Report: Bush Administration Officials Violated Federal Law and Politicized Hiring at the Justice Department

The Justice Department Inspector General Office has completed its review of allegations of violations of federal law by Bush officials in the hiring of prosecutors and immigration judges. The 140-page report found that former Alberto Gonzales aides Monica Goodling or former Gonzales chief of staff Kyle Sampson broke federal law and used politics rather than merit to select both attorneys and immigration judges. This will be the subject of my discussion tonight on MSNBC Countdown, click here.

What is most striking is how rabid and immature Goodling appears in these accounts, even objecting to an applicant saying that he liked Secretary of State Rice because she is “pro-choice.” It appears that even Bush appointees are insufficient “Bushies” in the mind of some of extremists like Goodling.

Goodling would also ask questions like “what is it about George Bush that makes you want to serve him.” Of course, not only are career attorneys not supposed to be asked political questions, but they did not “serve” the president — they serve the country, the justice system, even the Justice Department. They do not serve George Bush. Even political appointees merely “serve at the pleasure of the president” which means that he can fire them. It does not mean that the White House counsel, for example, serves the president like a client. He serves the office of the presidency.

All of this seems lost on Goodling, who proved a perfect political commissar. For his part, Sampson was little better: using political questions and forms for immigration judges. He favored those who did favors for the Republicans — rather than try to put the most talented lawyers on the bench.

Gonzales has insisted that he did not know about these actions. Yet, it was Gonzales who appointed people like Goodling to a high office at the Justice Department despite her lack of professional accomplishment or standing. Her only outstanding characteristic was her extreme loyalty to Bush and extreme conservatism. The study is an indictment of Gonzales, who degraded the Justice Department by converting it into an institutional image of himself. He wanted a department that blindly pursued the political agenda of his mentor without independence or question. Low-grade people like Goodling were essential to achieve that ignoble goal. Indeed, in her farewell remarks, she showered her patron, Gonzales, with praise and the grace of the Almighty: “May God bless you richly as you continue your service to America.”

For the full story, click here.

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