WASHINGTON (AP/WAOK) — Newly released Obama administration e-mails show the White House was more active than believed in the Agriculture Department’s decision in 2010 to seek the resignation of federal employee Shirley Sherrod.
E-mails obtained by The Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act don’t contradict Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s assertion that he alone made the decision to oust Sherrod over a speech initially determined to have been racist. But they do show that White House officials were closely involved in the process from the first minutes the scandal began to emerge, offering advice and counsel to Agriculture officials.
USDA officials asked Sherrod, who is black, to resign after an edited video of supposedly racist remarks surfaced on a conservative website. It turned out the speech promoted racial reconciliation.
Sherrod was wrongly accused of racism towards white people after the edited video of her speech to the NAACP was released by late conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart. Breitbart died of an apparent heart attack last week at the age of 43. Sherrod filed a defamation lawsuit against Breitbart which has not yet been settled.