing, speculation that another career manager was watching pornography in her office, and references to “Yellow Fever,” in connection with allusions to marital infidelity involving two career Voting Section employees, one of whom was described as ‘look[ing] Asian.’”
– The Report: “We found other postings by career Voting Section employees that contained intimidating comments and statements that arguably raised the potential threat of physical violence. For instance, one of the employees wrote the following comment to an article concerning an internal Department investigation of potential misconduct by a Section manager: “Geez, reading this just makes me want to go out and choke somebody. At this point, I’d seriously consider going in tomorrow and hanging a noose in someone’s office to get myself fired, but they’d probably applaud the gesture and give me a promotion for doing it….” Some postings by Section employees contained statements that could be viewed as disturbing, such as comments that monitored managers’ movements in the office and described their actions.”
– The Report: “We also found incidents in which Voting Section career staff shared confidential Section information with outside civil rights attorneys, some of whom were working on matters where they were adverse to the Department.”
What remains to be seen is if the usual apologists for Eric Holder begin to show intellectual honesty and address the criticisms, rather than play defense.
I don’t suppose any of them will be sending along an apology for smearing the people who have been reporting the facts today confirmed by the IG report, or for deceiving the public for the last four years regarding the DOJ.
We’ll have more at PJ Media about this over the coming days. As one source familiar with the IG process told us:
There are weeks of stories in this report.