WASHINGTON – A new report by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights regarding biases in civil rights enforcement at the U.S. Department of Justice is a step in the right direction, but members of the Project 21 black leadership network say a continued unwillingness by Obama Administration officials to cooperate with investigators proves the need for a special prosecutor to investigate the scandal-plagued department.
"Not for a lack of effort, the Civil Rights Commission's report was still only able to scratch the surface of a deeper problem. As I have previously pointed out, it will take someone with explicit investigative authority such as a special prosecutor to fully unearth the apparent abuses at the Justice Department," said Project 21 chairman Mychal Massie. "There are only so many reasons why Eric Holder's Justice Department is refusing to answer the questions and concerns about charges of racial prejudices against those not black or Hispanic. All speak to an intense politicization of the entire Obama Administration. To tacitly deny the constitutional guarantees of equal protection from discrimination based on race, as is alleged, is unconscionable."
In letters sent to President Barack Obama on December 4, 2009 and July 12, 2010, Project 21 chairman Massie asked for the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate charges of bias in the handling of voting rights cases, specifically one against members of the New Black Panther Party related to Election Day 2008.
The Civil Rights Commission's 144-page report, completed in November and adopted by the board by a 5-2 vote, was posted on the Commission's web site last weekend. It notes "numerous specific examples of open hostility and opposition" to race-neutral enforcement of cases in the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.
Instances are cited within the report in which Justice Department lawyers refused to work on cases involving white plaintiffs (and criticism of those who did) and how those promoting an atmosphere of intolerance were elevated to leadership positions during the Obama presidency.
Additionally, the report notes that the Obama Administration continues to fail to address specific charges by issuing "assurances [that] do not confirm, deny or explain" lingering questions. Many of the documents provided to investigators were also already public or did not address the Commission's specific inquiries.
"This is a harsh indictment of the prism through which it would appear the Obama Justice Department views discrimination," added Project 21's Massie.
All of these things point to a continuing need for a special prosecutor to address charges made against the Justice Department, as explained in the letters from Massie to President Obama.
"The Civil Rights Commission should be commended for the hard work they have done to pry information out of a reluctant Obama Administration, and then wading through the evidence that was released to try to find the true nature of the problem," said Project 21 member Kevin Martin. "It's obvious that Eric Holder wants this issue to simply go away. It is a black eye for his tenure as Attorney General, as it seems more and more evident that politics has supplanted the rule of law at the Justice Department."
Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives since 1992, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research