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Dems pour cold water on GOP request for new Black Panther hearings

Senator Patrick Leahy is pouring cold water on a request by GOP Senators for public hearings into the Black Panther voter intimidation case, a move that will anger conservatives who were hoping for a public airing of the issue to prove the Obama administration is riddled with anti-white discrimination.

In a sharply-worded letter responding to the request for hearings from Senator Jeff Sessions, the ranking GOPer on the Judiciary Committee, Leahy told Sessions that the accusations are fueled by partisanship and conservative media and appear to have no merit, and that further hearings would interfere with the multiple inquiries that are already underway. Leahy chairs the committee.

A source sends over a copy of the letter. Conservatives have argued that the Obama Justice Department improperly narrowed the case against the New Black Panther Party for voter intimidation in 2008, even though the evidence allegedly would have supported a broader prosecution.

But the letter runs through a series of reasons why this is bogus:

What makes allegations of politicization especially hard to credit is that the Department's decision to seek civil penalties rather than criminal sanctions in this case pre-dates the Obama administration. As made clear by the January 7, 2009, civil complaint filed by Attorney General Mukasey and others at the Department, that decision was made during the Bush administration. Another decision by experienced career attorneys evaluating the case was to pursue those civil penalties and obtain an injunction against King Shamir Shabazz, the only party alleged to have a stick outside the polling place.

I have no reason to second guess the initial decision made under Attorney General Mukasey and the Bush administration not to seek criminal prosecution stemming from the incident. and, instead, to bring a civil proceeding. Likewise, I have seen no credible basis to second guess the decision by career attorneys later in the case about how to proceed and resolve it with an injunction against Mr. Shabazz. Just as I trust that the law and the facts informed the exercise of prosecutorial discretion and the decision not to prosecute former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and former Acting Assistant Attorney General Bradley Schlozman -- despite findings of serious wrongdoing by the Department's own Inspector General -- the Justice Department exercised its authority in the case arising from the 2008 incident. Prosecutorial discretion is a hallmark of the Justice Department, and, as a former prosecutor, it is a principle I respect....

In addition to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission consideration that is ongoing, I understand that in response to a request from members of Congress, the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility is reviewing the matter. I would not want to do anything to interfere with that inquiry.

The current partisan focus on this issue seems to be a product of the election year calendar more than credible evidence of wrongdoing. The insinuation that there may be "widespread politicization and possible corruption" seems to echo the ongoing drumbeat on partisan advocacy cable and radio shows. Questions about this incident
have been asked and answered numerous times. Reviews are ongoing.

This, of course, will only further embolden conservative critics to argue that Dems are complicit in some kind of coverup of anti-white discrimination within the Obama administration. Of course, there's nothing that could conceivably silence this criticism, and agreeing to hearings certainly wouldn't have done it.

UPDATE, 12:12 p.m.: Dems tell me that it's not inconceivable that another public round of questioning on this could occur in future oversight hearings -- but a new round of public hearings focused specifically on this, as Republicans have requested, is unlikely in the near future. I've tweaked the headline to reflect this.

By Greg Sargent  |  July 29, 2010; 11:57 AM ET
Categories:  Political media , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans  
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And to add to that, just hitting the wires:

Ousted Agriculture Department employee Shirley Sherrod said Thursday she will sue a conservative blogger who posted an edited video of her making racially tinged remarks last week.


Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 29, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Shorter GOP: We don't want people to vote, but if any white people are even rumored to have been kept from doing so, we should marshal all our resources to get to the bottom of it.

Transparent, political BS. Good for Leahy.

Posted by: BGinCHI | July 29, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

I would rather see an investigation into early voter intimidation in the south.
Yesterday, Barack Obama held a rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Afterwards, Obama supporters streamed over to a nearby early voting center, where they were met by a throng of anti-Obama protesters, who heckled and harassed them as they went in to vote....Also at the polling site was a group of loud and angry protesters who shouted and mocked the voters as they walked in. Nearly all were white.
As you can see from these videos, no one held anything back. People were shouting about Obama's acknowledged cocaine use as a young man, abortion and one man used the word "terrorist." They also were complaining that Sundays are for church, not voting.
An angry group of protesters harassing and yelling at people going into a voting site would seem to be a violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1964. As Section 11 (b) of the Act clearly states:
No person, whether acting under color of law or otherwise, shall intimidate, threaten, or coerce, or attempt to intimidate, threaten, or coerce any person for voting or attempting to vote, or intimidate, threaten, or coerce, or attempt to intimidate, threaten, or coerce any person for urging or aiding any person to vote or attempt to vote.

That is real voter intimidation...

Posted by: srw3 | July 29, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse


Thanks for that. So, where's the high dudgeon from the GOP over this? *crickets*

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | July 29, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Anyone else hear McConnell say that the DISCLOSE act was "an attempt to rig the fall elections"?

THIS is where they're headed: influence elections massively through money (billionaires, corporations) then accuse the Dems of voter/election tampering.


Posted by: BGinCHI | July 29, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

"Dems are complicit in some kind of coverup of anti-white discrimination..."

I know republicans don't have to make sense, but who are the whites that they would say are being discriminated against in this case?

Posted by: converse | July 29, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

converse, from what I have read, absolutely no voter filed a complaint about intimidation. Even the GOP poll watcher did not file a complaint. This is just GOBP BS.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | July 29, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Reports are starting to emerge that Charlie Rangel has made a deal to avoid prosection. No details yet.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | July 29, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Sen. Sessions (Dixiecrat-AL) upon hearing of response of Leahy the yankee asks his receptionist to remind him what Dick Cheney used to say to Leahy whenever Cheney felt like it.

Concurrently, Michael Steele (Uncle Tom- RNC) is asked to put finishing touches on latest Republican effort to get its message across. Steele happily undertakes mission. Why? Because he is used to walking point on suicide missions.

Posted by: Patriot3 | July 29, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Granted, this hits close for me, since I live here in Kalamazoo. If we were ever wondering about what the fall-out would be from an oil spill that affects the Great Lakes, we may be about to find out.

US hit by new oil spill

A new oil spill is sullying US waters in the northern state of Michigan after a pipeline leak sent more than a million gallons of crude into a river tributary, officials said Wednesday.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said the spill began Monday when a 30-inch (76-centimeter) pipe in Marshall, Michigan burst, spewing the crude into Talmadge Creek, a waterway which feeds into the Kalamazoo River.

Officials said the pipeline belongs to the Canadian company Enbridge Inc.

The agency said it is directing and monitoring all aspects of oil spill clean-up and containment efforts over 30 miles (48 kilometers) of the Kalamazoo River, including marshlands, residential areas, farmland, and businesses.

"This is a serious spill that has the potential to damage a vital waterway and threatens public health," said EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.

"Staff from EPA's regional and headquarters office are on the scene and ensuring the leaked oil is contained and cleaned up as quickly and effectively as possible."

On Tuesday, the environmental agency requested that the US Coast Guard make two million dollars available for the federal response to the spill, and said the money eventually will be reimbursed by Enbridge.

Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm however criticized both EPA and Enbridge Wednesday for what she described as a slow response so far.

"The situation is very, very serious," Granholm said in a conference call with the news media, adding that oil could reach Lake Michigan if more intensive containment measures are not put in place.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | July 29, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Are facts to wingnuts like kryptonite is to Superman? The letter lays it out there and yet still the idiots keep limping back for more.

Posted by: LABC | July 29, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Great, more divisiveness from the "transparent" party of "post-partisan politics" which will only further embolden voters to throw the Dems out en masse come the fall. This Nov is gonna make '94 look like a good year for you socialist clowns.....

Posted by: wma98 | July 29, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

And to add to that, just hitting the wires:

Ousted Agriculture Department employee Shirley Sherrod said Thursday she will sue a conservative blogger who posted an edited video of her making racially tinged remarks last week.
Posted by: Ethan2010
Sue him for what?? He didn't fire her in fact he made her a celebrity who is treated like a hero.. Sue him? He should sue her to get some of the money she will make off this...

Posted by: sovine08 | July 29, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

And rightfully they should.. where are the calls for prosecution of those who show up with guns on their hips and assault rifles as signs of intimidation when the president is speaking.. enough is enough.. those who want to keep the argument going are just seeking to fuel the flames and build a wedge between the races to encourage the right wing nut jobs to vote against their own best interest by convoluting the agenda with this type of bull..anyone who votes Republican after what they did to this country when Bush was in office ..really needs to have their heads examined..

Posted by: sabrina2 | July 29, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Good for Sen. Leahy! It is high time for Democrats to push back against absurd demands like this. The only people who will twist his reasonable response into some sort of cover-up already believed the allegations were true and were not interested in the facts to begin with.

Posted by: DCSteve1 | July 29, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Will someone at the Washington Post please note that there is a world of difference between the Black Panthers and the New Black Panthers.

It is not helpful, particularly to the IQ-challenged right-wing goobers, when the two are conflated into misleading headlines and text.

The Huey P. Newton Foundation issued a news release denouncing the New Black Panther Party. Their release reads in part:
“As guardian of the true history of the Black Panther Party, the Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation, which includes former leading members of the Party, denounces this group's exploitation of the Party's name and history. Failing to find its own legitimacy in the black community, this band would graft the Party's name upon itself, which we condemn... [T]hey denigrate the Party's name by promoting concepts absolutely counter to the revolutionary principles on which the Party was founded..." ~ Wikipedia

"The Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center identified the New Black Panthers as a hate group." ~ ibid

Posted by: WhateverHeSaid | July 29, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Picture it, November at a polling place near you, the New Black Panthers lined up on one side and the Klu Klux Klan lined up on the other, and running the Gauntlet, the Voter, and it's all street legal.

Posted by: johnsonmarc62 | July 29, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Jut more liberal lies! THis is the most corrupt group in history. What I find entertaining is that you stupid liberals kept complaining about Bush, yet you seem to be the pot calling the kettle black! It is shame, there was such promise. Too bad the Democrat blew a golden opportunity, just shows how inept they truly are!

Posted by: sanmateo1850 | July 29, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

What is Senator Leahy trying to hide?? Is he afraid of the truth??


Posted by: wheeljc | July 29, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

@suekzoo Wow I hope your oil spill doesn't worsen! My wife and I have a place on the U.P. on Lake Superior. We suffer angst when the Lake is a few inches low, I can't imagine a threat from a toxic substance.

Well actually...alas I can. The rest of the year my wife and I live in St. Pete Florida.
And so the Deepwater spill has certainly weighed heavily in our lives. My wife has a professional friend who works and owns her business in Pensacola. Those poor folks are in DIRE STRAITS. First the Hurricane and now this. And of course I don't have any personal knowledge but I can only imagine it's even worse in La.

Posted by: rukidding7 | July 29, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Really Sanmateo1850?? The New Black Panther Party is the most corrupt group in history?? Is that what you are trying to say?? You are very delusional. The New Black Panther Party has only been around for a couple of years. And please do not confuse them with the Original Black Panther Party led by Dr. Huey P. Newton. That's an insult. But the most corrupt group in history has to be yours truly the KKK which has been around since the 1860's. So please, don't insult our intelligence by your nonsense. Do your history and then come back. Okay????

Posted by: swhite7 | July 29, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Forgive my ignorance. What exactly are the details in this case. Please tell me that Megyn Kelley hasn't built a career on an incident in Ohio or Pennsylvania where several black men intimidated white voters. That is obviously a bad thing...LAW OFFICIALS from both the Bush and the Obama Administrations have responded exactly the same.

Please tell me this is not about an isolated incident but rather something that was part of a pattern, a conspiracy, something that happened at dozens of polling places across the country. SOMETHING THAT ACTUALLY HAD A BEARING ON AN ELECTION!!!!

Perhaps Megyn could get Andrew Breitbart to doctor some tape for her and vindicate her one woman crusade against three bad guys in the Midwest. I'm sure by the time Breitbart's boys were through they could get Obama's third cousin on camera to say that Obama told him he was really a Black Panther and when he was elected he'd turn the country over to the black people.

This crap is so simple and feeble yet Fox has succeeded in peddling it to a large number of very, very unhappy people. Very frightened people! The fear and the unhappiness combine and then when a master like Glen Beck preys upon the fear and hatred and the's just getting really ugly out there.

Posted by: rukidding7 | July 29, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Way to go Dems. This was a witch hunt if I've ever seen one. The right (wrong) are nuts. That wasn't voter intimidation you saw at the Polls, you idiots. That was BLACK MEN coming out to vote for Obama. Know I know you ain't used to seeing my BROTHERS line up at the Polls like that but get used to it. Obama is getting them on the right track and they are hear to stay. HELLO!!!

Posted by: love2much SE | July 29, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Sherrod, once the trial begins will be proven a Racist....'if only vilsek had more African-Americans around him'....keep it going Shirley; you be a racist.

Posted by: Common_Cents1 | July 29, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

This is the most openly racist administration since Woodrow Wilson!

Posted by: vince33x | July 29, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

You make absolutely no sense _Cents1. Perhaps you should calm down and turn off Fake News and actually look at the WHOLE speech yourself and then make come to a conclusion. Cause surely when you see the WHOLE tape, you would clearly understand that Mrs. Sherrod is no racist. Just because your right wing friends say so, doesn't make it so. Just a suggestion . . .

Posted by: swhite7 | July 29, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

You make absolutely no sense _Cents1. Perhaps you should calm down and turn off Fake News and actually look at the WHOLE speech yourself and then come to a conclusion. Cause surely when you see the WHOLE tape, you would clearly understand that Mrs. Sherrod is no racist. Just because your right wing friends say so, doesn't make it so. Just a suggestion . . .

Posted by: swhite7 | July 29, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Not a good idea to stand up for White people with this administration. It has been proven way too many times. Being White is not PC

Apparently it is payback time for this administration and anyone who is White just better shut up.

They don't want to hear it and they won't listen to you. Maybe if you put on Black Face

Posted by: ieklein | July 29, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

love2much...pray tell, WHAT witchhunt is that?? There were two men in uniform carrying clubs standing at the poll making threatening comments. It is on tape and there are people who testified that they were intimidated. What more do you need?

Oh, I guess it only counts when a white person does something like that, right?
How about the Obama supporters who intimidated all the Hillary supporters in the various causcuses? Watch "We will not be silenced".

I hate to say it, but the only people who are allergic to the truth are folks on the LEFT!

Posted by: JanineC4 | July 29, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

swhite7, you are right...the New Black Panthers are much worse than the old ones. I remember the old ones. They may have been militant, but they didn't see ALL whites as the enemy like the NBP seems to. They also were straight up about their marxist ideology..they didn't pretend to work in the system which has been taken over covertly by the marxists. Either way, they are both corrupt and they are both just as bad as the KKK in their ignorance and hatred.

Posted by: JanineC4 | July 29, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Not to have a hearing on the Black Panthers is just another item to the list of Don't vote for... I wonder how many votes that action will buy

Posted by: akeegan2 | July 29, 2010 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Obama cover-up? Yep.

Impeach Obama.

Posted by: JCM-51 | July 29, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Of course the Dems want to sweep this under the rug. They want to selectively enforce the law to their advantage, like denying over 17,000 votes of servicemen and women overseas in the 2008 election, or the refusal to enforce the current immigration laws.

Anything to gain an advantage. The DISCLOSE Act, paying ACORN for voter fraud, counting enough votes of ineligible felons in Minnesota to push Al Franken over the top by a hair, the end justifies the means. Saul Alinsky said so.

Lie, cheat, steal, or defraud. To Dems, all's fair, if that's what it takes to win.

Posted by: samadams25 | July 29, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Not a good idea to stand up for White people with this administration. It has been proven way too many times. Being White is not PC

Apparently it is payback time for this administration and anyone who is White just better shut up.

They don't want to hear it and they won't listen to you. Maybe if you put on Black Face

Posted by: ieklein | July 29, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Oh for goodness sakes! What the heck are you talking about? More white hysterics coming from a few people bound and determined to scare people to death. Afraid of the black man who has control. Can you enlighten us as to how President Obama has wronged white people?

What exactly has President Obama done to white people? Being elected in a fair and free election? I mean if he were so busy doing things against white people in favor of African Americans why isn't the unemployment at zero for African Americans? Why aren't African Americans moving into the houses you have had to abandoned? Why haven't they taken over businesses and the board room? I could certainly use a few extra dollars, I'm still waiting. I mean at least Bush bribed people by giving them a check. Obama hasn't done that. Get a grip dude!

You really need to get a grip and maybe see someone about your delusions. They have medication for that.

Posted by: catmomtx | July 29, 2010 9:36 PM | Report abuse

No surprise here. This alleged DOJ (what a joke), is not about law enforcement, but more about politics.

Posted by: madmike272 | July 29, 2010 10:55 PM | Report abuse

"Thou shat not bear false witness"... Those who video'd & called in this (stick)individuals actions would tell those instigators & agitators this was an isolated incident... The GOP's politicization of "white voting intimidation" or "fabricated black racism"(Sherrod case) all goes to shows that divisive cultural influence are some of the contemptuous "means" by which they'd choose to legislate & govern the country...

Posted by: Hiroader2 | July 30, 2010 4:27 AM | Report abuse

This whole anti-white reverse racism is such a red herring! It is just another example in a long list of attempts by the Republicans to reframe the discourse away from their Southern Strategy. They are the racists and their goal is to make white people afraid of blacks.

We can’t let them get away with it! We must heap the ridicule on them that they so richly deserve for even suggesting that this is a real issue. Show me a group of whites that are suffering from reverse discrimination!

They have the unmitigated gall to say that blacks don’t have any reason to mistrust whites! Don’t they know the history of the United States?

You really have to be a bone head to give the Republicans 10 seconds of serious consideration on this issue before you burst out laughing.

Posted by: biggerjake | July 30, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Sargent, you absolutely have to take off the black paramilitary garb like those two Blacks were wearing in front of a Philly polling place.

And please, Sargent, delete the word, "allegedly" in your copy. I prefer to believe my lying eyes regarding the billy club (police nightstick) one of the two New Black Panther Party members was carrying.

And Leahy can delete the word allegedly when he writes, "...Shabazz, the only party alleged to have a stick outside outside the polling place."

Of course, Leahy does not watch Fox News, or he would have seen with his own lying eyes, Shabazz with the police nightstick outside the Philly polling place. Then, he would not have written the word "alleged" in his politically slanted excuse.

The facts are that the Justice Department won the case when the defendants did not show up for court. The initial punishment for Shabazz was that he could not appear outside ANY polling place. But that was too stiff, so the Obama hacks in the DOJ reduced that to the one Philly polling place. Then, the Obama DOJ lefties decided to drop the prohibition to just two years. Oh, well, we don't want to be too hard on Obama's friends.

Lest you continue to scoff at this incident, consider what whould have happened if a white-robed white man stood outside any polling place with a billy club and menaced any citizen trying to vote.

Goodness gracious alive, such an uproar would erupt! You wouldn't be able to come near the courtroom, because all the Obama-loving media people from the old-line, Left-Stream-Media would be taking up all the room.

We don't want to get too excited, Sargent. And by the way, how is your pal, Weigel? You know him, the WaPo hack who was hired to cover conservatives -- then it was discovered that he left emails around, addressed to his far-left "Journ-O-List" friends showing that he hated conservatives.

What do you expect from a newspaper that is losing circulation and advertising so rapidly? And, Sargent, you should keep your resume up to date, because WaPo may soon be up for sale like your sister pub, Newsweek.

Woodward and Bernstein, where are you now that we need you so badly. Look what they have done to your once-esteemed newspaper.

Posted by: RonKH | July 30, 2010 10:19 PM | Report abuse

@ Rovian… the Disclosure act lifted restrictions off all people, businesses and corporations so that they could support whom they want in an election.
If anyone has influenced elections with (billionaires, and corporations) WFT is George Soros? The SEIU? ACORN? Organizing for America? These organizations and unions have changed the outcome of elections based on lies and deceit such as registering Mickey Mouse and an entire football team. Handing out cash, liquor and cigarettes to get homeless people to register and vote (democratic of course)
George Soros has so many attack groups we can’t count them all; one is his SoS plan to replace all Secretaries of State with democratic puppets so they can change the way votes are counted and slant them his way. The democrats have been lying to the masses for years stating they "look out for the poor" really? take a look at what 60 years of democreatic rule has done for the city of Detroit. What was once the jewel of Michigan with a population over 1 million has dwindled to crime infested pit of fewer than 500,000. Those entilement programs have done wonders for the poor.

Posted by: pjsolarz | August 1, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

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