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DOJ: Former aide broke law in hiring scandal

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by BrAinPaiNt, Jul 28, 2008.

  1. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Bad Santa Staff Member

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    By LARA JAKES JORDAN, Associated Press Writer 27 minutes ago

    WASHINGTON - Top aides to former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales broke the law by letting politics influence the hiring of career prosecutors and immigration judges at the Justice Department, says an internal report released Monday.

    Gonzales was largely unaware of the hiring decisions by two of his most trusted aides, according to the report that culminated a yearlong investigation by Justice's Office of Inspector General and Office of Professional Responsibility.

    But it singles out his former White House liaison, Monica Goodling, for violating federal law and Justice Department policy by discriminating against job applicants who weren't Republican or conservative loyalists.

    "Goodling improperly subjected candidates for certain career positions to the same politically based evaluation she used on candidates for political positions," the report concluded.

    In one instance, Justice investigators found, Goodling objected to hiring an assistant prosecutor in Washington because "judging from his resume, he appeared to be a liberal Democrat."

    In another, she rejected an experienced terror prosecutor to work on counterterror issues at a Justice Department headquarters office "because of his wife's political affiliations," the report found. It also found she rejected at least one job applicant who was rumored to be a lesbian.

    Goodling's attorney, John Dowd, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday, and other attempts to reach her were unsuccessful.

    The federal government makes a distinction between so-called "career" appointees and "political" appointees, and the long-accepted custom has been that career workers are not hired on the basis of political affiliation or allegiance.

    The 140-page report does not indicate whether Goodling or former Gonzales chief of staff Kyle Sampson could face any charges. None of those involved in the discriminatory hiring still work at Justice, meaning they will avoid any departmental penalties.

    However, Justice investigators said that Goodling, at least, may lose her license to practice law as a result of the findings.

    Congressional investigators said they also were considering asking the Justice Department to pursue perjury charges against Goodling, Sampson and possibly Gonzales as a result of their spoken or written congressional testimony during House and Senate investigations last year. Lying to Congress is a crime.

    Democrats said the report affirms their charges of White House meddling in the hiring and firing of Justice Department employees.

    "The cost to our nation of these apparent crimes was severe, as qualified individuals were rejected for key positions in the fight against terrorism and other critical department jobs for no reason other than political whim," said House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich.

    "The report also indicates that Monica Goodling, Kyle Sampson, and Alberto Gonzales may have lied to the Congress about these matters," Conyers added. "I have directed my staff to closely review this matter and to consider whether a criminal referral for perjury is needed."

    Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said "it is crystal clear that the law was broken" by the political hiring process.

    "But since it is unlikely that Monica Goodling acted on her own," Schumer added, "the question is, how many others were involved."

    In their report, Justice investigators sought to find whether Republican politics were driving hiring polices at the nation's premier law enforcement agency whose appointees are expected to be selected on a nonpartisan basis. The investigation is one of several that examine accusations that Bush administration politics drove prosecution, policy and employment decisions within the Justice Department.

    Those accusations were initially spurred by the firings of nine U.S. attorneys in late 2006 and culminated with Gonzales' resignation under fire as attorney general last September.

    The man who replaced Gonzales, Attorney General Michael Mukasey, said he is "of course disturbed" by the findings.

    "I have said many times, both to members of the public and to department employees, it is neither permissible nor acceptable to consider political affiliations in the hiring of career department employees," Mukasey said in a statement shortly after the report was released Monday morning. "And I have acted, and will continue to act, to ensure that my words are translated into reality so that the conduct described in this report does not occur again at the department."

    Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy said the report indicates that the effort to politicize federal law enforcement was not just the actions of a few "bad apples," but administration policy.

    He called it "a clear indication of the untoward political influence of the Bush administration on traditionally nonpolitical appointments."
  2. zrinkill

    zrinkill Diamond surrounded by trash

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    Wow .....you are in an anti Bush administration tirade this morning.


    You must be bored from the lack of real news coming out of training camp.
  3. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Bad Santa Staff Member

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    Was getting a good deal of news this weekend so I barely looked at the PZ. Now I am just waiting.

    On a side note, if one reads the article it appears it was not Roberto G that most of the blame falls on in this case, but an aid. However I don't know if said aid was giving directives by RG or others.
  4. bbgun

    bbgun Benched

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    No one in their right mind thinks this is a "scandal," and shame on Yahoo for using such a loaded word. This is little more than the criminalization of politics.
  5. Yeagermeister

    Yeagermeister Active Member

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    Serious question....

    How is this different than Clinton firing all the republican lawyers when he took office?
  6. Jarv

    Jarv Loud pipes saves lives. Zone Supporter

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    Sheesh, thats a dumb question...Because Clinton's a Democrat....lol.

    Liberal biased media 101...Did you miss the class Yeag ? :)
  7. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    Talk about stupid laws. Who in their right mind does not think politics ALWAYS plays a role no matter which administration you are talking about?
  8. arglebargle

    arglebargle Well-Known Member

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    Some of you guys have gotten to toxic levels of partisanry. And you project this on the past, like that's how it always was. The present hard line partisanship is something that has built up over the last 15 or so years, and is a major problem with the US today.

    I am pretty sure that if you go and look at the statistics on DoJ hiring practices of the past, you will find that prospective employees were hired based more on their professional qualities and skills, not strictly forbidden for their political viewpoints. One of the telling things here is that the 'bad' applicants here were not even interviewed. Dismissed out of hand due to their percieved ideology. I doubt the folks involved came up with this on their own.

    This, like so many other things, represents the real evils of total partisanship. It is an MO of the present guys, as you could see in many of their other hiring practices and such things as the K Street Project.
  9. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    BS. You are totally naive if you think politics did not play a role in who is hired 30, 40 years ago or longer. As a matter of fact if you did deep enough you will find very partisan federal DA's for a long time back.
  10. arglebargle

    arglebargle Well-Known Member

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    And you are totally clueless if you think the level of partisanship that we have seen recently was the norm in the past. There will always be some favoritism, it is human nature, but things like the DoJ scandel and KStreet are much more extreme.
  11. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    I notice you do not mention Janet Reno in firing all but a couple of Fed DA's. And that was 15 years ago. But then you have shown such selective memory I am not surprised. Yes the level is higher but not all that much when you look at the FACTS.

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