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The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights  & The Leadership Conference Education Fund
The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

U.S. Civil Rights Commission Blasts Bush Administration Record

Feature Story by civilrights.org staff - 10/20/2004

President Bush has "neither exhibited leadership on pressing civil rights issues, nor taken actions that matched his words," according to a new report analyzing the administration's civil rights record.

However, instead of focusing on the substance of the 166-page U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) report, attention has been directed toward allegations that the report's release is politically motivated.

The draft report, entitled "Redefining Rights in America - The Civil Rights Record of the George W. Bush Administration, 2001-2004," details how the Bush administration has failed to break down existing barriers to equality and has done little to advance the civil rights of a number of disadvantaged groups such as immigrants, Native Americans, people with disabilities, women, and gays and lesbians.

According to Wade Henderson, executive director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, several members of USCCR have spent more time questioning the timing of the report's release - and not enough time paying attention to what the report says.

"The Civil Rights Commission's Republican members have launched a completely scurrilous attack on a draft report by the professional staff of the Commission on the Bush administration's civil rights record," Henderson said. "Their outrage is misplaced. Rather than crying foul about how the draft report was released, every member of the Commission should be concerned about what it says: that the Bush administration has a lousy record on civil rights."

The draft report, which was prepared by the agency's non-political staff, has been anticipated since the Commission directed its staff to prepare the report about three years ago. The Commission also voted in 2002 to make draft reports publicly available on the Commission's website.

"The partisan critics of this report, which every American voter needs to see, have no standing to express surprise over its release," Henderson said. "It is obvious that some members of the Commission would rather attack the messenger than confront the more troubling reality of the administration's abysmal civil rights record."

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