May 7, 2024

By Josh Christenson


House Republicans said Tuesday they are “deeply concerned” about Justice Department official Kristen Clarke’s ability to investigate civil rights complaints at Columbia University given her “history of association with known antisemites.”

Five GOP lawmakers led by Upstate Rep. Claudia Tenney wrote to Clarke, the assistant attorney general in the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, to express “outrage about the current environment at Columbia University” and demand she “disavow” her “extensive connections to well-known anti-Semites [sic],” according to a letter exclusively obtained by The Post.

Tenney (R-NY) and Reps. Bill Posey (R-Fla.), Keith Self (R-Texas.), Mike Lawler (R-NY) and House Republican conference chairwoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY) went on to cite Clarke’s past support for the hateful figures.

Those included Tony Martin, the author of the “virulently antisemitic” book “The Jewish Onslaught,” and ex-Women’s March co-chairs Tamika Mallory and Linda Sarsour, who resigned from the group in 2019 amid accusations of antisemitism.

“As president of the Harvard Black Students Association, you hosted Tony Martin,” the lawmakers wrote, “and allowed him to spew anti-Semitic [sic] conspiracy theories about Jews.”

“You even went on record and stated that ‘Professor Martin is an intelligent, well-versed Black [sic] intellectual who bases his information on indisputable fact,’” they said.

Clarke also signed a letter defending Mallory after she attended an event in 2018 featuring Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, during which he gave her a shoutout in a speech that also called Jews “Satanic” and accused them of spreading marijuana use among black men to feminize them.

Farrakhan also said Jewish leaders were running the US and Mexican governments to carry out the “pot plot.” Sarsour was a featured speaker at a Nation of Islam event in 2015.

“Louis Farrakhan has called Hitler a ‘very great man’, stated that ‘[they] call me an anti-Semite [sic], stop it, I’m anti-Termite,” and ‘Jews are my enemy,’” the lawmakers added, citing one of his hateful remarks from the February 2018 speech.

“Ms. Mallory has stated that Mr. Farrakhan is ‘the GOAT’ or greatest of all time, and Ms. Mallory has accused Jews of ‘upholding white supremacy,’” they told Clarke.

During her 2021 confirmation process, Clarke declined to call Mallory antisemitic but said she denounced antisemitism.

The House Republicans reminded the DOJ civil rights official that many student protesters at Columbia University were currently discriminating against Jewish students by engaging in antisemitic chants.

Police have since cleared the campus of an anti-Israel tent encampment, at which some demonstrators have been overheard shouting “go back to Poland” at Jewish students, the GOP lawmakers said.

Other protesters have used the slogan, “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” — a phrase understood as a call for the eradication of Israel, which was formally condemned by the House.

On Monday, Columbia canceled its commencement in response to the violent and disruptive protests. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) and other Republicans have called on the university’s president, Minouche Shafik, to resign in disgrace.

“Not only did you attend Columbia Law School, but you have also co-taught a seminar, received an alumni award, and delivered the keynote address at a Columbia University event,” the Republicans said.

“This year, you are even slated to be the graduation speaker for Columbia Law School. Given your deep connections to the university, your ability to impartially enforce the law against Columbia University in the event that litigation is necessary is seriously in doubt.”

The House members have asked whether the DOJ will support the Education Department’s probe of Title VI civil rights violations at Columbia, prosecute those “attacking Jewish students,” and disavow Mallory, Sarsour and Martin.

The Justice Department confirmed to The Post it had received the letter, but declined further comment.

The DOJ is tasked with handling discrimination complaints based on religion, but coordinates with complaints from the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights on Title VI discrimination related to race or nationality.

The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) released a “Dear Colleague” letter on Tuesday citing examples of discriminatory conduct that would prompt an investigation of a school, including protests that target or harass Jews.

“[A]lthough political protest on its own does not typically implicate Title VI, protest signs in this instance allegedly also targeted specific Jewish students using ethnic stereotypes, so OCR could find that the protesters engaged in harassing conduct based on race, color, or national origin, including shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics,” the letter reads.

“OCR would evaluate whether the school took prompt and effective steps reasonably calculated to (i) end the harassment, (ii) eliminate any hostile environment and its effects, and (iii) prevent the harassment from recurring,” it states.

The GOP letter comes on the heels of an explosive Daily Signal report showing Clarke apparently misled the Senate during her confirmation process by concealing her arrest for domestic violence in 2006.

Clarke came at her ex-husband Reginald Avery with a knife and cut his finger so much it was “sliced to the bone,” according to court documents and text messages obtained by the outlet.

The arrest and subsequent charges were later dropped and the incident expunged from her record.

In Senate questionnaires, Clarke answered “no” when asked if she had “ever been arrested for or accused of committing a violent crime against any person.”

“When given the option to speak about such traumatic incidents in my life, I have chosen not to,” she said in a statement to CNN. “I didn’t believe during my confirmation process and I don’t believe now that I was obligated to share a fully expunged matter from my past.”


Read more in the New York Post here.