Justice Officials Repeatedly Broke Law on Hiring

One of the many problems during the Bush years has been the extreme concern for politics, even at the cost of competency.  This included the politicization of the Justice Department. An inspector general’s report has verified that “Former Justice Department counselor Monica M. Goodling and former chief of staff D. Kyle Sampson routinely broke the law by conducting political litmus tests on candidates for jobs as immigration judges and line prosecutors.” The Washington Post reports:

Goodling passed over hundreds of qualified applicants and squashed the promotions of others after deeming candidates insufficiently loyal to the Republican party, said investigators, who interviewed 85 people and received information from 300 other job seekers at Justice. Sampson developed a system to screen immigration judge candidates based on improper political considerations and routinely took recommendations from the White House Office of Political Affairs and Presidential Personnel, the report said.

Goodling regularly asked candidates for career jobs: “What is it about George W. Bush that makes you want to serve him?” the report said. One former Justice Department official told investigators she had complained that Goodling was asking interviewees for their views on abortion, according to the report.

In one case, Goodling refused to extend the temporary assignment of a prosecutor because of her “perception of the [lawyer’s] sexual orientation,” according to the report.

Taking political or personal factors into account in employment decisions for career positions violates civil service laws and can run afoul of ethics rules. Investigators said today that both Goodling and Sampson had engaged in “misconduct.”

The improper personnel moves deprived worthy candidates of promotions and damaged the credibility of the Justice Department, investigators wrote. An experienced counterterrorism prosecutor, for example, was kept from advancing in favor of a more junior lawyer who lacked a background in terrorism.

The Plank gives a good example of the absurd levels to which political concerns were taken:

When one applicant responded that he admired Condoleezza Rice, Goodling “frowned” and remarked, “But she’s pro-choice.” It’s frankly hard to know where to begin here. Worrying that a career employee at the Department of Justice might not immediately condemn the abortion-rights views of the secretary of state of one particular administration? The breezy conflation of partisanship, ideology, and personal loyalty to the president? The fact that Goodling has acknowledged she knew she was breaking the law but says she “didn’t mean to”?

Posted in George Bush, Scandals. Tags: . 5 Comments »

Edwards Scandal Makes Huffington Post

So far there has been very little in either the mainstream media or liberal blogosphere on the Edwards/Rielle Hunter scandal, but we can now add Huffington Post to the liberal blogs who are covering it. Lee Stranahan writes:

The truth is that I believe anyone who looks into the John Edwards/Rielle Hunter affair story will see that Edwards has, at best, acted in a very suspicious manner for over a year now. When the Larry Craig story was breaking, I didn’t buy his particular line of bullshit and I don’t buy Edwards’s either after I’ve spent the last couple of days Googling with my wife. (That’s not as dirty as it sounds.) At first, I was skeptical of the National Enquirer story catching Edwards leaving the Beverly Hills Hilton Hotel at 2:45am because there were no pictures and the tabloids aren’t reliable. Now it turns out that Edwards was at the hotel, so was Ms. Hunter, and that he when he saw reporters he hid in the bathroom until security guards came and got him.

I got more suspicious after reading a story on The Huffington Post from last September by Sam Stein detailing the weird story of some short webisodes about John Edwards that mysteriously were pulled off the internet. Read it yourself here and fold it into the mix of the current allegations.

Let’s go with the assumption that Edwards is innocent for a moment; he didn’t have the affair so the baby isn’t his. If he didn’t do anything wrong then it seems like he’d have good reasons to stop the rumors. A DNA test months ago would have ended all speculation about the paternity of the baby. Isn’t that a better, less suspicious move than pulling down all the videos that Rielle Hunter helped produce about him for his campaign? And if there are rumors and you’re innocent, WHY go visit the subject of those rumors at a hotel and leave at 2:45 in the morning? Why hide in the bathroom when reporters catch you leaving? These actions don’t make any more sense to me than Craig’s ‘wide stance/dropped my toilet paper’ defense did.

If he is innocent I could see where Edwards might not feel obligated to respond to The National Enquirer by providing a DNA test. (Actually if he is innocent I’d expect him to sue for a fortune given his history). While not having such a DNA test does not prove his guilt, I agree that otherwise his behavior looks very suspicious.

Stranahan believes this will become “a tsunami-sized scandal for the Democratic Party.” He notes that the progressive blogosphere is ignoring the story:

The progressive blogosphere is ignoring this story at its own peril because it’s going to be big. At this moment, there’s a weird state of denial about the entire thing. As of 4pm Saturday, nothing at all on TalkingPointMemo.com. DailyKos did a dismissive post making fun of the Enquirer. FireDogLake? Nothing. Americablog? Nada. These are some of my favorite blogs, by the way.

Maybe his favorite blogs have been in denial, but Liberal Values has previously noted this story here and here.