This column by ACRU Policy Board member J. Christian Adams was published November 4, 2016 by PJ Media.
When the Obama Justice Department learned that it had killed off election integrity laws in North Carolina and Texas, political leadership decided it was time for a party — a pizza party to be precise. It was also time for Attorney General Loretta Lynch to dance, literally.
The bizarre waste of taxpayer money and government time occurred on October 4, 2016, at noon at the Justice Department Voting Section offices at 1800 G Street, NW, in Washington D.C.
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, led by an Obama appointee, had just reversed a thorough 485-page trial court opinion upholding North Carolina’s election integrity laws, including early voting reforms and Voter ID. Earlier, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals had upheld a federal court striking down Texas Voter ID.
It was time for the leftist lawyers at the Justice Department to celebrate. An email went out from Chris Herren, the Voting Section Chief:
All — in appreciation for all the very hard work that the section has been doing, [Deputy Assistant Attorney General] Justin [Levitt] would like to provide lunch for the Section…. We are thinking pizza, cookies and soda, around noon….. We hope that everyone can be there.
All the “hard work,” as we shall see, wasn’t much, as the Voting Section has hardly filed any cases in the last seven years. I am told by multiple sources that high-paid lawyers and staff there spend days idling, doing nothing, while their managers hide behind closed doors.
Despite this lack of work, the Section has continued to hire new lawyers, naturally with impeccable left-wing pedigrees. Nevertheless, it was time to party.
Domino’s Pizza delivered dozens of pizzas and soda to the conference room, enough to feed a Section with upwards of 70 federal employees, with all the lawyers making in excess of $110,000 a year, and many making $155,000 plus benefits.
According to sources familiar with what unfolded, a feeding frenzy of free pizza followed. While the federal employees were devouring their free pizza, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Justin Levitt addressed the crowd.
Levitt thanked everyone for their hard work, and what it would mean on November 8. What you did “would have a great effect on the election.” Effect indeed. It wasn’t a speech about enforcing federal law neutrally, it was about affecting the election in North Carolina and Texas.
Loretta Lynch couldn’t attend the pizza party, but an email about her reaction was passed around. Vanita Gupta, the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights who blamed slavery for the riots in Ferguson and Baltimore spoke for the Attorney General:
Hi Victorious NC team — Y’all won this fight. Decisively. Resoundingly. Proudly. The opinion is terrific and a real testament to your blood, sweat and tears over the last years. I was with Attorney General Loretta Lynch in Baton Rouge when I received Justin’s email with the news of the win, and the Attorney General did a little dance in the conference room (just among DOJ family).
At least it was just among DOJ family, until now.
After devouring the free pizza, the DOJ employees trickled back to their offices where they had little to do.
Since the beginning of the Obama administration, the Justice Department Voting Section has brought only a handful of cases, far fewer than voting cases brought during the Bush administration. You can compare the record of results here.
This is why so many sources report to me that the Voting Section is mismanaged with lawyers having almost nothing to do. Even after the Supreme Court struck down a federal statute that employed at least a dozen of these employees, the Section continued to hire new staff, while idling staff who enforced the obsolete law.
The Obama Voting Section hasn’t initiated and brought a single case under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act to fight discriminatory voting districts, even thought the NAACP has found and won meritorious cases. These were cases the DOJ could have brought and won, but didn’t. The Section hasn’t brought a single minority language case to help Spanish speaking voters since 2012 and has entirely shut down enforcement of the law requiring clean voter rolls. But who needs clean voter rolls when you can have a pizza party instead?