Monday, July 28, 2008

Affirmative Action Republican Style

The Department of Justice' Office of Inspector General released a report today on the suspicious hiring practices of the Justice Department under former Attorneys General John Ashcroft and Albert Gonzalez. Two key figures, Kyle Sampson and Monica Goodling, were repeatedly named as violators not just of department policies and procedures m - usually enough to get someone at least suspended from a job if not fired - to violating federal law by inappropriately asking questions regarding the political views of persons seeking positions at the department. An example of the kind of thing is highlighted at TPMMuckraker, where the pdf. file report is being gone over with a fine tooth comb. I offer this particular snippet for those who might want to argue "they all do this don't they?":
Federal immigration judgeships were especially targeted for politicization. In October 2003, shortly after Sampson started working at DOJ, then as Counselor to Attorney General John Ashcroft, he began to overhaul the selection process for immigration judges. "[We] were only considering essentially Republican lawyers for appointment," Sampson said, according to the IG's report. (It was not clear from the report whether Sampson said that to IG investigators or in another setting)

Prior to 2004, immigration judges were appointed in an essentially non-political bureaucratic process handled by the Office of the Chief Immigration Judge. Vacancies were posted, resumes sorted, interviews conducted and decisions made by lower-level DOJ officials, according to the report.

Sampson's new process involved "coordination" with White House and an extra effort to get friends of the Bush administration into the judgeships when possible. Sampson circulated a document outlining the new process.

"Many lawyers seeking positions within the Administration, including judgeships, become known to the White House offices of Political Affairs, Presidential Personnel, and Counsel to the President." The document stated that some lawyers might qualify to be IJs, and that "coordination" was needed to ensure that such lawyers were "informed of the opportunity" to become IJs."

Think Progress highlights two examples of Monica Goodling's antics while working as a liaison between DoJ and the White House. For those who may not have been paying attention, Ms. Goodling was a graduate of Regent University Law School, and appeared out of her depth when called before Congress to testify. Actually, she appeared as if she would have been out of her depth outside a candle party. I felt bad for her, because all those mean Congress folks were asking her tough questions when, as the OIG report clearly shows in detail, all she was doing was trying to make the Department of Justice safe for George W. Bush:
In April, NPR reported that the Justice Department Inspector General was investigating whether former DOJ White House liaison Monica Goodling dismissed a career DOJ attorney “because of rumors that she is a lesbian.”


As the report notes, the assistant U.S. attorney (AUSA) received “outstanding” performance reviews, the highest possible rating, and was subsequently granted a work extension in 2006. Goodling, however, opposed it.


When Executive Office for U.S. Attorney Associate Counsel Natalie Voris told Goodling she supported the extension, Goodling “responded that Voris did not know the AUSA as well as she thought she did“:

Voris said that Goodling then told her that the [assistant U.S. attorney] had a homosexual relationship with the U.S. Attorney in the AUSA’s USAO and that the two took trips together at government expense. Voris told us she believes that the AUSA’s alleged sexual orientation was a factor in Goodling’s decision not to extend the detail.

Furthermore, when the assistant U.S. attorney sought a detail in the Office of Violence Against Women, Goodling objected “because it would look like the Department was sanctioning the homosexual relationship.”


[T]he report states.

“We concluded that Goodling’s actions violated Department policy and federal law, and constituted misconduct,” the report adds. Both the assistant U.S. attorney and the U.S. attorney denied the relationship.(italics added)

So much for a valiant effort to protect us all from Teh Gay. She also figured that it was important to maintain the purity of the Department on a purely partisan basis (for fun, replace the word "Democrat" with the word "Jew" and violate Godwin's law):
In one disgraceful example, Goodling refused to hire “one of the leading terrorism prosecutors in the country” because his wife was a Democrat

Here are some of the interview questions Ms. Goodling used, via Sadly, No!:
* Tell us about your political philosophy. There are different groups of conservatives, by way of example: Social Conservative, Fiscal Conservative, Law & Order Republican.

* [W]hat is it about George W. Bush that makes you want to serve him?

* Aside from the President, give us an example of someone currently or recently in public service who you admire.

As I noted above, the report is clear that these examples all violate the policies and procedures of the Department of Justice. They also, per the report, violate federal law. Whether that matters much - no law enforces itself - only time will tell. It might be nice if Ms. Goodling no longer has a license to practice law, or her version of it anyway, so she can go to some happy Christian home, where the man is the priest, and she can dutifully serve him by providing all sorts of children for him. Isn't that what Christian women are supposed to do?

Virtual Tin Cup

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