The Obama administration for over a year has insisted that the decision to dismiss an egregious case of voter intimidation against the New Black Panther Party was made by career attorneys. In a series of letters to Republican Reps. Lamar Smith and Frank Wolf, and in sworn testimony by the head of the civil rights division Thomas Perez, the Obama team stuck to its story that career attorneys made the call. (In fact the two individuals the Justice Department identified, Loretta King and Steve Rosenbaum, were then the interim head of the civil rights division and the deputy, both political positions.) THE WEEKLY STANDARD, however, previously reported that in written discovery responses to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights the Justice Department let on that both the associate attorney general (the number three man in the Justice Department) Thomas J. Perrelli and his boss Eric Holder had been consulted on the dismissal. Today, further evidence came to light indicating the Obama Justice Department has lied about the involvement of political appointees.
This morning Judicial Watch announced the results of its Freedom of Information Act request. Judicial Watch obtained the privilege log, that is, the list and description of those documents the Justice Department refused to turn over to the Civil Rights Commission in response to its subpoena. On that list were numerous documents suggesting the extensive and serious involvement of Obama political appointees, including Perrelli’s deputy Sam Hirsch who had multiple contacts with Rosenbaum. In a press release Judicial Watch explained:
[The documents listed in the log] contradict sworn testimony by Thomas Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, who testified before the U.S. Civil Rights Commission that no political leadership was involved in the decision (Judicial Watch v. Department of Justice (No. 10-851)). . .
The index describes eight email exchanges between Rosenbaum and Hirsch, taking place on April 30, 2009, the day before the Justice Department reversed course and declined to pursue much of the Black Panther case. Listed among the email correspondence:
An “Email Chain with Attachments” from Rosenbaum to Hirsch dated April 30, 2009: The email chain includes “…a detailed response and analysis of the proposed draft filings in NBPP (New Black Panther Party) litigation…The response includes a candid assessment of legal research and raises questions about the case law and proposed relief….This document also contains attorney discussion, opinions, and analyses of the draft documents and case law.”
The revelation that the Obama Justice Department had for over a year been concealing evidence of its political appointees’ interference with the decisions of the New Black Panther trial team and that Perez, as I reported last week, had testified untruthfully under oath is certainly unwelcome news for those who have been denigrating the efforts of Republican congressmen, the Civil Rights Commission and conservative news outlets to get to the bottom of the scandal. The cracks in the Obama stonewall are deepening.