The conservative block of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has prepared two letters to Attorney General Eric Holder, one of which charges that the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division is hostile to the “race-neutral enforcement of the civil rights laws.”
While the conservative-dominated Commission’s original goal for their 2010 Enforcement Report was to only focus on the Justice Department’s handling of the civil voter intimidation case against members of the New Black Panther Party, they have now expanded the report they are preparing to focus on the “culture” within the Civil Rights Division.
“Our current focus is on the following systemic issue: the growing evidence of a culture of hostility in the Civil Rights Division to the race-neutral enforcement of the civil rights laws that may involve both supervisory attorneys and some of your political appointees,” reads the draft letter obtained by TPMMuckraker.
The Commission, writes conservative Commissioner Todd Gaziano in the draft letter, has “heard from eyewitnesses detailed allegations of malfeasance in the Civil Rights Division (CRD) which are at war with its core mission.”
“The live and affidavit testimony alleges: a broad culture of hostility to race-neutral enforcement of the civil rights laws; a pattern of harassment and intimidation against those who work on suits in which the defendants are racial minorities; and instructions from a political appointee that basic voting rights laws will not be enforced against racial minorities during this administration,” says the letter.
A separate letter drafted by Gaziano would question the statements of Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez, the head of the Civil Rights Division, before the commission
Left unstated in either the draft letter is the fact that the testimony on which the commission completely relies came from two officials with strong ties to conservative politics — one who defended the politicization of the Civil Rights Division under the Bush administration and another who was hired by the former DOJ official responsible for that politicization.
J. Christian Adams and Christopher Coates both signed off on the original civil case against the New Black Panther Party, filed in the waning days of the Bush administration. Now both men — Adams, who resigned his post, and Coates, who is still with DOJ but is no longer chief of the Voting Section — have testified before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights about their experiences with the New Black Panther Party case and their experiences in the division.
The Civil Rights Commission, which will regain its intended equal bipartisan balance when President Barack Obama makes two appointments in December, never examined the politicization during the Bush administration. A joint report by the DOJ’s Inspector General and their Office of Professional Responsibility had found that former Acting Civil Rights Division Assistant Attorney General Bradley Schlozman had hired “right thinking Americans” with conservative credentials and had referred to liberals in the division as “commies” and “mold spores.”
Coates, in his testimony before the Civil Rights Commission, defended his friend Schlozman’s decisions to “diversify” the Civil Rights Division.
“Mr. Schlozman found a Civil Rights Division that is almost totally left-liberal in terms of the ideology of the people that were working in it,” Coates said. “And that he made a concerted effort to diversify the division so that liberals as well as conservatives could find work there.”
Here’s the video of Coates defending his friend Schlozman:
Schlozman’s actions that Coates defended “violated federal law - the Civil Service Reform Act - and Department policy that prohibit discrimination in federal employment based on political and ideological affiliations, and committed misconduct,” according to the IG and OPR report.
Adams, on the other hand, “is exhibit A of the type of people” brought on by Bradley Schlozman, according to former DOJ official Joe Rich. Most recently, Adams spoke before a Tea Party group in Texas, where he encouraged them to become poll watchers to prevent voter fraud.