“Black and Bitter”


From a footnote to the IG’s report on the politicization of the Civil Rights Division at DOJ:

In that incident in August 2004, Voting Section Chief John Tanner sent an e-mail to Schlozman asking Schlozman to bring coffee for him to a meeting both were scheduled to attend. Schlozman replied asking Tanner how he liked his coffee.
Tanner’s response was, “Mary Frances Berry style – black and bitter.” Berry is an
African-American who was the Chairperson of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights from November 1993 until late 2004. Schlozman forwarded the e-mail chain to several Department officials (including Principal DAAG Bradshaw) but not Acosta, with the comment, “Y’all will appreciate Tanner’s response.”

Tanner, whose disastrous tenure in the Voting Section we chronicled extensively at TPMmuckraker, was canned not long after claiming that voter ID laws have a disproportionate impact on the elderly and therefore could not have an adverse impact on minority voters: “Minorities don’t become elderly the way white people do: They die first.”


David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.