The Smear Factor

"...In 17 years of practicing law I'd never been accused of ethical or professional lapses. Since my arrival in Washington, however, I've been called corrupt and unethical, and labeled as everything from a Klansman to a Nazi (my last name seems to generate that latter pejorative) for my work at the Department of Justice.

All of these charges were levied because I dared to take a different view of the law than the political left in the area of civil rights, voting and election law. Those outside Washington cannot conceive how far advocacy organizations, party activists and congressional staffers are willing to go to personally destroy anyone who doesn't agree with their political agenda.

In 2001, I joined the Justice Department as a career lawyer in the civil rights division. True enough, I had been warned the division was a cauldron of left-wing political activism. In fact, in a 1990s redistricting case, a federal judge criticized the career lawyers of the division for behaving like the in-house counsel of the ACLU. He said that "the considerable influence of ACLU advocacy on the voting rights decisions of the United States Attorney General is an embarrassment."

The reputation of the division was well-deserved. From the very first day on the job it was clear that my new colleagues were offended by my presence. Indeed, I eventually learned from a few friendlier lawyers in the division that it was a miracle I had been hired: The career staff would discard qualified applicants if they saw anything that suggested conservative leanings..."

Hans A. Von Spakovsky
Career counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the Department of Justice

Read more: Anatomy of a Beltway Smear Campaign.

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