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The Washington Post’s intellectually dishonest defense of Tom Perez

The Washington Post editorial board falls well short of its usual standards in this superficial and intellectually dishonest piece of partisanship attacking Republicans for opposing Tom Perez’s nomination for Secretary of Labor. The Post characterizes Republican opposition as driven purely by policy disagreements:

Democrats highly regard Mr. Perez, a former secretary of labor in Maryland, for his aggressive action on voting rights, police abuse and fair lending cases. Republicans dislike him for the same record.

Actually, when it comes to voting rights, Republicans dislike Perez mostly because he failed to take aggressive action when the voting rights of whites have been at stake — as in the New Black Panther Party case.

Moreover, the reasons for opposing Perez extend well beyond policy. For example, Perez gave false testimony to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission about the New Black Panther Party case. Under oath, Perez said that no “political leadership” at DOJ was involved in the decision not to pursue that matter. But federal district court judge Reggie Walton found that internal Justice Department documents “contradict” this testimony.

The Post’s editors are also disingenuous when they cite Republican policy disagreement with Perez about fair lending cases as a source of opposition to his nomination. Republicans don’t oppose Perez because he favors applying disparate impact analysis to fair lending cases. They oppose him because, in a quid pro quo deal with the City of St. Paul, he gave away a lawsuit seeking damages in a whistleblower case in exchange for the City’s agreement to withdraw an appeal to the Supreme Court that would have tested the use of disparate impact analysis in fair lending cases. Perez also made false statements in an attempt to cover up his involvement in the quid pro quo.

The Post knows this very well, but fails to so inform its readers. Instead, without mentioning the quid pro quo, the Post mocks Republicans for (in the Post’s view) only pretending to care about the federal program to protect minorities that was at issue in the St. Paul whistleblower case. The Post thus compounds its intellectual dishonesty by resorting to ad hominem attacks, even as it hides key facts.

The Post concludes by vouching, without any analysis, for Tom Perez’s “high ethical standards.” But it precisely because his ethical standards are in serious doubt that Perez shouldn’t be confirmed.

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