More White House involvement in New Black Panther-DOJ scandal than first thought?

Ed Lasky
On election day in 2008, the New Black Panther Party had a group of people intimidating voters in Philadelphia. The case was a slam dunk: there is a video of the Party members outside the polling place; dressed in military-style uniforms while one is waving a truncheon.  Racial epithets were hurled at prospective voters, including the elderly.

The Department of Justice filed suit, the New Black Panther Party did not deny the charges, the court entered a default judgment and department lawyers were preparing a list of sanctions. Instead, lawyers at the Civil Rights Division were ordered to drop the lawsuit against the party and all but one defendant (who got away with an injunction that would not prevent him from repeating the same violation in the future). This was among the first indications that Eric Holder would use the Department of Justice in a biased way (here are some others).

The DoJ has continued this pattern of conduct in other racially influenced ways. Meanwhile the DOJ has stonewalled numerous subpoenas from Congress and the US Civil Rights

Now, Hans Spakovsky has revealed that the involvement of the White House in the travesty of justice involving the Black Panthers may be far more extensive than once thought. By examining the schedule of visitor logs to the White House and significant dates in the saga of the Black Panther case, he builds a case -- at least circumstantially -- that political appointees, as well as a White House deputy counsel with close ties to Barack Obama, were closely involved in allowing the Black Panther party members to basically get off scot-free.


No wonder Holder and the White House wants to bury the controversy -- even if it means sacrificing the career of a long-term DOJ attorney who was pursuing the case.


In reviewing the data, keep in mind that internal DOJ memos and news reports establish that the career lawyers in the Voting Section working on the case were overruled by Obama political appointees. But who exactly was involved? The Washington Times reported that Associate Attorney General Thomas Perrelli, the No. 3 official at Justice, "was consulted and ultimately approved a decision in May to reverse course and drop a civil complaint." The DOJ has not denied this, but it also won't say if Perrelli was the highest official involved.

Loretta King, the acting assistant attorney general for civil rights, was also involved in ordering the career Voting Section lawyers to dismiss the suit and was in communication with Perrelli. So what else can we piece together?

The newly released White House records show a series of meetings between Perrelli and the then White House deputy counsel, Cassandra Butts, some also involving Spencer Overton, the deputy assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Policy at the Justice Department. All of these Obama political appointees were actively involved with voting issues in their previous jobs.

Perrelli was extensively involved in some of the Democratic Party's biggest redistricting fights as a private attorney. Butts used to work at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and has described herself as being "as close to Barack as anyone in law school." When Butts was at the Center for American Progress, she complained on CAP's blog about John Ashcroft allowing conservative views to influence decisions in the Civil Rights Division and specifically the Voting Section.

Spencer Overton is a George Washington University Law School professor who considers himself an "expert" on the Voting Rights Act and is one of the most partisan individuals in the so-called "vote reform" community. He has relentlessly attacked Republicans as "vote suppressors" and "intimidators" in demagogic publications like Stealing Democracy: The New Politics of Voter Suppression.



Spakovsky prepared a time line worth perusing that shows a pattern of visits to the White House by DOJ lawyers , followed closely by steps that led to the case being dropped, subpoenas denied, the lead lawyer pursuing the matter "transferred", and other highly suspicious acts that amount to roadblocks being put in place to derail those trying to get to the bottom of this scandal. The White House is working with the Department of Justice to place a thumb - no a hand - on the scales of justice to favor one group, and one political party, over another in America. This is Nixonian, raised to a higher power.


So much for transparency. Fortunately, Hans Spakovsky and others (Jennifer Rubin at Commentary, Fox News, the Washington Times) are trying to make issues more transparent for us, because we know the administration is not, and we know mainstream media is not either.

On election day in 2008, the New Black Panther Party had a group of people intimidating voters in Philadelphia. The case was a slam dunk: there is a video of the Party members outside the polling place; dressed in military-style uniforms while one is waving a truncheon.  Racial epithets were hurled at prospective voters, including the elderly.

The Department of Justice filed suit, the New Black Panther Party did not deny the charges, the court entered a default judgment and department lawyers were preparing a list of sanctions. Instead, lawyers at the Civil Rights Division were ordered to drop the lawsuit against the party and all but one defendant (who got away with an injunction that would not prevent him from repeating the same violation in the future). This was among the first indications that Eric Holder would use the Department of Justice in a biased way (here are some others).

The DoJ has continued this pattern of conduct in other racially influenced ways. Meanwhile the DOJ has stonewalled numerous subpoenas from Congress and the US Civil Rights

Now, Hans Spakovsky has revealed that the involvement of the White House in the travesty of justice involving the Black Panthers may be far more extensive than once thought. By examining the schedule of visitor logs to the White House and significant dates in the saga of the Black Panther case, he builds a case -- at least circumstantially -- that political appointees, as well as a White House deputy counsel with close ties to Barack Obama, were closely involved in allowing the Black Panther party members to basically get off scot-free.


No wonder Holder and the White House wants to bury the controversy -- even if it means sacrificing the career of a long-term DOJ attorney who was pursuing the case.


In reviewing the data, keep in mind that internal DOJ memos and news reports establish that the career lawyers in the Voting Section working on the case were overruled by Obama political appointees. But who exactly was involved? The Washington Times reported that Associate Attorney General Thomas Perrelli, the No. 3 official at Justice, "was consulted and ultimately approved a decision in May to reverse course and drop a civil complaint." The DOJ has not denied this, but it also won't say if Perrelli was the highest official involved.

Loretta King, the acting assistant attorney general for civil rights, was also involved in ordering the career Voting Section lawyers to dismiss the suit and was in communication with Perrelli. So what else can we piece together?

The newly released White House records show a series of meetings between Perrelli and the then White House deputy counsel, Cassandra Butts, some also involving Spencer Overton, the deputy assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Policy at the Justice Department. All of these Obama political appointees were actively involved with voting issues in their previous jobs.

Perrelli was extensively involved in some of the Democratic Party's biggest redistricting fights as a private attorney. Butts used to work at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and has described herself as being "as close to Barack as anyone in law school." When Butts was at the Center for American Progress, she complained on CAP's blog about John Ashcroft allowing conservative views to influence decisions in the Civil Rights Division and specifically the Voting Section.

Spencer Overton is a George Washington University Law School professor who considers himself an "expert" on the Voting Rights Act and is one of the most partisan individuals in the so-called "vote reform" community. He has relentlessly attacked Republicans as "vote suppressors" and "intimidators" in demagogic publications like Stealing Democracy: The New Politics of Voter Suppression.



Spakovsky prepared a time line worth perusing that shows a pattern of visits to the White House by DOJ lawyers , followed closely by steps that led to the case being dropped, subpoenas denied, the lead lawyer pursuing the matter "transferred", and other highly suspicious acts that amount to roadblocks being put in place to derail those trying to get to the bottom of this scandal. The White House is working with the Department of Justice to place a thumb - no a hand - on the scales of justice to favor one group, and one political party, over another in America. This is Nixonian, raised to a higher power.


So much for transparency. Fortunately, Hans Spakovsky and others (Jennifer Rubin at Commentary, Fox News, the Washington Times) are trying to make issues more transparent for us, because we know the administration is not, and we know mainstream media is not either.