No Comment — July 17, 2007, 7:37 am

Obstruction at Justice

Q: When does the U.S. Department of Justice, once one of the most highly respected law enforcement organizations in the world, behave like an organized crime family?

A: When it’s under the control of a man named “Fredo.”

The Department of Justice continues its flat-out efforts at obstruction of Congressional oversight and investigation. And the latest act in this comic opera: it orders the head of the voting rights section, John Tanner, not to appear or testify before the House Judiciary Committee, which is investigating wrongdoing in his section. TPM Muckraker reports:

The House Judiciary Committee was set to hold a hearing on the Civil Rights Division’s voting rights section tomorrow, but no more. That’s because the Justice Department has refused to allow the chief of the section, John Tanner, to testify. The committee has postponed the hearing until the Department allows Tanner to appear.

A career employee at the Department, Tanner worked hand in hand with political appointees Bradley Schlozman and Hans von Spakovsky to ensure the passage of voter identification laws in Georgia and elsewhere — sometimes overruling the recommendations of staff analysts and attorneys, who found that the laws might discriminate against African American voters.

Both Schlozman and von Spakovsky endured hard questioning during testimony last month. Tanner would have gotten the same treatment.

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(1) To need his glasses and be struck by an awareness that they are not at hand, an ordinary enough circumstance for Frederick Douglass, except sometimes it’s accompanied by a flash of extraordinary dread. If not quite panic, certainly an unease disproportionate to a simple recurring situation. Dread that may be immediately extinguished if he locates his horn-rimmed, owlish-eyed spectacles exactly where he anticipated they should be. He sees them and almost sighs. Nearly feels their slightly uncomfortable weight palpable on his nose. Finding the glasses enough to reassure him that he remains here among the living in this material …
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(1) To need his glasses and be struck by an awareness that they are not at hand, an ordinary enough circumstance for Frederick Douglass, except sometimes it’s accompanied by a flash of extraordinary dread. If not quite panic, certainly an unease disproportionate to a simple recurring situation. Dread that may be immediately extinguished if he locates his horn-rimmed, owlish-eyed spectacles exactly where he anticipated they should be. He sees them and almost sighs. Nearly feels their slightly uncomfortable weight palpable on his nose. Finding the glasses enough to reassure him that he remains here among the living in this material …
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(1) To need his glasses and be struck by an awareness that they are not at hand, an ordinary enough circumstance for Frederick Douglass, except sometimes it’s accompanied by a flash of extraordinary dread. If not quite panic, certainly an unease disproportionate to a simple recurring situation. Dread that may be immediately extinguished if he locates his horn-rimmed, owlish-eyed spectacles exactly where he anticipated they should be. He sees them and almost sighs. Nearly feels their slightly uncomfortable weight palpable on his nose. Finding the glasses enough to reassure him that he remains here among the living in this material …
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