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.

42 thoughts on “Report: Bush Administration Officials Violated Federal Law and Politicized Hiring at the Justice Department”

  1. You can’t pardon for a civil conviction can you? I hope every fired US attorney files a civil suit for damages. These are smart people and they’d know where to find the evidence.


    Send that image to your brother. It’ll scare him off voting Republican for life.

  2. Jill
    1, July 29, 2008 at 5:29 pm
    Cheney will have a large bowel movement to finesse if he has to quash mulitple individual lawsuits

    Thanks for that image, Jill.


    I envision the big cartoon judge from Pink Floyd’s, movie version of “The Wall”.

  3. Just heard this on NPR/ISN. One man who was not hired because he was too liberal, (probably slept with 3 corpses like most liberals do) filed suit in court for damages. This could be a very promising ave. for getting information from the cold undead hands of the administration. Cheney will have a large bowel movement to finesse if he has to quash mulitple individual lawsuits.

  4. Bartlebee,
    Thanks for the correction. That is one heck of a search stream! Who would have thought that the spotted owl would cause so much work for the Bush Administration.

  5. Prof. Turley,

    filing grievancesI

    I agree with your assertion on MSNBC tonight that Sampson, Goodling, et al., should be subject to disciplinary review. I’ve been advocating filing grievances against these unethical attorneys for a long time.

    I prepared a grievance complaint against
    Kyle Sampson back in March and e-mailed an update, based on the DoJ report, to you earlier tonight. I have several other complaints prepared as well. Scott Horton provided favorable feedback to my allegations against Judge Mark Everett Fuller (trial judge for Gov. Don Siegelman prosecution).

    You likely haven’t read my blog, so welcome to my small corner of the grievance movement. I’d appreciate any assistance you – or any of your readers – can give, including thoughts on my work and recommendations for pushing forward a grievance strategy.


  6. Goodling wouldn’t hire you if you were not the most hard core right wing superchristy4jesus born again assh0le.

    And who hired her? And who hired him? And where’d she get this idea that the DOJ was now a functioning branch of the RNC?

    This case is downright bizarre. It’s like something out of a Stephen King made for TV movie. “The BuschFord Wives”, or some freaky sh$t.

    Goodling, Gonzales, Sampson, Williams, … bizarre.

    Oh, and don’t forget Ashcroft.

    Our speaking in tongues Pentacostal mamaphobic eagle singing Attorney General.


    What a load of work he was.

  7. Raff, thats not suggested. I cut and pasted that from the Inspector Generals report. Its the search string her deputy Angela Williams lied under oath about sending to Goodling. She said the one she sent to Goodling didn’t have all the words, like homosexual. But when the DOJ checked the emails, they found she had sent it to Goodling.

    This Williams has been caught lying about it, and her testimony is just garbage. This search string, is a key glimpse into just how right about all this sh$t, we were.

  8. This investigation report is another example of the lawbreaking that is rampant in the Bush regime. Maybe Conyers can convince Mukasey to actually honor his oath and enforce the law by bringing indictmenst against Goodling and Sampson and Gonzalez. I realize Goodling has immunity, but there are serious questions that she might have committed perjury in her appearance in front of a Congressional committee. I am not sure that the “spotted owl” lexis/nexis stream suggested by Bartlebee would be actionable!

  9. Can you believe near the top of the list is the search term “spotted owl”?

    She actually selected candidates based on whether or not they liked the spotted owl.


    What a hoot.

  10. Here. Here’s the search string Goodling would put into Lexis Nexis to research DOJ candidates.

    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!

    Now, anyone want to argue they weren’t politicizing at the DOJ?

    Also can someone tell me why she’s walking around free?

  11. Think again…


    Patty C 1, November 22, 2007 at 5:15 pm

    I think it appropriate on Thanksgiving to say “Thanks” to you.

    You are a welcome reminder that the Constitution is so much more than
    “just a piece of paper.”

  12. Good show, JT.

    You look great! Hope you are having some summer fun with your family 🙂

  13. PT just finished on Countdown. I noticed he asked a subtle question, pointing to the apparent apathy of the President in the abuse at the DOJ.

    While JT is obviously not going to implicate the President, that “dangling” question does leave anyone considering looking at the probability that it was Bush behind the abuse, trickling on down through Gonzo and onto rubes like Goodling.

    And she was a rube.

    Telling 20 year law scholars what to do, with her little cracker jack degree from SuperChristy U.

  14. Maybe this will work…

    Let’s not forget this blast from the past…

    WASHINGTON (Wednesday, June 6) — Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and Ranking Member Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), sent a letter to Department of Justice Inspector General Glenn Fine today asking if the expansion of his internal investigation included a conversation former DOJ official Monica Goodling had with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales about the firings of several federal prosecutors before she resigned from the Department.

    Goodling testified before the House Judiciary Committee last month about a meeting she had with Attorney General Gonzales shortly before she resigned that made her “uncomfortable.” At this meeting, Mr. Gonzales recounted to her his recollection of the process leading up to and including the firing and replacement of several U.S. Attorneys, according to Goodling’s testimony. She testified the conversation was the Thursday or Friday before she resigned.

    In addition to the ongoing congressional investigation into the firings and replacement of the federal prosecutors, the DOJ Inspector General’s Office and Office of Professional Responsibility, have been investigating matters relating to the firings since March. The two offices recently notified the Senate and House Judiciary Committees that they were expanding their internal investigation to include improper considerations in DOJ’s hiring of career employees.

    Below is the text of the letter. A PDF is also available.

    Following the letter are transcript excerpts from Goodling’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on May 23rd regarding her conversation with Attorney General Gonzales, as well as Attorney General Gonzales’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 19th regarding his lack of contact with officials involved in the firing and replacement of federal prosecutors.

    June 5, 2007

    The Honorable Glenn A. Fine
    Inspector General
    The Department of Justice
    950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
    Washington, D.C. 20530-0001

    Dear Inspector General Fine:

    Thank you for your letter of May 30, notifying the Committee of the expansion of your investigation into issues related to the dismissals of several U.S. Attorneys. This letter followed up on your earlier letter of March 26 notifying the Committee of the joint investigation into the matter by your office and the Office of Professional Responsibility.

    In your most recent letter, you notified us that you have expanded your investigation to “include allegations regarding improper political or other considerations in hiring decisions within the Department of Justice.” On May 23, Monica Goodling admitted during her testimony before the House Judiciary Committee that she “crossed the line” with respect to such considerations.

    She also testified about a meeting she had with Attorney General Gonzales that made her “uncomfortable” in the days before she resigned from the Department of Justice. She testified that Mr. Gonzales recounted to her his recollection of the process leading up to and including the firing and replacement of several U.S. Attorneys. Mr. Gonzales had previously testified to this Committee that he was being careful not to speak to others involved in the replacement of US. Attorneys about those matters because he thought that inappropriate.

    Ms. Goodling’s testimony prompted Congressman Davis to ask whether the Attorney General was engaged in inappropriately communicating with someone he knew was a participant in and witness to the matters under investigation in order to shape her testimony. Although you mentioned the expansion of your inquiry with respect to the consideration in hiring decisions of improper political considerations, you did not mention this incident in your recent letter. Does the expansion of your inquiry include this matter?

    We look forward to your response.


    Ranking Member

    CQ Transcript Excerpt of Senate Judiciary Committee w/ Gonzales on April 19, 2007, (emphasis added) —

    Sen. GRASSLEY: OK. In prior statements, you indicated that you really hadn’t been involved in any discussions or deliberations to remove the U.S. attorneys.

    But e-mails indicated that you had discussions with Mr. Sampson about this in late 2004 or early 2005, and that you attended a November 2006 meeting just prior to the firings.

    Mr. Sampson testified before this committee that your statements weren’t fully accurate. And your testimony today backtracks on what you said earlier.

    Why is your story changing?

    Can you tell us when you first got involved and the extent of your participation in the process to evaluate and replace U.S. attorneys?

    And additionally, who came up with a plan to evaluate U.S. attorneys?

    Alberto GONZALES: Yes, sir.

    Well, the reason why my statements initially were incorrect was because I had not gone back and looked at the record.

    Since then, I’ve tried to clarify it. I think Mr. Sampson, even in his testimony, said that I had clarified my statements.

    The meeting — the e-mail that you’re referring to, a discussion that happened in either, I think January ’05 — as I recall, Senator, would relate to a discussion that would have happened in Christmas week — between Christmas and New Year’s and just weeks before my confirmation. And so I don’t have a recollection of that discussion, quite frankly.

    But what we have tried to do since this time, since early March, is gather up as much information as we can and provide to the Congress documents and make people available so that we can get to the bottom of what happened here.

    And I’m here to provide what I know, what I recall as to the truth in order to help the Congress help to complete the record. But there are clearly some things that I don’t know about what happened.

    And it’s frustrating to me, as head of the department, to not know that still today. But I haven’t talked to witnesses because of the fact that I haven’t wanted to interfere with this investigation and department investigations.

    CQ Transcript Excerpt of House Judiciary Committee Hearing w/ Goodling on May 23, 2007 —

    Rep. DAVIS: When is the last time you spoke to the attorney general, Ms. Goodling?

    Monica GOODLING: I spoke to him the Thursday or Friday my last full week at the department, and then I took leave the following…

    DAVIS: Do you have a good memory of that conversation, Ms. Goodling?

    GOODLING: I have memory of some of it.

    DAVIS: Was there any part of that conversation that made you uncomfortable?

    GOODLING: Yes.

    DAVIS: Would you tell the committee about it?

    GOODLING: I had decided that I couldn’t continue working on his staff because of the circumstances. I felt that I was somewhat paralyzed. I just felt like I — I was distraught. And I felt that I wanted to make a transfer.

    So I went back to ask him if it would be possible for me to transfer out of his office. He said that he would need to think about that. And I think he was, you know, trying to, you know, just trying to chat. I was on his staff. But he then proceeded to say, “Let me tell you what I can remember.” And he kind of — he laid out for me his general recollection of…

    DAVIS: Recollection of what, Ms. Goodling?

    GOODLING: Of some of the process.

    DAVIS: Some of the process regarding what?

    GOODLING: Some of the process regarding the replacement of the U.S. attorneys. And he — he just — he laid out a little bit of it, and then he asked me if he thought — if I had any reaction to his iteration.

    And I remember thinking at that point that this was something that we were all going to have to talk about, and I didn’t know that it was — I just — I didn’t know that it was maybe appropriate for us to talk about that at that point, and so I just didn’t. As far as I can remember, I just didn’t respond.

    GOODLING: And so I just didn’t. As far as I can remember, I just didn’t respond.

    JACKSON-LEE: The time of the gentleman has expired. We now recognize the distinguished gentleman from Illinois, Mr. Gutierrez for five minutes.

    GUTIERREZ: Thank you very much.

    I would like to yield my time to Mr. Davis.

    DAVIS: Thank you, Mr. Gutierrez.

    Had you finished your answer, Ms. Goodling, regarding your conversation with the attorney general?

    GOODLING: I think there was a little bit more to the discussion, but I’m having trouble remembering it.

    DAVIS: Well, let me try to help you a little bit. I know it’s been a long day, and so let me try to help you a little bit.

    You said that you thought part of the conversation was inappropriate with the attorney general. Did you say that, Ms. Goodling?

    GOODLING: I don’t know if I said — I didn’t know if I meant to say inappropriate. I said it made me a little uncomfortable.

    DAVIS: What was it that made you uncomfortable about your conversation with the attorney general, Mr. Gonzales.

    GOODLING: I just — I did not know if it was appropriate for us to both be discussing our recollections of what had happened, and I just thought maybe we shouldn’t have that conversation.

    GOODLING: So I didn’t respond to what he said.

    DAVIS: Why did you think it might be inappropriate for you to have this conversation with the attorney general?

    GOODLING: I just knew that, at some point, we would probably all have to talk about our conversations and I just — I’m not saying that I — I’m not saying that I definitely thought it was inappropriate. I think, in all fairness, that he was just talking to someone on his staff and I was distraught and I was asking for a transfer.

    And I think he was being kind. He’s a very kind man. But I just didn’t know that I thought that maybe this was a conversation that we should be having.

    DAVIS: Ms. Goodling, did you tell the attorney general that you felt that part of his testimony, or part of his public statements, were not fully accurate.

    GOODLING: No, I didn’t.

    DAVIS: And was there a reason why you didn’t share with the attorney general that part of what he had said to the committee or the public might not be accurate?

    GOODLING: I just — I feel like it — I feel like after he had the press conference, people came out fairly soon and said that they thought the statements were inaccurate. I don’t think that I needed to do that. I think that other people had already raised questions about that.

    DAVIS: Do you think the attorney general appreciated that he had made statements that were not accurate?

    GOODLING: I don’t know.

    DAVIS: Did you ask him?

    GOODLING: No, I didn’t.

    DAVIS: Do you think the attorney general would have been concerned about making public statements that were not accurate?

    GOODLING: I don’t know what he — I know that he testified before the Senate, and he clarified his remarks from his press conference. So I believe he cared about the fact that he didn’t express everything in the best way that he could. And I think he’s already apologized for that and tried to clarify it.

    DAVIS: Let me ask you this, Ms. Goodling: During the conversation that you’ve said made you somewhat uncomfortable with the attorney general, did the attorney general discuss the circumstances around any of the terminations of the U.S. attorneys?

    GOODLING: He discussed a little bit.

    As I recall, he just said that he thought that everybody that was on the list was on the list for a performance-related reason, and that he had been upset with the deputy because he thought that the deputy had indicated that — by testifying about Mr. Cummins, that there was — that the only reason there was to relieve him in order to give Mr. Griffin a chance to serve.

    He said that he thought, when he heard that, that that was wrong, that he really thought that Mr. Cummins was on the list because there was a performance reason there, too.

    And — I think there was more to the discussion. That’s the part I’m remembering right now. But I think he just kind of laid out what he remembered and what he thought. And then he asked me if I had any reaction to it.

    DAVIS: Do you know — let me ask you this way. You say the attorney general asked if you had any reaction to what he said.

    Do you think, Ms. Goodling, the attorney general was trying to shape your recollection?

    GOODLING: No. I think he was just asking if I had any different…

    DAVIS: But it made you uncomfortable.

    GOODLING: I just did not know if it was a conversation that we should be having, and so I just — just didn’t say anything.

    Mr. Davis, I don’t know that I have anything to add to that point, but I do want to clarify, to the extent that at the beginning of your questioning I indicated answers based on testimony, I want to be — I want to clarify that I think that the statements you were referencing were press accounts, and I didn’t mean to indicate that…

    DAVIS: Well, Ms. Goodling, if you’ve noticed, what I’ve done in my questions, I’ve consistently said either/or. I’ve referred either to public statements or to testimony.

    Let me ask you one final question with my limited time about the attorney general.

  15. Jill
    1, July 28, 2008 at 7:43 pm

    He’s the most bestes leader the world has ever known

    He certainly is the most “testes” leader thw world has ever known.

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