J. Christian Adams and Hans Von Spakovsky, the chief proponents of the New Black Panther Party manufactured scandal, have branded as “uber-political” “militant leftist partisan[s],” “hyper-Democratic loyalist[s],” and “liberal ideologues” those who disagree with their interpretation of the Justice Department's handling of the case. This is ironic given their own partisan and ideological records.
DOJ's Ethics Office Found That The NBPP Trial Team And Career Lawyers Who Overruled Them Acted In Good Faith...
OPR: Decision To Both Initiate And Dismiss Case Against Several Defendant Was Based “Upon A Good Faith Assessment Of The Facts And The Law.” From a letter from the Office of Professional Responsibility's Robin Ashton to Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) detailing the results of OPR's investigation into the Justice Department's handling of the NBPP case:
Based on the results of our investigation, we concluded that Department attorneys did not commit professional misconduct or exercise poor judgment, but rather acted appropriately, in the exercise of their supervisory duties in connection with the dismissal of the three defendants in the NBPP case. We found no evidence that the decision to dismiss the case against three of the four defendants was predicated on political considerations. We found that the decision by the Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, a career Department employee, was made following appropriate consultations with, or notification to, career attorneys and supervisors, and Department leadership. We found no evidence of improper political interference or influence from within or outside the Department in connection with the decision in the case. In sum, we concluded that the decision to dismiss three of the four defendants and to seek more narrowly-tailored injunctive relief against King Samir Shabazz was predicated on a good faith assessment of the law and the facts of the case and had a reasonable basis. We found no evidence that political considerations were a motivating factor in reaching the decision.
We also concluded that the decision to initiate the NBPP case was based upon a good faith assessment of the facts and the law. We found no evidence that political considerations were a motivating factor in authorizing the civil action against the four defendants.
Finally, we found no evidence to support allegations (which were raised during the course of our investigation) that the decision makers, either in bringing or dismissing the claims, were influence by the race of the defendants, or any considerations other than an assessment of the evidence and the applicable law. [OPR letter, 3/29/11, via TPM Media]
... But To Adams And Von Spakovsky, Only Partisanship And Ideology Can Explain Disagreements
Holder is Attorney General of the United States.
Adams: Holder Is “A Potent Symbol Of Leftist Extremism,” In Part Due To Lack Of Response To The NBPP Case. In a November 20, 2010, Pajamas Media article, Adams wrote:
President Obama's supporters should hope Attorney General Eric Holder resigns. His embarrassing tenure has given Republicans a potent symbol of leftist extremism combined with comic incompetence. ... No matter how difficult it is for them to toss Eric Holder overboard, the deed must be done. Otherwise, Holder's incompetence and radicalism will fuel the run-up to the next presidential election. ... Eric Holder could have overruled King and the other presidential appointees. He could have ordered the lawyers to get a stiff remedy against the anti-Semitic New Black Panthers. But he didn't. [Pajamas Media, 11/30/10]
Von Spakovsky: Holder Is “Uber-Political.” In a January 26 National Review article the appointment of Robin Ashton to lead the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility, which at the time was investigating the New Black Panther Party case, Von Spakovsky wrote: “Perhaps because the über-political Holder wants to solidify the liberal bias that already pervades OPR and thereby ensure that the political machinations of his minions are glossed over (if not outright ignored).” [National Review, 1/26/11]
Von Spakovsky: Holder Has Allowed DOJ To Act On NBPP Case “For Nakedly Political Reasons.” From Von Spakovsky's June 9, 2009, Wall Street Journal op-ed:
When Eric Holder became U.S. attorney general, he promised to administer the law in an objective, nonpolitical manner. So it's disappointing that the Justice Department had spent the last several months misinterpreting key voting rights laws for nakedly political reasons.
Exhibit A: Justice's inexplicable dismissal of a civil lawsuit for voter intimidation against the New Black Panther Party. [Wall Street Journal, 6/9/09]
Civil Rights Division
Adams: Civil Rights Division Is “A Beacon” For “The Craziest, Most Leftist Crackpot Attorneys.” During his February 12 appearance at a panel at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Adams said: “The Civil Rights Division is the most politicized part of DOJ in my opinion. It's a magnet, a beacon for some of the craziest, most leftist crackpot attorneys and staff inside the entire federal government.” [CPAC panel, 2/12/11, via Media Matters]
Von Spakovsky: Civil Rights Division Is Filled With “Liberal Ideologues.” In his January 26 National Review article, Von Spakovsky wrote, “the same kinds of liberal ideologues who inhabit the career ranks of the Civil Rights Division also fill many of the career-attorney slots at OPR.” [National Review, 1/26/11]
Von Spakovsky: There Are “Liberal Ideologues In The Voting Section Who Oppose Race-Neutral Enforcement Of The Voting Rights Act.” In a March 17 National Review article, Von Spakovsky wrote: “The liberal ideologues in the Voting Section who oppose race-neutral enforcement of the Voting Rights Act are angry over the pursuit of the New Black Panther case and the Ike Brown case (the first DOJ case ever won under the Voting Rights Act against a black defendant).” [National Review, 3/17/11]
Office of Professional Responsibility
Adams: OPR Isn't An “Impartial Shop.” From a March 16 Pajamas Media article by Adams:
The New Black Panther fix is in. I have learned through sources inside and outside the Department of Justice that the long-awaited internal report on the New Black Panther voter intimidation dismissal is done, and sensible Americans aren't going to be happy.
The whitewash is authored by the DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR). While it sounds like an impartial shop, it isn't. In January 2009, Attorney General Michael Mukasey blasted the draft OPR report about the John Yoo and James Bybee terror interrogation investigation as a “hatchet job.” OPR tried to ram through their sloppy work in the final days of the Bush administration and General Mukasey would have none of it. The repudiation was consistent with OPR's sordid history of omitting relevant investigative facts and inventing legal standards that don't exist. [Pajamas Media, 3/16/11]
Von Spakovsky: “Liberal Bias ... Pervades OPR.” In his January 26 National Review article, Von Spakovsky wrote that Ashton's appointment to OPR would help Holder “solidify the liberal bias that already pervades OPR and thereby ensure that the political machinations of his minions are glossed over (if not outright ignored).” [National Review, 1/26/11]
Von Spakovsky: OPR Is Filled With “Liberal Ideologues.” In his January 26 National Review article, Von Spakovsky wrote, “the same kinds of liberal ideologues who inhabit the career ranks of the Civil Rights Division also fill many of the career-attorney slots at OPR.” [National Review, 1/26/11]
Ashton serves as head of the Office of Professional Responsibility.
Adams: “Militant Leftist Partisan” Ashton Conducted An OPR “Whitewash.” From a March 16 Pajamas Media article by Adams:
The New Black Panther fix is in. I have learned through sources inside and outside the Department of Justice that the long-awaited internal report on the New Black Panther voter intimidation dismissal is done, and sensible Americans aren't going to be happy. ... The whitewash is authored by the DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR). ... But OPR is now headed by Robin Ashton. Ashton, according to multiple sources who have worked alongside her, is a militant leftist partisan. [Pajamas Media, 3/16/11]
Von Spakovsky: Ashton Is A “Hyper-Democratic Loyalist.” In a January 26 National Review article, Von Spakovsky wrote: “Why, given the well-deserved black eye that OPR has suffered over the last year for its politically tilted investigations, would Holder appoint a hyper-Democratic loyalist such as Ashton to run the office?” [National Review, 1/26/11]
Von Spakovsky: Ashton Is A “Left-Wing Democratic-Party Loyalist.” In a March 17 National Review article, Von Spakovsky said: “Over Christmas, Attorney General Eric Holder appointed left-wing Democratic-party loyalist Robin Ashton to head up the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), which is supposed to investigate ethics violations by DOJ lawyers.” [National Review, 3/17/11]
King is a deputy assistant attorney general in the DOJ's Civil Rights Division.
Adams: DOJ Attorney King Is An “Incompetent Partisan.” In a November 20, 2010, Pajamas Media article, Adams wrote: “Loretta King is the same incompetent partisan involved in dismissing the slam-dunk voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party. King also once told another assembled section in the Civil Rights Division that she was a proud beneficiary of affirmative action. You'd never guess.” [Pajamas Media, 11/30/10]
Von Spakovsky: King Is “One Of The Biggest Political Hacks In The Division.” In a March 9, 2010, National Review article, Von Spakovsky wrote:
King is, as I have stated before, one of the biggest political hacks in the Division (and that's saying something). Anyone with even a fleeting familiarity with the New Black Panther Party fiasco from earlier this year knows that King was in the middle of one of the most egregious acts of crass partisanship and racial politics in the Division's history. There is little doubt that King is guided almost exclusively by partisan politics. [National Review, 3/9/10]
Kappelhoff is chief of the Criminal Section of the DOJ's Civil Rights Division.
Von Spakovsky: Lawyer Who Did Not Recommend a Criminal Case Against The Panthers Was A “Liberal Loyalist” With “Very Liberal Ideology.” From a July 13, 2010, post on the National Review blog The Corner:
Indeed, the person who would have been responsible for making a recommendation on whether to file a subsequent criminal charge against the individual New Black Panther defendants was Mark Kappelhoff, the “career” chief of the Criminal Section and a former ACLU lawyer. Besides being a big contributor to Democratic candidates like Barack Obama and John Kerry, as well as the DNC, Kappelhoff was considered such a liberal loyalist that he was moved into the political position of chief of staff to the acting assistant attorney general for civil rights by the Obama transition team almost as soon as they came in the door.
Sources tell me that Kappelhoff never recommended a criminal case against the baton-yielding thugs, so the claim that the Bush administration is somehow responsible for “downgrading” this case is complete nonsense. This is no surprise, given Kappelhoff's very liberal ideology, and given his associations: In this photo, taken at a dinner of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights in May of 2009, he can be seen to the right of Julie Fernandes, the deputy assistant attorney general for civil rights who is now at the center of controversy. [The Corner, 7/13/10]
Fernandes is a deputy assistant attorney general in the DOJ's Civil Rights Division.
Von Spakovsky: “When It Comes To Sheer Single-Minded Partisanship... No One Is Even In The Same League” As Fernandes. In a March 9, 2010, National Review article, Von Spakovsky wrote:
When it comes to sheer single-minded partisanship, however, no one is even in the same league as Julie Fernandes. Straight out of law school, Julie worked for the ACLU on race and poverty issues, and her liberal activism has grown stronger ever since. ... It was Fernandes who stripped the former chief of the Voting Section, Christopher Coates, the career lawyer who recommended the lawsuit against the New Black Panther Party, of all almost all of his managerial responsibilities. [National Review, 3/9/10]
Adams And Von Spakovsky Have Their Own Long Partisan Records
Adams Reportedly Filed Ethics Complaint Against Hugh Rodham That Was Dismissed. In a February 26, 2001, Washington Times column, John McCaslin cited a formal ethics complaint filed by Adams against Hugh Rodham, brother of then-Sen. Hillary Clinton. [Washington Times, 2/26/01, accessed via Nexis]
- Adams Claimed Rodham “Put His Florida Law License 'In Jeopardy.'” On February 24, 2001, The Washington Times reported that “Adams said Mr. Rodham put his Florida law license 'in jeopardy' with an admission that he accepted a contingency fee in obtaining the commutation for Carlos Vignali, the convicted drug dealer released from prison after serving six years of a 15-year sentence.” [Washington Times, 2/24/01, accessed via Nexis]
- Florida Bar Cleared Rodham. A July 22, 2001, New York Times article reported, “The Florida bar has cleared Hugh Rodham of violating legal ethics.” [New York Times, 7/22/01, accessed via Nexis]
Adams Reportedly Volunteered With GOP Group That “Trains Lawyers To Fight On The Front Lines Of Often Racially Tinged Battles Over Voting Rights.” The legal news website Main Justice reported:
Before coming to the Justice Department, Adams volunteered with the National Republican Lawyers Association, an offshoot of the Republican National Committee that trains lawyers to fight on the front lines of often racially tinged battles over voting rights. [MainJustice.com, 12/2/09]
Adams Reportedly Was A Bush Campaign Poll Watcher In Florida. The Main Justice article further reported: “In 2004, Adams served as a Bush campaign poll watcher in Florida, where he was critical of a black couple for not accepting a provisional ballot in early voting after officials said they had no record of the couple's change of address forms, according to Bloomberg News. Democratic poll watchers had advised voters not to accept provisional ballots because of the risk they could be discounted under Florida law, Bloomberg reported.” [MainJustice.com, 12/2/09]
Adams Likened Obama To Appeasers Who Caused “Carnage” Of WWII. In an October 30, 2009, American Spectator piece, Adams wrote: “President Obama's received his Peace Prize, according to the Nobel Committee, for his 'efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between nations.' Norman Angell's Nobel was awarded for similar reasons.” Adams went on to blame Angell's ideas for World War II:
The 1933 Peace Prize winner profoundly influenced British policy in ways that led directly to German tanks rolling into Poland in September 1939. War did not break out because nations ignored Angell's advice; instead, the ensuing carnage in Europe happened because European democracies made Angell's ideas government policy.
Adams concluded: “Churchill, responding directly to Angell, asked 'who is the man vain enough to suppose that the long antagonisms of history and of time can in all circumstances be adjusted by the smooth and superficial conventions of politicians and ambassadors?' The Nobel Committee may have answered Sir Winston's query for the 21st century.” [American Spectator, 10/30/09]
Adams Now Appearing At Summits For Group That “Critics Said Trained Poll Watchers Who Intimidated Voters.” TPM Media reported:
A Texas Tea Party group that critics said trained poll watchers who intimidated voters in neighborhoods with large minority populations last year is launching a nationwide effort to put an end to what they say is the massive problem of voter fraud.
True the Vote, an outgrowth of the King Street Patriots group, held a “Texas Summit” at the beginning of the month featuring prominent anti-voter fraud speakers J. Christian Adams (a former DOJ lawyer who resigned over its handling of the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case) and Anita Moncrief, who was fired from the community organized group ACORN for allegedly misusing a credit card and then became a critic of the group.
Both will be featured at an upcoming National Summit on March 25 and 26 which is being hosted in Houston. [TPM Media, 1/24/11]
Adams Was A Panelist At The Right-Wing Convention CPAC. From the Conservative Political Action Conference's (CPAC) schedule of events:
[CPAC 2011 Schedule of Events, The American Conservative Union, accessed 1/31/11]
Former Voting Rights Section Chief: Adams Is “Exhibit A Of The Type Of People Hired By Schlozman.” A July 6, 2010, article on Main Justice reported that Joseph Rich, former head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division Voting Section, said that Adams “was hired in the Civil Rights Division Voting Section under a process the DOJ Inspector General later determined was improperly influenced by politics,” by Bush DOJ political appointee Douglas Schlozman. Main Justice further reported:
Rich said Schlozman asked him to attend an interview with J. Christian Adams, a solo practitioner from Alexandria, Va., who had worked for the Secretary of State in South Carolina. Adams had also volunteered for the Republican National Lawyers Association, a GOP-funded group that sought to draw attention to voting fraud.
Adams did not have an extensive background in civil rights, Rich said, but may have had limited voting rights experience from his time in South Carolina. “He is exhibit A of the type of people hired by Schlozman,” Rich said.
Rich said he sat in on the interview, but Schlozman asked most of the questions. There was no discussion of Adams' political background at the meeting, according to Rich. Adams was offered the position shortly thereafter, and Rich said he doesn't believe anyone else was interviewed for the job.
“I was invited to the interview but was never asked for a recommendation,” Rich said. “This was an example of the way things were being done. There's no evidence that this was a normal hiring process.” As a supervisor, Rich said, he normally would have been involved in hiring decisions. [MainJustice.com, 7/6/10]
DOJ IG “Found That Schlozman Considered Political And Ideological Affiliations When Hiring... In Violation Of Department Policy And Federal Law.” A July 2008 report from the Department of Justice Inspector General's Office and the Office of Professional Responsibility concluded that Schlozman “considered political and ideological affiliations when hiring and taking other personnel actions relating to career attorneys in violation of Department policy and federal law.” The report concluded:
The evidence in our investigation showed that Schlozman, first as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General and subsequently as Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General and Acting Assistant Attorney General, considered political and ideological affiliations in hiring career attorneys and in other personnel actions affecting career attorneys in the Civil Rights Division. In doing so, he violated federal law -- the Civil Service Reform Act -- and Department policy that prohibit discrimination in federal employment based on political and ideological affiliations, and committed misconduct. The evidence also showed that Division managers failed to exercise sufficient oversight to ensure that Schlozman did not engage in inappropriate hiring and personnel practices. Moreover, Schlozman made false statements about whether he considered political and ideological affiliations when he gave sworn testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee and in his written responses to supplemental questions from the Committee. [IG/OPR report, “An Investigation of Allegations of Politicized Hiring and Other Improper Personnel Actions in the Civil Rights Division,” 7/2/08]
Schlozman Is Said To Have Picked Attorneys Who “Lacked Relevant Experience” And “Rarely Expressed Any Interest In Civil Rights Enforcement.” The IG/OPR report stated that Special Litigation Section Chief Shanetta Cutlar “said that the applicants whose résumés she reviewed after they had been culled from the applicant pool by Schlozman or others in the front office typically reflected membership in conservative organizations. She also said the most striking thing she noticed about the résumés was that the applicants generally lacked relevant experience. She said Schlozman minimized the importance of prior civil rights or human rights work experience.” In addition, the report states:
Former Criminal Section Chief [Albert] Moskowitz also said the candidates for career positions chosen by Schlozman had conservative political or ideological affiliations and rarely had any civil rights background, rarely expressed any interest in civil rights enforcement, and had very little or no federal criminal experience. [IG/OPR report, “An Investigation of Allegations of Politicized Hiring and Other Improper Personnel Actions in the Civil Rights Division,” 7/2/08]
Von Spakovsky Is Senior Legal Fellow At The Right Wing Heritage Foundation. According to his Heritage Foundation bio, “Hans von Spakovsky examines how civil justice is administered in state and federal courts as senior legal fellow in The Heritage Foundation's Center for Legal and Judicial Studies.” [Heritage.org, accessed 4/1/11]
Von Spakovsky Is A Frequent Contributor To The Right Wing National Review. Von Spakovsky has contributed numerous articles to National Review and posts to their blog The Corner dating back to 2008. [NationalReview.com, accessed 4/1/11]
Bush Recess-Appointed Von Spakovsky To The Federal Election Commission. [White House press release, 1/4/06]
Career DOJ Lawyers Urged His Rejection Stating He “Injected Partisan Political Factors Into Decision-Making.” In a letter to the chair and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, six former career members of DOJ's Voting Section, including former section chief Rich, wrote:
As former career professionals in the Voting Section of the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Decision, we urgeyou to reject the nomination of Hans A. von Spakovsky to the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Prior to his current role as a recess appointee to the FEC, Mr. von Spakovsky oversaw the Voting Section as Voting Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division from early in 2003 until December, 2005. While he was at the Civil Rights Division, Mr. von Spakovsky played a major role in the implementation of practices where which injected partisan political factors into decision-making on enforcement matters and into the hiring process, and included repeated efforts to intimidate career staff. [Letter from former DOJ staff, 7/11/07]
Von Spakovsky Was A Panelist At The Right-Wing Convention CPAC. From the Conservative Political Action Conference's (CPAC) schedule of events:
[CPAC 2011 Schedule of Events, The American Conservative Union, accessed 1/31/11]