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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