On Monday, the Justice Department undid a small part of the damage that top officials caused in a scandal of politicized hiring and firing during the Bush administration. The department rehired an attorney who was improperly removed from her job because she was rumored to be a lesbian.
NPR first broke the story of Leslie Hagen's dismissal last April, and the Justice Department's inspector general later corroborated the report. Now, Hagen has returned to her post at the department's Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys.
In 2006, Hagen was the liaison between the main Justice Department and the U.S. Attorneys' committee on Native American affairs. The chairman of that committee, Tom Heffelfinger, described Hagen to NPR last year as "the best qualified person in the nation to fill that job." Hagen's performance evaluations had the highest possible ratings — "outstanding" in each of five categories.
The job came up for renewal every year. After the first year, Hagen was surprised to hear that she would have to move on.
Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington on Sunday told Karl Rove, a former senior advisor to President George W. Bush, that it was "ironic" that he was invited on ABC News to criticize the current White House for scandals at the IRS and Justice Department because he was the "Michael Jordan of politicizing the executive branch."