My former colleague, Jennifer Rubin, has been doing some digging into the Justice Department’s handling of the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case out of Philadelphia. And what she has uncovered is as rank a case of political corruption as we’ve seen in this administration.
Remember that case? On Election Day 2008, two members of the NBBP showed up at a polling place, armed and in combat fatigues, and stood in front of it, informing all white voters that they were going to be governed by a black man and tossing around terms like “crackers” and other racial imprecations. They were arrested and charged with voter intimidation, didn’t bother to even show up to defend themselves, and the Justice Department won a default judgment.
At which point the Obama administration decided to throw away the “gimme” victory and essentially seize defeat from the jaws of victory. They dropped the charges against all but one guy, and his “penalty” was reduced to “you can’t bring a weapon to a polling place again until 2012.”
Yup, just in time for Obama’s re-election bid.
The Obama administration (and Eric Holder’s Justice Department) haven’t had much to say about the story, except to insist that it wasn’t a political decision, that it wasn’t the work of political appointees, and it’s really no big deal.
The career prosecutors at the Justice Department loved this case. The violation of the law was clear. The whole thing was caught on video. And the defendants weren’t even bothering to contest it. All they had to do was file the paperwork, show up in court, and collect their victory. It was, to coin a phrase, a slam dunk.
Until the Obama administration, through its political appointees, told them to throw the case. They were ordered to give up their already-won case.
What happened in this case is established. What remains to be determined is just who issued the orders to tank the case, why those orders were given, and what will come of the whole stinking mess.
If nothing does happen, then in 2012 we should expect even more such stunts at the polls. Why shouldn’t the Ku Klux Klan — always eager for some free publicity — not show up at polling places with baseball bats and axe handles? We are already used to the SEIU’s goon squads (but I repeat myself) at polls — why not let them bring weapons, too?
If there is one principle we need to stand firm on, it’s that we do not tolerate anyone assing around with our elections. Anyone who tries to, needs to be stomped down, and down hard. In 2002, several high-ranking New Hampshire Republicans pulled a stunt by jamming the Democratic Senate candidate’s phones on election day. Four guys went to prison and the party paid a hefty fine — and I think they got off too easily. Every election in recent years has featured ACORN submitting fraudulent voter registration reforms, and occasionally engaging in actual voter fraud.
Perfectly honest elections are, admittedly, a pipe dream. There will always be flaws. But we have to try. And that means that any attempt to rig or illegally sway an election has to be punished as severely as possible.
Not brushed under the rug.
I don’t like special prosecutors as a general rule, but when there is this kind of evidence of malfeasance and corruption within the Justice Department, it’s the only viable option I can see. I have no faith in Eric Holder to investigate this honestly, and none in either Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi.