Ben Stein falsely claims no charges in the New Black Panther case

On February 1, Ben Stein falsely claimed that charges were not filed against “a gang of men calling themselves Black Panthers” outside a polling place on Election Day 2008 and that the decision not to prosecute was made by Attorney General Eric Holder. In fact, the Bush administration made the decision to file a civil complaint instead of criminal charges, and the Obama administration did not drop the civil case -- rather, the Justice Department “sought and obtained” the “maximum penalty” against one of the two individuals.

From Stein's February 1 American Spectator post:

During the last Presidential election, a gang of men calling themselves Black Panthers showed up at a polling place in Michigan. They threatened any voter who did not vote for Barack Obama. This was witnessed and documented. (I am suspicious of their involvement with the real Black Panthers, whom I knew well in New Haven, who had a little more finesse along with many, many faults.)

The bullying was barely reported in the media. Even though it is an unequivocal violation of voting rights laws, it was decided by Obama's Attorney General, Eric Holder, not to prosecute the case at all.


Meanwhile, no charges against those thugs with the clubs at the polling place.

Bush administration chose to file civil complaint, not criminal “charges,” against Panthers

Before President Bush left office, the Department of Justice filed a civil complaint asking for an injunction against the New Black Panther Party and some of its members. In a January 19 editorial, The Washington Times reported: “Career lawyers at the Justice Department decided as early as Dec. 22, 2008, to seek a complaint against the two Black Panthers onsite as well as Black Panther National Chairman Malik Zulu Shabazz and the New Black Panther Party as a whole. Mr. Shabazz and the party were charged with having 'managed, directed and endorsed the behavior, actions and statements' of the other two. The Justice Department formally filed the civil action on Jan. 7, 2009, with approval at the highest levels of the department.”

DOJ “sought and obtained” “maximum penalty” against one of the individuals

In December 3 testimony before the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, Department of Justice assistant attorney general Tom Perez testified that "[t]he case was not dismissed," and that the attorneys who reviewed the case “made the determination that, based on the law of the Third Circuit, that the case against the person who wielded the stick, that we should indeed seek the maximum penalty, and that maximum penalty was sought and obtained, and the case against the other defendant should be dismissed, and the case against the national party should also be dismissed.