This column by ACRU Policy Board Member and former Justice Department attorney J. Christian Adams was published October 14, 2014 on PJ Media.
Numerous publications close to the White House have reported that Labor Secretary Tom Perez has emerged as the leading candidate to replace Attorney General Eric Holder. That Perez has a documented and repeating history of dishonesty, racialism, and radicalism shows that this administration feels unrestrained by conventional political wisdom. That the White House is dropping his name before an election should demonstrate to every Republican that Obama is fundamentally transforming politics in corrosive ways that the GOP seems ill-equipped to contain.
So who is Tom Perez?
Perez ran for Maryland attorney general in 2006. But his campaign ended when he was thrown off the ballot for the embarrassing reason that he didn’t practice law.
To Democrats, Perez is the charming, articulate, and politically savvy secretary of Labor. He is the president’s point man on Hispanic and labor issues. But to anyone objective who has paid close attention, Perez is a menace to the rule of law in ways that make Eric Holder seem like a kitty cat.
Much of Holder’s dirty work over the last six years was done by Tom Perez.
Perez has a record of duplicity and dishonesty, sometimes even under oath. As assistant attorney general for civil rights under Holder, Perez famously set up a parallel email system so he could conduct his most controversial business using email accounts unreachable by federal law, or even by a Justice Department inspector general. On these private email accounts, he conducted some of his dirtiest dealings, like shaking down St. Paul, Minnesota, to ensure that the Supreme Court wouldn’t get to hear an appeal that might invalidate some of the prized racial set-asides this administration cherishes.
But his dealings with St. Paul were small potatoes compared to everything else he has done.
Perez testified falsely under oath to the United States Commission on Civil Rights — and it isn’t just me who says so. I am frequently introduced in radio or television interviews as having “resigned over the Department of Justice’s handling of the New Black Panther voter intimidation case.” That isn’t accurate: I was at the Justice Department for over a full year after that case was dismissed.
I resigned on the day that Tom Perez provided false testimony about the case.
Perez was sent by Holder to testify to the Civil Rights Commission, instead of the attorneys who worked on the case, myself included. What he said to the commission was demonstrably false and he knew it.
For example, when Perez was asked by Commissioner Todd Gaziano whether lawyers or policies at the Justice Department were opposed to race-neutral enforcement of the civil rights laws, Perez said “we don’t have people of that ilk” at the Civil Rights Division. This was brazenly false, and Perez knew it. Days before his testimony, Perez received a full report about “people of that ilk” and how “people of that ilk” were involved in having the New Black Panther case dismissed.
We learned in a subsequent DOJ inspector general report on misconduct at his Civil Rights Division that Perez is one of the “people of that ilk,” people opposed to enforcing civil rights laws to protect all Americans. We also learned in that same report that “people of that ilk” met in Eric Holder’s office with the attorney general to discuss whether or not the New Black Panther case should be dismissed, and what to do about managers in the Voting Section who were not “of that ilk” and who were willing to enforce the law equally for all Americans.
What we found out in the IG report is that people not “of that ilk” who were willing to enforce the law to protect all Americans were not welcome as managers in Eric Holder’s Civil Rights Division.
Every senator, whether Republican or Democrat, should read the inspector general’s report before considering Perez’s possible nomination. They will discover abuse of power, perjury, dishonesty, racial selectivity, harassment, and mismanagement, all on his watch.
Moreover, they will read that Perez resisted changes recommended by the inspector general to cure the mess uncovered in the report. For example, Perez refused to implement changes that would have taken ideologically leftist and partisan biases out of the hiring of DOJ lawyers. PJ Media documented the ideological and partisan extremism of DOJ Civil Rights Division lawyers hired by Perez. The inspector general, recognizing this unacceptable practice, suggested that Perez modify hiring practices. He refused.
Perez has advanced militant racialism using the power of government. He has ignored the United States Supreme Court, and has bullied cities to hire police and firefighters who flunked entrance tests. Naturally, to Perez, the tests are racist. New York City and Dayton, Ohio, were forced to hire unqualified applicants, no matter what the Supreme Court said.
Perez, quick to use civil rights laws against familiar targets, has been wholly unwilling to prosecute violent racially motivated attacks by traditional racial minorities on white victims. For the last few years, the Drudge Report has highlighted attack after attack, but there hasn’t been a single prosecution under Perez or his successor.
They must be too busy in Ferguson, Missouri.
Perez isn’t just a dishonest racialist, he’s also a stark radical. He used the power of the Justice Department to push a fringe agenda most Americans would find abhorrent. For example, he waged a war on peaceful pro-life protesters, dragging them to court to face federal charges for behavior outside clinics. Courts repeatedly threw out the cases, noting they were based on cooked and flimsy evidence — but Perez kept bringing them. It was rank harassment of his political enemies. Because the peaceful pro-life protesters were effective, Perez had to bring the full weight of the Justice Department down on them, no matter the merits of the case.
Perez has been on a crusade to undo traditional gender identification. For example, his Civil Rights Division brought a lawsuit against a New York high school to ensure that boys can dress in drag to class. The Justice Department under Perez could not abide a school sending home a boy who was wearing stiletto heels, a short miniskirt, and a pink wig. Your tax dollars paid the lawyers who sued the school and extracted a complete capitulation from the district based on a nutty reading of federal law.
Perez is all about nutty readings of federal law. That’s why he engineered attacks on voter identification laws and state efforts to address illegal immigration. Lawlessness became vogue under Perez and Holder.
Some might think the White House made a mistake in dropping his name just before an election. That’s precisely backwards. Perez is a base mobilizer. Democrats rely on the base to win elections now, not the middle. Using data tools like Catalist, the Democratic Party knows how to extract electoral victory by diving deeper into the fringe demographic on the left through base activation and scare tactics.
Nothing activates the fringe quite like the guy who has been on the side of springing free the New Black Panthers, allowing high school drag queens, and ensuring that jobs and slots in colleges go to applicants based on their race.
Nominating Perez a few weeks before the election, within the window that Republicans have zero chance of mobilizing a competing narrative, is political genius. Obama gets the good without any bad.
Even assuming the Republicans mobilize a competing narrative on Perez after the election, what makes anyone think it will win? After all, Perez was confirmed as Labor secretary with the support of six Republicans who were willing to bring his nomination to a vote. His Labor confirmation was part of a deal to move various appointees to the National Labor Relations Board.
In a lame duck Senate, Perez’s track record of dishonesty and racial radicalism might only up the prize for Republicans looking for spoils from the White House. If the Republicans won the Senate and the nomination for attorney general was pushed into 2015, what cause for confidence is there someone like Perez would be blocked?
The Obama administration has mastered governance from the far political fringes. The instances where the GOP has adequately understood and effectively countered the lawlessness of Obama are too few to inspire confidence that Holder’s successor will be any improvement.