The authority to conduct and implement Mississippi elections is largely subject to decisions by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) whose authority over Mississippi through Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act is near absolute. In his new book "Injustice: Exposing the Racial Agenda of The Obama Justice Department," J. Christian Adams challenges the fairness of the DOJ in Mississippi and across the country.

While a civil rights attorney at DOJ, Adams investigated and prosecuted Democratic Party boss Ike Brown of Noxubee County for violating the voting rights of a white minority. Adams resigned from DOJ when the bureau dismissed a lawsuit against the New Black Panther Party members who, dressed in fatigues and carrying weapons, intimidated white voters at a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania precinct in 2008 and challenged black Republican poll watchers as "race traitors." Had these been militant whites threatening black voters in Philadelphia, Mississippi, DOJ's behavior would have been quite different.

Adams argues the DOJ, from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, down through career attorneys and investigators, operates under a theme of "payback." He writes, "The division provides a welcoming home for purveyors of fringe beliefs that are alien and repugnant to mainstream America - namely, that civil rights laws do not protect everyone equally, but only certain 'oppressed' minorities...the Civil Rights Division has squandered its moral authority. Having initially been infused with the spirit of the original civil rights movement and its emphasis on racial equality and color-blindness, the division is now home to the rotted industry of racial grievance."

Adams paints a picture of a DOJ Civil Rights Division with attorneys at war from two factions: "racialists" who work on behalf of blacks even when they are wrong; and "race-neutrals" who seek to enforce the law in a color blind manner. He calls the 2003 investigation in Noxubee County the first shot in that war.

Many in Mississippi are familiar with Ike Brown's political machine in Noxubee County which I have covered in more than one column myself. But Adams brings new perspective and insights into those shenanigans. Adams writes that prior to the 2003 investigations into Brown's activities, DOJ actually aided and abetted Brown and even while prosecuting his misdeeds, "there was an information pipeline running straight out of the DOJ to the defendants' legal team" regarding case strategy. Now in 2011, DOJ has turned a blind eye again to Brown's redistricting efforts in Noxubee to dilute the white minority's voting strength.

Adams said Brown's activities were first presented to DOJ in a letter from U.S. Senator Thad Cochran but career attorneys - including Christopher Herren who was promoted to Voting Section chief under President Barack Obama - opposed investigating, claiming it would upset civil rights groups. Herren was overruled, but throughout the investigation, DOJ staff refused to work the case and one attempted to sabotage it. Adams claims Chris Coates, a former ACLU attorney, was branded a heretic at for pursuing this case with one Voting Section lawyer referring to Coates in a DOJ e-mail as a "Klansman."

In addition to Noxubee County, Adams also highlights the 2007 Wilkinson County case where election irregularities pale to the arson of a white candidate's home which was ignited while his family slept inside. Adams noted the sheriff - a political ally of the black opponent - declined to investigate due to his proclamation that the family "probably set [the fire] themselves." In a state still shamed for a history of voter intimidation by whites firebombing blacks, it is amazing no one has been arrested in connection with the fire and DOJ has remained silent. Adams also charges the NAACP Legal Defense Fund with "aggressively interfering with the Secretary of State's law enforcement activities" in Wilkinson and accuses the NAACP of being a "voter fraud denier...even though a local NAACP executive committee member, Lessadolla Sowers of Tunica, Mississippi, was found guilty in April 2011 of ten counts of absentee ballot fraud."

DOJ faces a number of charges in recent months from the fiscal annoying (wasting money on $16 muffins and $8 cups of coffee) to accusations rising to potentially criminal neglect (the "Fast and Furious" gun walking scandal). In recent weeks, an Office of the Inspector General report revealed a supervisor in the Housing Section of the DOJ Civil Rights Division in Washington DC allegedly used taxpayer dollars to fund physical liaisons with a woman in Miami whose organization sought contracts from DOJ under his approval. Was he punished? He was suspended for seven days and then the DOJ's Voting Rights Section.

This does not inspire confidence in DOJ or the Civil Rights Division which Adams describes as "a soap opera, within a cabal, surrounded by a racialist culture of dysfunction."

Adams presents a disturbing and frightening picture of a federal agency with power over Mississippi elections and redistricting.

Brian Perry is a partner with a public affairs firm. Contact him at or follow him @CapstonePerry on Twitter.