July 28th, 2008
03:00 PM ET
5 years ago

Report accuses Gonzalez aides of misconduct

Former Attorney Gen. Alberto Gonzalez.

Former Attorney Gen. Alberto Gonzalez.

(CNN) - A scathing new report accuses aides to former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez of committing misconduct, violating Justice Department policy and breaking the law by making hiring decisions based on political ideology rather than professional qualifications. The report by the DOJ’s Office of Inspector General and Office of Professional Responsibility singles out Monica Goodling, the department's former White House liaison, for its harshest criticism.

In Congressional testimony provided under a grant of immunity last year, after her resignation from the Justice Department, Goodling stated that in a "very small number of cases" her decisions "may have been influenced in part based on political considerations." She did not cooperate in the investigation.

The report notes that the Justice Department's policy is to not discriminate against career-position applicants on the basis of "politics" and "political affiliation." However, the report goes on to show Goodling's background checks on prospective employees included the terms “spotted owl”, “Florida recount”, “Enron”, “Kerry”, “Iraq”, “WMD” (weapons of mass destruction), “abortion”, “gay”, “homosexual”, “sex” and “gun”.

For more on the report, tune into Campbell Brown: Election Center tonight at 8 pm ET.

The report says one of Goodling's subordinates provided investigators with a list questions that she routinely asked during interviews of prospective employees, including: "What is it about George W. Bush that makes you want to serve him?" And "Aside from the president, give us an example of someone currently or recently in public service who you admire?" Sometimes Goodling asked candidates: "Why are you a Republican?"

The report tells of an applicant for a counter-terrorism post who was described as "one of the leading terrorism prosecutors in the country and a very talented attorney" who was "head and shoulders" above the other applicants. Goodling vetoed him because his wife was a Democrat. Another prospective employee was not hired because Goodling thought he was a " ...'political infant' who had not 'proved himself' to the Republican Party by being involved enough in political campaigns"

In a written statement issued today along with the report, current Attorney General Michael Mukasey notes that the Justice Department, "has made many institutional changes to remedy the problems discussed in today's report."

soundoff (98 Responses)
  1. CD

    In all honesty McCain has no business running for office at this age if he really wanted the best for America. Romney I can understand but McCain is not to be allowed nowhere near the red button. I heard during a routine training with Pentagon he made a decision to press the button on red alert status while Obama asked for impact analysis as per our defence systems before making a call. McCain simply saw the red light flashing, did not ask if the alert could be wrong, did not ask the enemies to self destruct the missiles or face America's wrath, did not ask if it was an emergency failure from the other government, did not ask if we could intercept the missile he McCAIN simply pressed the red button when he saw the red lights. You don't believe me? Go to pentagon insider blogs. There goes the whole world!I

    July 28, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  2. karen-phoenix

    The whole republican administration was crooked!!! I'm a former republican completely ashamed of ever voting for them!!! Go Obama!

    July 28, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  3. Mike

    Why is this considered an accusation? This is what happened. It's a fact.

    July 28, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  4. ProudToBeDemocrat

    Republicans with destroy our nation if we let them, people watch out of this evil conservative party called Republican.

    July 28, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  5. j williamson

    Is anyone surprised?

    July 28, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  6. Mikey

    This is just one more in the long list of Bush Administration trangressions. Just one more reason I can say (honestly) that I voted enthusiastically against him twice. I'll bet a lot of people out there are now preteding they didn't.

    McCain is different, but only slightly better – not nearly better enough!

    Loved this quote from the Ben Stein interview (although I am not much of a fan of his):

    "Mr. McCain is running the absolute most pathetic campaign I have ever seen in my whole life," Stein said in his unmistakable monotone delivery. "His campaign is just heartbreakingly pathetic. He is a very impressive guy. He is a brave guy, but he is running the most lackluster campaign I have ever seen in my entire life. I would have thought Bob Dole's campaign would have set a record for poor campaigns, but this one is even worse. I mean it is shocking."

    If he is running the "most pathetic" Presidential campaign in the last say 50 years, how can we expect him to do better as President???

    July 28, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  7. Roofin Reality, Houston, Tx.

    Surprise, surprise.
    Whate else would you expect from the current administration?

    July 28, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  8. kim hussein taylor portland, oregon

    "misconduct" is the understatement of the year!

    of course this no-integrity criminal's staff is as corrupt and criminal as he is! gonzales is garbage, and so is anyone who would work for him, especially monica goodling. sadly, it'll probably be these underlings who go to jail, which WILL be lovely, but bush's BFF gonzo should be there too!

    send them all off to gitmo, and throw away the key; let 'em turn on each other so they can get a taste of their own medicine! somehow i think their opinion on waterboarding would change!

    July 28, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  9. Will-South Dakota

    Bush will bring out the PARDON pen for these characters more Scooter Libby justice before Bush leaves office.

    July 28, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  10. Really?

    Gee, there's a shocker. And how much did we spend to figure this out?

    July 28, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  11. Texas trail puppy!

    CNN can you guys please investigate on the latest "Usa Today" poll putting McCain at 49% in my opion something smells fishy. He couldn't have increased by almost 10% in such a short time. Thanks

    July 28, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  12. Bob Indianapolis, IN

    When the war crimes tribunal convenes at the Hague, Vato Gonzo will be on the docket for suborning torture along with Cheney, Yoo, Addington, Rumsfeld and the rest of the evil neo-con crew...

    July 28, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  13. Voter

    More Bush Administration SLEAZE!

    I guess we'll continue to get this stuff bit by bit for years to come.

    July 28, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  14. McCain Lies!

    Typical republican politics and it will be indicative of what we have to look forward in a john mcsurge presidency.

    July 28, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  15. Michael G- Ventura ca


    July 28, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  16. Mike from L.A.

    Take them all down!

    July 28, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  17. MikeH

    Roberto Gonzales, Head of the American GESTAPO, serving the wishes of his Fuerer, Herr George W Bush, today rounded up 50,000 American citizens to be executed for disloyalty to the Fatherland.

    I wonder if it would have gone that way if the Bush Facist government hadn't shot itself in the foot.

    July 28, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  18. Thomas

    Is there anyone in this administration that is not disgraced?

    Did this administration only select dishonourable people or did this administration turn good people into dishonourable people?

    July 28, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  19. Victor in Saanich, B.C. Canada

    Really!! Nixon would have been proud!!

    July 28, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  20. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    If a Democrat were to have done this, most right wing people would screaming their heads off about it. I have to say that with all the hype that they have out about wanting smaller government, the people in the Bush administration certainly don't do a good job of smaller government.

    The government is meant to be impartial and protect victims of crimes. This damages the government and the people who do the good work as bad as any corruption scandal of any other kind. This goes along the lines of those in the Bush administration that were ideologs on science research rather than listening to what science had found.

    July 28, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  21. mwm

    the entire bush administration is corrupt along with their party.

    July 28, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  22. Porter

    Fascinating. Political officers serving in a political branch of government have been impacted by... political concerns! Wow.

    July 28, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  23. Shaik

    In short, SLEAZE!

    July 28, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  24. Veterans For Obama

    Are they going to try this guy or not? The Bush administration needs to start paying for the illegal/immoral conduct over the past 8 years.

    July 28, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  25. Broad Street Buddy

    I sure hope Goodling is disbarred by the Virginia Bar.

    July 28, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
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