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House Democrats Issue Memo on Perez Role in Magner v. Gallagher

Apr 14, 2013
Press Release
Finds Perez Effective in Combating Discrimination; No Unethical or Improper Actions by Justice Department Officials
Washington, D.C.- Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Rep. John Conyers, Ranking Member of the House Committee on the Judiciary issued a staff memo detailing the preliminary results of the Committees’ joint investigation into the role of the Department of Justice in urging the City of St. Paul, Minnesota, to withdraw its appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court in Magner v. Gallagher.

As part of this extensive investigation, Committee staff reviewed more than 3,500 pages of documents and conducted six transcribed interviews with officials from the Department of Justice and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

This investigation was initiated when former Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, Representative Patrick McHenry, and Senator Charles Grassley accused Tom Perez, the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, of brokering a “dubious bargain” and a “quid pro quo arrangement” with St. Paul “in which the Department agreed, over the objections of career attorneys, not to join an unrelated fraud lawsuit against the City in exchange for the City’s dropping its Magner appeal.”

The memo sets forth several key findings based on the documents produced to the Committees and the transcribed interviews conducted by Committee staff to date:

  • First, rather than identifying any unethical or improper actions by the Department, the overwhelming evidence obtained during this investigation indicates that Mr. Perez and other Department officials acted professionally to advance the interests of civil rights and effectively combat the scourge of discrimination in housing.
  • Second, the evidence demonstrates that the Department’s decisions not to intervene in unrelated False Claims Act cases were based on the recommendations of senior career officials who are regarded as the nation’s preeminent experts in their field. 

Instead of identifying inappropriate conduct by Mr. Perez, it appears that the accusations against him are part of a broader political campaign to undermine the legal safeguards against discrimination that Mr. Perez was protecting.

Click here to read the full memo. 

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113th Congress