National Journal Looks at #1 Problem for Black Power: Targeted Investigation

“At a certain point, a constant pattern of coincidence is no longer a coincidence,” Rumor, Repression, and Racial Politics: How the Harassment of Black Elected Officials Shaped Post-Civil Rights America author George Derek Musgrove

Today in National Journal there is a 4,000 word must read piece called DISPARATE IMPACT by Shane Goldmacher.  The piece analyzes why Black members of Congress are investigated more from all angles.  POLITICO’s John Bresnahan noticed this as well in his piece Racial Disparity All active ethics probes focus on black lawmakers, in 2009.  Back then, ALL 7 investigations were on Black members.


5 Black Members Are Being Investigated Right NOW.  Blacks are only 10% of Congress — 44 of 535 people.  Yet, once again for the second time since 2009, almost all of the open Ethics investigations by the House Ethics Committee and the Office of Congressional Ethics are on Black members of Congress. There are 5 investigation going on right now on Black members of Congress including the most powerful and most senior Black female who stands to be the first Black female full Chair in congressional history (Maxine Waters). Right now there are investigations on Reps. Laura Richardson, Alcee Hastings, Jesse Jackson, Jr., Waters and Greg Meeks.

ETHICS LYNCHING? A WAY TO STOP BLACK POWER?  CREW’s Melanie Sloan gets mighty close to saying she thinks that Black members simply have more ethics problems in the National Journal piece. Really? Tell that to Adam Clayton Powell.  It’s important to look at the lengthy history of investigations on Black elected officials as well as the white members who somehow go uninvestigated.  That’s why I’m taking a look at all 110 Black members who have served in the modern era (since 1929). Let’s see how long this amazing set of “coincidences” has been going on.  Forget race: Let’s look at raw numbers and who was found innocent or guilty.  Note that just this week we find out the Feds are looking at Rep. Chaka Fattah’s son — another amazing coincidence.  If we were talking about members from California or Hispanic members or members from New York wouldn’t someone at the Department of Justice notice these long running coincidences?

TWO MOST POWERFUL. When the most powerful Black member, Charlie Rangel, was censured and the most powerful Black female has been under investigation for two years you’d think someone would at least pose a basic question: Are the Black members simply experiencing the same set of disproportionate treatment we see in the overall criminal justice system? Blacks are prosecuted more harshly than whites for the same crimes, Blacks are more likely to get the death penalty… and so on.

Meanwhile, as ethics panels and federal prosecutors spend time focused on Black lawmakers other members over the years and in present time, for example, Reps. Vern Buchanan, Jeane Schmidt, Sam Graves, Mike Grimm, Jerry Lewis and Allan Mollohan, seem to either escape ethics investigations and federal prosecution.