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. Really cool

    I applaude Mrs. Goodling's heart felt attempts to ensure the citizenry has even less and less capacity to affect the dictatorship it serves, good job, ya lunatic.

    July 28, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  2. John

    Yay corruption. This is what you get when you vote Republican.

    July 28, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  3. linda from South Dakota

    go figure ,, another one bites the dust or will soon,,, poor baby,, go obama!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 28, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  4. Linda

    It's hard to single out dark days in the Bush administration, but the day he appointed Gonzalez must certainly be way up there!

    July 28, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  5. Olive Oil (a-guhg-guhg-guhg)

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

    So, then what you're saying is the entire democrat party should be arrested for nominating Obama.

    They nominated Obama (made a "hiring decision") based on ideology (liberal ideology) rather than professional qualifications (you know, what Bill Clinton was hired on... not a big Bill Clinton fan, but at least he was a governor, a real job that had true professional qualifications).

    But I'm sure being a "community organizer" is truly a professional qualification, right? I mean, just ask Jesse or Al, both of whom who've made a lifetime profession out of "community organizing."

    July 28, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  6. Former Republican

    Wow, and this is why this administration cannot be allowed to continue into the next decade. You would think corruption like this only happens in third world countries with dictators. This administration has gone to far and pushed its power past any constitutional law. A vote for McCain will only keep many of these corrupt individuals running our government, Its a shame.
    Republicans need to redefine their values otherwise they will not make into the next generation.

    July 28, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  7. eam

    what is wrong with our government, are we going to turn into the american version of NAZI GERMANY. its time to stop voting for both the dems. and repubs. neither has been able to move us forward. all the repubs. and dems. are ruining this country cause they are either to stupid or to hard headed to vote for any other party. we need to bring the other parties into the voting system so these two stupid parties will know that they are not the only ones that can get elected.

    July 28, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  8. Crush Rush

    Orange jumpsuit?

    July 28, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  9. jonathan

    What a shock!

    July 28, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  10. aohs

    This is a surprise to whom?

    July 28, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  11. Ian

    I guess I don't follow. Did Mukaskey change things so that party affiliation doesn't matter, or did he figure out a better way to not get caught?

    July 28, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  12. Walter, Long Beach

    We already know laws have been broken. Any 2L knows that.

    The question is, when are we going to see some prosecutions?

    July 28, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  13. Stan

    Typical of the current administration - nice UN-justice department. We sure can trust what they do.

    July 28, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  14. Crush Rush

    Looks like that famous smile and smirk is upside down now,just like the rest of the wise guys faces will be soon look.

    July 28, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  15. Greg

    I cant believe everbody is making such a big deal about firing these U.S. attorneys, Clinton fired every last one of them when he came into office and there wasnt even a peep. I guess it depends on which side of the aisle you sit on. Can you say witch hunt.

    July 28, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  16. Stephen Seagrave

    Injecting politics into hiring of people who are supposed to be fair, nonpolitical career professionals will have a long term negative affect on the functioning of our justice system even after President Bush leaves office. The Civil Service System is there for a reason. As a lifelong Republican I have become increasingly disappointed during this presidency at how the administration has put party loyalty, power, and politics ahead of ethics and the law. I find myself actually contemplating voting for Senator Obama in an effort to bring balance back to the system and try to undo some of the damage.

    July 28, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  17. Henry n New York

    At this rate half the administration can be prosecuted for one crime or another. But, isn't it odd not one person except Libby has every been convicted of anything........

    July 28, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  18. Believer in Fairness

    Outrageous. Another example of the Bush administration's abuse of public office. This is supposed to be the highest law enforcement department in the land. What next?

    July 28, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  19. Gorbashov - Long Beach, Ca.


    It's politics 24/7 for these criminals.

    It's time to start filling the jails with them!

    July 28, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  20. Mike

    Gonzalez is just another Republican scape goat. Whenever the Republicans get caught being scum bags. Some poor low level smuck gets sacrificed. Like Ollie after Iran gate and Brown after Katrina. Just typical Republican garbage.

    July 28, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  21. Ken

    Now there's a real shock! Politicaly motivated decisions carried out by politicaly appointed hacks in the Bush Justice Dept. It will take years for the stench of this administration to go away.

    But some people actually like the smell, and would vote to continue it. That's what really stinks.....people who call themselves Americans, because they purport to "love the flag", chosing to destroy the country through their voting decisions. You have to be a real slime-ball to support the [R] party these days.

    July 28, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  22. Phil in KC

    So much for an independent judiciary.

    July 28, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  23. judy, Wisconsin

    How can a person be any more disgusted by the Bush Administration. The trashing of the Constitution, the cronyism appointments, the outing of a CIA operative etc etc. This article isn't a surprise. It is hard to imagine why anyone would vote for a Republican in Nov.

    July 28, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  24. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    There is no doubt that the Justice Department was politicized, the only question is......when is someone going to be held accountable for it?

    July 28, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  25. Kelby from Houston, TX

    Is anyone surprised? Why have we not impeached the whole administation. Look at the picture of Gonzales. Doesn't he look like a sleazeball? Sigh. I have come to expect this from our current government though. Did he know he was doing a crappy job?

    July 28, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
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