A new Justice Department report concludes that politics illegally influenced the hiring of career prosecutors and immigration judges, and largely lays the blame on top aides to former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
Monday’s report singles out the department’s 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.
See the full report here.
In early 2006, Goodling directed an assistant attorney general to give her unprecedented authority to hire and fire political staffers “outside the system.” In March 2006, Gonzales signed a highly confidential order delegating to his then-chief of staff, Kyle Sampson, and Goodling “the authority, with the approval of the Attorney General, to take final action in matters pertaining to the appointment, employment, pay, separation, and general administration” of virtually all non-civil-service employees of the Justice Department.
In May 2007, Goodling admitted in congressional testimony that she had “taken inappropriate political considerations into account” and acknowledged that she “crossed the line of the civil service rules.” Sampson has not admitted wrongdoing.
Despite the conclusions of the new report, current Attorney General Michael Mukasey has refused to say whether Gonzales politicized the Department of Justice. During a Senate hearing earlier this month, Sen. Joseph Biden asked Mukasey directly about this:
BIDEN: Did you find that some of those enormously dedicated people engaged in politicizing the administration of Justice?
MUKASEY: No. No. Otherwise I would not characterize them as enormously dedicated.
The new DoJ report “does not indicate whether Goodling or former Gonzales chief of staff Kyle Sampson could face any charges.” Thus far, Mukasey has shown a reluctance to hold previous Justice Department officials accountable for breaking the law.