|For Immediate Release
August 05, 2010
Contact: Kimberly Smith
Smith Calls for Special Counsel to Investigate Employee Harassment at DOJ
Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today sent a letter to Acting Special Counsel William Reukauf calling for an investigation into allegations that employees of the Civil Rights Division have suffered harassment based upon race, religious beliefs, or perceived political allegiance. If these allegations are true, it means that Justice Department employees themselves—who are tasked with enforcing federal laws—are in violation of federal law.
Ranking Member Smith: “There is never an excuse for any federal employee to suffer workplace harassment. Harassment is not only illegal, but it substantially interferes with the discharge of a federal employee’s duties … I request that the Office of Special Counsel open an investigation into whether any officials at the [Civil Rights] Division engaged in behavior that constitutes harassment, fosters an openly hostile work environment, or violates any other federal law or regulation.”
At a hearing before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, former Civil Rights Division attorney J. Christian Adams testified under oath that the Civil Rights Division’s management fostered an openly hostile culture toward the race-neutral enforcement of federal voting rights laws. Mr. Adams cited several instances of harassment of Division employees, including the harassment of a minority employee who was working on a voting rights case against an African-American activist who allegedly cancelled ballots of white voters and stuffed the ballot box with votes for African-American candidates to skew election results.
Ranking Member Smith requested that the Office of Special Counsel review actions by the Civil Rights Division from 2001 to present.