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Document Shows Widening Probe Into DOJ Hiring

In Friday's Washington Post Dan Eggen and I examine two expanding fronts of the Justice Department's internal investigation into Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and his top subordinates.

Justice's Inspector General and its Office of Professional Responsibility acknowledged they are examining Gonzales's recent congressional testimony for potential lies or false statements under oath, but in addition we unearthed a key document that serves as a mini-road map for a different portion of the now sprawling probe. This part of the investigation is examining whether Gonzales's top aides improperly and possibly illegally used political considerations in the hiring process at the Justice Department.

A cover letter [PDF] and 12-page questionnaire [PDF] sent out by IG-OPR investigators went to hundreds of people who were interviewed by four top aides to Gonzales over a 40-month period, from Jan. 1, 2004 through this past April. That's a much longer timeframe than was previously known to be under inquiry by Justice's investigators, who began this spring by examining the propriety of the firing of nine U.S. attorneys last year and now have a multi-faceted probe on their hands.

The questionnaire reveals several key, new bits of information about the hiring process portion of the IG-OPR probe:

• The investigation has gone well beyond just Monica Goodling, the former counsel to Gonzales who admitted in congressional testimony in May that she frequently "crossed the line" in her hiring decisions by using political criteria for jobs that were not intended to be political by their nature. The internal investigators, who have the power to recommend criminal investigations, had previously acknowledged they were examining Goodling's hiring practices, but this document shows that former Gonzales chief of staff D. Kyle Sampson and two other Justice aides are under inquiry.

• Investigators are not limiting their interviews to people who sought out non-political jobs; instead, they are also asking questions of candidates for senior political appointments.

• In one brief question, the IG-OPR questionnaire asks whether any White House officials sat in on the interviews with senior Justice Officials.

• The investigators are particularly focused on whether Goodling and other Justice officials were using personal political questions when making hiring decisions. Investigators want to know if interviewees were asked:

- to name "your favorite president, legislator, public figure, or Supreme Court justice"
- "what kind of conservative you were (law and order; social; fiscal)"
- what was "your position on the war on terror"

By Paul Kane  |  August 30, 2007; 9:54 PM ET
Categories:  Ethics and Rules  
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Next: McConnell: Craig Case "Clearly Distinguishable" From Vitter, Stevens


A year or so too late. Why do we all have an uneasy feeling about the most highly politicized DOJ in decades investigating the politicization of the DOJ? I'll believe it when I see Karl, Harriet, and Alberto making license plates.

Posted by: thebob.bob | August 31, 2007 12:43 AM | Report abuse

Despite every attempt that the Schedule C's (political appointees)will make to protect Gonzo and his minions, eventually the government will, yet again, be in the hands of the career people. Would you REALLY like to know why the Bush Administration consider them loathesome? Because at some level, Shrub and his cronies, some of them at least, must have realized that there STILL, despite everything they could do, enough of them to take the people's vengeance on the Administration.

All political employees SHOULD KNOW BUT THIS GROUP HAS IGNORED (out of arrogance born of Karl Rove's 1000 year hegemony plan, now defunct) one thing: the career people (as a group, not individuals) can and will outlast them. George and Gonzo thought differently, and now are about to find out they thought wrong.

Posted by: VA_Lady2007 | August 31, 2007 7:23 AM | Report abuse

I would like to know why it is wrong to lie to congress but perfectly acceptable for congress and other politicians to lie to the public?

Posted by: Howdy_1 | August 31, 2007 9:06 AM | Report abuse

What I don't understand is why these probes drag on for so long.

It seems rather simple: Have the investigators question everyone or use the questionnaires (depending on the number of investigators, they could get through quite a few people in a day, and if they use the questionnaires, they could give everyone, say, 10 days to complete them).

Compile the info, do some follow-up, and have your report ready by the end of October. Instead, we'll probably get the final report on Jan. 9th, 2009.

Posted by: Influential Thinker | August 31, 2007 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Meanwhile, about 1,500 detainees will be released from Iraqi prisons during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, a statement from the office of Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi said.

About 50 people per day will be set free from "American prisons," al-Hashimi adviser Omar al-Jabouri said.

The prisoner release is part of a larger initiative by al-Hashimi to clear "innocent detainees" from prisons in Iraq

Posted by: Anonymous | August 31, 2007 9:29 AM | Report abuse

I understand the need to post the actual pdf questionnaire, but don't you think you could have stripped out the "submit by email" button so that random people couldn't submit junk data to DOJ?!?!?

Posted by: alex | August 31, 2007 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Watchdog Asks That Other Embattled GOP Sens Lose Committee Posts

The Senate Republican leadership should also remove other embattled GOP senators from their committee posts, as they did with Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho), according to a Washington watchdog group.

Republican Senate leadership removed Craig from his positions on Senate committees while the lawmaker is investigated for pleading guilty for allegedly soliciting sex acts in an airport restroom.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 31, 2007 11:01 AM | Report abuse

I have no doubt that many career employees within DOJ are biding their time and waiting for their chance to reestablish the rule of law in this country. When they get that chance, indictments against the Bush crime family will begin to flow.

Posted by: Andrew | August 31, 2007 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Stop the investigating, please! He did what was right for the time. We don't know what he knows. It's time to stop the bludgeoning of decent people.

Posted by: Mary Ryan | August 31, 2007 11:38 AM | Report abuse

I have NO confidence in this government,Democrat nor Republican.If there was even a few who care about our country and the letter of the law,then this gang of criminals would have been booted out of office years ago.They have failed to uphold their oath of office to the last man or woman.Their ONLY objective is to be reelected.Which is why we need term limits for all branches of government.Two years and you're out.

Posted by: cincigal74 | August 31, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Grow up, Mary Ryan. Lawbreakers must be punished. There was nothing 'right' about what was done.

Sadly, the Bush administration and the modern Republican movement have exposed a great gaping hole in our system, one which has previously been held together with respect for tradition, consensus on what was acceptable and a healthy belief in what goes around comes around. What we have learned is that an aggressive and power-mad president who has 34 Senators who can be counted upon to stick with him no matter what, can pretty much do anything he wants. If he has a supine, self-serving press that refuses to do its job, so much the better. But that's really all it takes for a president to become a dictator, at least temporarily -- the will to do it and 34 men and women willing to stand behind him.

Posted by: Sue | August 31, 2007 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Wasn't the Washington Post the newpaper that broke the story on Watergate? That lead Nixon's downfall. Bush and Chenney are 1000 times worse than Nixon. What has happen to the Post? Have you become biased towards the GOP and Bushco

Posted by: GAReece | August 31, 2007 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Have you been reading the diaries posted on DailyKos by Jesselyn Radack, the former DOJ attorney and whistle-blower in the John Walker Lindh case?

She asserts that, as a reward for her reporting the DOJ's wrongdoing, the OIG harassed her, tried to get her fired from her private law firm, told everyone she was a criminal and made a Bar complaint against her. They would not even give her a copy of the complaint they filed. The Bar dismissed the complaint, she she describes as "shoddy" and full of internal contadictions.

She did the right thing, and out of retribution for being outed the OIG at the DOJ tried to ruin her career and her life - that's what she says point blank in her posts.

Posted by: Anon | August 31, 2007 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Andrew, I sincerely hope you are right. We have to start somewhere to clean up the mess the Bushies have made of our laws and government.

And, Mary Ryan, I'm sure if we knew what he knows, Bush would be wearing stripes right now.

Posted by: Truth Hunter | August 31, 2007 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Why is any one surprised ?
The neo-cons set out their agenda years ago.
If one follows the extension of their script, the current foreign and domestic policy pursuits should be a surprise to no one.
What is a surprise is that it has taken so long for our institutions to protect us.
Where is the integrity ?
Would one be surprised at the statement that it was bought and sold by the "cash cow" lobbyists ?

Posted by: Jim | August 31, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Mary Ryan: Put down the crack pipe. Step away from the crack pipe.

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | August 31, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

By Howdy_1 @ August 31, 2007 09:06 AM

"I would like to know why it is wrong to lie to congress but perfectly acceptable for congress and other politicians to lie to the public?"

From a legal perspective, my understanding is that it has to do with whether you are under oath or not. Per Article 1 section 8 of the US Constition the Congress has the power to "To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court" - that is to say that they can function as a Court of Law. That would make lying to a congressional committee while under oath the same as lying in court while under oath (aka perjury).

Contrast this with lying in the public sphere to taxpayers, etc. This is reprehensible, but not illegal. Of course, they are judged in the court of public oppinion which is where most battles regarding morality are waged.

Posted by: David S | August 31, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

'NBC News has learned that White House Press Secretary Tony Snow will step down Sept. 14 as the president's chief spokesman and the public face of the White House. Dana Perino is expected to replace him.

He is expected to make his announcement during today's on-camera White House briefing at 12:45pm. President Bush is expected to make a statement at the briefing. Snow formally informed the president yesterday.

Snow says his departure is based on family finances. "If I had the dough I'd stay 'til the bitter end," Snow told NBC News. As an assistant to the President, Snow earns the highest-level salary among White House officials at $168,000 a year.'

If only I had to 'survive' on his salary... all that money just for lying through your teeth.

Posted by: sam | August 31, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

The big question in the Republican primaries:
Who hates enough people to get the Bible-belt Christians to vote for him?

9 out of ten want torture.
9 out of ten said they'd nuke Tehran if they had intelligence of Iran having the bomb (see Iraq).

The world's most evil political entity.

Posted by: Tommy's the man | August 31, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Well, another Fine mess you've gotten us into.

Posted by: glenglish | August 31, 2007 1:20 PM | Report abuse

"...why it is wrong to lie to congress but perfectly acceptable for ...politicians to lie to the public?
Posted by: Howdy_1 | August 31, 2007

Capitalism has no ethics. By definition it is economics, period. Its perception is man as an economic unit. Truth (morality) does not enter into the equation.
The personifications of this corruption are the President who lied us into a war for oil, his chief advisor KarlRove, not to mention Tom DeLay and company.
The prostitutes of capitalism are lobbyists, who buy lies, deceits, misrepresentation, AND the media, now controlled by moguls like Buffet.
The "news" is the biggest lie of all.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 31, 2007 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Mary Ryan | August 31, 2007 11:38 AM

The "decent people" would not sell their souls to a self-serving political machine.

Posted by: Jim | August 31, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Interviewees were asked:

- to name "your favorite Arbusto CEO, Council of Conservative Citizens member, or duck hunter"
- "what kind of conservative you were (Christofascist, oily, or crony)"
- what was "your position on the war on Christmas"
- Are you "Not Gay"?

Many College Republicans also claim to be "Not Gay":

Corndog's man in the can, Republi-can Senator Larry E. Craig truly represents the character of the Bush Republican party caucus. Give this Bushie a presidential medal of freedom! While the Singing Senators were playing with children, the Bushes protected Senator Mark Foley (Republican, Florida) and enjoyed a sausage tasting with Bush White House spiritual leader Pastor Ted Haggard at prayer breakfast. Even Senator Vitter (Republican - The State Formerly Containing New Orleans) followed Neil Bush's example of Bush Family values. Bushy Bob Allen (Republican, Florida) is not only another RPOF backroom insider, he is also another Florida Republican who did it like they do on the Discovery Channel and Bushie Republican Senator Larry E. Craig certainly fits tightly in Bush's loyal family. So now we know what made the Singing Senators sing!

"Let the eagle soar...

Posted by: Singing Senator | August 31, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

"The big question in the Republican primaries:" Posted by: Tommy's the man "Has the hawk neo-cons spread enough Islamaphobia ?

Have they spread enough fear ? Hatred ? Anger ? Pseudo-patriotism ? Macho-mania?
as in "If you want to withdraw you must be a whimp !

Posted by: Jim | August 31, 2007 2:26 PM | Report abuse

frankly, i'm reserving judgment on this 'investigation'.. as i suspect it's no more than a dodge to prevent an independent counsel from ever being named. couldn't do that now, could we, with an 'ongoing investigation' and all...

Posted by: linda | August 31, 2007 2:52 PM | Report abuse

With all due respect to VA_"lady",who says: "All political employees SHOULD KNOW BUT THIS GROUP HAS IGNORED (out of arrogance born of Karl Rove's 1000 year hegemony plan, now defunct) one thing: the career people (as a group, not individuals) can and will outlast them.", they were ACUTELY aware that these people would outlast them, which is the exact reason they sought to place loyal bushies into those positions.

Posted by: Patrick Huss | August 31, 2007 3:21 PM | Report abuse

My Republican grandmother used to turn in War Profiteers and people who lied under Oath during WW II.

It's time to clean out the Liars and the Crooks - which sadly are virtually every single Republicant appointee nowadays. These people are not conservatives, they are anti-American Red Bushies and must be dealt the full and swift punishment of the Law.

Posted by: Will in Seattle | August 31, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Someone needs to investigate and report on what the OIG did to Jesselyn Radack.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 31, 2007 3:34 PM | Report abuse

"I would like to know why it is wrong to lie to congress but perfectly acceptable for congress and other politicians to lie to the public?"

Maybe it's acceptable to Republlicans, who seem to believe every lie they're told by their leaders, no matter how fantastic or absurd or even surreal [like Guiliani claiming we could 'fix bridges by cutting taxes'] but it isn't acceptable to Democrats.

Posted by: Gina | August 31, 2007 3:42 PM | Report abuse

One way to speed up this process is to skip the the silly laws and go straight to the Water Boarding... gonzo should appreciate it and we will get the answers, at least according to bushco

Posted by: O'Please | August 31, 2007 4:18 PM | Report abuse

It is not necessarily the 'career people'
that are the problem, it is the anointed regime "soldiers". Name most of the "dearly departed" of "The Imperial Guard".
Case in point: In Oct 2002, Tyler Drumheller, ex-CIA veteran officer informed both Colin Powell (and presumably His Highness) and George Tenet, CIA Director that the reports by "Curveball", their informer, of WMDs were not reliable. A German intelligence officer said "I think the guy is a fabricator. We also think he has psychological problems" Curveball was in German custody.
"Curveball's" infomation (read:rumors)was used as verification of WMDs in Powell's UN report (Jan 2003)...AND in "W"s "State of the Union" address (Jan 28, 2003, to which "W" also added the 'nuclear" threat that did not exist.
This is AFTER the weapons inspectors had found NOTHING. Nor did we.
But the Emperor had new clothes....

This was deliberate "fabrication", all right.....manufactured to justify an unjust war.
What constitutes treason ?

Clinton was impeached for sticking it in his secretary...."W" screwed a whole nation.

Posted by: Jim | August 31, 2007 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Oran's Dictionary of the Law (1983) defines treason as: "...[a]...citizen's actions to help a foreign government overthrow, make war against, or seriously injure the [parent nation]."
How many deaths in Iraq constitutes "serious injury" ?

Posted by: Jim | August 31, 2007 4:57 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: CommonOdessit | August 31, 2007 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Why isn't Gonzales and the rest of the BUSHwhackers wicked regime behind bars? Please visit my website:'s_T's/index.php
and give me your comments. Thanks.

Posted by: Steve's T's | August 31, 2007 7:54 PM | Report abuse

This is a media event. No evidence. No proof. Just lots of investigations wasting the taxpayer's money.

Posted by: George | September 1, 2007 8:52 AM | Report abuse

George...Monica Goodling testified under oath that she broke the law by asking about the political affiliations of applicants. It may not be a stain on a blue dress, George, but that is evidence.

Posted by: Patrick Huss | September 1, 2007 9:38 AM | Report abuse

The politicized Department of Justice is only one aspect of the Bush-Rove politicized federal government.
Taht said, it's nice that somebody is finally looking.

Posted by: | September 1, 2007 12:12 PM | Report abuse

It seems to me the chain of responibility here starts with The Brain and works its way down to where we citizens are affected through Harriet's desk and then on to Mr. Gonzales, Bush's "Judge in the Pocket" so to speak.

The real problem here is the long term loss of trust in our nation's judicial system. Just how many activities like this one has the Administration undertaken? Just this one would simply be too much to hope for.

Posted by: Rove, Myers, Gonazales... | September 1, 2007 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Wide stance, people! Wiiiiiiiide stance!

Posted by: Larry the Fai... uh, Larry Craig | September 1, 2007 11:41 PM | Report abuse

Maybe what Specot and Leahy have evidence about is how the DOJ attys were fired because they had 1) Medicare Tenet and Novation fraud evidence filed complaints about 2) oil and gas market manipulation about 3) re-insurance filed complaints about and these are the reasons Gonzales, as the new DOJ atty fired the state DOJ attys in over five different states...
The Bush cousin Athenia Corp Jonathan Bush happened to create the software that allowed the billions in overcharging with the Tenet and Novation Medicare fraud. It is not a mystery that Jeb Bush was on the Tenet health care board for over $260,000 in stocks. Read website. There are two dead msterios deaths of Texas DOJ attys before their Senator Wash DC Medicare fraud Tenet and Novation fraud testimoney in 2004. It is not an accident that 5 states (ca, mo, ks, tx and FL) had investigations settled for pennies on the dollar in 2005....And Gonzales fired VA and Md DOJ attys in the biggest re insurance and DC Madam Md Governor escort service invetigations before one of those DOJ's (LUNA) was killed, and his partner (Dibiagiigo) was terminated by Gonzales before Md Gov Ehrlich ran (and lost ) for re-election...Wake up, Republicans in DC did deals....and "I see dead people."

Posted by: theloneconsumer | September 2, 2007 2:15 PM | Report abuse

I would like to see presidential candidates, especially republicans, support global poverty, we see that the focus of most candidates has been "fighting" immigration but I believe that global poverty and immigration have to do with the same core issue. If we focused on fighting global poverty there would be less need for people to leave their countries in search of a better future.

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