Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly has been at the forefront of the story of voter intimidation occurring in 2008.
Members of the Black Panther Party stood in front of a poll in Philadelphia, dressed in military gear, one brandishing a nightstick. It was videotaped and a lawsuit was filed weeks before Barack Obama took office. However, after the inauguration, the Department of Justice more or less dropped the case. One of the department’s lawyers, J. Christian Adams, turned whistle blower and accused his colleagues of protecting only minority rights.
Adams appeared on Kelly’s Fox News show this summer, detailing his charges and saying others would substantiate his words. One of his bosses, Christopher Coates, a highly respected voting rights official, stepped forward this morning.
Since many people may have missed this, here is Kelly’s report this afternoon:
“Dramatic testimony this morning from a current, sitting attorney at the Department of Justice. Testimony given under oath that says the Voting Rights Division at the Department of Justice is no longer in the business of justice for all. After 12 months – almost – of being ordered by his bosses at the DOJ to ignore lawful subpoenas that had been served upon him, long time DOJ attorney Christopher Coates today defied orders from his bosses and made some powerful and stunning allegations against his employer, claiming the full protection of the whistle blower statute. In testimony before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights about a voter intimidation case from 2008, Coates offered evidence under oath that race and politics are driving decisions at the Dept. of Justice.”
At the hearing today, Coates said about the previous inquiries that “(one of the officials) Ms. Fernandez responded (to the case) by telling the gathering that the Obama administration was only interested in bringing traditional types of Section 2 cases that would provide equality for racial and language minority voters. And then she went on to say that this is what we are all about or words to that effect.”
According to Ms. Kelly, “Chris Coates is testifying that there is a mandate within the department of Justice not to enforce the voting rights laws for the benefit of white victims.”
Noting that Christopher Coates did not want to testify at first, reporter Steve Centani calls it “some damning testimony of a culture of injustice within the DOJ. As Coates puts it there is a ‘long term hostility to race neutral enforcement of the voting act. That is, the policy is the unwritten, but sometimes spoken policy,’ made very clear to him, that minorities will be protected when it comes to voting rights but not necessarily whites. All the emphasis, all the focus should go to minorities. That’s the main thrust of what he said today. He made some very strong allegations against some of the people who have this belief in the department who have now risen to higher positions in the Obama administration and who are in control here.”
Centani continues that Coates goes on to say, “I don’t think it exists to the same degree to every employee in the voting section, but generally there has been that air of hostility that has been the point of view of major civil rights groups.”
The Department of Justice, according to Kelly, has denied the allegations. However, she notes that Coates has been moved to South Carolina and is no longer in charge of the voting rights division. He stepped forward because he had “had enough.”
Kudos to Fox News for staying on the story. Will other news outlets pick up something that is a direct threat to democracy – the right to vote for all people without intimidation? Let’s hope so.