Why is Tom Perez Opposing the IG Recommendations?

When the last Inspector General report came out about Civil Rights Division hiring, AAG Wan Kim promised to implement all of the suggestions.  His successor AAG Tom Perez is not as magnanimous and appears resistant to implementing changes described by the report as necessary. 

Senators take note.

In particular, Perez seems opposed to implementing changes regarding hiring practices which has resulted in a 100 percent liberal or leftist bias in Voting Section lawyers.  Some inside the DOJ simply cannot understand that this is a problem, and for that blindness, a heavy price may be paid if Perez is nominated for Secretary of Labor.  (An aside: I spent the day on Capitol Hill and there is an emerging view that Perez will not be nominated.  Damaged goods.  I am not sure I agree with that assessment given the people nominating spend an inordinate amount of time justifying the correctness of their position, even if it is a corroded one.)

So here is the problem, from the IG report at 218-219:

We believe that the Division should consider instituting several additional protections that will minimize the risk of prohibited personnel practices, as well as the perception of favoritism.


We found that the Voting Section’s use of the “general civil rights/public interest experience” criterion in its evaluation of applicants, without any greater specificity or definition, was problematic. We recognize why reviewers might look favorably upon applicants with “general civil rights experience” and/or “public interest experience” in the context of the Section’s work. However, we believe that criterion lacked sufficient connection to the qualifications required for the experienced trial attorney position and, due to its broad scope and use to assess the degree of applicants’ “commitment” to civil rights, was vulnerable to misuse to determine applicants’ ideological leanings.  The reasons the committee members gave us for using this criterion were not persuasively connected to the job skills needed to be a successful voting rights litigator. . . .


We believe that the “general civil rights/public interest experience” criterion is not sufficiently “tailored” and the explanations provided to us regarding the practice of assessing the degree of applicants’ civil rights “commitment” were inadequate. . . .


We did not find sufficient evidence to conclude that CRT staff considered applicants’ political or ideological affiliations when hiring experienced trial attorneys for the Voting Section in 2010. Nevertheless, the primary criterion used by the Voting Section hiring committee in assessing the qualifications of applicants, namely prior voting litigation experience, resulted in a pool of select candidates that was overwhelmingly Democratic/liberal in affiliation.

When Loretta King implemented this change in 2009, (prior "commitment" to civil rights as evidenced by working for the groups), I knew it was a problem.  I also know the new test resulted in perfectly qualified candidates being rejected because their left wing bona fides were inadequate.  And now the Inspector General agrees with me.  But will Perez do anything about it?  It appears the answer is no.  It appears he doesn't even understand the problem.  He plainly opposes the IG's suggestion in Appendix A of the Report.

Fine.  Normally such stubborn intransigence would carry a small price.  But when the person rejecting the IG change may be before a firing line of angry Senators from South Carolina, Louisiana and elsewhere, the price of stubbornness is much higher.  In fact, 41 of those Senators deciding that Tom Perez should not be the Secretary of Labor means that Tom Perez will not be the Secretary of Labor.  Time to reconsider.

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