Tuesday, July 29, 2008

DoJ Politicization

Conyers, Sanchez Consider Criminal Referral Concerning DoJ Politicization Report

House Judiciary Committee - Chairman John Conyers:

"Today's report describes ‘systematic’ violations of federal law by several former leaders of the Department of Justice," said Conyers. "Apparently, the political screening was so pervasive that even qualified Republican applicants were rejected from Department positions because they were ‘not Republican enough’ for Monica Goodling and others. The report also makes clear that the cost to our nation of these apparent crimes was severe, as qualified individuals were rejected for key positions in the fight against terrorism and other critical Department jobs for no reason other than political whim. The Report also indicates that Monica Goodling, Kyle Sampson, and Alberto Gonzales may have lied to the Congress about these matters. I have directed my staff to closely review this matter and to consider whether a criminal referral for perjury is needed."

“The House Judiciary Committee’s investigation into the politicization of the Department of Justice has been criticized by the Minority as a fishing expedition that has caught no fish," said Sánchez. “This report, which found that Monica Goodling and many other Justice Department officials committed misconduct by violating both federal law and Department policy, adds to a growing public record that this Administration has tainted our system of justice.” [snip]

On Inspector General And Office Of Professional Responsibility Report On Politicization At The Department Of Justice

Senate Judiciary Committee - Chairman Patrick Leahy:

“Today’s report from the Inspector General and the Office of Professional Responsibility about their investigation into improper political influence in the hiring of attorneys for key career positions throughout the Department of Justice provides a close examination of another troubling chapter at the Department. The policies and attitudes of this administration encouraged politicization of the Department and permitted these excesses. It is now clear that these politically-rooted actions were widespread, and could not have been done without at least the tacit approval of senior Department officials.

“The report reveals decisions to reject qualified, experienced applicants to work on counterterrorism issues in favor of a less experienced attorney on the basis of political ideology. Rather than strengthening our national security, the Department of Justice appears to have bent to the political will of the administration. Further, the report reveals that the ‘principal source’ for politically vetted candidates considered for important positions as immigration judges was the White House– a clear indication of the untoward political influence of the Bush administration on traditionally non-political appointments. The report finds that this politicization caused delays in filling immigration judge positions just as the workload and importance of those judges was increasing. The report documents similar improper politicization in the hiring of career attorneys to crucial positions throughout the Department.

“Like some in the administration who would place blame for the actions at Abu Ghraib solely onto the shoulders of a few bad apples, the Attorney General has tried to dismiss the Inspector General’s first report on politicization issued last month as documenting the actions of just a few bad apples. But it was obvious from that first report, and becomes more so with this second joint IG/OPR report, that the problems of politicization at the Department are rooted deeper than that. In this report, we once again see that the Bush administration has allowed politics to affect and infect the nation’s chief law enforcement agency’s priorities. [snip]

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