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Monica Goodling and AUSA Hiring:
It will be interesting to see what this DOJ investigation turns up.
Duncan Frissell (mail):
It's only illegal to use party affiliation. Ideological affiliation is a separate category as is membership in non-partisan organizations.
5.2.2007 11:19pm
Justin (mail):
God told her to.
5.2.2007 11:34pm
cfoster (mail):
My face would be red for taking her lawyer's takin'-the-fifth letter at face value. I thought she had a pretty good point. The dems were on the warpath. They wanted scalps. It also seemed credible since the idea that any real illegalities would be unearthed seemed far-fetched (to me anyway). But the possibility that she had broken the law in some other aspects of her job adsd a whole new dimension to the story.
5.2.2007 11:48pm
Justin (mail):
cfoster, Goodling was never offered transactional immunity, only use immunity. I assume that she's still in a heapload of trouble.
5.2.2007 11:49pm
Randy R. (mail):
" The dems were on the warpath. They wanted scalps."

Possibly. Or perhaps they just want to get to the bottom of the matter. In either case, if she did nothing illegal, then she has nothing to worry about. And even if she did, she could always appeal and get it overturned on a technicality, and then start her own talk show, and then complain about criminals getting away on technicalities.

You know, like Oliver North did.
5.2.2007 11:55pm
volokh watcher (mail):
I spent 9 years as an AUSA, hired into the NJ USAO when Chertoff was the U.S. Attorney. He made a point of hiring the highest quality lawyers he could (Eric Muller being one, though he came on when Sam Alito was USAtty and Chertoff his First Ass't).

Getting into that office was incredibly hard. Chertoff brought with him the attitude you'd find in the SDNY and the EDNY. We loved the competition.

To read what this administration's done to DOJ, to let Monica Goodling make hiring decisions on AUSAs. It's so incredibly disheartening. I barely recognize the Justice Department.
5.3.2007 12:23am
Randy R. (mail):
You know, all snarkiness aside, this IS really disheartening. It takes a long time and great effort to establish a reputation for fairness, even handedness, non-partisanship, quality and so on. yet it takes so little to tear it all down.

And for what? Are these people really so naive to think that they can accomplish their goal of one party rule? And that this is somehow a *good* thing?
I'm as liberal as they come, but after having worked in the gov't for 15 years, I've learned that whatever party is in power, after a time it becomes time for change. You need to sweep away the deadwood and start fresh with new blood, whatever the party. Eight years of the Clinton Administration was almost as bad as eight years of Bush pere. (The former was even worse, but that was because we have 12 years of Republicans!)

So they went after the partisans with a vengeance, and then they think that everyone is supposed to treat them kindly? perhaps they should, of course, but still....
5.3.2007 1:27am
a bean:

Possibly. Or perhaps they just want to get to the bottom of the matter. In either case, if she did nothing illegal, then she has nothing to worry about.

Try telling that to Libby. We're witnessing a concerted effort to take down the administration by insinuation. Every salvo has been based on eye-of-the-beholder style crimes backed by nothing more than eye-of-the-beholder evidence.
5.3.2007 1:29am
scote (mail):

Try telling that to Libby.


Er, you mean the person who deliberately lied about material facts? Libby was trying to obstruct an investigation. Not exactly the example of an innocent person.
5.3.2007 1:34am
Randy R. (mail):
"We're witnessing a concerted effort to take down the administration by insinuation."

Well, but this adminstration HAS done a lot to answer for, you must admit. Between the illegal torturing, eavesdropping, the politicizing of various departments and cabinets, this hasn't been a squeky clean place.
5.3.2007 1:35am
Waldensian (mail):

Try telling that to Libby.

You're joking, right? Libby is your best example of an innocent person from the administration taken down by insinuation?

Whatever "eye of the beholder" evidence is, the jury in Scooter's case certainly beheld.

And now.... behold.
5.3.2007 2:00am
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
Can't help but wonder what role a person at Goodling's level could have had on hiring AUSAs. I mean, if someone had sent a resume to the USA in AZ or NJ, what are the odds that she (a political appointee who'd need a map and a taxi driver to find the courthouse in DC, let alone here) would actually see the resume, let alone interview the applicant to ask what party they belonged to?

I haven't tried the experiment, but I'd assume that if you sent in, for a career job, a resume that mentioned your party affiliation, it would be the subject of a lot of merriment before it was crumpled and pitched into the wastecan.
5.3.2007 2:14am
scote (mail):

Every salvo has been based on eye-of-the-beholder style crimes backed by nothing more than eye-of-the-beholder evidence.

Hmmm...let's see. Secret arrests, indefinite secret detentions, secret prisons, torture, admitted deliberate violations of FISA, secret trials with secret evidence, secret laws, secret watch lists for travel and the contention that the president has carte blanche to violate any and all laws because the words "commander in chief" appear in the constitution. Yeah, nothing to see here. At least nothing you are allowed to see.

Democracy depends on transparency. The electorate cannot make informed decisions without access to how our government works. Corruption and crime hide in the darkness of indefinitely justified secrecy which is anathema to a democratic state.

Real oversight and accountability are important to this country regardless of the party running the administration and the politicization of the AG office and of the USAs and the AUSAs is contrary to the very ideals of our country. I'm stunned by anyone who would defend such a practice.
5.3.2007 2:17am
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
Are these people really so naive to think that they can accomplish their goal of one party rule? And that this is somehow a *good* thing?

We're talking young pups, with political clout rather than tactical skill, their egos puffed up by being elevated to heights of power at a young age.

So the answers are yes and yes.

I was in DC around age 30. Never got that much power, nor close to it, but more than a guy that young should have. Never got that far outa line, but did get a little big for my britches. So I can see where if you gave that load of power to someone that young and new to it, they could easily have gone far out of line. I mean, you're not too many years outa school, and now are assistant associate deputy attorney general, unless it was the other way around, with office in DC and help and people kowtowing and asking your approval.

Knew one Parks Service person -- we were at a reception when the Sec. of Interior entered, and well-dressed people from all over the room flocked to him. The persons said "just like flies 'round a fresh turd." By then I was in my 40s, and thought that if I was in power I'd make this guy my assistant. Because he would tell me when I was about to screw up, in the blunt language that no one could miss, when all the rest of those sycophants would be saying everything was perfect.
5.3.2007 2:25am
Justin (mail):
Regardless of the merits of the Libby prosecution (and I think the merits are well deserved), I should point out the simplist rejoinder was that Libby was investigated - and charged - by a REPUBLICAN - Peter Fitzgerald. The Democrats, remember, wanted to get the people who actually leaked a CIA agent working covert on Iranian WMDs for partisan political purposes, not their loyal sidekicks.
5.3.2007 2:33am
davod (mail):
Justin:

Fitzgerald is a Republican? I never knew what his politics were. I also have a bridge to sell you which you will need to cross the believability gap you create with your rationale for what the Democrats wanted.
5.3.2007 4:25am
Joe McDermott (mail):
Perhaps the "no religious test" clause of Article VI is implicated. Would an official, such as Goodling, imposing such a test -- not a stretch, given her background -- give rise to a constitutionsl issue? Eugene?
5.3.2007 4:52am
Hewart:
If someone applied for a job with Regent Law School on their resume, would it really be necessary for them to state explicitly either their religion or their party affiliation?
5.3.2007 7:16am
tarheel:

I haven't tried the experiment, but I'd assume that if you sent in, for a career job, a resume that mentioned your party affiliation, it would be the subject of a lot of merriment before it was crumpled and pitched into the wastecan.

Probably so. But what if any resume that did not have the Federalist Society on it also ended up in the trash? I think that is the more realistic scenario here.
5.3.2007 9:09am
Justin (mail):
davod,

Patrick Fitzgerald is a career Republican who, in 2004, the GOP tried to get to run for Senate (as a Republican) in Illinois (to replace, incidentally, GOP's PETER Fitzgerald).

CBS Reports

So honestly, I know the whole "GOP as Jesus, Democrats as Romans" thing is romantic to you, but eventually facts do matter. Bridge or no bridge.
5.3.2007 9:36am
Justin (mail):
And if you don't think the Democrats wanted Rove and Cheney as opposed to Scooter - ummmmmm......
5.3.2007 9:38am
Justin (mail):
PS - Sorry for the snippiness of the first post. I had thought you said you didn't believe that Fitzgerald was a Republican. I read it closer, and noticed what you said was that you didn't believe the Democrats didn't want Scooter (as opposed to Cheney and Rove).
5.3.2007 9:40am
huggy (mail):
Seems to be a few cheap shots at Scooter. If what he did is a crime then all of our polititians are guilty. Not just the Republican ones.
I'll take a cheap shot. What administration roasted children in Texas because some lunatics where publically farting in their face?
5.3.2007 9:41am
Badger (mail):
huggy,

You've set a new low for the "But Clinton did it" defense. I guess you can justify anything Bush could do (up to a botched ATF raid, I guess) because of Waco.

ex. "George Bush shot Ruth Ginsberg between the eyes? Wake me up when he's shot a man and his family at Ruby Ridge."
5.3.2007 10:29am
rarango (mail):
Can anyone explain to me why in the world they would let a youngish, 30-something with marginal credentials and no meaningful experience be involved in the hiring and firing of US ATTYs? I mean, REALLY. I was a career army guy and this is akin to letting a junior captain hire and fire division commanders. Looks to me like those guys are just plain nuts. Lots of people need to go on this one.
5.3.2007 10:54am
Adeez (mail):
No Justin, don't let the facts get in the way of some good characature. Of course Fitzgerald is not a Republican, b/c he had the temerity to go after this administration for a treasonous act. Neither was Mark Foley, who Fox quickly labeled a "D" after word got out that he solicited pages. Neither are any of the 70%-plus Americans who want to end the occupation. And only the Democrats cared about the fact that the administration leaked the identity of a CIA agent. Sure, some of the CIA members were a tad concerned, but only the Democratic ones of course.
5.3.2007 11:07am
Adeez (mail):
Oh, and don't get me started on Randy R. Sure, he claims to be a liberal. But his second post above actually criticizes Clinton. As most here well know, all liberals love both Clintons and never dare criticize them. So he's really an R in disguise.

Sorry for the sarcasm guys. It's just one of those days, and I get tired of reading such inane comments from people who presumably should know a lot better.
5.3.2007 11:12am
Anderson (mail) (www):
N.b. the possibility that the DOJ "investigation" may be intended to frustrate any Congressional grant of immunity to Goodling.
5.3.2007 11:27am
rarango (mail):
Adeez: I really dont want to revisit the Plame thing, but by administration, do you mean Richard Armitage, the career washington bureaucrat who was, at the time, the deputy secretary of state? (absolutely my last OT post on this subject, I promise)
5.3.2007 11:29am
rarango (mail):
Justin: IANAL question: can you give me a quick answer about the difference between transactional and use immunity?
5.3.2007 11:31am
Justin (mail):
I will give the IANAL answer, so no using this for legal advice:

Use immunity is an enforceable promise not to use (either directly, as evidence, or derivitively, to secure evidence) testimony given under the immunity against you.

Transactional immunity is basically a deal agreeing not to prosecute you (usually for a particular crime or set of crimes) in return for your testimony.

Under the relevant Supreme Court precedent, a grant of use immunity can overcome an attempt to invoke the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Transactional immunity is not required, though sometimes given for pragmatic reasons.
5.3.2007 11:39am
rarango (mail):
Justin: thanks and I promise I will not use it for legal advice! :)
5.3.2007 11:42am
Christopher Cooke (mail):
The Goodling saga highlights the major problem with hiring people solely based on ideology, rather than experience. I presume Ms. Goodling worked hard and probably thought she was doing the right thing in trying to purge the US Atty ranks of those not deemed sufficiently loyal to Karl Rove/GWB and to hire, even for line prosecutor jobs, only those who shared her same political affiliations.

My hypothesis on all of this is that at some point Rove discovered that US Attorneys are very powerful and can influence public opinion and thus elections with their prosecutions (maybe after Rove himself was summoned before the grand jury, but probably well before then). So, Rove wanted to use the USAOs to secure the "permanent" Republican majority in Congress and among the states' governors. The DOJ staffers to Gonzo ---Sampson and Goodling--- either didn't know enough to know this was improper, or lacked the courage to tell Rove not to do this, or agreed with him, and set about implementing Rove's tactics at the DOJ. This is but the latest example.
5.3.2007 12:00pm
Kevin! (mail):
Seems like another Unwelcome Republican Dichotomy. Either someone totally unqualified (Goodling) is really making vital decisions about US Attorneys... or she's a pawn for the White House as masterminded by its political wing.

Is it so hard to appoint qualified people and use THEM as pawns of the White House? Assuming it's the mastermind angle, that's all the White House would've needed to do.
5.3.2007 12:30pm
Another Virginian:
According to "Imperial Life in the Emerald City, the qualifying criteria to getting a job reconstructing Iraq was whether one supported Roe v. Wade, not one's skills. Lots of 20 somethings w/the "proper" ideological bent were hired for those jobs over experienced people.

The USA situation doesn't surprise me and doesn't seem isolated.
5.3.2007 12:32pm
uh clem (mail):
Can anyone explain to me why in the world they would let a youngish, 30-something with marginal credentials and no meaningful experience be involved in the hiring and firing of US ATTYs?

Involved? If you read the memos, it's much more than just "involved": Gonzales basically conceded all athority to Goodling, giving her carte blanche to hire and fire anybody at DOJ.

But you raise a good point: turning over full authority to "a youngish, 30-something with marginal credentials and no meaningful experience" is the whopper that's tough to swallow. Does anybody believe that she was acting completely on her own without orders from above? I can't.

The simplest explanation is that she was the conduit for orders from above and one of the orders was to make sure that nobody finds out who's really giving the orders. Meanwhile, the AG can disavow any knowlege of the whole sorrid mess. The official explanation (i.e. they gave full authority to a newbie) doesn't hold water.
5.3.2007 12:34pm
Badger (mail):

Is it so hard to appoint qualified people and use THEM as pawns of the White House? Assuming it's the mastermind angle, that's all the White House would've needed to do.


Obviously not, since Kyle Sampson was a Chicago Law grad. But ask whoever hired John Dean to work for Nixon about how reliable a pawn good lawyers tend to be. Sampson had GOP bonafides from the Senate Judiciary committee and Orrin Hatch, so they knew he was 100% politically reliable. Such reliability cannot be counted on from most graduates of top law schools. Real lawyers might get it in their head that they want to enforce real law.

But a graduate of a fake law school founded by Pat Robertson would probably be expected to be more reliable than someone from, you know, a real law school. Goodling wasn't qualified to be a top DOJ officer, but she was more than qualified to be a pawn and political watercarrier.
5.3.2007 12:55pm
rarango (mail):
uh clem: I have to agree. Ordinarily I am inclined to go with the "stupidity" explanation; but the more sinister explanation actually makes sense. And even IF it was stupidity, it is monumental stupidity which would merit firing the AG.
5.3.2007 12:57pm
DJR:
The investigation will turn up nothing ... if the investigators know what's good for them.
5.3.2007 2:20pm
NickM (mail) (www):
AUSA positions were being used as a farm team to create the next generation of GOP officeholders, but not in a way anyone here has mentioned. It is a huge credential with voters if a candidate for public office was an assistant U.S. attorney (even bigger if they wre the U.S. Attorney for a district). I've seen polling numbers on this - and worked on campaigns for and against former AUSAs.

By packing the U.S. Attorney's offices with people who seem to be loyalists, you're planning on shifting the balance in city council and legislative races around the country in 5 years, and in Congressional and statewide races in another 5 to 10 years.

Nick
5.3.2007 3:29pm