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Public Statements

Voter Intimidation

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. PITTS. Mr. Speaker, a recent news story highlights political appointees at the Justice Department running roughshod over both their civil counterparts and the law itself.

In November, members of the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense stood in paramilitary uniforms, one of them wielding a nightstick, and intimidated voters at a Philadelphia polling place. The facts are not in question. You can see the video on YouTube. Career lawyers at the Justice Department rightly pursued the case in order to bring charges. They even obtained an affidavit from a prominent civil rights activist who was present and described it as ``the most blatant form of voter intimidation'' that he had seen, including the voting rights crisis he was a part of in Mississippi in the 1960s. The civil suit filed claimed the individuals engaged in ``coercion, threats and intimidation, racial threats and insults, and menacing and intimidating gestures.''

Yet now political appointees have stepped in to order the suit dropped. Apparently this Justice Department has no problem with voter intimidation or politicization of justice.

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