Holder To Appear At Training Session For Black Ministers Preparing For 2012 Election

Attorney General Eric Holder has been criticized repeatedly for actions viewed as political (or his abandoning independent role) during the Clinton Administration and the Obama Administration. Few, however, seem quite as raw as his participation in an upcoming event to advise black ministers on how far they can go in campaigning in this presidential election, presumably for President Obama who is expected to secure the overwhelming percentage of African American votes. The event is being hosted by the Congressional Black Caucus and will include appearances by other government officials like IRS officials. While the CBC is bipartisan, there remain questions about the propriety of the appearance.

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo. is quoted as noting that the ministers represent roughly 10 million voters and will be key in the upcoming election. He adds “President Obama is going to get 95 percent of the [African American] vote.”

The direct participation of Holder in such an event is problematic in my view and shows (again) a complete lack of judgment.

Holder leaves the impression of actively using his office to advance the political agenda of the White House. Admittedly, I have been a critic of Holder as I was a critic of his predecessors in the Bush Administration. I have no problem with the CBC holding this event. There are legitimate concerns over suppression of voting through various state laws and training is a useful response. However, Holder should have shown a modicum of judgment in declining to participate in an event viewed as a training session for Obama supporters in the clergy. Just as liberals denounced the participation of Associate Justice Scalia in a congressional event for the Tea Party, this decision should also be condemned as undermining the integrity of the Justice Department.

Notably, it is the Justice Department and IRS which will be on the forefront of dealing with alleged violations of neutrality among religious organizations with tax-free status. Many such charges have always emerged this year on both sides of the campaign. In Washington, there is an army of private counsel that is readily available to explain the rules. The Justice Department also releases information on these rules.

Even if the DOJ wanted to send someone to the event, the question remains why the Attorney General should be that person when he will be the ultimate decision-maker in future cases involving violations. At a time of growing unease over the entanglement of church and state (as well as faith-based politics generally) the participation of the Attorney General is not a welcomed sight for many who are uncomfortable with the increasing role of religious leaders in our political process. If Alberto Gonzales went to Congress to brief evangelical religious leaders on campaigning in the presidential election, the hue and cry would be deafening. Yet, again, there appears to be little criticism of this appearance by Holder.

What do you think?

Source: MSNBC

51 thoughts on “Holder To Appear At Training Session For Black Ministers Preparing For 2012 Election”

  1. idealist, The worst of these voter id laws was passed in Wisconsin. Pennsylvania’s is pretty bad, too. The Texas one is so screwed up they weren’t able to enforce it in the recent primary.

  2. Barkin’ Dog’s bite.
    My full approval.

    Amazing how sly some are.
    Never a glimt in their eyes, but you can (pardon me) be sure the hair on their balls bristle with ire when you know who’s name comes up.

    Chad flying ain’t nothing compared to what’s going on now.
    Thought you had rights? Think again.

    I love some aspects of the South. But they’ve always had a penchant for tomfool ideas. Following the Dems was also an example. Not an non-RWA among them.

  3. BarkinDog,

    Lee Atwater is dead. Maybe you should talk to the bug exterminator from Texas. Go on Dancing Stars.

  4. Barkin dog, These folks want Obama and Holder removed from office. If they use voter suppression to achieve their goal of electing Romney and other republicans to office, the deep scars in this country will become even worse. Yet they are ready and willing to do this.

  5. Yeah Holder, you can not go talk to a public group of ministers about voting rights in this country. Nor can you help out grampa down in Florida. Here is an article on today’s Google about voting rights in Florida under the new RepubliCon regime:

    A 91-year-old Florida man who won a Bronze star serving in World War II was told by the state of Florida he must prove he is a citizen or he will be removed from voter rolls, The Miami Herald reports.

    Bill Internicola told The Miami Herald he was “flabbergasted” when he received a letter in the mail from the Broward Supervisor of Elections saying he must prove he is a citizen in order to vote.

    The letter stated the supervisor’s office received “information from the State of Florida that you are not a United States citizen; however you are registered to vote,” reports The Miami Herald.

    The letter is part of a controversial Florida program that aims to purge non-citizens from voting records before this year’s election.

    The state put out an initial list of more than 2,600 people identified as non-U.S. citizens. State election officials then compared driver’s licenses with voter registration data and found that as many as 182,000 registered voters are eligible to be in the country, but ineligible to vote.

    Some identified, like Internicola, received letters asking to prove their citizenship.

    On Tuesday, six Democratic members of Congress asked Florida Gov. Rick Scott to suspend the program, saying it has too many inaccuracies and questioning the timing and the accuracy of the effort.

    Two of the Congress members, Rep. Ted Deutch and Rep. Alcee Hastings, said at a Tuesday press conference Internicola is an example of the “misguided” program, the Miami Herald reports.

    “It’s sloppy, it’s a hurried voter purge and it could have major consequences for Florida’s election in November,” Hastings told The Sun Sentinel.

    Internicola was born in Brooklyn and is a lifelong Democrat and voter, The Sun Sentinel reports.He served as an Army medic in World War II in the 75th infantry division, and won a Bronze Star for his actions in the Battle of the Bulge. He also received the Legion of Honor for his service in France.

    He sent in his army discharge papers as proof of his citizenship according to The Miami Herald.

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/05/31/florida-tells-1-year-old-world-war-ii-veteran-must-prove-his-citizenship-to/#ixzz1wSIr1WKf

  6. As usual, I agree with Prof. Turley. The fact that Holder may in some respects be a better AG than Ashcroft doesn’t move me. Holder’s involvement in an obviously politically driven event is just wrong. Period. Just because other AG’s may have violated the smell test doesn’t make it right either.

    I remember when Ashcroft was in the ICU suffering from pancreatitis (hideously painful). Gonzales (then Bush’s attack counsel) showed up seeking Ashcroft’s approval of some violation of basic civil liberties which Bush/Cheney had cooked up. Ashcroft refused to sign off. I had to admire the man for this. Here he was in agony. Gonzales shouldn’t have even been let in. I doubt Holder would have shown similar resolve in the same situation.

    To all of you who are ignoring the complete debacle the Obama administration has turned out to be as far as our civil liberties are concerned, I ask you to take your blinders off. Read the article in the NYT posted yesterday about Obama’s “kill list”. Then read today’s NYT editorial re the “kill list” and even more importantly the thoughtful comments made by readers re the editorial. Lists of incidences where Obama has violated his campaign promises and not only preseved most of the Bush civil liberties outrages (other than water boarding and “rendition”), but exceeded them. I only wish there was a viable third party candidate. 4 more years of this. God help us.

  7. The duty of the federal executive branch is to enforce the Voting Rights Act of 1965. New efforts to disenfranchise minority voters are blatant. Show me your ID grampa. The role of the Attorney General is to be the lead person on law enforcement for the Executive Branch. One way is to file lawsuits to stop voting rights violations. Another is to educate the public. I did not see Fox News offering him an hour to explain the law to the nation. Forums exist. The smug schmucks in organizations like the American Bar Association give a rats arse about this issue. It is totally appropriate for the Attorney General to speak at public functions of public groups on issues of concern such as violations of the Voting Rights Act. This dog lives in the South. They used to lynch you down here if you applied for the right to vote. The Republican Party decided to go after the Redneck vote in the South and switch places with the old Confederate Democrat Party with the advent of the activist named Lee Atwater who preached to the likes of Nixon and Reagun, the Southern Strategy. That strategy worked. After Johnson had passed the Voting Rights Act the calculating Republicans took over nearly every House and Senate seat in the former Confederacy. We have an African American President and an African American Attorney General from the Democratic Party. Lee Atwater is smiling in his grave as Turley and Y’all denigrate Holder’s very right to go speak to a group of people with an interest in upholding the Voting Rights Act.
    If you bloggers here could Google the name Lee Atwater then you will easily find the story of hwo he met with the RepubliCons and gave them the rap that they no longer have to say: N—–, Nig—–, Nig—– three times to get the attention of the Rednecks and win them over to the side of Nixon and local RepubliCons. Its all a Con. Subtle phrases and back door tactics will do. Right Leroy Atwater? Its still working. How dare that man go speak to a group of African Americans about voting rights. Thank you Turley for pointing this out to us. We know that you did not mean to.

  8. rafflaw,

    Do you remember when Bush Jr. stole the election from Gore? Exit polls first declared Florida for Gore, then it changed. While the state of Florida was in contention, Bush Jr. complained in a television interview about little brother Jeb’s capability of securing Florida. Jeb was the governor of Florida at the time. Hanging chads, etc.

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