[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/28/art.gonzalez.gi.jpg caption="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."