Rule of Law

DOJ Employee Contempt for Mississippi Citizens on Facebook

PJ Media has obtained Facebook postings from Department of Justice Voting Section employees demonstrating contempt for the states for which they have oversight authority under the Voting Rights Act, including for voter ID approval. One such posting demonstrates open contempt for Mississippi, a state which recently passed a photo voter identification law. The same Voting Section employees have the power to approve the law.

On her Facebook page, Voting Section supervisory civil rights analyst Stephanie Celandine Gyamfi says about the people of Mississippi:

“Disgusting and shameful. Hey, that should replace the state motto: ‘Mississippi: Disgusting and Shameful’. . . forget the Magnolia State motto.”

(Hans von Spakovsky also has this PJ Media story about Gyamfi: “The Justice Department Condones Perjury … Again“)

The DOJ inspector general is conducting a wide-ranging investigation of Civil Rights Division employee bias against conservatives and other misconduct, including the perjury matters in von Spakovsky’s article.  Sources say no remedial action has yet been taken for any of the employee misconduct in the Civil Rights Division.

Shortly, Mississippi will have to decide whether to submit its photo voter identification law for approval to Eric Holder’s Department of Justice Voting Section where Gyamfi reviews such submissions. Employees of the Voting Section view southern states with, at best, skepticism and, at worst, as demonstrated in this Facebook posting, with contempt. As I write in my book Injustice:

Voting Section visits to the deep South are seen by some as expeditions to alien territory. Anyone who questions this simplistic worldview must be a racist, if not an outright Klansman.

When I worked at the Voting Section, other attorneys openly expressed the view that travels to the South made them uncomfortable, including the white attorneys. They viewed southerners as oppressive and bigoted.

Why do the personal biases or bigotry of DOJ lawyers matter?  They matter because states such as Mississippi, Texas, and South Carolina are subject to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.  This law requires covered states to submit all election changes to either the DOJ or to a federal court for approval.

The contempt that DOJ Civil Rights Division employees have for southerners manifests in public policy — whether skepticism toward legislative motives in enacting voter ID, or, as I experienced firsthand, unwillingness to protect whites in Mississippi who were the victims of racial discrimination by black officials.

If states make the mistake of submitting election changes opposed by the NAACP, such as voter ID, to Gyamfi, these DOJ employees will hunt for evidence that racial bias motivated the change.  And they will see racial bias where few do.  The biases of the DOJ employees toward southerners, like the one shown in the Facebook posting, will manifest in concrete DOJ decisions.  The biases, for example, will view election integrity measures to instead be a sinister scheme to return to Jim Crow.

As  former Democratic Congressman Artur Davis said this past weekend at the True the Vote summit, “a driver’s license is not a billy club.  A photo ID is not a fire hose.”

Hopefully, this particular Facebook posting will give southern states like Mississippi and Alabama a taste of what they are up against if they submit voter ID to the DOJ.  Even if Holder is run out of office in November, career staffers wielding enormous power will do the front-line factual investigations that even Romney political appointees will struggle to overcome.

Speaking of which, truth-challenged Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez is at it again.  He recently gave a speech in which he said the Obama administration now allows Voting Section employees like Gyamfi to “express their opinion” about Section 5 submissions.  This whopper was used to portray the Bush administration review of voting changes as heavy-handed.  Perez refers to the 2005 fight over Georgia voter ID.

The Left has created the myth that fellow PJ Media columnist Hans von Spakovsky, in collusion with then-Voting Section Chief John Tanner, muzzled Voting Section employees, including Gyamfi, and approved Georgia voter ID over the reasoned objections of [leftist] career staff.  What Perez fails to mention is that other career staff, including line attorney Joshua Rogers, also recommended preclearance along with Tanner.

Hence, when Perez says that career staff may “again voice their opinion,” he is not telling the truth.  They could always voice their opinion.  After the inauguration, the Holder Justice Department implemented a new rule on Section 5 submissions when Christopher Coates was the section chief.  The new Obama rule permitted multiple written recommendations on any given Section 5 submission to reach the political appointees, instead of a unitary Voting Section recommendation.  The new rule was designed in the short-run to circumvent Coates, and in the long run, to foil a future Republican appointed section chief in Voting.

In January, the Romney administration must revoke this policy so as to avoid a constant cackle of leftist obstructionism in the Voting Section, designed to blunt the results of the November election and provide fertile material to be leaked to the media as in the Georgia voter ID fight in 2005.  And most of all, unlike the current occupant of the office, the Romney-appointed assistant attorney general for civil rights needs to tell the truth about the policy and why it matters.

UPDATED:  I received a communication from a former DOJ employee who assumed I obtained this information by “trolling his Facebook page.”  I responded to him that I don’t do Facebook.  Never did.  Never will.  Don’t have an account.  Moreover, his page wasn’t a source.  As the story made clear, DOJ sources have provided Facebook and Twitter pages of DOJ employees saying outrageous things about race and the states they regulate.  Stay tuned to PJ Media.