A Justice Department report released on Tuesday described the work environment of a part of the department’s Civil Rights Division as dysfunctional and found a longstanding pattern of unprofessional conduct.
The 258-page report on the division’s Voting Section may make it difficult for Thomas Perez, who is expected to be nominated as labor secretary by President Barack Obama, The Wall Street Journal
reports. Perez heads the Civil Rights Division.
“Given the troubling history of polarization in the Voting Section, Division leadership needs to promote impartiality, continuity, and professionalism as critical values in the Voting Section, and leadership and career staff alike must embrace a culture where ideological diversity is viewed as beneficial and dissenting viewpoints in internal deliberations are welcomed and respected,” the inspector general’s report concluded.
“We also believe that leadership and career staff must be continually mindful of the need to ensure the public’s confidence in the Voting Section’s impartiality.
“We were surprised and dismayed at the amount of blatantly partisan political commentary that we found in e-mails sent by some Voting Section employees on department computers,” the report said.
The inspector general’s report said the unprofessionalism of the Voting Section continued after Perez took over in 2009, The Journal reports. It had begun during the George W. Bush White House, the report said.
The investigation stemmed from GOP legislators’ questions about polarization within the section, which enforces voting-rights laws and other issues, The Journal reports.
But Perez wrote investigators, saying that he had inherited a section with low morale as a result of improper conduct by those hired under President Bush.
He said that both he and the Obama administration have taken several steps to raise the level of professionalism in the office, The Journal reports.
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