In January, the Justice Dept filed a civil complaint against the New Black Panther Party. When the court date arrived In April, a federal judge had ordered default judgments against the Panthers after they refused to respond to the charges or appear in court, basically a guaranteed win.
The Justice Department was in the final stages of seeking sanctions when a delay in the proceedings was ordered by Loretta King, who was serving as a political appointee as the acting assistant attorney general.The Obama Justice Department sent a clear message to groups willing to resort to intimidation for the purpose of hijacking elections. They are free to harass Americans on their way to the voting booth as long as they are supporting the right candidate.
That ruling was issued after she met with Associate Attorney General Thomas J. Perrelli, the department's No. 3 political appointee, who approved the decision to dismiss the complaint, according to interviews with department officials who sought anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the case. (source)
According to the Washington Times,the US Commission on Civil Rights, a federal agency, has been investigating the Justice Department....trying to get to the bottom of why the charges were dropped. But the Attorney General of the "most transparent administration in history" is not cooperating.
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights on Friday demanded for the second time that the Justice Department explain its dismissal of charges against members of the New Black Panther Party who disrupted a Philadelphia polling place during the November elections, saying a previous response was "largely non-responsive" and "paints the department in a poor light."
In a letter to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., the commission said it is "answerable" to the president, Congress and the public to ensure that civil rights laws are enforced and that it had the authority to subpoena witnesses and documents to guarantee laws are being followed by federal agencies, including the Justice Department.
It also accused the department of failing to properly respond to members of Congress who have asked about the decision to dismiss the New Black Panther Party complaint, saying its responses to congressional inquiries also were "non-responsive" and contained "factual errors and ... questionable legal claims."
The commission's five-page letter also says the Justice Department's undated response, which was received June 20, did not answer the commission's most basic questions, "which impairs our duty to investigate potential voting deprivations and federal enforcement policies."
"We trust that your response to this letter will provide us with the information necessary to make significant progress in our investigation," the letter says.
Todd F. Gaziano, an independent member of the commission, said the Justice Department's response did not answer questions posed by the panel, adding that there were no examples, as requested, of any similar cases or any explanation of the legal standards used in judging the case.
"We are entitled to a complete and satisfactory explanation on how this decision was made," he said.....
According to the commission, the Justice Department's June 20 response, written by Portia Roberson, director of the Office of Intergovernmental and Public Liaison, provided none of the facts the commission needed to determine whether the New Black Panther Party voter-intimidation case was handled "consistently with others the department has investigated."
The commission says the Roberson letter provided no response as to whether there were any similar cases in which the department's Civil Rights Division had dismissed charges against a defendant accused of voter intimidation and that Ms. Roberson did not respond to its request for the department's evidentiary and legal standards for dismissing such charges.Either the Justice Department believes it made a mistake in dropping the case and is embarrassed or they are covering something up, either way its time for them to begin cooperating.
"If the department has no such standards, we would like to know that," the letter says.
The letters also says Ms. Roberson asserted that "the facts and law did not support pursuing" the complaint but provided "no factual or legal explanation why that is so."
The commission has asked Mr. Holder to "personally direct" the response or to appoint another senior member of the department to do so, a person who was not involved in the decision to either bring or to dismiss the New Black Panther Party complaint.
The letter was approved by Commission Chairman Gerald A. Reynolds, Vice Chairman Abigail Thernstrom and members Peter N. Kirsanow and Ashley L. Taylor Jr., all Republicans, and two independents, Mr. Gaziano and Gail Heriot. Democrats Arlan D. Melendez and Michael Yaki abstained.