Senator Chuck Grassley made the following statement after the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General released a report on the Operations of the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division.
"This report shows longstanding problems and politicization within the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department dating back to President Clinton and continuing through the Bush and Obama presidencies. And, while the Inspector General was not able to substantiate some allegations, there are some egregious findings over the years that I find hard to believe have never been dealt with. Despite the obvious issues that need to be dealt with in the Civil Rights Division, it's a ray of good news in the middle of Sunshine Week that FOIA requests are being processed without adherence to politics.
"Beyond the FOIA requests, though, the Inspector General outlined an inherent culture of harassment against conservatives in the Civil Rights Division. Sadly, little to nothing has been done to end this harassment by either the Bush or Obama administrations, including the shocking admission that employees who had engaged in the hostile, racist and inappropriate behavior are still employed by the department. One employee who even admitted to lying to the Inspector General is still employed there.
"I'm especially concerned after learning that political appointees within the Civil Rights Division provided what the Inspector General found to be misleading information to the Attorney General as rationale to remove a career attorney. The Attorney General should demand unbiased advice from department attorneys and the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Civil Rights Division, Tom Perez, who appears to also have been woefully unprepared to answer questions in front of the Civil Rights Commission on a subject matter he told the Inspector General he expected questions on. This is troubling as it suggests a failure to also prepare for hearings before Congress, including the Senate Judiciary Committee, when questioned on this same topic.
"In addition, it's troubling that despite the Inspector General releasing three reports about politicized hiring in 2008, they still found problems in this area. Future hiring within the Civil Rights Division needs to value intellectual diversity to put to rest any perception that employment is based on politics. Given the Inspector General's findings of flawed criteria used to hire attorneys, Congress should demand that future hiring by the division not be so skewed that it leads to hiring almost exclusively liberal attorneys at the expense of candidates with "stellar academic credentials and litigation experience.'
"The report shows that despite claims that it's a new era in the Civil Rights Division, they are sadly mistaken and it's business as usual. It's going to take a new kind of leadership to rid the Justice Department of the politicization and polarization of the Civil Rights Division. Congress needs to continue the work of the Inspector General through aggressive oversight and, when necessary, legislative reforms to ensure that bad behavior doesn't continue for another decade at the division"