Justice Whistleblower Warns Senate on Labor Pick

Former DOJ employee cautions Senate against confirming ‘extreme’ nominee Perez

March 18, 2013

The Department of Justice whistleblower who resigned over the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case said President Barack Obama’s labor secretary nominee Thomas Perez is the "most extreme cabinet nominee in 70 years."

J. Christian Adams, who worked for Perez at the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, sent a stern warning to the U.S. Senate about Perez’s policies.

"Different business groups who don’t think the nominee matters should pay close attention to Perez’s record," Adams said in an interview with the Washington Free Beacon. "People like Perez are very skillful at creatively ignoring the law to suit their own ends."

Adams resigned from the Department of Justice in 2010 following the dismissal of voter intimidation charges against two members of the New Black Panther Party who had brandished weapons outside of a Philadelphia election center two years earlier. He wrote a tell-all book exposing the racial politics of the Civil Rights Division under Perez.

A newly unveiled inspector general (IG) report on the division found that Perez interpreted voting protection laws "to not cover white citizens."

Adams said the IG report confirmed what he had been saying about the Civil Rights division since his resignation.

"Here is the chief official for civil rights violating the letter of the law to not protect certain people," Adams said. "He not only harbors this mindset, he facilitates it throughout the division. There are a number of people who share that worldview in powerful positions right now."

Perez’s duties at the Labor Department would include the equal enforcement of discrimination laws at workplaces across the country. Adams said Perez is incapable of carrying out that duty given his worldview.

"There are a lot of areas where labor law will be a nuisance to his policies; he will issue regulations not supportable in law," Adams said. "He will take the same brand of lawyering at Civil Rights division to the Labor Department."

Perez filed suit against the New York City Fire Department after discovering that black applicants failed the firefighters’ exam at higher rates than white and Hispanic applicants. A new class of court-approved applicants is now flunking out of the firefighter academy in record numbers.

"Perez imposed racial quota system on New York that required New York to hire firefighters who flunked the exam," Adams said. "He forces businesses to hire people that aren’t qualified."

Perez’s nomination has already drawn objections from Senate Republicans. Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley expressed skepticism to the nominee’s troubling record, while Louisiana Sen. David Vitter vowed to block the nomination.

"Thomas Perez’s record should be met with great suspicion by my colleagues for his spotty work related to the New Black Panther case, but Louisianans most certainly should have cause for concern about this nomination," Vitter said in a release.

"Perez was greatly involved in the DOJ’s partisan full court press to pressure Louisiana’s Secretary of State to only enforce one side of the law—the side that specifically benefits the politics of the president and his administration at the expense of identity security of each and every Louisianan on the voter rolls."

Adams called on the Senate to rally behind Vitter.

"Sen. Vitter is going to be the first of many," he said. "If the Republicans can’t stop radical like Tom Perez, who can they stop? This would be the most extreme cabinet appointee in 70 years since FDR’s agricultural secretary Henry Wallace."

The White House did not return emails and phone calls requesting comment.