Mr. President, Meet Avner Shapiro, Saboteur From the DOJ Swamp
This column by ACRU Policy Board member J. Christian Adams was published June 22, 2017 by PJ Media.
President Trump is reportedly frustrated with Deep State leakers trying to sabotage his agenda.
President Trump, meet Justice Department lawyer Avner Shapiro.
President Trump is a supporter of voter identification laws. Avner Shapiro is not.
From his perch at the Voting Section of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, Avner Shapiro has exerted more will over DOJ’s approach to voter ID —- particularly against Texas —- than has the president.
That’s not how a democratic republic is designed to work. A story built entirely on leaks and designed to attack Trump priorities appeared in the Soros-funded Pro Publica. It was packed with confidential insider information about the Trump Justice Department’s litigation decisions about state voter ID laws and the internal views of lawyers at the Justice Department.
The saga is a case study in how Deep State leftists both sabotage the Trump agenda and unethically leak confidential information about litigation decisions.
After the Trump Justice Department decided to abandon claims that Texas voter ID was deliberately enacted to discriminate against racial minorities, the swamp creatures started to growl and hiss. The story reveals:
Attorneys who worked on the case for years were barely consulted about the change —- many weren’t consulted at all, according to two former DOJ officials with knowledge of the matter. Gore wrote the filing changing the DOJ’s position largely by himself and asked the attorneys who’d been involved in the case for years to sign it to show continuity. Not all of the attorneys fell in line.
Avner Shapiro —- who has been a prosecutor in the civil rights division for more than 20 years —- left his name off the filings written by Gore. Shapiro was particularly involved in developing the DOJ’s argument that Texas had intentionally discriminated against minorities in crafting its voter ID legislation.
This means that Shapiro sabotaged the Trump administration’s more sensible approach to voter ID.
Let’s take a closer look at this paragraph, and sift out the confidential information.
Whether supervisory lawyers consulted lower-level attorneys about a change in litigation strategy is confidential information. Lawyers are not supposed to reveal confidential information to Soros-funded news outlets —- or to any news outlet, for that matter. There’s one improper leak of confidential information.
Whether or not “Gore wrote the filing” is also confidential information. Now we’re at two.
Gore’s reported request to lawyers in the case to sign off to show continuity is likewise entirely confidential. So that’s three.
It is also confidential information that Shapiro deliberately refused to agree to his supervisor’s request. If you’re still counting, that’s four.
And finally, whether Shapiro was a key attorney in developing the abandoned arguments is also confidential information. So we have a total of five pieces of confidential information leaked by a lawyer on the Texas voter ID case at the Justice Department.
That’s five pieces of confidential information that a Justice Department attorney revealed to Pro Publica, or to a third party who revealed it to Pro Publica.
That’s five different reasons for that attorney to be disbarred.
It’s also five different reasons for Trump administration officials to take action against the leaker.
The DOJ ethics office must open an ethics investigation and put the possible leaker under oath, and then report the leaker for disbarment.
Remember, the State of Texas itself was also an intended target of these leaks. The leaks were designed to undermine the Trump administration’s new approach towards the Texas voter ID law and similar laws in other states.
It was designed to hamper and scare Trump administration officials away from action.
Leaks from the swamp designed to sabotage the president will either be taken seriously, or they will not. If they are not, there will be more leaks. If there are consequences, like even a single termination or disbarment, they will stop.
For years, Shapiro’s wife Julie Fernandes has worked for the Soros Open Society Foundations as the advocacy director for voting rights. Remember, the Open Society Foundations funds Pro Publica. Meanwhile, Shapiro’s federal lawyer salary is in excess of $155,000 per year.
The Obama administration reflexively opposed voter ID laws despite the fact they are supported by the vast majority of Americans, including racial minorities. Trump made voter ID an issue in the 2016 election, and Trump won.
That’s what Justice Department lawyer Avner Shaprio cannot stand.
The Pro Publica article spins the golden-oldie from a decade ago that the civil rights lawyers at DOJ making $150,000 or more per year are uncomfortable and unsettled about the future because a Republican is in the White House:
All of the internal changes at the DOJ have left attorneys and staff with “a great deal of fear and uncertainty,” said [Bill] Yeomans. While he says the lawyers there would like to stay at the department, they fear Sessions’ priorities will have devastating impact on their work.
Memo to Bill Yeomans: Nobody cares except your close pals. In fact, stories about left-wing federal employees making 160 large living with “fear and uncertainty” delight the people who elected the president.
It’s what they expected with their vote. They paid for the ticket to the demolition derby, now the voters want to see the carnage and steaming radiators.
Everybody knows that virtually no work is taking place inside the Voting Section at DOJ, and hasn’t for years. Most of the lawyers in the country would trade places in a heartbeat with the woe-is-me $160,000-a-year lawyers leaking to Bill Yeomans and Pro Publica.
Some will bristle at the notion of hauling a lawyer suspected of leaking to Pro Publica before the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), putting the lawyer under oath, and asking about leaking to Bill Yeomans, Jessica Huseman, or Annie Waldman. These would be the the sorts of insiders who flinch from any controversy. Good luck, because the Civil Rights Division is a cauldron of controversy. That won’t change.
Caution isn’t what got these officials a job, anyhow. This president won the White House because he was a disruptor. Perhaps more importantly, Americans supporting the president expect the swamp to be drained. People who put Trump in the White House expect disruption, not caution. People working for the president in federal agencies should let that soak in a bit.
When the swamp leaks and sabotages the president, everyone working for the president has an obligation to enforce the rules and follow the law.
Thankfully, if nobody has the will to do what the president promised, the public can make their own complaints about these leaks to OPR.
Let’s see if the head of OPR, Robin Ashton —- a well-known Democratic loyalist, incidentally —- takes seriously the fact that Voting Section lawyers are unethically leaking to sabotage the president.
Let’s also watch to see if immediate supervisors inside the Voting Section also take the leaks seriously and act.
If not, we can add a few more names to the list of the swamp creatures to drain out shortly.