It seems that we are therefore headed for a clash between the administration, which has bragged about its transparency, and the Commission. It remains unclear whether the Justice Department will continue to stonewall as some fear or ask the president to invoke executive privilege to block the DOJ’s cooperation with the Commission’s investigation, thereby significantly impeding the only truly independent entity examining this issue.
Meanwhile, Republicans on Capitol Hill remain wary. Rep. Frank Wolf and Lamar Smith expressed relief that an investigation was finally underway. But given that the Justice Department controls the timing and contours of OPR’s inquiry, some Republicans are not willing to give up all leverage over Holder’s Justice Department.
To that end, a hold has been placed, it is believed by Sen. Tom Coburn, on the nomination of Civil Rights Division head Thomas Perez. In light of the proclivity of Holder’s Justice Department to be less than forthcoming with information and its track record to date in the New Black Panther case, it seems that savvy Republicans will not be anxious to lift that hold until there has been a full accounting of the New Black Panther case.
In sum, the heat is being turned up on the Justice Department but we can expect that every effort will be made to block and sidestep the Commission’s investigatory efforts. This will come as no surprise to conservatives who have seen (with, for example, the proliferation of unaccountable “czars” exempt from congressional confirmation) that this administration prefers to operate with a minimal amount of accountability and outside scrutiny.
And that is precisely what the Commission is threatening to bring. If it succeeds we may finally learn why Obama’s Justice Department walked away from a high-profile victory against the New Black Panthers.
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