Former DOJ lawyer J. Christian Adams now says that he never meant to say the Obama administration was intentionally disenfranchising overseas troops.
In an interview today with TPMmuckraker, Adams — who’s also the driving force behind allegations of racial discrimination at the DOJ over the New Black Panthers case — said he only meant that Justice Department bureaucrats don’t feel like enforcing the law.
The background: In a recent Fox News story, Adams, along with Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), suggested that the DOJ was improperly helping states apply for waivers to the MOVE Act, effectively neglecting to enforce the law.
The MOVE Act, sponsored by Cornyn, requires states to send ballots to overseas troops at least 45 days before an election. Built into the act is a way for states to apply for waivers if, say, their primary is too close to the general to comply.
Adams, Cornyn and Fox News alleged that the DOJ doesn’t want to enforce the law; saying that a DOJ official who told a group of secretaries of state that litigation is a last resort is proof that there’s no interest in enforcing the law. The implication was that the DOJ is intentionally disenfranchising American troops to benefit Democratic candidates — something the Administration strenuously denied yesterday, pointing out that the law itself requires them to accept and review waiver requests.
But Adams told TPMmuckraker that’s not what he believes.
It’s not a political issue, Adams said. “It’s a ‘Washington’s not working’ issue. … I have been extremely clear that this is not some political plot,” he said.
“It’s bureaucrats stuck in their ways, not interested in doing their work,” Adams said.
We asked if he was saying DOJ officials are lazy.
“I wouldn’t say they’re lazy, I wouldn’t agree with that. I just think that they, look, obviously some people care about this more than others. Florida cares more about it than Hawaii,” he said. (Florida passed legislation in order to comply with the MOVE Act; Hawaii is requesting a waiver.)
Pressed, he said, “They’re not interested in aggressively enforcing the law.”