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  • Latest ridiculous Coons smear ties him to "black liberation theology" through group led by Desmond Tutu

    Blog ››› ››› TERRY KREPEL

    It's more than a month until Election Day, but it seems conservatives are already scraping the bottom of the barrel for baseless attacks on Democratic Delaware Senate candidate Chris Coons.

    First up is Jeffrey Lord of The American Spectator. Lord -- who we last saw trying to parse whether Shirley Sherrod was "lying" about a relative being lynched because only two people were involved in the act, a position so ridiculous that even his fellow Spectator writers wouldn't back him up -- attacked Coons' work as a college student with the South African Council of Churches. Why? Because Coons was "emerging as a leftist," and thus "decided he had some sort of obvious attraction to the work of SACC," which "support[ed] Black Liberation Theology." Things get tangential from here, as Lord plays Six Degrees of Black Liberation Theology (with a brief stop at Rev. Jeremiah Wright) to depict the SACC has having "pro-Marxist, pro-socialist, anti-capitalist views." Lord proclaimed, "Now, the liberation theology chickens that Chris Coons was supporting in Africa have come home to roost in America."

    Lord overlooks a few things. Like: What is the one thing people think of when they think of South Africa in the 1980s? Apartheid. And what was one of the leading groups fighting apartheid in that country? The South African Council of Churches. Bishop Desmond Tutu, a prominent anti-apartheid leader and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, is a former secretary-general of SACC, and Nelson Mandela praised the group as being among those who "resisted racial bigotry and held out a vision of a different, transformed South Africa."

    Isn't it more logical that Coons was attracted to working for the SACC over its anti-apartheid stance? Yep. Does Lord make that connection? Nope -- he's too invested in his convoluted conspiracy theory.

  • A "true member of the team": Coates defends Schlozman's hiring moves

    Blog ››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

    Christopher Coates testified before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights that he believed he was the individual Bradley Schlozman identified as a "true member of the team" during the highly politicized Bush Justice Department.

    In January, The American Prospect's Adam Serwer reported:

    At first glance, Coates' extensive experience with voting rights -- he first worked for the American Civil Liberties Union and later the Justice Department -- made him look like just another career attorney. But Coates' current and former colleagues at the Justice Department say Coates underwent an ideological conversion shortly after a black lawyer in the Voting Rights Section, Gilda Daniels, was promoted to deputy section chief over him in July of 2000. Outraged, Coates filed a complaint alleging he was passed up for the job because he is white. The matter was settled internally.

    "He thought he should have been hired instead of her," said one former official in the Voting Section. "That had an impact on his views ... he became more conservative over time."

    Coates' star rose during the Bush administration, during which he was promoted to principal deputy section chief. While not mentioned by name, Coates has been identified by several current and former Justice Department officials as the anonymous Voting Section lawyer, referred to in the joint Inspector General/Office of Professional Responsibility report, that Schlozman recommended for an immigration judge position. Immigration judges have jurisdiction over whether or not foreign nationals are deported. In his letter to Monica Goodling, a former senior counsel to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales who was implicated in the scandal involving politicized hiring, Schlozman wrote of Coates:

    Don't be dissuaded by his ACLU work on voting matters from years ago. This is a very different man, and particularly on immigration issues, he is a true member of the team. [The American Prospect, 1/8/10]

    The Justice Department Office of Professional Responsibility and Inspector General's office concluded in a 2008 report that Schlozman violated federal law and DOJ policy by using political ideology to guide personnel decisions, pointing out that he discussed removing "disloyal" "liberals" while hiring conservative "real Americans."

    Today, Coates defended those hiring practices, saying:

    Mr. Schlozman found a Civil Rights Division that was almost totally left-liberal in the basis of the ideology of the people who were working in it, and that he made some concerted effort to diversify the division so that conservatives as well as liberals could find work there.

  • Christopher Coates and "the height of hypocrisy"

    Blog ››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

    Justice Department attorney Christopher Coates testified today that the Bush-era DOJ ignored his recommendation to investigate allegations that armed agents in Mississippi intimidated black voters.

    Coates, who wanted the DOJ under Obama to pursue additional voter-intimidation charges against members of the New Black Panther Party, testified today before the conservative-dominated U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. The Republican vice chairwoman of the commission has criticized the inquiry as part of a "wild notion" conservatives on the commission have to "topple" the Obama administration.

    During the hearing, Coates testified that in 2005, Bradley Schlozman overrode his recommendation to continue investigating claims that officials in the Mississippi Attorney General's office intimidated black voters:

    COMMISSIONER MICHAEL YAKI: You were also there in 2005. There were allegations that investigators for the State of Mississippi who were armed went into the homes of elderly, minority voters, in municipal elections asking them who they voted for. Generally for them, they felt very intimidated. I believe that a complaint was relayed to the Civil Rights Division. Can you tell me what the disposition of that complaint was?

    COATES: Yes. And since Mr. Perez talked about that in his testimony, I'm going to talk about that, too. I was in charge of that investigation as the principal deputy. And we interviewed African-American voters in Panola - the name or that jurisdiction is Panola County Mississippi. We interviewed telephonically witnesses who had some investigators from the Attorney General's office come in. They were doing a voter fraud investigation. They asked these people they interviewed for whom they voted.

    There is a Mississippi law that prohibits that except in very special circumstances. Judge Lee, for example, in the Ike Brown case would not let lawyers on either side ask for whom people voted. We did that investigation, and I recommended that we do a complete investigation in Panola County, because I felt that those questions were inappropriate and improper, and it was not a way to conduct, properly conduct a voting fraud investigation. My recommendation in that regard was not followed, and the matter was not followed up.

    YAKI: Who did you send the recommendation to?

    COATES: Mr. Schlozman.

    The Justice Department Office of Professional Responsibility and Inspector General's office concluded in its 2008 report that Schlozman improperly politicized ideology in making personnel decisions and discussed removing "disloyal" "liberals" while hiring conservative "real Americans."

  • Megyn Kelly does not want her viewers to know what the DOJ actually does

    Blog ››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

    Megyn Kelly predictably jumped all over reports that Justice Department attorney Christopher Coates would testify before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights tomorrow about the department's handling of a voter-intimidation case against members of the New Black Panther Party. Kelly called this development a "bombshell" that could show that the DOJ is not enforcing voting rights laws equally based on race -- but she made no mention of the DOJ's actual work enforcing voting laws against black defendants.

    Kelly hearkened back to her interviews earlier this summer with right-wing activist J. Christian Adams, who has claimed that there is a "hostility in the voting rights section" of the Justice Department "to bringing cases on behalf of white victims for the benefit of national racial minorities." Fox News -- Megyn Kelly in particular -- relentlessly fanned these flames throughout the summer. Coates' decision to testify was no exception:

    That testimony could potentially be damaging to DOJ officials who have testified before that same commission under oath that the Department of Justice does not have a policy of enforcing voting right laws unequally, depending on the race of the parties involved.

    That's a rather extraordinary allegation that Coates might attempt to corroborate tomorrow. But it's an allegation that is in no way sustainable given the actual actions of the Justice Department -- actions that Megyn Kelly routinely ignores.

  • Don't blame me, I "vote[d]" for the unqualified "flake" with the "checkered background"

    ››› ››› ERIC SCHROECK

    Right-wing media figures have called GOP senatorial candidate Christine O'Donnell "a bit of a flake," not "qualified as [a] leader," and someone with a "checkered background" who does not "evince the characteristics of rectitude and truthfulness and sincerity and character." Nevertheless, these media figures have endorsed O'Donnell because, in the words of Karl Rove: "I'm for the Republicans in each and every case."

  • Fox News gets early start on promotion of GOP's "Pledge"

    Blog ››› ››› SEAN EASTER

    House Republicans won't release the party's "Pledge to America," a series of proposals in foreign and fiscal policy, until tomorrow morning. That hasn't stopped Fox News from getting started promoting the package this evening.

    The network featured more than 17 minutes of coverage tonight from 6 p.m. ET through 11 p.m. ET.

    Special Report led with coverage of the proposal and provided a panel discussion of the topic, for a total of over 11 minutes of airtime devoted to the GOP proposal. Sean Hannity outlined the Republican proposal and discussed it with Fox News political analyst Karl Rove (His response? "I like it.") The Fox Report also touched on the story.

    Adding this to the network's to its recent history of playing sounding board and fundraiser for conservative candidates, and its clear that Fox isn't backing away from its role as the GOP's faithful communications arm.