Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Following the Report titled an Investigation of Allegations of Politicized Hiring in the Department of Justice Honors Program and Summer Law Intern Program, that presented a scenario of appalling conduct occurring with respect to DOJ hiring practices, I blogged about the failure of the DOJ Compliance Structure (here). In addition to needing an effective compliance program, I stated that:
Kudos go to the Office of the Inspector General and OPR for issuing this Report. But it is not enough. It is clear that DOJ did not have a proper compliance program in place, and still has insufficient measures to assure that conduct such as this will not happen again. It is also clear that an independent body needs to examine what has happened here and make recommendations as to how best to proceed.
We now have an additional report, as a result of an internal investigation, that speaks to improprieties extending beyond the Honors Program hiring practices. Carrie Johnson of the Washington Post, writes in an article titled, Internal Justice Dept. Report Cites Illegal Hiring Practices, detailing happenings in the immigration sector. (See also Eric Lightblau's piece in the N.Y.Times titled - Report Faults Aides in Hiring at Justice Dept). This new report focuses significantly on a single employee - with her name in the title of the Report. One has to wonder if DOJ is now saying, sorry we had a rogue employee and we are changing our ways. The Statement by Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey on Report Issued by the Office of Professional Responsibility and Inspector General on the Investigation of Allegations of Politicized Hiring by Monica Goodling and Other Staff in the Office of the Attorney General, includes his statement that "[t]he report includes one new recommendation for institutional change, and I have directed the prompt implementation of that recommendation."
But that line doesn't and hasn't worked with DOJ for others in the corporate sphere. The whole company is held liable, fines are imposed, and often we see a deferred prosecution agreement. Three things need to be considered here:
1. It is very clear that a special prosecutor needs to be appointed to do an investigation that extends beyond the internal investigations, despite the fact that the internal investigations exposed improprieties in the office. Isn't that what DOJ would say to a company that exposes problems and even reports them to the DOJ?
2. DOJ should join the growing number of people that advocate for adoption of a "good faith defense" in the corporate criminal area. After all, it is sometimes hard to control each and every employee.
3. There are long term ramifications of these findings and it can extend to specific cases. If the people who secured the positions were political, then is it possible the decionmaking was also political? And will future decision-making on election fraud cases be political in nature. Without an independent investigation, trust cannot be restored.
(esp) (blogging from SEALS '08 Palm Beach, Florida)