Our Common Good



On April 4, Coca-Cola announced it was ending financial support for the American Legislative Exchange Council, the right-wing group behind “Stand Your Ground” laws and voter suppression efforts.

Now, U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is advocating a boycott of the company:

Grow up, Chuck Grassley!

h/t: Judd Legum at Think Progress Justice

To Senator Chuck Grassley:

Can’t wait to see how Colbert responds to this. More fuel for #IgotTweetslikeGrassley

The same conservative activists who brought you the New Black Panther nontroversy are on a new crusade against the Obama Department of Justice, accusing the agency of “politicized hiring.” Senator Chuck Grassley, seizing on those accusations, told civil rights division chief Thomas E. Perez that he believed the division’s hiring choices reflected ideological bias during a Senate hearing Tuesday.


Grassley didn’t follow up on the issue during questioning. But in response to a question from Senator Chris Coons of Delaware, Perez copped to the charge of hiring civil rights lawyers to work in the civil rights division.

"I plead guilty to that," he said. "Relevant experience is indeed very very helpful. My brother the surgeon hires surgeons in his surgical practice. I think it’s important to hire people who have that relevant experience."

As for “politicized hiring,” Perez said that since taking the leadership of the division, he’d put the hiring process back into the hands of career attorneys. He also instituted a new rule that forces division leaders who want to overrule a hiring decision to justify their position in writing. (That hasn’t happened yet, Perez said.) During the Bush administration, by contrast, emails disclosed in a Justice Department report revealed that political appointees made hiring decisions based on whether or not applicants were “commies” (liberals) or “right-thinking Americans” (conservatives). During that time, enforcement of most civil rights laws declined. In the past two years, the division has consecutively broken records in filing criminal cases, Perez said.

"My proudest moment was to restore that career driven hiring process that has produced the remarkable cadre of people that has enabled us to take that division to higher and higher levels," Perez said.

As for Perez’ accusers, Von Spakovsky was part of the political leadership at the civil rights division when an internal investigation found that Bush era-division head Bradley Schlozman had broken civil service laws with partisan hiring practices. Adams was hired during this period, and went on to draw attention as a “whistleblower” by accusing the civil rights division of anti-white racism in its handling of the New Black Panther voter intimidation case. Those allegations that were later found to be groundless by the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility. In other words, the people who are attacking Perez are associated with an era at DOJ during which the leadership of the division was doing exactly what they’re accusing Perez of doing.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) piled on the following day, calling S&P’s move a “wake-up call for Congress and the President to take meaningful action to reduce deficit spending and the resulting debt.”

ThinkProgress spoke with Grassley at the Iowa State Fair on Thursday to get his further thoughts on S&P’s criticism of Republican stubbornness. However, before we were able to ask the Iowa senator about S&P’s recommendations regarding our nation’s fiscal dilemma, Grassley made a startling revelation: he has not even read the report.