DOJ Stonewalling Black Panthers Case

by Rep. Frank Wolf

For more than a year, I have been urging the U.S. Department of Justice to release all the documents surrounding the dismissal of U.S. v. New Black Panther Party and to make a genuine attempt to answer the questions asked by members of Congress and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights about the case. My requests have been rebuffed at each turn by the department.

As a strong supporter of the Voting Rights Act, I was deeply troubled by Justice’s questionable dismissal of such an important voter intimidation case in Philadelphia, where I grew up and my father was a policeman.

My commitment to voting rights is unquestioned. In 1981, I was the only member—Republican or Democrat—of the Virginia delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives to vote for the Voting Rights Act and was harshly criticized then by the editorial page of the Richmond Times Dispatch, the state’s leading newspaper. I was criticized, too, in 2006 by another newspaper in my district when I supported the act’s reauthorization.

From the beginning, I have asked the question: why did the Justice Department dismiss this serious case? If this is not a clear case of voter intimidation, I do not know what is.

This case was brought in January 2009 by career attorneys in the department’s Civil Rights Division against the New Black Panther Party and several of its members—one of whom brandished a nightstick—for deploying uniformed men to a polling station in Philadelphia on Election Day November 2008 to harass and intimidate voters.

One of the witnesses of the Election Day incident—Bartle Bull—a veteran civil rights activist who served as Bobby Kennedy’s New York campaign manager in 1968, has publicly called this “the most blatant form of voter intimidation” he has ever seen.

The case was proceeding toward a default judgment in favor of the department until it was suddenly withdrawn in May 2009. Sources within the department reported that Associate Attorney General Thomas Perrelli, a political appointee, in conjunction with the acting assistant attorney general for civil rights, Loretta King, and her deputy, Steve Rosenbaum, overruled the career attorneys in the Voting Rights section.

The Washington Times reported that the department’s own appellate division sided with the career attorneys in urging the case be allowed to move forward. According to the Appellate Division memos first disclosed in the Times article, Appellate Chief Diana K. Flynn said that “the appropriate action was to pursue the default judgment” and that Justice had made a “reasonable argument in favor of default relief against all defendants.”

Given these troubling disclosures, I have repeatedly called on the attorney general to re-file this civil suit and allow a ruling from the judge based on the merits of the case—not political expediency.

The career trial team should be allowed to bring the case again to allow our nation’s justice system to work as it was intended: impartially and without bias.

Since the dismissal of this case, I have also been deeply concerned about the department’s obstruction of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights’ investigation into this matter. The commission has an important special statutory responsibility to investigate matters pertaining to the enforcement of civil rights law. In fact, to do so, Congress instilled independent oversight responsibility, including subpoena authority, in statute.

However, the department continues to withhold information from the commission and refuses to comply with the commission’s subpoenas. In fact, the department has ordered its attorneys to ignore the commission’s subpoenas.

Earlier this year, I introduced a Resolution of Inquiry that would have compelled the attorney general to release all requested documents to the Congress. It was defeated on a party-line vote in the House Judiciary Committee.

I have urged the department’s inspector general, Glenn Fine, on multiple occasions to open an investigation into whether improper political influence contributed to the dismissal of this case.

Unfortunately, Mr. Fine continues to maintain willful ignorance, which I believe is an unacceptable abdication of his responsibilities as inspector general.

At my request the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency is now reviewing his actions.

I believe one anecdote, in particular, summarizes the disappointment and frustration of the career attorneys who were inexplicably overruled by the department’s political leadership on this matter.

It is my understanding that the career Voting Section chief, Chris Coates, offered a vigorous defense of the New Black Panther Party case at his going-away luncheon earlier this year. Mr. Coates reportedly stated: “I did my best to enforce all of our voting statutes for all Americans, and I leave here with my soul rested that I did the right thing to the best of my ability.”

The American people deserve the kind of impartial leadership at the Justice Department that will allow this case to go forward again—not the kind of political leadership that has tilted the scales of justice.

ACORN employees tell FBI of deliberate election fraud, according to new documents

By Matthew Vadum – The Daily Caller

The radical activist group ACORN “works” for the Democratic Party and deliberately promotes election fraud, ACORN employees told FBI investigators, according to an FBI document dump Wednesday.

The documents obtained by Judicial Watch, a watchdog group, are FBI investigators’ reports related to the 2007 investigation and arrest of eight St. Louis, Mo., workers from ACORN’s Project Vote affiliate for violation of election laws. All eight employees involved in the scandal later pleaded guilty to voter registration fraud.

Project Vote is ACORN’s voter registration arm. Project Vote continues to operate despite the reported dissolution of the national structure of ACORN.

The handwritten reports by FBI agents show that ACORN employees reported numerous irregularities in the nonprofit group’s business practices.

One employee told the FBI that ACORN headquarters is “wkg [working] for the Democratic Party.”

According to one report, an ACORN employee said the purpose of “[f]raudulent cards” was “[t]o cause confusion on election day to keep polls open longer,” “[t]o allow people who can’t vote to vote,” and “[t]o allow to vote multiple times.”

Another report quotes an employee saying, “Project Vote will pay them whether cards fake or not – whatever they had to do to get the cards was attitude.” Project Vote pays based on the number of cards and “that’s why they were so reckless,” the report says.

A report quotes an employee saying, “I don’t like our system. I don’t think we should do voter registration.” The report also notes that employees were “[c]onstantly threatened” and that the staff were “instructed on what to say to FBI.”

Another report indicates an employee told the investigator, that ACORN “[t]old employees not to talk to the FBI.” The FBI is “‘trying to intimidate you.’”

“These documents show the need for a national criminal investigation by the Obama Justice Department into ACORN,” said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch.

“Is Attorney General [Eric] Holder doing nothing because of Obama’s close connections to ACORN and Project Vote? The information in these new documents has national implications that cry out for further investigation,” Fitton said.

President Obama’s ties to ACORN go back to the 1980s.

“ACORN noticed him when he was organizing on the far south side of the city with the Developing Communities Project,” according to Toni Foulkes, a former member of ACORN’s national board. From 1985 to 1988 Obama ran the Developing Communities Project from an office located in Chicago’s Holy Rosary Church.

Does This Regime Want America To Become Like Greece?

by Brad Schaeffer

General strikes in Greece have brought much of the country to a halt as trade unions and government workers stage more protests over austerity measures. A 24-hour work stoppage last week closed much of the country’s public sector and shut down ferries, trains and public transport.

So here is one unfunded social utopia’s score card so far: Three have died already this month in massive riots in the streets of Athens which are in danger of re-erupting anew. Paralyzing strikes from civil servants, so used to getting so much largess for doing so little for so long. A $145 billion bailout is in jeopardy with the big dogs of the EU, Germany chief among them, expressing serious concerns that the austerity measures demanded of Greece as a condition to merit the loans will ever come to fruition. Given the revised deficit projections and a public that seems unwilling to admit that their free ride brand of socialism as expressed in a financially unsustainable pension structure is collapsing, who can blame Europe?

Greece is bankrupt. Their debt is 108% of GDP and will climb to almost 150% by 2013 when the bailout loans would come due. 25% of Greek taxes will go to service its debt — to mostly foreign investors. Currently that nation’s government spending amounts to 50% of its GDP.

Consider then that in 2009 US debt was 86% of GDP and climbing. It will go past 100% by 2012. 20% of U.S. federal taxes go to service the interest on the national debt. That number too will rise. Our major social entitlement programs of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, are bankrupt. We are waging foreign wars almost entirely on our own—so that Europe doesn’t have to. And now we have just enacted the mother of all entitlements in Obamacare that only the most wishful of thinkers (or a cynical Democratic Congress and White House) would argue is anything but a multi-trillion dollar debt dog pile on top of an already strained budget.

Of course our gargantuan economy is much more vibrant, diverse and robust than Greece’s. But we are already seeing within our borders mini-Greeces popping up at the state level. 41 states currently face budget shortfalls and the effects are already being felt. Here in New Jersey, school districts have suffered state aid cuts of 95%. (And in a little taste of the new entitlement mentality, our teachers’ union insisted on ramming through a contractually obligated pay raise anyway that would benefit the union bosses most of all; Trenton’s financial woes be damned. So to make the numbers work, several teachers and other staff got the axe—fortunately without any rioting.)

What is currently unfolding on the chaotic streets of Athens is an immovable force of a deep-seeded entitlement culture unwilling to give up its government goodies standing up to the irresistible force of simple mathematics. Care to bet on what side will ultimately prevail?

I am not saying that the United States is making the exact mistakes as the Greeks. But we are on a parallel course in that we are spending more on government programs than we are taking in in revenue. So whereas Greece is collapsing under the weight of unfunded pensions and ridiculously generous retirement packages and entitlements, while at the same time suffering a shrinking tax base, we have our own issues as I said before with Social Security (bankrupt seven years earlier than predicted just two years ago), Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare.

Edwin LeFevre once wrote that:

“A man, if he is both wise and lucky, will not make the same mistake twice. But he will make any one of the ten thousand brothers and cousins of the original mistake.”

As we watch the inevitable fissures in European style socialism breaking wide open for all to see, this is a most propitious time to turn inward and ask ourselves if the model that American left seems so stubbornly intent on replicating here even works, let alone is best for our nation? The Tea Partiers are but one expression of this necessary dialog — shameful left-wing race-baiting notwithstanding. Ponzi schemes always come to the same dismal end, leaving some poor unfortunates to pay the bill.

I would just like to know what makes liberal Democrats think that the inevitable reality of a seriously flawed socio-economic dogma now violently on display in the streets of Athens (and poised to spread throughout Europe) will somehow pass us by if we follow the same path? And if we continue down their road who do they believe will bail us out when the bill comes?

SEIU Thugs Becoming Terrorists?

by Liberty Chick

By now, you’ve probably seen the mob-scene that developed on the front lawn of the private residence of Greg Baer, deputy general counsel for corporate law at Bank of America. This was planned for some time by the SEIU as part of a larger national event, their Showdown on K Street, which was shared with National People’s Action and thousands of other activists from MoveOn.org and other left-wing groups.

Prior to the main event on K Street in Washington DC, SEIU and company made a little pit stop. According to Fortune magazine Washington editor Nina Easton, 14 busloads of riled up protesters unloaded on Baer’s private property and stormed up to his doorstep, while his teenage son was home alone. Easton is a neighbor of Baer’s and had called to check on her neighbor’s son when she heard and saw all the commotion outside. Easton writes,

“Waving signs denouncing bank “greed,” hordes of invaders poured out of 14 school buses, up Baer’s steps, and onto his front porch. As bullhorns rattled with stories of debtor calls and foreclosed homes, Baer’s teenage son Jack — alone in the house — locked himself in the bathroom. “When are they going to leave?” Jack pleaded when I called to check on him.

Baer, on his way home from a Little League game, parked his car around the corner, called the police, and made a quick calculation to leave his younger son behind while he tried to rescue his increasingly distressed teen. He made his way through a din of barked demands and insults from the activists who proudly “outed” him, and slipped through his front door.

“Excuse me,” Baer told his accusers, “I need to get into the house. I have a child who is alone in there and frightened.”

Imagine what you would have done if your child were inside that house and that mob was on your front lawn as you tried to reach him.

Amazingly, the SEIU has actually taken aim at Easton for reporting on this incident. Their defense? Easton’s husband is a Republican strategist and has a lobbyist as a client – oh, the horror! (Especially considering that the SEIU itself is also a lobbyist). In their post “Nina Easton & the Bank Lobbyists: Too Close for Comfort,” SEIU’s crack Googlers researchers break the case wide open:

“The really interesting question here is: why is Ms. Easton so angry? And why has she decided to use her position as a member of the media to air her own personal rant at the people who showed up to share their foreclosure stories?

Nina Easton’s husband’s firm has Business Roundtable as a client, a special interest group that counts giant banks like Bank of America as members.

One Google search clears it up pretty quickly. Her husband is Russell Schriefer, Republican strategist and consultant to several big corporate interest groups. In fact, her husband’s client list includes the Business Roundtable, a special interest group that counts Bank of America and other Wall Street banks among its members.

Ms. Easton’s husband used to be a corporate lobbyist himself, before he started his own consulting firm for Republican politicians and corporate interest groups like the Business Roundtable and the Chamber of Commerce. Now, according to his website, he helps garner positive media for “a wide range of corporate clients including Fortune 500 companies and national associations.”

Wow. Amazing. That kind of muckraking puts my time working at LexisNexis to shame. Perhaps I should take SEIU’s employment recruiters up on one of their recent job offers sitting in my email inbox. (really, they are hiring, and they did email…can you imagine that job interview?)

But what’s even more interesting, to use SEIU’s phrase, is the labor union’s odd relationship with its own business and advocacy partners. They specifically mention above their disdain for Business Roundtable, for their part as what they term as a Republican corporate interest group. But, just like Bank of America – which is a lender to SEIU, mortgage partner to ACORN, and is also the leading lending partner to SEIU advocacy partner, Center for Responsible Lending – one of SEIU’s own partners is also Business Roundtable.

“Today, three of the nation’s leading consumer, business and labor organizations announced that they will work together to urge action from political leaders in a partnership called Divided We Fail. AARP, Business Roundtable and SEIU will use the influence of their over 50 million combined memberships to amplify the message that attaining health and long-term financial security is vital for all Americans and these issues must be included in the national political debate.

Divided We Fail is a national effort designed to engage the American people, elected officials and the business community to find broad-based, bi-partisan solutions to the most compelling domestic issues facing the nation – health care and the long-term financial security of Americans.”

Ouch, talk about biting the hand that feeds you.

The current circumstances are also rather interesting because recently, Tea Party and 912 Project groups have been protesting Bank of America, too. For SUPPORTING the financial regulatory reform bill currently in Congress. You know, the one that Big Labor is supporting with Democrats – the one that proposes the big banks and government spy on your bank accounts and report your loan info to a big government database for all to see? Yeah, that bill. Bank of America lobbyists have been busy lobbying Democrats and donating money to Democrats.

I think the folks at SEIU may be a bit confused over there – first they storm private property and intimidate a teenage child, then they bite the hands that feed them, and they overlook all the money flowing into the Democratic coffers on this bill and selectively go after only seemingly Republican targets. Only, their targets aren’t Republican at all. This one in particular – definitely not a Republican, as Easton describes Baer:

“Instead, a friendly Huffington Post blogger showed up, narrowcasting coverage to the union’s leftist base. The rest of the message these protesters brought was personal-aimed at frightening Baer and his family, not influencing a broader public.

Of course, HuffPost readers responding to the coverage assumed that Baer was an evil former Bush official. He’s not. A lifelong Democrat, Baer worked for the Clinton Treasury Department, and his wife, Shirley Sagawa, author of the book The American Way to Change and a former adviser to Hillary Clinton, is a prominent national service advocate.”

Just imagine if the union of We the People mobilized its own protests to put a stop to the tactics of domestic terrorism of today’s leftist unions.

——–

Also be sure to catch this related post from LaborUnionReport titled “The SEIU, the NPA & Organized, Premeditated Intimidation“.
The really interesting question here is: why is Ms. Easton so angry? And why has she decided to use her position as a member of the media to air her own personal rant at the people who showed up to share their foreclosure stories?
bizroundtableb.jpg

Nina Easton’s husband’s firm has Business Roundtable as a client, a special interest group that counts giant banks like Bank of America as members.

One Google search clears it up pretty quickly. Her husband is Russell Schriefer, Republican strategist and consultant to several big corporate interest groups. In fact, her husband’s client list includes the Business Roundtable, a special interest group that counts Bank of America and other Wall Street banks among its members.

Ms. Easton’s husband used to be a corporate lobbyist himself, before he started his own consulting firm for Republican politicians and corporate interest groups like the Business Roundtable and the Chamber of Commerce. Now, according to his website, he helps garner positive media for “a wide range of corporate clients including Fortune 500 companies and national associations.”

Justice official: Black Panther polling case lacks proof

By Jerry Seper

Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez told the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights on Friday there was “insufficient evidence” to bring a civil complaint against members of the New Black Panther Party who disrupted a Philadelphia polling place in the 2008 general elections.

Mr. Perez, the only Justice Department official to testify publicly before the commission about the case, said that without sufficient proof that party members or the organization’s leader, Malik Zulu Shabazz, directed or controlled unlawful activities at the poll or made speeches to incite or produce lawless action, the complaint “would have likely failed” in court.

“Based on the totality of the evidence and the relevant legal precedent, the acting assistant attorney general made a judgment about how to proceed, choosing to seek an injunction against the only defendant who brought a weapon to the Philadelphia polling place on Election Day and to voluntarily dismiss the other three defendants,” he said.

Mr. Perez said a decision to proceed with claims against one of the New Black Panthers, Minister King Samir Shabazz, and to dismiss the claims against the three others was “based on the merits and reflects the kind of good faith, case-based assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of claims that the department makes every day.

“We assure you that the department is committed to comprehensive and vigorous enforcement of both the civil and criminal provisions of federal law that prohibits voter intimidation,” he said. “We continue to work with voters, communities and local law enforcement to ensure that every American can vote free from intimidation, coercion or threats.”

The commission began an investigation into the New Black Panther Party case after the civil complaint was dismissed, trying to determine if political interference led to the dismissal. Several commission members also have been angry over what they have called the Justice Department’s refusal to turn over documents or to make witnesses available to be interviewed.

The Justice Department steadfastly has maintained that it followed the law and evidence in the case and was not influenced by partisan politics.

Republican Commissioner Todd Gaziano asked whether an independent counsel should be named to investigate the handling of the complaint, a request that does not appear to have much support. Last month, in its first public comments about the case, the New Black Panther Party said it did not break any laws and praised a decision by the Justice Department to dismiss the complaint.

A written statement by the party conceded that one member — Minister King Samir Shabazz — should not have brought a nightstick to a Philadelphia polling place, but described it as “an honest error.”

“What these Republican witch hunters repeatedly fail to mention is that the individual member involved in the nightstick incident was, in fact, legally penalized,” said the statement from Minister Hashim Nzinga, chief of staff to party leader Mr. Zulu Shabazz.

Mr. Samir Shabazz, head of the Philadelphia chapter, and Jerry Jackson, a Philadelphia party member, were videotaped outside a polling place wearing black military-style uniforms, which included combat boots and black berets. Mr. Samir Shabazz also brandished a nightstick.

Mr. Zulu Shabazz, a lawyer and D.C. resident, also was named in the complaint, accused of directing and endorsing their behavior. The party itself also was included as a defendant.

None of the defendants answered the charges or made any court appearances, and the Justice Department won the case by default. But the department ultimately chose to drop the allegations against Mr. Jackson, Mr. Zulu Shabazz and the party as a whole. The department did obtain an injunction against Mr. Samir Shabazz prohibiting him from brandishing a weapon outside a polling place until 2012.

Mr. Perez said that while none of the New Black Panther Party members responded to the complaint, that did not absolve the Justice Department of its “legal and ethical obligations to ensure that any relief sought was consistent with the law and supported by the evidence.

“The entry of a default judgment is not automatic, and the Pennsylvania Bar Rules impart a clear duty of candor and honesty in any legal proceeding In discharging its obligations in that regard, the department considered not only the allegations in the complaint, but also the evidence collected by the department both before and after the filing of the complaint.”