WASHINGTON, DC –U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) today sent letters to both Thomas Farr, nominee to be a District Court Judge for the Eastern District of North Carolina, and to Attorney General Jeff Sessions seeking an explanation for apparent discrepancies between Farr’s written testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee and his apparent awareness of a major voter suppression effort during then-Senator Jesse Helms’ re-election campaign in 1990 that was the subject of a Department of Justice investigation and complaint.
In 1992, the United States Department of Justice filed a complaint in federal court against the North Carolina Republican Party, the Helms for Senate Committee, and others, alleging that the Helms campaign sent over one hundred thousand postcards to African-American voters in advance of the 1990 election suggesting that they were ineligible to vote and threatening criminal prosecution if they voted.
When the postcards were mailed, Farr was the legal counsel for the Helms campaign. In September 2017, in response to written questions from Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Diane Feinstein, Farr denied knowing about the Helms postcard campaign prior to being mailed. However, citing both interviews with Gerald Hebert, a former Department of Justice prosecutor, and conversations with Farr himself, recent news reports indicate that Farr was indeed aware of the mailings before they were sent and even attended a campaign meeting at which the postcard campaign was discussed, in clear conflict with his written testimony.
“Recent reports indicate that you offered contradictory and inaccurate accounts regarding your role in mailing the postcards to mainly African-American voters in an effort to intimidate and threaten them from voting,” Booker writes to Farr. “It is startling that you are now claiming under oath no involvement in the mailing of the postcards when in 2009 you stated that you advised the campaign not to send them.”
Booker goes on to ask six clarifying questions of Farr.
Booker also wrote Attorney General Jeff Sessions seeking factual details contained in a 1992 Department of Justice memo that could clearly indicate the level of involvement of Farr in the voter suppression campaign.
The full text of Booker’s letter to Farr can be found here.
The full text of Booker’s letter to Attorney General Sessions can be found here.