During her testimony before the House Judiciary Committee last week, former Gonzales aide Monica Goodling admitted that she had “crossed the lines” of the law by screening the political backgrounds of applicants for non-political jobs at the Justice Department. Yesterday, the DoJ announced that it was expanding its investigation of Goodling’s partisan hiring practices to include “scrutiny of hiring in the Civil Rights Division, which oversees voting rights.”
A central figure in the expanded probe is Bradley Schlozman, a former Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division currently serving in the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys. He is set to appear next Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Schlozman is reported to have repeatedly inquired about applicants’ political affiliations:
However, former employees of the division’s Voting Rights Section, whose decisions can affect the outcome of elections, told McClatchy that eight lawyers had been hired there since 2004 largely because of their Republican or conservative connections.
Two former department lawyers said that when they’d applied for jobs elsewhere in the division in early 2005, Schlozman had asked them to delete mention on their resumes of Republican affiliations and resubmit them. Both attorneys were hired.
One of them, Ty Clevenger, said Schlozman “wanted to make it look like it was apolitical.” Clevenger also said that when he’d passed along a resume from a fellow Stanford University Law School graduate, Schlozman had asked, “Is he one of us?”
Additionally, “half of the 14 career lawyers hired under Schlozman were members of the conservative Federalist Society or the Republican National Lawyers Association, up from none among the eight career hires in the previous two years” while “the average US News & World Report ranking of the law school attended by new career lawyers plunged from 15 to 65.”
While serving in the Civil Rights Division, Schlozman appears to have put ideological loyalty above prosecutorial ability. His upcoming appearance before Congress should shed more light on just how deeply he politicized the division.