The Justice Department Fix Is In
The New Black Panther fix is in. I have learned through sources inside and outside the Department of Justice that the long-awaited internal report on the New Black Panther voter intimidation dismissal is done, and sensible Americans aren’t going to be happy. In essence, it will adopt the outrageous position of Attorney General Eric Holder when he testified to Congressman Frank Wolf’s Appropriations subcommittee a few weeks ago: all this fuss about the New Black Panther dismissal does a disservice to his people, or to quote the attorney general at the hearing, “my people.”
I am told that the report is now being transmitted to the deputy attorney general.
The whitewash is authored by the DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR). While it sounds like an impartial shop, it isn’t. In January 2009, Attorney General Michael Mukasey blasted the draft OPR report about the John Yoo and James Bybee terror interrogation investigation as a “hatchet job.” OPR tried to ram through their sloppy work in the final days of the Bush administration and General Mukasey would have none of it. The repudiation was consistent with OPR’s sordid history of omitting relevant investigative facts and inventing legal standards that don’t exist.
Congressmen Frank Wolf and Lamar Smith have been demanding documents and explanations about the New Black Panther case for almost two years. In response, DOJ opened the OPR investigation. But OPR is now headed by Robin Ashton. Ashton, according to multiple sources who have worked alongside her, is a militant leftist partisan. She actually left DOJ to do a detail on the Senate Judiciary Committee for Senator Patrick Leahy. Hans von Spakovsky wrote this piece in which he describes Ashton's bizarre behavior, such as searching through co-workers' desks.
Holder appointed Ashton on Christmas Eve. Just a few days later, he essentially telegraphed what her findings should be in the Panther investigation during an interview with the New York Times. While the investigation was still ongoing, he instructed “there is no there, there.” Principled people call that “stacking the deck.”
Ashton is in a position to listen and comply -- she answers directly to Eric Holder. His other statement to the New York Times -- that the case was a “made-up controversy” -- would have never been made by his predecessor, Attorney General Mukasey. Mukasey is a man of profound integrity and impartiality.
What does the OPR report conclude? Indications are that it will conclude that nobody did anything improper in dismissing the case. But it apparently goes even further and concludes that the case was brought because of racial bias, or at least with an insensitivity to Mr. Holder’s “people.” In doing so, signs are that the authors of the report are perfectly willing to adopt some of the favorite lines of the extreme left-wing blogosphere about people who worked on the case and the principle of equally enforcing the law.
Americans know a whitewash when they see it, especially a racially unfair one.
I have been silent until now about the OPR investigation because I assumed the people conducting the investigation were not as corrupt as the people responsible for ordering the case to be dismissed.
But the OPR investigation had many shortcomings. For starters, don’t expect the over 120 pages of analysis and discussion provided by the four trial team lawyers to be part of any leaked report by DOJ. Congress should seek and obtain those documents prepared by the four trial team attorneys, along with the hundreds of pages of exhibits they provided. They should be sized up against any work product produced by supporters of the dismissal, if such work even exists. Other shortcomings in the investigation are obvious and scrutiny from Congress and the public should follow, or else the report cannot be taken seriously.
Technically, reports produced by OPR are never released to the public. If the report is leaked, it will be a sure sign the fix is in. Here’s another test, if the report is leaked: Note how closely it echoes the spin and articles from some of the biggest defenders of the New Black Panther dismissal. Either OPR was taking cues from the left-wing blogosphere, or the left-wing blogosphere was getting inside information on the fix. There are only two options.
If indeed the report is leaked, it may eventually prove to be a good thing. For starters, America will at last have that conversation about race the attorney general has been pining for. After watching the outlandish behavior of his Justice Department (led by Loretta King no less) requiring Dayton, Ohio, to hire black police officers who fail exams, I suspect it is going to be a debate he will lose. This is a nation that treasures fair play.
If the report is leaked, I expect we’ll learn a whole lot more about the New Black Panther Party. Nearly all Americans are rightfully repulsed by the hateful and murderous rhetoric of the group.
If a leaked report ultimately concludes it was perfectly fine to let the New Black Panthers free, and scorches people, the worst fears about this Justice Department will prove true. Add another chapter to the building chronicle of administration lawlessness that already includes ignoring the Freedom of Information Act, annihilating Chrysler securities, and conniving to sustain an unconstitutional health care policy. Americans believe in the rule of law.
Americans are good and decent people who don’t expect armed thugs at the polls when they go to vote. We do expect our government to do something about it after thugs appear. When Americans conclude their government has sided with thugs, and against the people who tried to stop them, there will be a steep price to pay.
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