I don’t want to alarm anyone, but it appears the Justice Department, throughout Bush’s two terms, flagrantly and repeatedly broke the law by politicizing the hiring process. Yes, I know we knew that before, but the DoJ’s Inspector General has made it official.
Justice Department officials over the last six years illegally used “political or ideological” factors to hire new lawyers into an elite recruitment program, tapping law school graduates with conservative credentials over those with liberal-sounding resumes, a new report found Tuesday.
The blistering report, prepared by the Justice Department’s inspector general, is the first in what will be a series of investigations growing out of last year’s scandal over the firings of nine United States attorneys. It appeared to confirm for the first time in an official examination many of the allegations from critics who charged that the Justice Department had become overly politicized during the Bush administration.
“Many qualified candidates” were rejected for the department’s honors program because of what was perceived as a liberal bias, the report found. Those practices, the report concluded, “constituted misconduct and also violated the department’s policies and civil service law that prohibit discrimination in hiring based on political or ideological affiliations.”
According to the investigation, the Justice Department began ignoring merit and making employment decisions based on politics in 2002, when then-Attorney General John Ashcroft restructured the honors program, taking decisions away from career officials in each section of the department, giving power to Bush appointees. When Alberto Gonzales took the reins, the illegalities expanded and were intensified.
If you were affiliated with the Federalist Society, you were practically a shoe-in. If Bush appointees saw certain buzz words in your c.v. — works like “environmental” and “social justice” — your application was rejected.
Leave it to Bush and his cohorts to transform the Justice Department into the Just Us Department.