DOJ Releases Report on Political Hiring

The Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility and Office of the Inspector General released this report (pdf) today concerning the hiring process at DOJ. Unsurprisingly, the report concludes that Monica "I didn't mean to" Goodling, Kyle Sampson, and others violated federal law by taking the personal political viewpoints of job applicants into account when filling DOJ career positions.

The report marks the culmination of a yearlong investigation by Justice's Office of Inspector General and Office of Professional Responsibility into whether Republican politics were driving hiring polices at the nation's premier law enforcement agency that is expected to be above partisan politics.

The report points to White House involvement in the hiring process:

In an e-mail on October 8, 2003, Sampson outlined a new process for hiring [immigration judges] that listed the White House as the sole source for generating candidates. We found that Sampson’s process, which treated the appointments like political appointments, was implemented in the spring of 2004. Sampson acknowledged that “in the sense that names were solicited from the . . . White House offices that were involved in political hiring, [we] were only considering essentially Republican lawyers for appointment.” Scott Jennings, who worked at the White House Office of Political Affairs, confirmed that IJ appointments were “treated like other political appointments,” that the White House’s sources for candidates were all Republican, and that candidates were screened for their “political qualifications.”

That might explain why decisions by Immigration Judges are so frequently overturned as arbitrary and unsupported by evidence.

As to Goodling:

As detailed above, our investigation found that she solicited and received résumés for IJ and BIA candidates from the White House, from Republican members of Congress, the Republican National Lawyers Association, the Federalist Society, and from individuals with Republican Party affiliations. We found no evidence that she solicited candidates from any sources she thought had Democratic affiliations. ...

In addition, we determined that Goodling often used political or ideological affiliations to select or reject career attorney candidates for temporary details to Department offices, including positions in EOUSA that had not been filled by political appointees. Goodling’s use of political considerations in connection with these details was particularly damaging to the Department because it resulted in high-quality candidates for important details being rejected in favor of less-qualified candidates.

Goodling was concerned about more than political affiliations:

We also learned that in 2006 Goodling had tried to prevent the [Assistant US Attorney] from obtaining a detail to the Office of Violence Against Women (OVW) because of Goodling’s belief about the AUSA’s sexual orientation.

Since Goodling and the others identified as committing misconduct are no longer with DOJ, the report recommends no discipline while hinting that it would be best not to reemploy them if they seek future employment with the Department. The linked AP article suggests that Goodling might have reason to be concerned about losing her license to practice law.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Once again the weasels slither away (5.00 / 9) (#1)
    by PssttCmere08 on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 10:39:44 AM EST
    with little or no consequences.  People should be asking why.

    Yes, They Should Be (5.00 / 5) (#2)
    by The Maven on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 10:56:01 AM EST
    but they won't.  Quite likely foremost among the reasons is that a lot of the folks who ought to be screaming for accountability here are also quietly hoping that starting in 2009, they get to do much the same to the DOJ.  Whether or not that actually comes to pass, I can't say -- and aside from trying to get rid of the purely political hacks installed during the Bush Administration, I've always believed that one of our biggest priorities should be to attempt to restore the DOJ to the non-partisan administration of justice.  Without that, we don't really have the rule of law, but of men.

    But as we've seen with countless other issues, there are apparantly more than a few Democrats who wish to have the powers created for them by the Bush Administration for their own uses, under the guise that we can employ them for the betterment of the nation, by through the hiring of the right kind of "our" people.  To me, that's just about as dangerous.  It goes a long way towards explaining why there's seemingly so little urgency in going after the violators here.


    current employers (5.00 / 0) (#3)
    by jjsmoof on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 10:58:09 AM EST
    i bet their current employers will find this report interesting.

    Wingnut welfare (5.00 / 4) (#4)
    by eric on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 11:10:22 AM EST
    I am sure they are all fixed up with a nice republican business or law firm that appreciates their efforts.

    Gosh (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Steve M on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 01:04:45 PM EST
    So it was all Monica Goodling's fault, huh?  How unfortunate that a rabid partisan from Pat Robertson's fourth-tier law school just happened to wind up in charge of so much of the hiring at the DOJ.  I guess things just worked out that way.

    Of Course The Worst Part (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 01:13:34 PM EST
    Is not that the Goodlings have been fired and are not in any criminal jeopardy, but that the civil servants who they hired based on their right wing religious resumes, cannot be fired.

    The right wing civil servants will be the first ones to scream bias, and bring countless lawsuits, once the Democrats take over.

    Ironic no?

    Correct me if I am wrong, but (none / 0) (#5)
    by hairspray on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 12:36:07 PM EST
    couldn't this information been discovered under oath by a congressional committee?  Didn't the Leahy committee actually have all of the evidence needed to persue this about a year or two ago?  I am still steamed that our Democratic congress got this all over a year ago and did nothing.

    yeah, and their point would be? (none / 0) (#8)
    by cpinva on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 03:00:07 PM EST
    are they still searching desperately, for that needle in a haystack too? you can provide evidence of the all the wrongdoing in the world, unless someone is held accountable, in a substantive way, who cares?


    How unfortunate that a rabid partisan from Pat Robertson's fourth-tier law school just happened to wind up in charge of so much of the hiring at the DOJ.  I guess things just worked out that way.

    but, she was really, really good! got an A+ in her "Sodomites are for stoning" class!