Skip to content
Congressman Bennie Thompson calls for...

Congressman Bennie Thompson calls for DOJ investigation, but not for who you might think

By: Frank Corder - July 18, 2022

The Mississippi Democrat’s willingness to weaponize law enforcement against political opponents on full display.

Congressman Bennie Thompson, Chairman of the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee, penned a letter on Friday calling for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to initiate a criminal investigation.

However, the object of Thompson’s letter did not have any potential national security implications.

The 2nd District Democrat from Mississippi does appear to be willing to weaponize the Merrick Garland-led DOJ to criminally investigate longtime in-state political rival and former Republican Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant.

Garland DOJ Bryant Letter – Kayleigh Skinner, Mississippi Today by yallpolitics on Scribd

Congressman Thompson, currently chairing Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s House January 6th Committee, is seeking a criminal DOJ investigation of Bryant over the welfare scandal in Mississippi for which several have been indicted, including John Davis, the former Mississippi Department of Human Services Director (MDHS) in the Bryant Administration, and Nancy and Zach New for their role in a non-profit that allegedly misspent Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds overseen by MDHS.

The News have since pleaded guilty to federal and state charges.

Bryant, during the last year of his term as Governor, became suspicious of expenditures from MDHS and Davis, which prompted him to contact Mississippi State Auditor Shad White.  White coordinated an investigation along with federal authorities which resulted in the current indictments in the case.

Bryant has been neither implicated nor charged by any law enforcement agency.  But you would not know that given the rampant liberal media circus and inflated headlines some outlets are weaving against the former Governor.

A civil case filed by MDHS against the News and others is seeking to recover millions of dollars allegedly misspent under the TANF program.  Bryant has not been named as a defendant in the civil suit, which is being pursued by outside counsel Brad Pigott, a former U.S. Attorney appointed by former President Bill Clinton.

A Long History

Former Governor Bryant and Congressman Thompson have a long history of being on opposite sides of politics in Mississippi.  Even in recent years, Bryant and Thompson tangled publicly over issues big and small.

Still pinned to the top of Congressman Thompson’s Twitter profile from over three years ago is a back and forth with Bryant over claiming credit for the Trump Administration’s designation of the Evers’ home in Jackson as a National Landmark.  Bryant thanked Senators Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith for making it happen, while Thompson wanted his credit, tweeting, “Give adequate credit. I’ve worked on this for 16 years.”

Congressman Thompson also refused to attend the Grand Opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum that featured Myrlie Evers, Charles Evers, former President Donald Trump and the late William Winter.

Thompson blamed Bryant’s invitation to President Trump to speak at the nationally broadcast event as the reason for the snub.

Derrick Johnson Twitter Profile

In April of this year, longtime Thompson political ally and fellow Mississippian, Derrick Johnson, head of the NAACP, penned a similar request to the Biden-led Justice Department along the same lines as Thompson’s shown above.  However, Nancy and Zach New had been indicted weeks prior by federal authorities, meaning the NAACP request was nothing more than to grab headlines after the fact.

In 2014, Thompson accused Bryant and former Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of racism on policy prescriptions on a Nation of Islam radio interview, in the same broadcast that he also called Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas an “Uncle Tom”.

Thompson and Bryant have a long and complicated political history reflective of the complex political history of the state.  With the FBI having been involved in this case for some number of years now, Thompson’s public call in an election year for a DOJ investigation of Bryant seems much more about politics than it does justice.

About the Author(s)
author profile image

Frank Corder

Frank Corder is a native of Pascagoula. For nearly two decades, he has reported and offered analysis on government, public policy, business and matters of faith. Frank’s interviews, articles, and columns have been shared throughout Mississippi as well as in national publications. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, providing insight and commentary on the inner workings of the Magnolia State. Frank has served his community in both elected and appointed public office, hosted his own local radio and television programs, and managed private businesses all while being an engaged husband and father. Email Frank: