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. Bill MA.

    Republicans must be so proud of their votes for Bush, and his criminal friends. Many of the republicans i know would never admit to being part of such a sad chapter in America. They are still blinded by greed, selfishness, etc. Things are just wonderful according to them. They are only voting for McCain because of his experience in Washington. We wouldn't want them to take a chance on a young energetic, bright, open minded, sincere Barack Obama. Don't they know that pride is a sin? What a bunch of fakers.

    July 28, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  2. Bitter in Texas

    ....and when George dubya left Texas, he took the "Good Old Boy" system with him to Washington...POLITICS in all things...for the Party, for Corporate America, and to hell with the average Jo.

    July 28, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  3. JA Cook

    The entire Bush administration has shown an ongoing disregard for the law or even human decency. There are quite a few members of this administration, past and present, that should be brought to justice for their criminal behavior.

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

    What else would you expect from the Bush Administration and republicans in general?

    July 28, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  5. Peter (CA)

    What? Corruption and incompetence in the Bush White House?
    Monica Goodling (someone who got a high level job with no qualifications other than she went to a Christian law school–and not a very good one)is the poster child of this administration's hiring practices. The more I read, the more I am surprised these people are not all in jail.

    July 28, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  6. Tired of W, OH

    Anyone surprised?


    (crickets chirping...)

    July 28, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  7. Joan McPherson

    Are people actually surprised by this kind of crap anymore?

    July 28, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  8. Jonathan, Hartford, CT

    Please do something about these terrible people in the Justice Department who ruined people's lives! Their treachery is historical! They cannot run free. What I find most troubling is Ms. Monica Godding graduated from a Christian-Extremist university! What kind of family values and morals do they teach there?

    July 28, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  9. James Hussein, SC

    Timber (ex dem),

    McCain was NOT beaten! He received his injuries from the plane crash, and then squealed like a pig for help from the Vietnamese military. After then he help them as much as he could to debase our POWs there. Why is it that he only gets support from a handful of Vietnam vets? They remember who he is and what he did to them. McCain is NO hero. He is a traitor and has extorted the Vietnamese government into closing the records on our MIAs to protect knowledge of his treason against the USA. Ho hopes to make up for his evil ways by, "winning," the Iraqi war that he helped start. He was one of the original five who proposed attacking Iraq.

    July 28, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  10. rayster


    July 28, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  11. Jonathan, Hartford, CT

    Of course, they would get a presidential pardon........

    July 28, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  12. Matt

    No wrong-doing here folks.

    Another democrat witch hunt that did nothing but stir up voter dissent.

    Typical democrats. Party before country.

    July 28, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  13. Nia Hussein- Phoenix, AZ

    DAH!!! No weather or not he is going to be repremanded for it is another. I doubt it though

    July 28, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  14. Linda Esen

    Surprise, Surprise...heads are beggin to role and the republicans are being cleaned outta town....

    July 28, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  15. Bulldog

    It has been widely believed these people along with Karl Rove and other Bush administration officials have committed crimes according the US Constitution. The Bush administration has taken the constitution and attempted to redefine it themselves for self serving interests. Once they are out of office whoever the next president this administration better be investigated to the fullest. As long as they are in office they have roadblocks in place to do any type of proper investigation. I for one sure hope our government doesn't let them get away with defying the Constitution. If they get away with it then future administrations will follow suit. They all need to be held to the law no matter what their titles are.

    July 28, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  16. Helene

    This man should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

    July 28, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  17. Mike - Texas

    "breaking the law by making hiring decisions based on political ideology rather than professional qualifications. "

    That is funny, that is normal procedure for the deomocrats.

    July 28, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  18. Ken Pittsburgh

    She could not have done this with out someone higher up having knowledge If were me I would sue

    July 28, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  19. Bud

    Sooner we get the Bush administration into court the better. Bush should do hard prison time for crimes against the Constitution, encouraging corruption in his administration and as soon as we get some people under oath, he's done. Alberto Gonzalez was not only a corrupt Attorney General, he was incompetant and sleazy. There should be a legal remedy that involves Capital Punishment for what he and other Bush administration officials are certainly guilty of doing to the justice system. There's a higher standard applied to those that take the oath to protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies and clearly just protect their friends and their President.

    July 28, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  20. Romulus, Michigan

    That nothing, try being black. The questions may be different but the same mind-set of Goodling is alive a well in corp American.

    July 28, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  21. GERRY

    This should not be a surprise to anuone. Look at the adminstration he he worked for. He should be held accountiable for the POOR judgement he had during his time as AJ.

    July 28, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  22. Vig

    Bush has turned the White House into one seedy dwelling. Yuck.

    July 28, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  23. TyWebb

    Misconduct? NNNNOOOOOO!!!!!!

    July 28, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  24. Jeff Brown

    Can't polish a turd!

    July 28, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  25. Typical White Person

    CNN has a similar policy for hiring reporters/news anchors. It includes questions like:

    "What about Obama makes you want to swoon?"


    "How far would you be willing to burry your journalistic integrity to make sure Obama gets elected?"

    July 28, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
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