Judicial Watch • Black Panthers and Election Day

Black Panthers and Election Day

Black Panthers and Election Day

OCTOBER 29, 2010

October 29, 2010

From the Desk of Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton:

More Shocking Black Panther Revelations

Those of you who have been following the New Black Panther Party scandal will be very interested in a new article published in The Washington Post last week. It includes some explosive new accusations of racism against the Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) as documented in a draft report by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, as a result of a year-long investigation into the DOJ’s decision to drop the Black Panther voter intimidation case.

Of course, much of this report necessarily relates to the specific voter intimidation case against the Black Panthers, who brandished weapons and threatened voters at a polling station during the 2008 elections.

According to Post excerpts, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights report reflects a deep and rancorous divide within the DOJ over whether that case should have been prosecuted. Here are a few excerpts from the article, which I suggest you read in full:

  • Interviews and government documents reviewed by The Washington Post show that the [Black Panther] case tapped into deep divisions within the Justice Department that persist today over whether the agency should focus on protecting historically oppressed minorities or enforce laws without regard to race.
  • After the Obama administration took over, high-level political appointees relayed their thoughts on the case in a stream of internal e-mails in the days leading to the dismissal….That decision to pull back the lawsuit caused conflicts so heated that trial team members at times threw memos in anger or cursed at supervisors.
  • In recent months, [Justice Department attorney J. Christian] Adams and a Justice Department colleague have said the [Black Panther] case was dismissed because the department is reluctant to pursue cases against minorities accused of violating the voting rights of whites. Three other Justice Department lawyers, in recent interviews, gave the same description of the department’s culture, which department officials strongly deny.

These revelations are certainly consistent with testimony by another DOJ attorney, Christopher Coates, who testified recently before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights that there exists at the DOJ “…a deep-seated opposition to the equal enforcement of the Voting Rights Act against racial minorities and for the protection of whites who have been discriminated against.”

But according to the Post article, these divisions existed long before the Black Panther scandal.

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights also contemplated another voter rights case that yielded shocking evidence of reverse discrimination at the DOJ. That case involved Ike Brown, “an African American political boss in rural Mississippi, [who] was accused by the Justice Department in 2005 of discriminating against the county’s white minority.” (This was the first time in U.S. history that the 1965 Voting Rights Act was used to prosecute discrimination against whites.) According to The Washington Post:

Three Justice Department lawyers, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they feared retaliation from their supervisors, described the same tensions, among career lawyers as well as political appointees. Employees who worked on the Brown case were harassed by colleagues, they said, and some department lawyers anonymously went on legal blogs “absolutely tearing apart anybody who was involved in that case,” said one lawyer.

“There are career people who feel strongly that it is not the voting section’s job to protect white voters,” the lawyer said. “The environment is that you better toe the line of traditional civil rights ideas or you better keep quiet about it, because you will not advance, you will not receive awards and you will be ostracized.”

Just stop and consider the language used here: DOJ officials who did not “toe the line of traditional civil rights” “feared retaliation.” They were “harassed” and “ostracized” by DOJ colleagues who were “tearing apart” anyone who thought Brown ought to be held accountable.

Does anyone else find this outrageous? Evidence shows that DOJ officials used harassment and intimidation to stop colleagues from prosecuting the Black Panthers, who used similar tactics to terrorize voters. True, there is no evidence that DOJ officials brandished weapons to drive home their point, but the intent was certainly to bully those with whom they disagreed into submission.

Perhaps we should not be so surprised. That is the Chicago Way.

The Post also referenced the documents we uncovered proving that top political appointees at the DOJ were indeed involved in the decision to drop the lawsuit, which directly contradicts sworn testimony by one Obama DOJ official who testified that no political appointees were involved in this decision:

Justice Department records turned over in a lawsuit to the conservative group Judicial Watch show a flurry of e-mails between the Civil Rights Division and the office of Associate Attorney General Thomas Perelli, a political appointee who supervises the division.

“Where are we on the Black Panther case?” read the subject line of a Perelli e-mail to his deputy the day before the case was dropped. Perelli, the department’s No. 3 official, wrote that he was enclosing the “current thoughts” of the deputy attorney general’s office, the No. 2 official.

Perelli’s staff brought the matter to Holder’s attention before the department dropped the charges, other documents show…

What is most disturbing about these revelations is that it appears the problems inside the DOJ are systemic and pervasive. This is not a case of an isolated DOJ attorney going rogue. Here we have a cadre of leftist officials inside the DOJ who are actively undermining the rule of law by harassing and intimidating their colleagues – all because of race.

We are proud of our role in bringing the Black Panther scandal out into the open. And we will continue to do what we can to uncover further details regarding the crisis and scandal inside the Obama DOJ.

When a major liberal newspaper reveals race-based decision making on civil rights enforcement at the DOJ, one would think there be a massive reaction in Washington. Instead, we hear nary a peep from Establishment politicians of either Party and unforgivable silence from the liberal Big Media.

But I’m concerned that revelations that enforcement of laws against voter fraud is race-based and political at the Obama DOJ will encourage lawlessness on Election Day. Sure enough, the Black Panther group is set to “watch” polls in Houston on Election Day. And Tea Party and other conservatives concerned about voter fraud are being accused by leftists of trying to intimidate voters.

Can anyone expect this DOJ to fairly sort this out and enforce the laws impartially?

Judicial Watch Sues National Archives Over Clinton Tapes

Would it surprise you if I told you that Bill Clinton and the Obama administration are conspiring to undermine transparency laws? (Probably not.)

Yesterday, Judicial Watch was forced to file yet another Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Obama administration, specifically the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). We’re trying to gain access to 79 recorded conversations between former President Bill Clinton and “long-time” Clinton friend and historian Taylor Branch, who was hand-picked by Clinton to create an oral history of the Clinton presidency.

The NARA, which is required to maintain custody over the tapes according to the Presidential Records Act (PRA), continues to advance the bogus claim that the Clinton tapes are not official presidential records and are therefore not subject to FOIA.

You can judge for yourself.

Here’s how the PRA defines “presidential records”: Documentary materials created by the President “in the course of conducting activities which relate to or have an effect upon the carrying out of the constitutional, statutory, or other official or ceremonial duties of the President.”

That’s a pretty broad definition, if you ask me, and eminently reasonable if you believe in honesty and transparency.

Now here’s what’s on the Clinton tapes according to our lawsuit filed on October 28, 2010, with the United States District Court for the District of Columbia: “These audiotapes preserved not only President Clinton’s thoughts and commentary on contemporaneous events and issues he was facing as president, but, in some instances, recorded actual events such as presidential telephone conversations.”

Certainly sound like official White House records to me.

Overall, Clinton and Branch’s White House conversations, which they recorded between January 20, 1993, and January 20, 2001, covered a wide range of issues related to the Clinton presidency, including:

  • President Clinton contemplating potential changes to his cabinet, including whether to fire CIA Director R. James Woolsey, Jr. and whether to nominate Madeleine Albright for Secretary of State;
  • President Clinton’s thoughts and reasoning behind foreign-policy decisions such as the United States’ military involvement in Haiti and the contemplated relaxation of the United States’ embargo of Cuba;
  • President Clinton’s side of telephone conversations with foreign leaders, members of the United States Senate, and cabinet secretaries;
  • President Clinton speaking to several members of the United States Senate in which President Clinton attempted to persuade the Senators to vote against a specific amendment before the Senate;
  • President Clinton’s side of a telephone conversation with Congressman William Natcher of Kentucky in which President Clinton explained his reasoning for entering into the North American Free Trade Agreement based on technical forecasts that he received during presidential briefings.
  • President Clinton’s side of a telephone conversation with U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher concerning a diplomatic impasse over Bosnia.

Judicial Watch filed a FOIA request on October 7, 2009, with the Clinton Presidential Library. After the Library issued a response indicating that the records were not subject to FOIA, Judicial Watch filed an administrative appeal with the NARA on November 2, 2009. By letter dated March 16, 2010, the NARA responded that it had determined the Clinton tapes were not presidential records, apparently without ever reviewing the content of the tapes.

And where are these tapes now?

Judicial Watch maintains in its lawsuit that President Clinton unlawfully retained control of the original unedited tapes after leaving office. (According to USA Today, Clinton’s interviews were so secret, the former President “stored the tapes of them in his sock drawer” at the White House.)

I think it’s obvious to everyone why Clinton would try to keep these tapes under lock and key (or in his sock drawer). Clinton has a vested interest in preventing the release of information that might prove personally embarrassing or incriminating. But these personal concerns do not trump the rule of law or the public interest. The Clinton tapes are presidential records according to the law and they belong to the American people, not President Clinton.

Remember, the law was reformed to cover materials such as these tapes after Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal. And it is scandalous, though not surprising, that the Obama administration and Bill Clinton are working hand-in-hand to keep these tapes secret and undermine the law.

Remember, the Obama administration’s position benefits Bill Clinton now. And it would benefit Barack Obama after he leaves office.

New Documents: Conservative Leader Disinvited from Speaking at Military Prayer Luncheon for Opposing Obama “Issues”

Have you noticed that liberal supporters of the Obama have a penchant for punishing those who are not in lock step with the Obama leftist policies that undermine the rule of law? (See the Black Panther story above.)

By now you probably have read or heard that taxpayer-funded liberals over at NPR kicked reporter Juan Williams to the curb last week. In an interview with the Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly, Williams admitted that the sight of apparent Muslims on a plane sometimes made him feel nervous in light of the 9/11 attacks. Now Williams, who is himself a minority, a liberal and a long-time civil rights activist, went on to sharply rebuke religious intolerance, but that didn’t matter to executives at the government-sponsored NPR. They fired him immediately, without ever giving Williams the opportunity to explain his side of the story.

And as if that were not bad enough, NPR Chief Vivian Schiller smeared Williams as she shoved him out of the door, suggesting the feelings Williams expressed on Fox News indicate he needs a psychiatrist.

So much for the First Amendment.

Well this week, Judicial Watch uncovered documents regarding another incident of intolerance directed at those who disagree with Obama. And this time the target for retribution was Family Research Council President Tony Perkins.

Judicial Watch obtained new documents this week from the United States Air Force detailing the decision to retract an invitation to Mr. Perkins, who is also a Marine Corps veteran by the way, to serve as a guest speaker for a prayer breakfast held at Andrews Air Force Base in February. According to the documents, which we obtained through FOIA, Air Force officials were concerned about FRC statements opposing President Obama’s policies.

Here’s an excerpt from a January 29, 2010, Air Force “smoking gun” email included among the documents:

General [REDACTED] came by a few moments ago and asked me to go to www.frc.org. That is the website for Mr. Tony Perkins who is to speak at the National Prayer Luncheon on 25 February 2010. The webpage has numerous Obama issues to which the organization is opposed. The organization can oppose initiatives, but the Command-in-Chief is named.

CONCERN: Suppose the media gets a hold of this story.

This email strikes a very different tone from the original invitation extended to Mr. Perkins on October 2, 2009, to serve as the keynote speaker at the 2010 National Prayer Luncheon scheduled for February 25, 2010, at Andrews Air Force Base: “Sir, it would be a great honor for our community if you would accept our humble invitation and share with us some of the basic principles that have guided you along the way,” the Chaplain wrote.

Mr. Perkins never got the chance to share his “basic principles.” They apparently were not endorsed by the Obama administration.

In a letter dated January 29, 2010 – the same date as the email above – the U.S. Air Force rescinded the invitation. The letter cited the Family Research Council’s website statements calling them “incompatible in our role as military members who serve our elected officials and our commander in chief.”

It seems like this administration enemies list just gets longer and longer. The contempt shown to Mr. Perkins is particularly offensive given his service to our country in the U.S. Armed Forces and as an elected official. I find it unconscionable that the Air Force would ban Mr. Perkins from speaking to a prayer luncheon on a military base due to his organization’s opposition to some of President Obama’s “issues.”

This new scandal is bound to outrage many Americans and it certainly raises additional questions about the Obama administration’s commitment to the First Amendment.

Until next week…



Tom Fitton
President


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