Elections have consequences.
(WaPo) — Right Turn has obtained the first oversight letter from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) issued to the Justice Department. While he was in the minority, Smith labored, largely unsuccessfully, on the committee to convince the Democratic chairman to investigate a range of issues, including detainee policy and New Black Panther Party case. He now has the authority to schedule hearings, call witnesses and subpoena documents.
In a five-page letter, Smith notes that there has been “little oversight” as to how the civil rights division has used its budget increases ($22 million in FYI 2010 and $17 million requested in FYI 2011) and why the need for some 164 new positions.
He then gets to the heart of the matter. As I and other outlets have reported, he notes that in the New Black Panther Party case investigation, it came to light that a political appointee, Julie Fernandes, directed Justice Department attorneys “not to bring cases against black defendants for the benefit of white victims.”
Smith then details allegations by former Justice Department attorney J. Christian Adams that the department declined to enforce the National Voter Registration Act and its provisions relating to “voter integrity.”
After reciting the evidence concerning Fernandes’s statements and her expressed hostility toward enforcing the NVRA, Smith concludes, “Allegations that the Civil Rights Division has engaged in a practice of race-biased enforcement of voting rights law must be investigated by the Committee.” He then gives Holder until January 21 to respond to a list of questions, including whether Fernandes did, in fact, “explicitly or implicitly direct Voting Section staff not to enforce any section of any federal rights statute” or “not to enforce Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act.” He demands all documents that relate to the department’s enforcement practices under the Voting Rights Act.