[Guest post by DRJ]
Pajamas Media’s Jennifer Rubin reports that Eric Holder’s Department of Justice won’t cooperate with a Civil Rights Commission inquiry into why the DOJ dismissed the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case:
“In June, the Commission sent a letter of inquiry to the Justice Department demanding an explanation for the dismissal of the case against all but one defendant. In August, the Commission sent a second letter directly to Attorney General Eric Holder reiterating its demand for information on the reasons for the dismissal and advising Holder of its intention to use the Commission’s statutory authority to subpoena witnesses and documents. It also renewed its demand for records of past DOJ investigations so it could make an independent determination as to whether the New Black Panther case’s dismissal was an abrupt change in Justice Department policy, and if so, what the impact of that policy change might be on future acts of voter intimidation. However, the “most transparent administration” in history (it tells us) did not even acknowledge receipt of the letter for weeks.
Last week, the Commission’s General Counsel contacted the Justice Department to inquire if a response would be forthcoming and to advise the Justice Department that on Friday the Commission would meet to decide an issue left open at its meeting last month, namely whether to designate its already expanding investigation into the New Black Panther case as an issue for a year-long study and special report. (By statute the Commission must complete at least one such study and report each year on a matter of federal civil rights enforcement.) Later that day the Justice Department sent a one paragraph letter to the Commission advising that an OPR investigation would be opened and “accordingly” no answer would be forthcoming until OPR concluded its investigation.
A source familiar with the Commission’s deliberations tells Pajamas Media that a number of the commissioners were aghast by the response.”
One Commissioner described this as the equivalent of “a corporation charged with employment discrimination which instituted an internal investigation — and then claimed that a civil lawsuit couldn’t proceed until the corporation investigated itself.”
Rubin reports the Commission on Friday voted unanimously to pursue the year-long study. This pits the Obama Administration’s DOJ against the Commission, a clash Republicans worry the Administration will try to circumvent. But at least now there’s hope we can learn more about what was behind the New Black Panther case.