From The New York Times:
WASHINGTON — A former senior official at the Justice Department routinely hired Republicans, Federalist Society members and “R.T.A.’s” — “Right-Thinking Americans”— for what were supposed to be nonpolitical posts and gave them plum assignments on civil rights cases, an internal department report released Tuesday found.
The former official, Bradley Schlozman, who helped lead the Civil Rights Division for about three years beginning in 2003, also gave false statements to Congress when he denied factoring politics into his hiring decisions, the report from the inspector general and Office of Professional Responsibility at the Justice Department found. But last week federal prosecutors declined to bring criminal charges against Mr. Schlozman, who left the department in 2007 amid an uproar over accusations of widespread politicization.
Original DVD cover.
Look at that putz. You know he got the crap beat out of him in high school. He should have the crap beat out of him now.
In the Civil Rights Division, regarded as a cornerstone of the Justice Department since the days of Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, the investigation found that political supervisors charged with enforcing federal bias laws had illegally discriminated against job applicants seen as too liberal. The report said Mr. Schlozman’s superiors had ignored warnings about his brash management style and his political agenda.
The investigation grew out of the controversy in 2007 over the dismissals of at least eight United States attorneys, which led to the resignation of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and spurred accusations that the Bush administration had allowed political ideology to trump law enforcement decisions.
The report goes beyond the conclusions of three previous internal Justice Department inquiries in exposing the depths of political interference with personnel decisions.
The report makes its case against Mr. Schlozman in his own words, drawn from e-mail and voice mail messages to colleagues and underlings, as he talked about reshaping the political makeup of the Civil Rights Division and doing away with “pinko” and “crazy lib” lawyers and others he did not consider “real Americans.”
In one e-mail message regarding a pool of job applicants, he wrote that “as long as I’m here, adherents of Mao’s Little Red Book need not apply.”
The report found that Mr. Schlozman had selected conservative lawyers for prime assignments and transferred three lawyers out of the Civil Rights Division because they were seen as liberals who were opposed to his political agenda. All three later brought federal discrimination claims and returned to the division after Mr. Schlozman left. The transfers, the report found, violated federal civil service law and “constituted misconduct.”
The investigation found that among people hired by Mr. Schlozman, 63 of 65 were considered Republican or conservative, but that when he was not involved, “the results were more balanced,” with conservatives and liberals split about evenly.
From Rolling Stone:
The new Inspector General report out of the Justice Department makes clear that Randy Schlozman — the acting director of DOJ’s Civil Rights Division — illegally used political considerations to replace nearly 1-in-6 lawyers in the division with “real Americans,” and members of “the team,” ie: conservatives, preferably members of the Federalist Society.
The report is shocking. But even moreso in a topic it touches on only tangentially — racism in the Civil Rights Division of the Bush DOJ.
There is also this email exchange between Schlozman and John Tanner, the Voting Rights division chair who infamously asserted that Voter ID requirements that disadvantage the elderly have no impact on minorities because, “minorities don’t become elderly the way white people do. They die first.”
Tanner and Schlozman are discussing how they like their coffee, with Tanner writing that he took his “Mary Frances Berry style – black and bitter.”
Berry, an African American, chaired the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights for nearly a decade, ending her service in 2004.
From TPM Muckraker:
It sounds like Sen. Pat Leahy isn’t too happy about the US Attorney’s office’s decision not to prosecute Bradley Schlozman for making false statements to Leahy’s Judiciary committee.
In a speech on the Senate floor this morning, Leahy left no doubt that he disagrees with the US Attorney’s office’s decision, and declared: “When somebody deliberately, purposely sets out to subvert the constitution of the United States, and then lies about it, lies about it, Mr. President, I find that a heinous crime.”
Editorial from The Kansas City Star:
As a top official in the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, Bradley Schlozman was supposed to enforce federal laws prohibiting discrimination.
But he appears to have flagrantly violated federal civil service rules and Justice Department policy that prohibit discriminating against job applicants for career positions on the basis of political affiliation, according to a report by two government watchdog groups.
Schlozman’s misconduct, which includes vulgar language and ridicule of employees, is another sign of how poorly the department was run by former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
Investigators found that Schlozman inappropriately considered political and ideological leanings when hiring and transferring career attorneys in the department. Many of his hires belonged to conservative groups but lacked civil rights or criminal law experience.
Investigators from the department’s Office of the Inspector General and Office of Professional Responsibility allege that Schlozman lied to Congress when he denied in a hearing that politics had influenced his hiring or personnel decisions.
The current attorney general, Michael Mukasey, has shown no appetite for prosecuting former Justice Department employees.
Barack Obama’s incoming administration may need to take another look at the situation.
As Sen. Pat Leahy, a Vermont Democrat and chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said of the findings on Schlozman this week: “The clear determination that he broke the law corrodes our trust in our system of justice and in the nation’s top law enforcement agency.”