“High-level” political officials interfered in NBPP case, forced withdrawal

The US Civil Rights Commission has concluded in an extensive report that the strange decision to dismiss a case the Department of Justice had won by default against a New Black Panther Party activist for voter intimidation came after the involvement of political appointees.  Furthermore, and most embarrassing, the 131-page report accuses the Department of Justice of attempting to cover up that involvement, and that the cover-up came from “high-level” officials in the DoJ.  The USCRC concludes that the Civil Rights Division is “at war with its core mission”:

The Justice Department has tried to hide the involvement of high-level political officials in the dismissal of a controversial voter-intimidation lawsuit against members of the New Black Panther Party, a federal commission concluded in a draft report.

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights said the department’s reversal in the case, which drew criticism from conservatives, indicates that its Civil Rights Division is failing to protect white voters and is “at war with its core mission of guaranteeing equal protection of the laws for all Americans.” …

The commission’s draft report said the department’s “repeated attempts to obscure” the involvement of political appointees in the dismissal “raise questions about what the Department is trying to hide. ”

The report accuses the Justice Department of stonewalling the commission’s investigation and of failing to turn over key documents and make witnesses available. Schmaler disputed that, saying the department provided more than 4,000 pages of documents.

The news comes at a particularly and obviously bad time for the White House.  One of the more secondary messages this election cycle from Democrats was a claim that a new Republican majority in the House would do nothing but conduct vendettas against the Obama administration.  Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) would become the chair of the Oversight Committee and already has this case on his radar.  This report strongly suggests that Congress needs to start demanding accountability from the executive branch, and that Democrats have utterly failed in their constitutional duty to provide it.

It also poses a conundrum for all of those who screamed about the politicization of the Department of Justice during the Bush administration.  The claims centered on the requests for resignations of political appointees in order to emphasize a focus on vote fraud, which critics charged was an abuse of power — even though political appointees serve at the pleasure of the President at all times, with the exception of the judiciary.  Now we have solid evidence of not just politicization of prosecution decisions, but a political cover-up as well.  Will we get the same level of demands for inquiries now?

And I’m not just talking about elected officials, either.  Will the media give this the kind of coverage that a political cover-up deserves?