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Civil Rights Commission Blasts Justice Dept. on Black Panther Case

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The New Black Panther Party voter intimidation controversy continues to haunt the Justice Department and the Obama administration.

A draft report by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights concludes that the Justice Department tried hiding the fact high-level political officials were involved in dropping most of the charges in the case in which members of the New Black Panther Party in Philadelphia stood outside a polling place trying to intimidate white voters, according to the website Talking Points Memo. One man was carrying a nightstick.

The commission will vote on the report Friday.

“[T]he record of communications within the Department appears to indicate that senior political appointees played a significant role in the decision making surrounding the lawsuit,” the report says, according to Talking Points Memo. “The involvement of senior DOJ officials by itself would not be unusual, but the Department’s repeated attempts to obscure the nature of their involvement and other refusals to cooperate raise questions about what the Department is trying to hide.”

The Justice Department disputed the allegations.

“The department makes enforcement decisions based on the merits, not the race, gender or ethnicity of any party involved,” Tracy Schmaler, a Justice Department spokeswoman said, according to the Talking Points Memo. “We are committed to comprehensive and vigorous enforcement of the federal laws that prohibit voter intimidation.”

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