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Surprise – Bush admin slacks on civil rights enforcement

No shock here, commission by omission. Expect hate crimes to inch up as the intolerant American Taliban continues to wield its influence on this administration. (AP):

Federal enforcement of civil rights laws has dropped sharply since 1999 even though the level of complaints received by the Justice Department has remained relatively constant, according to a study released Sunday.

Criminal charges alleging civil rights violations were brought last year against 84 defendants, down from 159 in 1999, according to Justice Department data analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University.

The study found the number of times the FBI or another federal investigative agency recommended prosecution in civil rights cases — from fair housing to hate crimes — has fallen by more than one-third, from over 3,000 in 1999 to just over 1,900 last year. Federal court data also show the government has sought fewer civil sanctions against civil rights violators.

The study’s co-author, David Burnham of TRAC, said the results show that civil rights enforcement dropped across-the-board during President Bush’s first term in office.

It’s unlikely that the decline has occurred because fewer civil rights violations are occurring, the study suggests. The number of complaints about possible violations received by the Justice Department has remained level at about 12,000 annually for each of the past five years.

The Justice Department had no comment about the TRAC study.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding