Justice Hiring Practices Political

Posted July 28, 2008 at 11:14am

The Justice Department released its investigation Monday into hiring practices in the attorney general’s office, stating that senior Bush administration aides routinely violated federal law and agency policies by basing decisions for career positions on a job candidate’s political affiliations.

The 146-page report authored by Justice’s inspector general and Office of Professional Responsibility focused primarily on Monica Goodling, former White House liaison in the attorney general’s office; Jan Williams, Goodling’s predecessor as White house liaison; and Kyle Sampson, chief of staff to then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

“Because Goodling, Sampson, and Williams have resigned from the Department, they are no longer subject to discipline by the Department for their actions described in this report,” the investigation states. “Nevertheless, we recommend that the Department consider the findings in this report should they apply in the future for another position with the Department.”

Attorney General Michael Mukasey praised the report and noted that the Justice Department has already implemented changes to prevent similar incidents.

“Even as I commend the hard work and collaboration of the Justice Department’s Offices of Inspector General and Professional Responsibility on today’s report, I am of course disturbed by their findings that improper political considerations were used in hiring decisions relating to some career employees,” Mukasey said. “I have said many times, both to members of the public and to Department employees, it is neither permissible nor acceptable to consider political affiliations in the hiring of career Department employees. And I have acted, and will continue to act, to ensure that my words are translated into reality so that the conduct described in this report does not occur again at the Department.”

Justice Department Inspector General Glenn Fine is scheduled to discuss the report before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

“The policies and attitudes of this administration encouraged politicization of the Department and permitted these excesses,” Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said in a statement Monday. “It is now clear that these politically-rooted actions were widespread, and could not have been done without at least the tacit approval of senior Department officials.”