January 29, 2008

Groups Call on Mukasey to Rescind Bush Memo Authorizing Politicization of Civil Rights Commission

Washington, D.C. – This morning, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR) hosted a press conference call with the NAACP and MALDEF to demand that U.S. Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey rescind a Bush legal memo that authorized deceptive appointments of exclusively partisan Republicans to the bipartisan Civil Rights Commission.

The letter is signed by LCCR, CREW, NAACP, MALDEF, National Women’s Law Center, National Partnership for Women & Families, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, National Congress of American Indians and the ACLU.

In order to circumvent the Civil Rights Act of 1957, the Bush Justice Department wrote a memo allowing Republican members of the Commission to switch their party affiliation to “independent.” That allowed the president to appoint more Republicans to the bipartisan eight person commission under the guise that they were somehow “independent,” allowing the Bush administration to circumvent the law requiring that no more than four members of any party serve on the commission.

During his confirmation hearing, Mukasey pledged to review “significant” decisions of the Office of Legal Counsel to ensure that such decisions were “sound, soundly reasoned, soundly based.” Allowing this deception in the appointment process was neither sound, soundly reasoned or soundly based and is a continuation of the Bush administration's legacy of undermining the credibility and subverting Congress' intent to retain the commission's independence and bipartisan membership

Mukasey is scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a non-profit legal watchdog group dedicated to holding public officials accountable for their actions. For more information, please visit or contact Jordan Libowitz at 202.408.5565 or

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