News out of Washington this week is that President Obama plans to nominate Thomas Perez, assistant attorney general, to be the next Secretary of Labor. On paper, Perez's credentials look great, but in practice, his nomination raises serious questions.
In 2010, former DOJ civil rights attorney J. Christian Adams resigned in protest of the Obama administration's handling of a vote intimidation case involving the New Black Panther Party. A month later, Adams told Fox News that Perez provided false testimony before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights about the Black Panther case. In his testimony, Perez told the commission that the facts of the case -- NBPP members dressed in military-style fatigues standing in front of a polling location armed with billy clubs -- didn't amount to voter intimidation under the law.
"I know about the truth... and I know what the truth is and I know to say the facts and law don't support the Black Panther case is not true," Adams said. Adams also claimed that he warned Perez about providing false testimony. "We made it very clear that continuing to say the fact and the law don't support this case would not be consistent with the truth."
Perez also testified under oath that political appointees played no role in determining the DOJ's course of action in the case:
COMMISSIONER KIRSANOW: Was there any political leadership involved in the decision not to pursue this particular case any further than it was?
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.
But a federal judge in Washington disagreed:
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. Surely the public has an interest in documents that cast doubt on the accuracy of government officials’ representations regarding the possible politicization of agency decision-making.
Obama's nomination of Perez comes just one week after an inspector general's report revealed internal racial hostilities in the DOJ's Civil Rights Division and reiterated Adams' past claims that Perez's testimony was misleading.
Fox News reported on the IG's report last week and former chief minority counsel to the House Judiciary Committee admitted that Adams concerns had been "vindicated." Video after the jump...