Since the summer of 2010, the right-wing media has been obsessively promoting the absurd non-scandal involving the New Black Panther Party, in which the Obama Justice Department was alleged to have dropped voter intimidation charges against the fringe group owing to racial and political solidarity. One of the primary movers of this farce has been Jennifer Rubin, who authored one of the first reports on the story for The Weekly Standard and continued to write at length about DOJ's alleged perfidy at her Washington Post blog.
This month, the Justice Department's inspector general released the results of their investigation into the New Black Panthers affair and confirmed what everyone already knew to be true: the allegations against DOJ were bunk. Rubin is excitedly waving this report around, claiming it reflects poorly on President Obama's reported Labor Secretary nominee, and determinedly ignoring the parts that show pretty much every word she wrote about the New Black Panther story was rooted in falsehood.
Since the DOJ's Office of the Inspector General (OIG) released its report, Rubin has written two Washington Post blog posts touting its findings to attack Perez. In a March 12 post, she wrote: “I won't revisit all the behavior of the Obama Justice Department but a nearly-300 page report has been released by the administration's own inspector general. The IG went out of the way to be even-handed, even when there was substantial evidence of politicization.” The next day, she briefly referenced the OIG report's findings on the New Black Panther case, writing:
The IG declined to find a racial or political motive for dismissing the New Black Panther case but found actions surrounding that action “risked undermining confidence in the non-ideological enforcement of the voting rights laws.” In other words, it sure looked partisan.
Rubin's twisted construction of the IG “declin[ing] to find a racial or political motive” is fairly comical, given how invested Rubin was in the existence of those motives. Again, she was one of the main drivers of this story. She wrote a lengthy Weekly Standard article in June 2010 (before J. Christian Adams resigned from DOJ claiming racially charged “corruption” in the case, which blew up the story) alleging that the “Obama Justice Department went to bat for the New Black Panther party -- and then covered it up.” As the story slowly fell to pieces, Rubin held firm, insisting the critics were wrong. “The issue is whether a meritorious claim of voter intimidation was dismissed under pressure from left-leaning civil rights groups,” she wrote in January 2011, “and whether there is reason to believe there is a sentiment against a color-blind application of civil rights laws.”
By March 2011, we knew affirmatively that the allegations of racial preference at DOJ were false. The department's Office of Professional Responsibility investigated the matter and released their findings. According to the report, OPR “found no evidence that the decision to dismiss the case against three of the four defendants was predicated on political considerations,” and “no evidence that political considerations were a motivating factor in authorizing the civil action against the four defendants.”
Rubin, however, was undeterred. She lashed out at OPR, calling it “as unprofessional as it is biased,” and insisted that the report was wrong:
Frankly, in reporting in my pre-Post days and in subsequent reporting by The Post, there is ample evidence that voting section attorneys objected to enforcing civil rights laws against minority defendants(“my people,” as Eric Holder infamously put it). Yet the crack team at OPR apparently didn't find any evidence of this. (Do they subscribe to The Post?) [Right Turn, 4/3/2011]
The OIG report, however, not only confirms OPR's finding, it flatly debunks Rubin:
The OIG received allegations that Division leadership between 2009 and 2012 was hostile to “race neutral” enforcement of the voting rights laws and that the Voting Section would enforce Sections 2 and 11(b) of the Voting Rights Act only in “traditional” circumstances -- namely, to protect minorities as historical victims of discrimination -- and not against minority defendants or to protect White victims. We found insufficient evidence to conclude that Division leadership during this period had such a policy, or that the laws were enforced in a discriminatory manner to achieve that result.
The New Black Panthers case was a gigantic distraction, a manufactured controversy meant to stoke outrage and damage the Obama administration politically. We're only still talking about it because of adetermined effort on the part of conservative media figures, like Rubin, to force it into the news cycle. It's been debunked more times than should have been necessary, and the fact that Rubin is gingerly tip-toeing around the most recent dismantling of the fake story she helped will into existence is perhaps an indication that we're finally nearing the point of putting this nonsense to bed once and for all.