Oh, kids! I had something else planned for this evening, but when I got home, I noticed that there was news of Gonzogate, and you know I just cannot resist a Monica Goodling story! Sorry that this is a bit of a rush job.
From the Los Angeles Times:
WASHINGTON — Top aides to former Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales employed a political and ideological litmus test to weed out candidates for career and other positions at the Justice Department, an internal department report concluded Monday.
The audit by the department’s Office of Inspector General and Office of Professional Responsibility concluded that former Gonzales aides Monica Goodling and Kyle Sampson violated department policies and federal civil-service laws.
The report provides a more detailed examination of questionable moves by Goodling and others that emerged in congressional hearings last year. Goodling, after receiving a grant of congressional immunity, acknowledged before the House Judiciary Committee that she had “crossed a line” and allowed political and other impermissible factors to affect her hiring decisions.
Goodling was the White House liaison at the Justice Department; Sampson was Gonzales’ chief of staff.
The latest disclosures include a finding that Goodling rejected the application of a career terrorism prosecutor who wanted to work at Justice Department headquarters because his wife was active in local Democratic politics.
Goodling also sought out the advice of the White House and other Republicans in filling vacant immigration judge positions.
The report also found that Goodling discriminated against another career department attorney who had applied for several temporary details because she was perceived to be having a lesbian relationship with a U.S. attorney.
Gonzales’ attorney, George J. Terwilliger III, said the report made “two important points” about the former attorney general.
“First, the investigation found that former Attorney General Gonzales was not involved in or aware of the politicized hiring practices of staffers. Second, when he became aware of the problems he moved to correct them,” Terwilliger said.
Gonzales, in a separate statement, said, “I am gratified that the efforts I initiated to address this issue have now been affirmed and augmented by this report.”
Oh, yeah, Gonzo, you did a heckuvajob!
USA Today posted these excerpts from the Inspector General’s report:
Our investigation found that Goodling improperly subjected candidates for certain career positions to the same politically based evaluation she used on candidates for political positions, in violation of federal law and Department policy. With regard to requests from interim U.S. Attorneys to hire [assisant U.S. attorneys], we determined that in two instances Goodling considered the candidate’s political or ideological affiliations when she assessed the request. For example, in one instance when the interim U.S. Attorney in the District of Columbia sought approval from Goodling to hire an AUSA for a vacant position, Goodling responded that the candidate gave her pause because judging from his résumé he appeared to be a “liberal Democrat.”
Goodling also stated that because Republicans had lost control of Congress after the November 2006 elections, she expected that Republican congressional staff might be interested in applying for AUSA positions in Washington. Eventually, after the interim U.S. Attorney complained to [Chief of Staff Kyle] Sampson about Goodling’s response to his request, the U.S. Attorney was allowed to hire the AUSA. The evidence also showed that Goodling considered political or ideological affiliations when recommending and selecting candidates for other permanent career positions, including a career [senior executive service] position in the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys (EOUSA) and AUSA positions. These actions violated federal law and Department policy, and also constituted misconduct.
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. For example, an experienced career terrorism prosecutor was rejected by Goodling for a detail to EOUSA to work on counterterrorism issues because of his wife’s political affiliations. Instead, EOUSA had to select a much more junior attorney who lacked any experience in counterterrorism issues and who EOUSA officials believed was not qualified for the position.
[First name of a candidate]! and pre/2 [last name of a candidate] w/7 bush or gore or republican! or democrat! or charg! or accus! or criticiz! or blam! or defend! or iran contra or clinton or spotted owl or florida recount or sex! or controvers! or racis! or fraud! or investigat! or bankrupt! or layoff! or downsiz! or PNTR or NAFTA or outsourc! or indict! or enron or kerry or iraq or wmd! or arrest! or intox! or fired or sex! or racis! or intox! or slur! or arrest! or fired or controvers! or abortion! or gay! or homosexual! or gun! or firearm!