FNC: House Dems Block Action on Black Panthers Voter Intimidation Case

On Thursday’s The O’Reilly Factor, FNC host Bill O’Reilly updated viewers on the Black Panthers voter intimidation case from election day 2008 -- involving a Pennsylvania polling place -- which Attorney General Eric Holder declined to prosecute despite strong video evidence. The most recent development, on Wednesday the House Judiciary Committee voted to block any action on the case, as all 15 Democrats voted to reject action while all 14 Republicans voted in favor of more investigation. O’Reilly: "But yesterday the House Judiciary Committee voted 15-14, along partisan lines, not to compel the Justice Department to hand over investigative data in the case. As you may know, Attorney General Holder has stonewalled the investigation, and now the Dems are apparently letting them get away with it."

Guest Kris Kobach, a former Bush administration official, recounted the severity of the case:

This is a very serious case of voter intimidation under section 11B of the Voting Rights Act. And, remember, the charges were brought in January of 2009, and these guys didn't even answer the charges, which is the legal equivalent of basically admitting that you're guilty. And so the Department of Justice had victory in its hands, and then the new Holder Justice Department came in and said, "No, we're dismissing the charges against two of the three thugs and against the party, as well." Only the guy that had the nightstick had an injunction against him, so very, very troubling because rarely would a prosecutor or the U.S. Justice Department drop charges after they've already effectively won the case.

Below is a complete transcript of the interview from the Thursday, January 14, The O’Reilly Factor on FNC:

BILL O'REILLY: "Factor Follow-up" segment tonight. On election day 2008 in Philadelphia, some Black Panthers intimidated voters at a polling place.

UNIDENTIFIED BLACK PANTHER: I'm just wondering why everybody's taking pictures, that's all.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Okay, I mean. I think you might be a little bit intimidating that you have a stick in your hand. That's why.

BLACK PANTHER: Who are you to decide?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, that's a weapon. So that's why I'm a little worried.

BLACK PANTHER: Who are you to decide?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, I am a concerned citizen. I'm just worried that you might be-

BLACK PANTHER: And so are we, and so are we. That's why we're here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Okay, but you have a nightstick in your hand.

BLACK PANTHER: So what? You’ve got a camera phone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a camera phone which is not a weapon.

O'REILLY: Now many believe that was a violation of federal law. But yesterday the House Judiciary Committee voted 15-14, along partisan lines, not to compel the Justice Department to hand over investigative data in the case. As you may know, Attorney General Holder has stonewalled the investigation, and now the Dems are apparently letting them get away with it.

Joining us from Kansas City, Missouri, Kris Kobach, former chief advisor at the Justice Department under President Bush. First of all, am I making too big a deal out of this? That just looks like a crime to me. You've got two guys standing out there in regalia, Black Panthers with sticks in their hands. There's no reason for them to be there. The sticks are definitely weapons. And this is, you know, not supposed to happen at any American polling place. You can imagine if the Ku Klux Klan had two guys out there with sticks. So am I making too much of a thing out of this, Chris?

KRIS KOBACH, FORMER CHIEF ADVISOR, JUSTICE DEPARTMENT: No, you're not making too big a deal out of it. This is a very serious case of voter intimidation under section 11B of the Voting Rights Act. And, remember, the charges were brought in January of 2009, and these guys didn't even answer the charges, which is the legal equivalent of basically admitting that you're guilty. And so the Department of Justice had victory in its hands, and then the new Holder Justice Department came in and said, "No, we're dismissing the charges against two of the three thugs and against the party, as well. " Only the guy that had the nightstick had an injunction against him, so very, very troubling because rarely would a prosecutor or the U.S. Justice Department drop charges after they've already effectively won the case.

O'REILLY: Yeah, and they never explained why they dropped it. They didn't explain it.

KOBACH: Exactly.

O'REILLY: We asked them. We couldn't get an answer. So then Congress gets involved and says, "Look, we're going to compel, we're going to, the Judiciary Committee in the House, we're going to compel Attorney General Holder to turn over what he found out about this incident so we can decide whether Holder is doing his job or not." And then they vote, and 15 Democrats vote, "No, we don't want to see the data," and 14 Republicans vote, "Yes, we do." So, I'm saying to myself, look, this is a, good possible criminal case, definitely civil because they didn't answer the judgment, okay? And Holder won't explain why he's not pursuing it. Maybe it's small ball, but let him say that. Let him say that. "It's just not important enough for us" or whatever. So where are we now? They get away with it, right?

KOBACH: Yeah, this is very disturbing. The excuse that the majority of the committee gave when they decided not to pursue asking the Justice Department to hand over the information was, "Oh, we just think this is an isolated incident." No, it's not an isolated incident when you take it in context. In a typical year, the Justice Department gets maybe two or three complaints of voter intimidation. In 2008, they got 48 complaints of voter intimidation. And then take the broader context of hundreds of complaints of voter fraud across the country. And so it was clear that many people brought credible complaints of efforts to take away the integrity, to affect the integrity of our elections, and voter intimidation and voter fraud go hand in glove. This isn't isolated incident.

O'REILLY: Even if Holder and the Justice Department says, "It's not worth our time and effort. We've got more important things to do," okay, say that. Say that so that the people can make a decision one way or the other about how we are being governed. Right now, what we have is we can't find out what the federal government found out in their investigation because Congress has voted, you know, the committee voted against the exposition. We don't know what they found out. And Holder is basically saying, "Hey, I don't care what you think. I'm not even going to explain myself." I just think that is just outrageous.

KOBACH: It is. And on top of that, Bill, the United States Commission on Civil Rights, which was created back in 1957 to investigate civil rights violations just like this one, it's a bipartisan commission with authority to investigate and issue subpoenas, they sent a subpoena to the Justice Department, and Holder stiff-armed them.

O'REILLY: Yeah.

KOBACH: He said no way, not going to answer your questions. And he asserted various bogus privileges that don't even apply.

O'REILLY: So right now, there's nowhere else we can take this? It's dead? We're never going to find out?

KOBACH: Since they’ve said no to the Commission on Civil Rights, Congress was really our last hope here. And this committee is apparently more interested in protecting the department against embarrassment than in protecting our right to vote free of intimidation.

O'REILLY: All right. Mr. Kobach, thanks very much. We appreciate it.