(Jason Howerton) Attorney General Eric Holder’s Department of Justice (DOJ) is being accused of political indiscretion — and it has nothing to do with the failed federal gun-walking operation known as “Fast and Furious.”
Four GOP congressmen argue the DOJ struck a backdoor deal with city officials in St. Paul, Minn., to “withdraw a housing discrimination case before the Supreme Court in exchange for Justice declining to intervene in an unrelated False Claims Act case against the city,” the Washington Post reports.
In a letter to Holder, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Reps Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Patrick T. McHenry (R-N.C.) accuse the Department of Justice of making the deal with St. Paul city officials in February. The lawmakers said they learned about the purported deal during a private briefing with DOJ officials.
“We were shocked to learn during this briefing and in subsequent document examination that Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez, over the objections of career Justice Department attorneys, enticed the city to drop its lawsuit that Mr. Perez did not want decided by the Supreme Court,” the letter reads.
DOJ spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler said in a statement that the “resolution reached in these cases was in the best interests of the United States and consistent with the Department’s practice in reaching global settlements.”
She went on to call the decision “appropriate” and said the call was made after “an examination of the relevant facts, law and policy considerations at issue.”
The Washington Post has more details on the case:
St. Paul City Attorney Sara Grewing said that the primary reason that the city dismissed its petition to the Supreme Court in Magner v. Gallagher was “to preserve 40 years of civil rights law.”
But Grewing also said that the Justice Department’s decision not to intervene in two lawsuits against the city was a factor. “When the city dismissed the Magner petition, the Department of Justice declined to intervene — and thus not oppose the city — in those two lawsuits,” she said in a statement.