Pat Leahy, the chair of the Senate Judiciary committee, just put out the following statement on the DOJ report into politicized hiring:
Today’s report confirms some of our worst fears about the Bush administration’s political corruption of the Justice Department. Not only did senior Republican appointees violate the law in hiring based on politics in the Civil Rights Division, they also lied about it when called to explain themselves to Congress.
I am particularly disturbed about the findings that a senior Justice Department appointee, Bradley Schlozmann, made false statements under oath when appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Lying to Congress undermines the very core of our constitutional principles and blunts the American people’s right to open and transparent government. Not only did he lie to me and the Committee, but he then refused to cooperate with Justice Department’s internal oversight offices’ investigation into illegal hiring practices in the Department’s Civil Rights Division. The clear determination that he broke the law corrodes our trust in our system of justice and in the nation’s top law enforcement agency. His actions in fact undermine the very mission of the Department’s Civil Rights Division, which is charged with enforcing federal law prohibiting discrimination.
A strong and independent Civil Rights Division has long been crucial to the enforcement of our precious civil rights laws, and experienced and committed career attorneys have always been the heart and soul of that Division. Contrary to those traditions, however, this report details troubling revelations of political appointees who marginalize and force out career lawyers because of ideology, and, corrupt the hiring process for career positions. It should come as no surprise that the result, and of course the intent, of this political makeover of the Civil Rights Division has been a dismal civil rights enforcement record.
This report is just one of the final chapters in the regrettable legacy of the Bush administration at Main Justice, and it reinforces the need for new leadership. Now more than ever, it is necessary to confirm a new team to lead the Justice Department, starting with Attorney General designee Eric Holder.