Investor Business Daily
The Justice Department's racist voter-rights enforcement should put to rest the illusion that this administration represents the transcendence of racial politics. Bankers also have a story to tell.
In the New Black Panthers case, Justice refused to protect the rights of white voters. Two career prosecutors have now sworn that high-level Obama appointees running the Civil Rights Division scuttled an open-and-shut case of voter intimidation against nightstick-wielding black thugs at a Philly poll in 2008.
They also testified that the division has a do-not-prosecute policy if victims are white and offenders black.
If that bias weren't bad enough, check out what's going on in the division's housing and civil enforcement section.
It hasn't gotten as much press, but the unit is conducting a witch hunt against supposedly racist bankers. Several banks have been prosecuted for lending discrimination and ordered to set aside millions in loans to blacks — regardless of whether they were victims.
Some have also been told to relocate operations and marketing efforts in urban areas to serve the "credit needs" of African-Americans, regardless of the profitability in those areas.
Obama-appointed prosecutors are applying an expanded definition of lending discrimination called "disparate impact," which argues that bankers are guilty of bias just by failing to actively solicit minority loans or open branches in minority areas. It doesn't matter if their policies intentionally discriminate or not. What matters is how they "impact" those areas.
No civil-rights law on the books requires banks to solicit minority customers or operate in minority neighborhoods. But most banks don't have the resources to fight the Justice Department. So they sign the order and pay the penalty — and the race bullies at Justice never have to prove their charges. In fact, recently filed court orders include no factual findings of wrongdoing.
These cases aren't about individual discrimination. They're about forcing banks to subsidize protected classes and redevelop blighted areas. That's not justice; that's politics. Some settlement funds, in fact, are earmarked for inner-city activist groups, even though they are not party to the cases.
For example, Justice ordered two AIG bank subsidiaries earlier this year to, among other things, pay $1 million to "qualified organizations" that help "African-American borrowers." The Civil Rights Division will pick which groups are "qualified" to receive the largesse. No doubt they will look a lot like the radical Chicago community organizers who shook down banks in the run-up to the subprime crisis.
It is now plain that Attorney General Eric Holder, who has called Americans "cowards" on matters of race, is obsessed with the issue. And that bias is tainting how his department prosecutes civil-rights cases.
But make no mistake, Holder is not acting on his own. He's taking his lead from the supposedly "post-racial" politician sitting in the Oval Office. After all, it was the president who ordered Holder to "reinvigorate" the Civil Rights Division. It was Obama who got him millions more in funding and dozens more prosecutors.
Aggressive racialism also appears in the White House's new bank regulatory regime. The financial overhaul bill the president signed includes, for example, a provision mandating that the Federal Reserve set up diversity offices at its Washington headquarters and all 12 of its regional banks.
Separately, the White House is working to expand the race-based Community Reinvestment Act to police mortgage bankers, credit unions and insurers, among other financial institutions. Right now the anti-redlining regulation covers only FDIC-member banks, mandating the kind of risky mortgage activity in low-income and minority areas that fed the subprime bubble.
The White House is also eyeing already-risky minority small-business loans for CRA monitoring, opening up a whole new can of financial worms.
We are seeing the fruits of all this "post-racial" racialism, and they are rotten.