Monica Goodling Reprimanded By Virginia State Bar

In a little noticed action, the Virginia bar has reprimanded Monica Marie Goodling, the attorney at the center of the allegations of politicization of the Bush Justice Department. Many are complaining that the reprimand shows that the bar has little teeth in enforcing such ethical rules. On the other hand, the reprimand is still more punishment that John Yoo, Jay Bybee and others received for their support of alleged war crimes over the torture program. (Actually, Bybee was not just spared punishment by the Obama Justice Department but he was previously given a lifetime appointment as a federal judge).

Goodling was found to have committed “a criminal or deliberately wrongful act” that reflected adversely on her “honesty, trustworthiness or fitness to practice law.” She agreed to the reprimand and previously admitted before Congress that she used political affiliation and other political considerations in hiring lawyers for career positions in the U.S. Department of Justice.

She was just one example of people with less than stellar resumes being given high positions by the Bush Administration based on their blind partisan loyalty.

What is striking about the lack of significant punishment from the bar and the lack of any criminal charge is that Goodling (who is described as deeply religious and a graduate of Regent University Law School) lied to her supervisor on her actions.

President Bush did unprecedented damage to the Justice Department by filling it with hacks and political operatives. In Goodling’s case, she had little experience that would warrant an entry level position at Justice — let alone one of the highest positions in the department. She only graduated from Regent University Law School in 1999. She was the face of the type of policies and personnel pushed by Alberto Gonzales — generally viewed as one of the worst Attorneys General in the history of the department. On April 6, 2007, Goodling resigned, writing to Gonzales, “May God bless you richly as you continue your service to America.”

She is reportedly working “market research in Arlington, Va.”

Source: VA Lawyers Weekly

29 thoughts on “Monica Goodling Reprimanded By Virginia State Bar”

  1. “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.” (Perhaps we should add “inability to recall.”)

    I will admit that Ms Goodling is slightly older than me and finished law school (If Regency could seriously be called a law school) a few years before I got my doctorate. Then again, I have never been placed in a position to make major decisions affecting the careers of people who have much more experience and better qualifications than myself. Instead I’m at the bottom of the academic hierarchy. I don’t claim to deserve special treatment purely because of my educational accomplishments; at a time when the Bush admin had been hard at work defunding science and education (instead eagerly pouring taxpayer $$$ into such dubious projects as “faith-based intitatives” [i.e., illegal government subsidising of religion] and tax cuts for the über-wealthy & profitable corporations (despite the fact that “trickle-down” economics has been thoroughly discredited; it doesn’t do what its proponents claim). (Even my more conservative colleagues agree that the Republicns have positioned themselves as the anti-science party.)

    Obama needs to stop taking this “forgive & forget” position on the crimes of the previous administration.

  2. I am confused. You say it is common for presidents to replace attorney’s when they take over. Why do you think they are replaced? Who do you think they are replaced with?

    You may say Bush was wrong for replacing them for political reasons but it was be pretty safe to assume that 99% of the other lawyers fired were fired not for incompetence or for any reason other than political. Hell when a president hires a Supreme Court justice he uses ideological and other political reasons to choose who to nominate.

    The fact that Clinton fired all those right when he took office only strengthens the obvious fact that they were fired for not having the right political view points and so that there would be 93 lawyers indebted to Clinton.

    I am not saying Bush did no wrong. Just saying he did nothing that everyone else hasn’t done in the political and private sector.

    It seems to me the only real difference here is the fact that Bush was a republican. Or am I missing something and your contention is that every other president had non-political reasons for making sweeping changes to those they had hiring/firing control over?

  3. Monica Goodling is really pretty.

    Research on the web about John Gleason, the man known as Regulation Counsel in Colorado–employed by the Colorado Supreme Court–has turned up compelling evidence that Gleason may not be a lawyer….

    According to online bios [(1) and (2)], Gleason received his law degree from Ohio Northern University Pettit College of Law. This is a third-tier law school, which nevertheless says on its website [(3), from that it requires a baccalaureate degree from an accredited undergraduate institution for admission. There is no evidence Gleason ever obtained the undergraduate degree.

    In two online bios [(1) and (2)] Gleason has stated that he “attended” Columbia College–not specifying a location, so making it sound like Columbia University–and, elsewhere, that he “attended” Bowling Green State University. He never says he graduated from either of these undergraduate institutions. (In fact, he does not even use the word “graduated” in connection with Pettit College of Law. He says he “earned his law degree” there.)

    There is a Columbia College in Aurora, Colorado, which appears to be a for-profit (in the business of selling degrees). Gleason is lecturing there currently, in juvenile law(1); and this is interesting, because he has no experience in juvenile law, or any other field of practice, as discussed below. As to Bowling Green State, it appears Gleason would have liked to call this school his alma mater, but cannot, because he did not graduate. A donors’ list which turns up on the BGSU website contains the names of thousands of donors, almost all of which are followed by a year of graduation–e.g., “Barry Smith ’67.” John Gleason’s name is on this list but is not followed by a year. [(4), on p. 52]

    One of Gleason’s bios states that he “previously served as a criminal prosecutor” for several years.(1) Another bio says he “served in the Allen County Prosecutor’s Office”–without identifying where Allen County is. Allen County, Ohio, is, in fact, the county where Ohio Northern University is located. Alison Maynard contacted the prosecutor’s office and they have no record of Gleason ever working there, not even as a student intern. (5) Alison Maynard also contacted the Ohio attorney registration office and they said Gleason was not registered as an attorney in Ohio and had never sat for the bar exam in Ohio. So, Gleason’s statement that he “served in the prosecutor’s office” is intended to make people believe he had lengthy experience working as a prosecuting attorney, when he had no such experience at all.

    Gleason’s bios also state that he was “in private practice with a law firm in Denver for several years” [(1) and (2)], making it sound like he also had a wealth of experience in civil litigation before coming to OARC. This is misleading, too. Alison Maynard found that he was admitted to the bar in Colorado in 1985, and that he worked with a sole practitioner named Robert Bartholic before being employed by the Supreme Court’s Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel in late 1987 or early 1988. Alison Maynard found this out by going through back issues of the Legal and Financial Directory to match up the office address. At best, then, Gleason worked 2-1/2 years for Bartholic after being admitted to the bar in 1985. Alison Maynard talked to Bartholic on Feb. 17, 2010, who said he did no litigation and that he “didn’t really have enough business to keep Gleason busy.” Thus, as Alison Maynard said above, Gleason has never had any experience in juvenile law as a practicing lawyer–although he is now teaching this subject to college kids–nor had he ever done any civil litigation or criminal prosecution as a lawyer prior to getting his job at OARC.

    John Gleason has been the person in charge of attorney discipline in Colorado for about 25 years. I personally complained to his office about fraud, extortion, threatening statements, witness intimidation, witness retaliation etc. and every time they either said it was OK or they said they wouldn’t process my complaint. That’s why I think that law in Colorado is corrupt.

    What’s the old saying about foxes guarding the cookie jar?

  4. Another story about disciplining lawyers, this one an [expletive deleted] ambulance chaser from Lubbock, TX who is trying to charge his DNA exonerated client over a million dollars under some sort of contingency fee agreement for getting the client the same amount of money from the State of Texas that the client would have been able to get if he filled in a two page form and submitted it to the state.

  5. @ Too Many User Names

    It is an undisputed fact that Bush via Rodriguez and Goodling peopled the DOJ with lawyers who were graduates of Regents Law School (Goodling’s Alma Mater), the successor to Oral Roberts Law School. Regents is in the second-up-from-the bottom quartile of law schools rated by US News and World Report. They barely miss being in the bottom quartile. I don’t really approve of US News and World Report’s system of ranking law schools, but when it comes to sorting out the diploma mills from real law schools, it’s pretty reliable. This school’s ranking gives you an idea of the low quality of legal education these attorneys received at this law school.

    I may be wrong but I think that during the Rodriguez DOJ, 90 or more DOJ attorneys were replaced by Regents University alumni.

    The DOJ hired these Regents’ Alumni not because of their legal qualifications or experience (because they had none of either), but because of their political views. Look at Monica-no real legal experience after her graduation, and she is given this tremendously powerful job. I remember how I felt almost physically ill to think that this woman had power to fire lawyers who graduated from real law schools and had years of experience at the DOJ and elsewhere.

    Sorry if this bothers you, but these are facts, not opinion.

  6. Not all people who have attorneys have gotten away with criminal acts. Not all government attorneys have gotten away with criminal acts. However, my personal belief is that if attorneys were regulated in an effective manner then we would not be in the mess we are.

    If you look at product safety, there are multiple forces acting to pressure manufacturers to keep their products safe. One of them is government regulation performed by people whose salaries are paid by taxpayers. Another is fear of lawsuits.

    In product safety lawsuits my understanding is that the company or the company’s employees or the company’s contractors can be sued. There isn’t a lot of information that is off limits from discovery either.

    In criminal enterprises with lawyers, the lawyers usually aren’t sued and there is a claim of confidentiality with a lawyer that isn’t there with an engineer or an accountant.

    Is this clear enough?

  7. Why not treat her like all of the other people similarly situated.

    Kay, what is it that you are trying to say. People that have attorneys or work for the government can get away with anything?

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