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  • Justice Department Used Enemies List to Attack Critics, Including Me

    It’s an odd feeling to see your name on the list of individuals targeted by the Justice Department. Especially when you used to work there.

    The DOJ’s Office of Public Affairs appears to have enlisted Media Matters to serve as its unofficial PR wing — the one responsible for running smear campaigns too dirty for the department to risk leaving fingerprints.

    Media Matters is, of course, a far-left advocacy group that masquerades as a nonpartisan truth-teller and media watchdog. I am not sure whether to feel honored that my critical reporting on the Justice Department’s misdeeds and rank politicalization attracted such attention, or upset that my taxpayer dollars have been used to attack me personally and professionally. But there is no question that taxpayers and Congress should be upset over unethical conduct by Justice Department employees who use government resources to abuse private citizens and journalists guilty only of reporting on the department’s malfeasance.

    Matthew Boyle of The Daily Caller discovered the smoking gun through a Freedom of Information Act request for DOJ emails. The department, of course, dragged its feet, taking nine months to respond to the request, even though the law requires a response within 20 days. But it was worth the wait.

    The recovered e-mails document communications between Tracy Schmaler, the director of the DOJ Office of Public Affairs, and “reporters” at Media Matters. In dozens of emails, Schmaler enlists Media Matters and provides information “to attack reporters covering DOJ scandals,” in Boyle’s words. In addition to me, Schmaler solicited attacks on other former Justice Department lawyers such as J. Christian Adams, National Review Online contributor Andy McCarthy, and Christopher Coates; bloggers and journalists such as Mike Vanderboegh and William LaJeunesse of Fox News; and even members of Congress such as Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA). Schmaler also sought an article from Media Matters attacking Judson Phillips, one of the founders of Tea Party Nation.

    All of this conduct is reprehensible. But the attacks that Schmaler engineered on Christopher Coates were particularly unethical and unprofessional. At the time, Coates was a DOJ employee, detailed to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in South Carolina to prosecute criminal cases. Coates was a career lawyer, the former chief of the voting section and an experienced civil-rights attorney.

    But Coates had upset DOJ’s political hacks when he complied with a lawfully issued subpoena for his testimony from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Political appointees at DOJ had instructed him to defy the law and not comply with the subpoena. His testimony before the commission was crucial to explaining DOJ’s unjustified dismissal of the New Black Panther Party voter-intimidation case and the Obama Administration’s implementation of a policy against race-neutral enforcement of the law. Coates testified that he was told that the law would not be enforced against minority defendants, no matter how egregious their conduct.

    Thus, the e-mails reveal that the DOJ Office of Public Affairs was directing attacks by an outside group on one of its own employees. Schmaler was clandestinely providing false information to her chosen media source to attack him while he was prosecuting cases for DOJ. This is the kind of behavior one expects from dictatorships and banana republics, not from the chief law-enforcement agency of the U.S. government.

    Schmaler was also potentially violating the federal law that bars retaliation against whistleblowers like Adams and Coates. She should resign, and the inspector general should investigate her flagrant misbehavior.

    If she does not resign or is not terminated, it will be a sign that Attorney General Eric Holder approves of such abuses and sees nothing wrong with using government resources to attack his own employees as well as reporters, ordinary citizens, and others doing their jobs or exercising their right to report or criticize the conduct (and misconduct) of the Justice Department.

    This was first published by National Review Online.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    7 Responses to Justice Department Used Enemies List to Attack Critics, Including Me

    1. micwi says:

      Needless to say that this too will be ignored by the media…….. Now if it were the other way around……. we all know what would happen.

    2. Jeanne Stotler says:

      This is chicago style politics. You intimidate your enemies to keep them quite, while you bully the rest. You feed the general populaton with lies and near lies filled with fear, this is how it happened in Germany in the 1930′s. We all know how that ended up. This adminitration has already made comments about how they would act if re-elected, just listen to his comments to Putin.

    3. ed barron says:

      Why is it when a highly placed government official comits felony offences, they are given a "get out of jail" card for simply resigning? Shouldn't those in positions of power be held (and hold themselves) to a higher standard?

    4. Doug says:

      Many bureaucrats in Washington seem to consider themselves the elite and they think that they know what is best for the unwashed & ignorant population, and such things as the Constitution are annoyances. Sadly, we are rapidly becoming another France.
      This may seem extreme but I think we should eliminate ALL taxes and the government (state and feds) will have to beg for money (via donations, advertising and so forth) just like all other non-profit organizations (since they are!). That way, if they do well, they will very likely get more money, and if they do poorly, they will get less money. Another thing that should happen is that any law that is passed by congress should be no more than 1000 words and be written so that any average citizen can understand it. Last, if any government official (and I mean any) is found to be self-serving or not doing his/her job, they should be fired or at least publicly humiliated. On the other hand, if they do a good job, they should be rewarded.

    5. Pete Green says:

      Hopefully, with a new Congress in January, we may have one that will diecide to do their job and put the hammer down on Holder and Obama and put a committee together to investigate them for abuse of power.

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