As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

No Day In Court For The Schloz

The Justice Department's Inspector General report on politicization under the Bush regime was so overwhelming that they had to cut it into sections. Yesterday's release of the section concerning the Civil Rights Division once again invites us to witness the glory that is Bradley Schlozman:

In sum, we concluded, based on the results of our investigation, that Schlozman improperly considered political and ideological affiliations in the recruitment and hiring of career attorneys in the Civil Rights Division, and in doing so, he violated Department policy and federal civil service laws, and committed misconduct.

We found evidence that Schlozman told others in the Department about his success in hiring conservatives. In addition, in his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Schlozman admitted making such boasts. Numerous e-mails from Schlozman described above also demonstrate that he sought conservative candidates and rejected liberal ones. Further, Schlozman admitted to Special Litigation Section Chief Cutlar in March 2007, after allegations of partisan hiring surfaced in the media: “I probably made some mistakes. . . . I probably considered politics when I shouldn’t have.” Moreover, a statistical overview of the political and ideological affiliations of attorneys hired in the Division during his tenure showed that Schlozman hired far more Republican or conservative attorneys than Democrats or liberals. At the same time, political and ideological affiliations did not appear to have been a factor when attorneys were hired without Schlozman’s involvement [...]

We concluded that Schlozman inappropriately considered political and ideological affiliations when he forced three career attorneys to transfer from the Appellate Section.

As noted above, Schlozman frequently criticized the attorney staff in the Appellate ection and talked of his plan, when he “came into power,” to move certain attorneys from the section to make room for “real Americans.” Based on our interviews and our review of numerous e-mails, we found that Schlozman used the term “real Americans” to
refer to individuals with conservative political views. Appellate Section Chief Flynn also told us that Schlozman named Appellate Section Attorneys A, B, and C as among several in the section whom he considered to be “disloyal,” “not one of us,” “against us,” “not on the team,” or “treacherous” and whom he wanted to move out of the section [...]

We concluded that Schlozman inappropriately used political and ideological affiliations in managing the assignment of cases to attorneys in the sections of the Division he oversaw. According to Section Chiefs Flynn, Cutlar, and Palmer, Schlozman placed limitations on the assignment of cases to attorneys whom Schlozman described as “libs” or “pinkos,” and he requested that “important” cases be handled by conservative attorneys he had hired. In addition, Schlozman expressly inquired about the politics of Cutlar’s nominees for performance awards.

On June 5, 2007, Schlozman testified under oath before the Senate Judiciary Committee in connection with its investigation into the use of political considerations in the hiring and firing of career attorneys at the Department of Justice. At the time of his testimony, Schlozman was Associate Counsel to the Director of EOUSA.

On September 6, 2007, after resigning from the Department, Schlozman responded by letter to supplemental questions for the record posed to him in writing by several Senators as a follow-up to his Senate Judiciary testimony.

We believe that Schlozman made false statements to the Senate Judiciary Committee, both in his sworn testimony and in his written responses to the supplemental questions for the record. In this section, we describe Schlozman’s statements and the evidence that we believe demonstrates their falsity.

That's the bill of particulars, and I believe the words "preponderance of evidence" apply.

And yet, Schlozman will only see the inside of a courtroom in his continued capacity as a lawyer, despite an investigation clearly detailing numerous crimes.

Because the US Attorney in DC, after reviewing this report (which is dated July 2, 2008, and obviously held back until right before Bush leaves town), declined to prosecute.

We referred the findings from our investigation to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia in March 2008. We completed this written report of investigation in July 2008.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office informed us on January 9, 2009, of its decision to decline prosecution of Schlozman. The Interim U.S. Attorney, Jeffrey Taylor, was recused from the matter and the decision.

So, after taking ten months to decide whether or not to prosecute (ten months which happened to include an election in which one of those named in the report--Hans Von Spakovsky--served on FEC), they now release the report. Nice.

There you have the latest from the culture of accountability.

If I follow this, a Bush appointee committed crimes by hiring ideological soulmates. The Inspector General reported the crimes to Bush's Justice Department, and they held the report. The Bush appointee at the US Attorneys office in DC recused himself, and let his staffers reject the findings. And those ideologues hired through criminal practices will REMAIN in the Justice Department, protected by civil service laws, well into the future.

There's more here, including a peek into the classiness of these folks.

Slapping down "a bunch of . . . attorneys really did get the blood pumping and was even enjoyable once in a while," Schlozman wrote three years later when he left to become the U.S. attorney in Kansas City, Mo.

Schlozman surrounded himself with like-minded officials at the Department of Justice. When he was due to meet in 2004 with John Tanner, then chief of the voting section, he asked how Tanner liked his coffee.

"Mary Frances Berry style -- black and bitter," Tanner replied by e-mail, referring to the African American woman who chaired the U.S. Civil Rights Commission from 1993 to 2004. Schlozman circulated the e-mail. "Y'all will appreciate Tanner's response," he wrote.

Did the fun ever stop?

So this is the inevitable result of an attitude of "looking forward" and making sure abuses "never happen again" instead of prosecuting clear crimes. There were civil service laws violated as well as, you know, lying to Congress. Republicans love to talk about deterrence in the criminal justice system unless they're the defendant. Likewise, the establishment Villagers love to punish the wicked with their knowing glances and poison pens and scorn, unless, you know, one of their own is in trouble.

Here's Pat Leahy.

I really wish that the current U.S. attorney's office appointed by this administration had prosecuted. I think that the only way you stop such blatant criminal violations by people who know better, people who are sworn to uphold the law, (unint.) that they know they'll go to jail for breaking the law. That's what should have been done. And just because they broke the law in the Bush administration and the Bush administration did not, or deemed not to prosecute, I think that raises real questions. Prosecution should be done no matter who breaks the law. I think about one of the people who testified that same investigation and said that, uh, "we swear an oath to President George Bush." I said, "no, you swear an oath to uphold the Constitution. That constitution is the constitution you're sworn to uphold and I'm sworn to uphold and it's the constitution that reflects all Americans." [...]

And when somebody deliberately, purposely sets out to subvert the constitution of the United States, and then lies about it, lies about it, Mr. President, I find that a heinous crime. We will see some kid who steals a car, they'll be prosecuted as they probably should. But when you have a key member of the DoJ lie about it under oath, who subverts the consitution of the United States, all the more reason to prosecute that person.

Silly Leahy. Justice is for those other people.

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