Grand Jury Investigating Testimony Over Hiring Policies in Civil Rights Division

The investigation into the firing of U.S. Attorneys by the Bush Administration has branched out and reached a new level. A federal grand jury is investigating whether there was a "political litmus test" for hiring U.S. attorneys in the civil rights division.

“The issue was lying, whether the people caught up in this told the truth or not,” said the lawyer, who insisted on anonymity because grand jury proceedings are secret.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that Justice Department lawyers had brought what is known as a grand jury referral focusing on possible perjury by Bradley J. Schlozman, who was acting head of the civil rights division in 2003.

Mr. Schlozman admitted to Congress last year that he had bragged about his success in bringing conservative Republican lawyers into the civil rights division.

Scholzman testified before a Senate subcommittee and it is that testimony that is believed to be the focus of the grand jury. [More...]

Mr. Schlozman originally told a Senate committee last June that while he was acting United States attorney in Kansas City, a Justice Department supervisor “directed” him to bring an indictment in a voter fraud case against a liberal group. Days later, in a letter trying to “clarify” his remarks, he said that the decision to bring the indictment was his and that he took “full responsibility” for it.

Both Alberto Gonzales' lawyer and Kyle Sampson's lawyers say their clients are not the subject of referrals to the grand jury.

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  • Display: Sort:
    why is this being restricted to... (5.00 / 4) (#4)
    by p lukasiak on Tue Jun 17, 2008 at 10:14:08 AM EST
    the civil rights division?  Or is it possible that the leak was just about Schlozman....

    I eman, the whole "monica goodling" thing was about ideological (and, in some cases, 'religious') litmus tests -- the civil rights division was just one part of this scandal.

    (and fun fact -- among the right wing evangelicals that Obama met with last week was Paul Corts, who was helping Goodling in her efforts to put more right-wing evangelicals in the JoD)

    Your last paragraph sent a chill down my (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by oculus on Tue Jun 17, 2008 at 10:17:40 AM EST

    Monica Goodling . . . (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Doc Rock on Tue Jun 17, 2008 at 12:52:29 PM EST
    . . . litmus test.

    Thank goodness. (none / 0) (#1)
    by Joelarama on Tue Jun 17, 2008 at 09:49:56 AM EST
    DOJ was such a holy grail job for smart, idealistic types when I was a younger attorney.  I hope the luster can be restored.

    Restoring luster will require heavy polishing (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by aquarian on Tue Jun 17, 2008 at 10:08:24 AM EST
    This administration systematically dismantled the Civil Rights Division, and other divisions at DOJ.  Before the administration's purge of highly qualified and experienced career attorneys, the Civil Rights Division was one of the brightest stars at DOJ.  What happened in this Division is but one example of the Bush administration replacing capable, bright and experienced administrators with incompetent, political hacks.  
    DOJ now needs an AG who will focus on rebuilding a functional and credible executive branch.  The next AG will have one of the most critical jobs in the new administration.

    Heh (none / 0) (#2)
    by Steve M on Tue Jun 17, 2008 at 10:03:17 AM EST
    It's pretty self-evident that the Civil Rights Division did not develop a single-minded obsession with reverse discrimination cases overnight.

    I'd imagine the folks who adopted these hiring practices felt entirely justified according to the concept of "balance," but the bottom line is, you're not supposed to have a political litmus test either way.  If 90% of the people who want to work in the Civil Rights Division are liberals, tough noogies.

    I was hoping that Rove (none / 0) (#6)
    by joanneleon on Tue Jun 17, 2008 at 10:36:18 AM EST
    would get caught up in one of these DOJ hiring scandals.  Hopefully they won't stop with the Civil Rights Division.  I'd imagine that an investigation into this division would lead to others, since we know it was happening elsewhere in DOJ too.

    I've been wondering how the damage done by the Bush admin. could be undone when they've hired so many career people who can't be let go when a new administration comes in.  I wonder what percentage of the employees are now Bush's political hires.  If you can't hire for political reasons then you can't fire for political reasons either.  

    They will be impossible to weed out. (none / 0) (#7)
    by Salo on Tue Jun 17, 2008 at 11:06:21 AM EST
    Although weeding them out should be the first order of business.

    This is still the Bush DOJ, isn't it? (none / 0) (#8)
    by Anne on Tue Jun 17, 2008 at 11:06:35 AM EST
    I recognize that just because it is does not mean that every single attorney and every single decision-maker is marching in lock-step with the Bush administration's ideals and philosophy, but...I still have to wonder if this isn't something of a planned dog-and-pony show that may be designed to shut down investigations and inquiries along the various tentacles that extend out from this particular matter.  Assuming there was no indictment following from whatever is presented to the GJ.

    That may be too great an assumption, but it will be telling whether the grand jury indicts, because I think it's pretty widely understood that getting an indictment from a GJ is not particularly hard to do.  

    That I just can't see this ending up in charges being filed, with an actual trial to follow, tells you something about how little confidence and faith I have in the Bush DOJ.

    Why is a lawyer commenting on a grand jury? (none / 0) (#10)
    by txpublicdefender on Tue Jun 17, 2008 at 01:51:19 PM EST
    What the hell is a lawyer doing disclosing the existence and subject matter of a grand jury investigation?