No surprise here. The City Council was involved in the corruption in the first place.
Meet sme of those responsible for the racist court and legal system in Ferguson, here.
Not sure what they could prosecute other than gross negligence…Unless they have a smoking gun…
The DOJ obviously feels there is something to look at.
The FBI is working with a multi-agency team investigating the lead contamination of Flint’s drinking water, alongside Environmental Protection Agency investigators who can tackle criminal violations of federal environmental law, officials said Tuesday.
Several local, state and federal officials have resigned since doctors revealed last year that using the Flint River for the city’s drinking water supply caused elevated levels of lead in some children’s blood. Lead contamination has been linked to learning disabilities and other problems. Michigan’s governor has apologized repeatedly for the state’s role.
FBI spokeswoman Jill Washburn told the AP in an email that the agency’s role is “investigating the matter to determine if there have been any federal violations.” She declined to say when the FBI got involved.
Officials haven’t said whether criminal or civil charges might follow the investigation.
In addition to the FBI and the EPA, the team includes the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Gina Balaya, a U.S. attorney’s spokeswoman in Detroit, told The Associated Press in an email. The Detroit Free Press first reported the FBI’s involvement Tuesday.
In November, the EPA announced it was auditing how Michigan enforces drinking water rules and said it would identify how to strengthen state oversight. The U.S. attorney’s office in Detroit said in January that it was investigating the water crisis with the EPA.
Flint switched its water source from Detroit’s water system to the Flint River in 2014 to save money while under state financial management. The river water was not treated properly and lead from pipes leached into Flint homes. The city returned to Detroit’s system in October while it awaits the completion of a separate pipeline to Lake Huron this summer.
The U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is expected to hold a hearing Wednesday on Flint’s water crisis. Detroit schools emergency manager Darnell Earley, who was state-appointed emergency manager for Flint when its water source was switched, had been asked to testify but declined the invitation, Detroit Public Schools spokeswoman Michelle Zdrodowski said in an email.
The federal investigation is one of several taking place into Flint’s water supply. Last month, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced the appointment of a special counsel to help his office investigate whether laws were broken.
An independent panel appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder has determined that the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality was primarily responsible for the water contamination. The Michigan Civil Rights Commission also plans to hold hearings to explore whether the civil rights of Flint residents were violated.
The C of CC is probably the most prominent hate group in America. They count and have counted as members people like former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi, former RNC Chair Haley Barber, and a host of other Republican politicians. It would seem that those relationships have shielded the organization form the just scrutiny of the DOJ and FBI…Sometimes referred to as the KKK in suits, the C of CC advances and agenda no less toxic than the other white supremacist groups.
So, if looking for culpability in the organization which poured hate into Dylaan Roots head – you need to aim a little higher at the Republican congressmen and Senators who actively resisted the FBI stepping in on their friends and partners.
The feds say they didn’t investigate the group that helped inspire the killer, but even hate speech is free speech—until it promotes violence.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation said it did not investigate the hate group that inspired Dylann Roof to kill nine black parishioners in Charleston, South Carolina last year.
FBI spokeswoman Jillian Stickels told The Daily Beast that there is no record of an investigation into the Council of Conservative Citizens. This comes after The Daily Beast requested FBI files on the group through the Freedom of Information Act. The FBI did not respond to requests for files on the CCC’s most prominent leaders.
The FOIA request also covered one week following the June 17, 2015 attack, indicating that the FBI wasn’t looking into the group even after it was revealed that Roof cited the CCC in his manifesto.
Roof wrote that he Googled “black on White crime” and found them.
“The first website I came to was the Council of Conservative Citizens. There were pages upon pages of these brutal black on White murders,” Roof said, adding that more research led him to “fight” a race war.
After the Charleston shooting, the CCC’s webmaster first said the FBI was looking into suspected ties between him and Roof, and then later denied being part of any investigation.
The Council of Conservative Citizens was founded in 1985. It was meant to be a successor to the White Citizens Councils formed to oppose desegregation following the Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown v. Board of Education. (Justice Thurgood Marshall called the councils the “uptown Klan.”) The FBI maintainedextensive records on the earlier Citizens’ Councils, particularly in the ‘50s and ‘60s.
But the practice apparently did not continue, despite inflammatory statements from the new CCC. In the 1980s, the CCC called blacks “genetically inferior.” In 2001, the CCC website said, “God is the author of racism. God is the One who divided mankind into different types. Mixing the races is rebelliousness against God.”
Racist statements don’t automatically trigger an FBI investigation, of course. What’s usually needed is a link to a threat of violence or criminal activity. Recent prosecutions of ISIS members show that the government may investigate and prosecute people for as little as re-blogging an image that calls for violence.
Other hate groups have been investigated by the FBI, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, including the Aryan Nations, the National Alliance, and several neo-Nazi groups.
The director of the SPLC’s Intelligence Project speculated the CCC was not extreme enough to worry the FBI.
“It may be that they considered the Council to be too mainstream to investigate,” Heidi Beirich said. “After all, several GOP lawmakers including Trent Lott were very close to the group in the 1990s.”
The CCC was co-founded by two Democrats, former Georgia governor Lester Maddox and former Louisiana congressman John Rarick. Republican senator Trent Lott spoke to the CCC at least five times, as did Republican congressman Bob Barr in 1998. Mike Huckabee, another Republican, delivered a videotaped speech to the group in 1993 when he ran for governor of Arkansas.
This historical one, just for fun –
They are going to need Elliot Ness, Melvin Purvis, and a large gang of G-Men to get anywhere close to the bottom of this one.
Looks like the investigation into Sandra Bland’s death has been derailed….
On July 13, Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old black woman, was found dead in her jail cell in Waller County, Texas, three days after being arrested over a traffic stop gone wrong. Sheriff Glenn Smith, who oversees the county jail and had been fired from a previous job after allegations of racism and police brutality, promised an all-access, top-to-bottom investigation to uncover what happened to Bland. He set up an “independent” commission to review the sheriff’s department. Smith tapped Paul Looney, a local criminal defense lawyer, to lead the probe and to pick the commission’s other members.
“The whole nation, the whole world is looking at us,” the sheriff said.
But from the beginning, Looney’s investigation was beset by a conflict of interest: His law firm had a financial relationship with Carbett “Trey” Duhon III, Waller County’s top elected official — and the man who’d likely have to write the Bland family a large check out of county funds if that inquiry turned up wrongdoing. (Duhon, who referred clients to Looney in exchange for a monthly retainer, has since severed that relationship.)
Now, despite Waller County officials’ vows, Looney says his panel isn’t looking for possible wrongdoing at all and is simply compiling recommendations that Smith can “throw in the trash” if he chooses.
“I am not looking forward to sharing this information with the Reed-Veal and Sandra Bland family at all,” Cannon Lambert, a Bland family attorney, said when told about Looney’s comments. “I am dreading this conversation. It’s stunning.”
Duhon, for his part, clearly recognizes the value to Waller County of a fair investigation by an untainted commission. “To avoid the appearance of impropriety,” he told The Huffington Post, he asked Looney to serve as a nonvoting member of the six-person panel. Duhon cited worries that “somehow I could influence the outcome of that investigation. That’s the insinuation that people have made.”
Looney agreed not to vote on the panel’s recommendations. He’s still running the probe.
Duhon, who was elected county judge in 2014, is relatively new to Waller County. He moved from suburban Houston a decade ago and started a solo law practice, doing a lot of title insurance work. He also began involving himself in the kinds of local groups and governance boards that ingratiate a new guy with the old guard, such as the chamber of commerce, a toll road authority and a sub-regional planning commission.
When the county judge slot opened up, Duhon won the Republican primary and then a gently contested general election last year. In Texas, a county judge, though properly addressed as “judge,” is not a judicial official. He’s the executive officer of county government and presides over the elected commissioners’ court, which is not a court but the county’s legislative body. In other words, Duhon straddles the executive and legislative branches of local government, much like a mayor who votes with the city council.
With the new job, his law practice got squeezed. “There’s only so many hours in a day,” Duhon said. “The county judge position in Waller County just absolutely requires an incredible amount of time, day in and day out.”
So from June 2015 — a month before Bland’s death — until Sept. 1, Duhon was “of counsel” at Looney & Conrad. What that meant, Duhon explained, is that Looney’s firm paid him a fixed amount each month, and in exchange he passed along potential clients he didn’t have time to help.
Despite his wide network in Waller County, Duhon told HuffPost he is “the anti-good ol’ boy.”
“I am not about sheltering elected officials or anyone else,” he said. “If people need to be responsible for their actions, they need to be responsible for their actions. I am not about to sacrifice my integrity for another elected official.”
Duhon wanted to be clear that he is not somehow profiting, or helping others profit, from the independent investigation run by Looney. He pointed out that Looney and the others on the panel are not being paid and that, in any case, the monthly retainer he received from the firm was not tied to its revenues. He also expressed hope that Looney serving as a nonvoting member would alleviate any suspicions about deals among political insiders.
The county judge is likely best-known for two ill-conceived tweets that he sent after Bland’s death. The first referred to “high levels of active THC in her system at time of death.” In the second, Duhon tried to explain why he mentioned Bland’s possible marijuana use by writing, “It goes to her mental state. Also relevant if she was self-medicating for depression.” He quickly deleted his Twitter account.
Concerns about potential conflicts posed by the county judge’s recent relationship with the law firm of the man probing the sheriff’s work cannot be so easily erased, for they go beyond private profit. Duhon writes the county budget, including funding for the jail and the sheriff’s department. (The commissioners’ court then votes on it.) Waller County collects about $1.23 million in fines a year — otherwise known as revenue — thanks in large part to the sheriff’s department. And county funds could take a serious hit, in the form of a settlement with the Bland family, if Looney’s investigation turns up civil rights violations, criminality by government employees or other wrongdoing.
Looney told HuffPost last week that Duhon’s ties to his firm posed no conflict of interest. He also said that their arrangement ended as of Sept. 1 because it was scheduled to run just three months.
Duhon has a slightly different take. He told HuffPost he ended the relationship because of an Aug. 3 advisory opinion from the chair of the ethics committee of the State Bar of Texas’ Judicial Section. Evelyn Keyes, who also sits on an appeals court in the Houston area, indicated that a county judge being of counsel to a law firm did indeed pose a conflict for that firm within that county’s courts.
Whatever the reason, Duhon’s departure seems to resolve the appearance of at least one conflict that hung over the Looney-led commission, leaving it free to uncover malfeasance and root out wrongdoing in the sheriff’s department and the Waller County Jail.
But that still isn’t what the commission is doing.
“We’re not trying to do an exposé,” Looney told HuffPost. “It’s more in the nature of a consultant report for the sheriff to use as he wants.”
Looney emphasized that his independent commission would make its report public at the same time the findings went to the sheriff — but the sheriff has sole discretion over what to do with the report. “He can read it or not read it,” Looney said. “If he wants to throw the whole thing in the trash can, he can.”
Duhon, who said he’s had no involvement with the panel since asking Looney to be a nonvoting member, had a different impression of its mission. “I was told early on that they would be doing a comprehensive review,” he said. “If that’s changed, that’s not anything I would have any knowledge of.”
According to Looney, the voting members of the commission are taking their jobs seriously and pursuing their review earnestly. “It’s kind of cool to see,” he said, although they are mostly just “observing and taking notes” at this point.
There is no deadline for Looney’s panel to finish its work. Meanwhile, local and outside critics have begun calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate potential civil rights violations in Bland’s case.
Unprompted, Duhon raised the possibility that the federal government could conduct its own inquiry.
“Waller County has been open to that since day one,” said Duhon. “We are OK with the Justice Department. We have never been opposed to that.”
Conservatwits love to criticize Obama for “having some nothing for black folks”, knowing full well that in the one or two cases he has said something, they can whine full throttle about our “racist President”.
Obama’s approach from the beginning has been low key. Despite all the caterwauling, whimpering, and hysterics of the Republicans – he gets it done. Sometimes his hand moves in ways which the Public never really recognizes until way too late. This one is a masterstroke!
Case in point – The Justice Department working for Civil Rights in local courts around the country. Of course in some places, specifically those with right wing justices, they know they can’t win – but they can put a point on the case which will may change things in higher court. This started a long time ago under former Attorney General Eric Holder. Good to see Loretta Lynch is continuing the struggle.
Burlington, Wash., was a small city fighting what seemed like a local lawsuit. Three poor people said that their public lawyers were too overworked to adequately represent them in municipal court cases. The dispute went mostly unnoticed for two years, until the Obama administration became involved.
Unannounced, the Justice Department filed documents in the case and told the judge that he had broad authority to demand changes in Burlington and nearby Mount Vernon. The judge quickly agreed and ordered the cities to hire a new public defense supervisor. He also said he would monitor their legal aid program for three years.
That 2013 decision was a significant victory for the Justice Department in a novel legal campaign that began early in the Obama administration and has expanded in recent years. In dozens of lawsuits around the country involving local disputes, the federal government has filed so-called statements of interest, throwing its weight behind private lawsuits and, in many cases, pushing the boundaries of civil rights law.
The federal government has typically waded into local court cases only when the outcome directly affected a federal interest, such as national security or diplomacy. Recently, however, the Justice Department has filed statements of interest in cases involving legal aid in New York, transgender students in Michigan, juvenile prisoners in solitary detention in California, and people who take videos of police officers in Baltimore. The government has weighed in on employment discrimination claims brought by transgender plaintiffs and a lawsuit over the right of blind people to be able to use Uber, a car-sharing service.
“The Justice Department is sending a clear message: that we will not accept criminal justice procedures that have discriminatory effects,” former Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said in February after filing documents in a case involving high court bonds in Alabama. “We will not hesitate to fight institutionalized injustice wherever it is found.”
Loretta E. Lynch, who became attorney general in April, has continued the initiative unabated.
Civil rights groups have applauded the move — and in turn flooded the Justice Department with requests for government intervention in their cases. But to lawyers on the other side, it can feel as if the government is using private court cases to make political points.
“From the community’s perspective, it was an ongoing nightmare,” said Scott G. Thomas, the lawyer for Burlington in the lawsuit over legal aid. The Obama administration’s involvement turned the city of about 8,000 people into a national symbol. “Why is the Department of Justice interested in a little case involving two little communities in northwest Washington?” Mr. Thomas said…
By using such court filings in civil rights cases, the Obama administration is saying it has an interest in preserving constitutional rights in the same way it has an interest in foreign policy. There are examples of past administrations using statements of interest to coax public policy — such as in 2005 when the Bush administration intervened in the case over whether to keep Terri Schiavo, a Florida woman with severe brain damage, on life support. But neither career Justice Department officials nor longtime advocates can recall such a concerted effort to insert the federal government into local civil rights cases…
When the Justice Department intervened last year in a lawsuit over legal aid in New York, for example, officials said it took no position on whether the state was violating the constitutional rights of indigent defendants. But government lawyers adopted the same core legal arguments as the plaintiffs and encouraged the judge to scrutinize the legal aid system broadly.
“It was a game changer,” said Donna Lieberman, the executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, which was involved in that court fight. The state settled the lawsuit soon after the Justice Department became involved. Ms. Lieberman said the agency’s intervention was “a powerful way to help support a fundamental right.”…More…
Well… there goes the 5000 under 50 something women on E-Harmony and match – and most of the guys with those fancy jobs and fancy wheels!
The Department of Justice is now saying that lying on personal sites, like the dating sites or Facebook…
Could be a crime.
So much for that “About Average” body type classification on those dating sites!
The U.S. Department of Justice is defending computer hacking laws that make it a crime to use a fake name on Facebook or lie about your weight in an online dating profile.
In a statement obtained by CNET that’s scheduled to be delivered tomorrow, the Justice Department argues that it must be able to prosecute violations of Web sites’ often-ignored, always-unintelligible “terms of service” policies.
The law must allow “prosecutions based upon a violation of terms of service or similar contractual agreement with an employer or provider,” Richard Downing, the Justice Department’s deputy computer crime chief, will tell the U.S. Congress tomorrow.
Scaling back that law “would make it difficult or impossible to deter and address serious insider threats through prosecution,” and jeopardize prosecutions involving identity theft, misuse of government databases, and privacy invasions, according to Downing.
The law in question, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, has been used by the Justice Department to prosecute a woman, Lori Drew, who used a fake MySpace account to verbally attack a 13-year old girl who then committed suicide. Because MySpace’s terms of service prohibit impersonation, Drew was convicted of violating the CFAA. Her conviction was later thrown out.
What makes this possible is a section of the CFAA that was never intended to be used that way: ageneral-purpose prohibition on any computer-based act that “exceeds authorized access.” To the Justice Department, this means that a Web site’s terms of service define what’s “authorized” or not, and ignoring them can turn you into a felon.
On the other hand, because millions of Americans likely violate terms of service agreements every day, you’d have a lot of company.
A letter (PDF) sent to the Senate in August by a left-right coalition including the ACLU, Americans for Tax Reform, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and FreedomWorks warns of precisely that. “If a person assumes a fictitious identity at a party, there is no federal crime,” the letter says. “Yet if they assume that same identity on a social network that prohibits pseudonyms, there may again be a CFAA violation. This is a gross misuse of the law.”
Orin Kerr, a former Justice Department computer crime prosecutor who’s now a professor of law at George Washington University, says the government’s arguments are weak.
Kerr, who is also testifying tomorrow before a House Judiciary subcommittee, told CNET today that: