A conservative public interest group wants to know whether Justice Department officials met with the NAACP about a controversial voter-intimidation case involving the New Black Panther Party.
In its suit filed on March 9, Judicial Watch demands that the DOJ turn over any records it may have about contacts with Kristen Clarke, co-director of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund Political Participation Group. Clarke met with DOJ officials to talk about the New Black Panther Party case before the Department dropped most of the charges in the civil lawsuit against the anti-white fringe group in 2009, according to Judicial Watch.
Judicial Watch said the DOJ has yet to respond to its Nov. 2 Freedom of Information Act request for information about the matter. The FOIA law requires a response in 20 business days.
“I find it outrageous that leftist special interest groups seem to be directing the activities of the nation’s top law enforcement agency,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “The Obama Justice Department has made a mess of the Black Panther lawsuit.”
DOJ declined comment about the suit.
The DOJ under Attorney General Eric Holder has come under fire from Republicans regarding the Department’s handling of the case, raising concerns that politics played a role in the DOJ’s decisions in the case. Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) pushed Holder on the case this month at a House hearing, alleging that the Attorney General allows reverse racism to flourish in the DOJ Civil Rights Division. Holder vehemently denied the claim.
The George W. Bush administration filed the civil lawsuit against the New Black Panther Party and three members just days before President Barack Obama took office. It alleged the New Black Panther Party members intimidated voters by wearing military-style clothing outside a polling place in a black Philadelphia neighborhood during the November 2008 election. One of the men held a nightstick.
The conservative-led U.S. Commission on Civil Rights spent most of the last two years investigating the DOJ’s handling of the case. The commission said in a report on its investigation that the department did not completely address “serious accusations” made by former DOJ Civil Rights Division J. Christian Adams and Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Coates, the former chief of the Civil Rights Division Voting Section, about opposition in the DOJ to taking up voting rights cases against minorities.
“This Department of Justice does not enforce the laws in a race-conscious way,” Holder said at the House hearing this month. “Any allegation that has been lodged in that regard is simply false.”