Last week, in 140, detail-laden pages, the Justice Department's two top watchdogs laid out the tale of how the Bush DOJ used political litmus tests in an attempt to hire only those lawyers who would pursue a conservative agenda.
The report places the blame for the political manipulation primarily on two top aides to then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales: Monica Goodling, the White House liaison, and D. Kyle Sampson, Gonzales' chief of staff. Both have been accused of breaking federal civil service laws and DOJ policy in using politics to vet applicants for career jobs.
But the report does something else. It provides the most detailed account yet of the inner workings of the Justice Department during the period of January 2004 to April 2007, and it shows how the two young aides were assisted in their effort by more senior officials who either actively helped their cause -- or quietly acquiesced.
The effort ranged from placing what they called "good Americans" in everything from temporary Main Justice slots to career judgeships in the federal immigration courts. More than 480 lawyers interviewed for career and political positions were tested with queries like, "Tell us about your political philosophy."
What follows is the story -- based almost entirely on the report -- of how they gained power and how they used it. read on...
Attorney General Michael Mukasey said he was "disturbed" by the report's findings.
"I have said many times, both to members of the public and to Department employees, it is neither permissible nor acceptable to consider political affiliations in the hiring of career Department employees," Mukasey said in a statement. "And I have acted, and will continue to act, to ensure that my words are translated into reality so that the conduct described in this report does not occur again at the Department."
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According to the report, Gonzales told investigators he was not aware of what his top aides were doing. Today, the former attorney general greeted the report as vindication.
"I am gratified that the efforts I initiated to address this issue have now been affirmed and augmented by this report," Gonzales said in a statement issued through his spokesman, Robert Bork Jr.
Oh good Lord, Bork Jr.??? Amazing how some names keep cropping up. Look, if you don't think that longtime loyal Bushie Gonzales (as well as many others with White House access) didn't know what was going on, I got a bridge to sell you...cheap.