Friday, June 1, 2007

DOJ Expands Its Internal Investigation

The Department of Justice Inspector General and its Office of Professional Responsibility disclosed in a letter (here) to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy and ranking member Arlen Specter that they have "expanded the scope of our investigation" of possible wrongdoing in the Department.  According to the letter, the two offices are now looking into "allegations of Monica Goodling's and others' actions in DOJ hiring and personnel decisions; allegations concerning the hiring for the DOJ Honors Program and Summer Law Intern Program; and allegations concerning hiring practices in the DOJ Civil Rights Division."  Whether the internal investigation turns up anything of interest is an open question because the offices are a part of the Department.  In her testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, Goodling, the former White House liaison for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, said that in a few instances she allowed political affiliation to affect hiring  the hiring of Assistant U.S. Attorneys, something for which she expressed "regret."  Given the grant of immunity to Goodling, there is little likelihood criminal charges will be recommended against her, and to this point no one else has been identified as acting in the same way as Goodling.  She may well make a convenient -- and unchargeable -- scapegoat for the IG and OPR investigation. (ph)

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