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

Report accuses Gonzalez aides of misconduct

[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."

soundoff (98 Responses)
  1. MIKE

    The report clearly states she broke the law – yet nothing will be done to her because she no longer works for the Government. Stupid me – I always thought breaking the law had consequenses!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 28, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  2. Susan

    This is not news. Bush and his cronies have been runing a fcist government sine his first term. The sad part is, they will all walk away scott free, and leave the people holding the bag. Elect McLame, and the bag only gets more full !

    July 28, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  3. Donna from Colorado Springs

    I'm not surprised at the allegations against Gonzales. He did everything he did on the express orders of Bush and his henchmen.What comes around, goes around.


    July 28, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  4. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    It's ashame Gonzalez allowed himself to take such a big hit because he was a long time friend of GWB. They used him up and then threw him out.

    July 28, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  5. Steve in NE.

    The Justice Department, or Just Us department. It is shameful to see what the Bush administration has done to this government and the republican party. Crooks and liars all of them.

    July 28, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  6. Pat

    What took them so long? Did they have a twelve month Vacation? And is anyone surprised that their decisions were based on Political Ideolgy? I'm not. I say guilty as accused! Now let's get on to sentencing the aides and the Attorney General who was hired to oversee and direct them. Let's set an example for future aides and Attorney Generals.

    July 28, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |

    surprise, surprise.

    like we don't know Repugs are shady. . .

    July 28, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  8. Darryl Arlington Texas Obama supporter

    President Bush and Senator John McCain protected this President Bush "YesMan".

    July 28, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  9. beachgirl

    Are you surprised of this? Come on, we knew it all along they did anything in the Bush administration to cover up. Are you interesting in knowing what else are the Bushes covering up???

    July 28, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  10. Ron Nebraska

    There isn't enough prison space available for all the crooked Bush administration personnel. I hope you good 'law and order' republicans are happy with your choices.

    July 28, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  11. Neal

    These people must be held accountable.
    Karl Rove should be being held in contempt of congress,
    Bush and Cheney should've been impeached years ago,
    Rumsfeld and staff should be up on charges of crimes against humanity,
    Scouter Libby should be in jail.
    Heck, McCain should probably have been indicted in the early 90s for his involvement in the S&L bank collapse and scandal, he made enough money off of it. His public and formal censure was not enough.

    No more elite control of our government,
    No more rich warfare on the poor,
    No more criminal political operatives!

    July 28, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  12. lois in CA

    So what else is new? Corruption at the highest level is the benchmark of Bush's administration. Why should his top "law enforcement" pick have been anything other than a corrupt baffoon?

    July 28, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  13. Peter (CA)

    Leave it to the right wingers to come up with the lame excuses here. This administration has taken corruption to the heights of Nixon. You can hope there is such evidence against Clinton but even the supposed things he may have been involved in are no match for the Bushies.

    And, Greg, pay attention regarding the firings. Clinton removed all of the US Attorneys when he came into office, as did Bush, and pretty much all of the Presidents. That is standard procedure. Under Bush, however, attorneys he hired were then fired while he was in office because they were not partisan enough. Because his cronies (like Pete Domenici) were upset that they were not prosecuting enough Democrats but were basing their investigations on how serious the charges were. That is what US Attorneys are supposed to do. The Republicans wanted to use their weight to go after Democrats.

    Nice ethics.

    July 28, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  14. Willy

    Got to loves those democraps. Rather spend money and time avoiding America.

    July 28, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  15. Vietnam Vet

    CUFF HIM! Along with bush, cheney, rumsfeld, rice, libby, powell
    rove yada yada yada etc.etc.

    July 28, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  16. David

    Of course, this is the same kind of political shenanigans that we can expect for Bush's third term!

    July 28, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  17. Alex

    Forget the aides, Gonzales needs to be charged!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 28, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  18. DJ, LA, CA

    Isn't Bush and Cheney responsible though, not Gonzalez?

    July 28, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  19. David Newport, OR

    Why is anyone surprised at this? It is not like this administration has hid its corrupt behavior. It is right there in plain sight. But no one has been willing to act on it. So let it go. Why focus on the past? Why not focus on the future and replace the corrupt officials? Or do you want this type of behavior to become the standard for US policy. THAT is what THIS election is REALLY about. Vote for a war...vote against it. Vote for economic stability...vote against it. Vote for a health care plan that works...vote against it. Vote for drilling in ANWAR...vote for biofuels and alternative fuel sources. People think these are different issues. They are one...just wearing different masks. Vote for gov't corruption or not. The real issue is that our Gov't is corrupt. Deal with it. Vote to fix it.

    July 28, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  20. grant

    Where is Alberto's orange jump suit?

    July 28, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  21. Really?

    Mikey July 28th, 2008 3:48 pm ET

    That is a slam dunk question why can't people think so clearly like that? How is he going to run the country?

    July 28, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  22. Monica for Obama in Indiana

    Duh, now what? Did you expect anything different?

    July 28, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  23. Really?

    Matt July 28th, 2008 4:34 pm ET

    No wrong-doing here folks.

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

    Typical democrats. Party before country.

    please share what you are smoking. must be potent if you truly believe what you are saying. sheeeeeeeeeesh!

    July 28, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
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