A federal court at last has confirmed what most suspected all along: Political appointees were involved in the Obama Justice Department’s puzzling dismissal of a voter-intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party.Ah...Judicial Watch. Do I need to point out the millions of dollars in support ($8.74 million, much more than any other foundations - indeed more than all the other foundations combined) given to Judicial Watch by the foundations controlled by Trib owner, Richard Mellon Scaife?
The role of politics in Justice’s decision-making was widely questioned after the case was cut loose despite video evidence showing a party member brandishing a nightstick outside a Philadelphia polling place in 2008.
Judicial Watch sought answers, filing a Freedom of Information Act request for relevant documents. The Justice Department ignored it. The legal watchdog group then filed a lawsuit to obtain the records.
In a ruling awarding some litigation fees and costs sought by Judicial Watch, Judge Reggie B. Walton of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia noted that the group was right about politics’ role — and deception by a senior Justice official:
“The documents reveal that political appointees within DOJ were conferring about the status and resolution of the New Black Panther Party case in the days preceding ... (its) dismissal ... which would appear to contradict Assistant Attorney General (Thomas) Perez’s testimony that political leadership was not involved in that decision.”
I guess I do.
But let's take a look at what Perez said in his testimony. When asked whether any political appointees were involved in the decision not to pursue the case, he answered:
ASST. ATTY. GEN. PEREZ: No. The decisions were made by Loretta King in consultation with Steve Rosenbaum, who is the Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General.In this Judicial Watch decision, however, the court said:
The Court finds that the foregoing emails added, at least to some degree, “‘to the fund of information that citizens may use in making vital political choices.’” Cotton, 63 F.3d at 1120 (citation omitted). The documents reveal that political appointees within DOJ were conferring about the status and resolution of the New Black Panther Party case in the days preceding the DOJ’s dismissal of claims in that case, which would appear to contradict Assistant Attorney General Perez’s testimony that political leadership was not involved in that decision.Which is not exactly the same thing. More investigation is necessary to find out whether the "conferring" crossed the line into "involved" in the decision making." And that's completely valid.
It's also a far cry from saying that Perez lied.
Did you know that the decision not to prosecute those two New Black Panther Party guys was made by the Bush Administration DOJ?