From Investor Business Daily:
Despite administration denials under oath, documents obtained by a watchdog group indicate that the decision not to pursue a clear-cut case of voter intimidation was indeed a political decision.
It was perhaps the most clear-cut case of voter intimidation ever. On Election Day 2008, New Black Panther Party members King Samir Shabazz, Malik Zulu Shabazz and Jerry Jackson were videotaped intimidating voters as they stood, dressed in military garb, outside a Philadelphia polling place.
Their conduct was so egregious that the Justice Department of President Bush charged the three thugs with violations of the 1965 Voting Rights Act through intimidation, threats and coercion. When none of the defendants filed a response or showed up at a subsequent hearing, you'd have thought the Justice Department would have won its suit by default.
But a new administration brought a new, and somewhat jaundiced, perspective. Instead, the Justice Department of President Obama essentially dropped the case in May 2009, letting two of the three walk and issuing a weak injunction against King Shabazz. He was forbidden from showing up at another Philadelphia polling place with another nightstick and intimidating other voters for the next three years, an action that was already illegal. He is presumably free to do the same thing in, say, New Jersey in 2012.
The U.S. Civil Rights Commission wanted to know why the case wasn't pursued and if political considerations were involved. On May 14, Thomas Perez, assistant attorney general for civil rights, testified that there was no "political leadership involved in the decision not to pursue this particular case any further than it was" and it was only "a case of career people disagreeing with career people."
The DOJ stonewalled, claiming that all documents involved in the case were "privileged information," that there was nothing to see and we should all move along. The watchdog group Judicial Watch pursued the case, and a court ordered the DOJ to provide it with withheld documents and an explanation of each privilege asserted.
The information that was unearthed reveals that several political appointees were involved in the decision not to pursue the New Black Panther Party. Of particular note was a list of 58 e-mails to or from Deputy Associate Attorney General Sam Hirsch, formerly election attorney for the National Democratic Party.
Christian Adams, the DOJ attorney who resigned to protest the New Black Panther Party decision, describes Hirsch as "a former Democratic Party operative" who, among other activities, "led efforts to impose racial divisions on Hawaii by creating native classifications and powers." Hirsch is a fierce partisan with experience in racial politics.
In testimony before the Civil Rights Commission that he says his bosses tried to block, Adams said Attorney General Eric Holder's department refused to prosecute what he has called "the clearest case of voter intimidation that I've seen since practicing law."
A dozen or so e-mails went up the chain of political command to Associate Attorney General Thomas Perrelli. Deputy Attorney General David Ogden was also in on the political deliberations, contributing, according to the e-mails, his "current thoughts" on the matter.
Adams told the commission that DOJ officials "over and over and over" showed "hostility" to prosecution of voter-intimidation cases involving "black defendants and white victims." Adams says Perrelli, a political appointee, himself overruled a unanimous recommendation for continued prosecution by Adams and his associates.
So when Perez testified that the decision was made only by career attorneys, not political operatives and appointees, he was not telling the truth about the machinations of the most transparent administration in history.
The decision not to prosecute the New Black Panther Party was clearly a political decision designed not to offend a key constituency of the Democratic Party and one of the few bastions of support this administration and the Democrats have left.