Bush’s Monica Problem: The Gonzales MessMay 27, 2007 17:08 The United States Department of Justice has not always been above politics. John F. Kennedy, after all, appointed his brother and consigliere Robert to be attorney general. But the Justice Department is supposed to stand for the rule of law—to be the enforcer of the laws of the United States, not the place presidents go to get around the law. Independence is an important tradition in the columned limestone building on Constitution Avenue. It is worth remembering that before Richard Nixon could find someone at the Justice Department willing to fire the Watergate special prosecutor in 1973, he had to accept the resignations of the attorney general, Elliot Richardson, and the deputy attorney general, William Ruckelshaus.
Officials Say Justice Dept. Based Hires On Politics Before Goodling TenureMay 26, 2007 10:56 The Justice Department considered political affiliation in screening applicants for immigration court judgeships for several years until hiring was frozen in December after objections from department lawyers, current and former officials said yesterday.
The disclosures mean that the Justice Department may have violated civil service laws, which prohibit political considerations in hiring, for as long as two years before the tenure of Monica M. Goodling, the former aide to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales who testified about the practice this week.
Goodling told the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that she "crossed the line" in considering political affiliation for several categories of career applicants at Justice, including immigration judges.
The attorney for D. Kyle Sampson, Gonzales's former chief of staff, said yesterday that Sampson and other officials also forwarded names of politically connected applicants for the immigration courts, based on legal advice that Sampson was given and on common historical practice in the department.
Impeachment Worth ConsiderationMay 15, 2007 23:20
On April 24, Rep. Dennis Kucinich filed an impeachment request, House Resolution H. Res. 333, to impeach Richard B. Cheney, vice president of the United States, for high crimes and misdemeanors. In an intensive, impressive documentation, Kucinich establishes six articles that clearly show Vice President Cheney in violation of his constitutional oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.
No. 2 official at Justice Department resignsMay 15, 2007 23:07
The No. 2 official at the Justice Department, Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty, submitted his resignation to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, the Justice Department announced Monday.
McNulty cited personal reasons for his resignation.
"The financial realities of college-age children and two decades of public service lead me to a long overdue transition in my career," he wrote in his resignation letter.
A source close to McNulty told CNN that the deputy attorney general had planned to resign from the $165,000-a-year job about a month ago, but decided to announce the move at a conference of U.S. attorneys in Texas.
McNulty's resignation comes amid the controversy over the department's firing of eight U.S. attorneys last year.
He was one of the key figures in meetings and discussions about the shakeup, and investigators from the House and Senate Judiciary committees grilled him for more than eight hours in April.
McNulty, a former U.S. attorney himself, told the Senate Judiciary Committee in February that the firings were performance-related. That provoked an outcry from the ex-officials, some of whom raised allegations that some of the firings were politically motivated.
Gonzales Fends Off Hostile House DemocratsMay 10, 2007 23:36 Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales acknowledged for the first time Thursday that other U.S. attorneys may have resigned under pressure from the Justice Department, but said their departures were unrelated to the controversial mass firing of eight prosecutors last year.
In an often testy House Judiciary Committee hearing, Democrats sought to expand their inquiry beyond the eight prosecutors to broader questions about political interference in Justice Department cases. But Gonzales frustrated them by calmly deflecting most of their questions. And unlike the bipartisan grilling he endured in the Senate last month, several Republicans came to his defense, indicating that Gonzales may have passed the worst of the crisis that has put his job in jeopardy.
Democrats on the committee pressed him about recent revelations about an exodus of prosecutors in other offices, in some cases in battleground states that have been central to Republican political fortunes.
Gonzales confirmed the resignation last year of Todd P. Graves, the former U.S. attorney in Kansas City. But he denied charges by Democrats that Graves had been forced out for balking at a voter fraud suit being pushed by Justice headquarters.
Gonzales: The Lawyer Who Lied To The JudgeMay 02, 2007 15:18 The Washington Post's Dan Eggen this morning reports that in November 2005 Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales apparently misled a federal judge in Montana about the status of William W. Mercer, the U.S. Attorney for the state. The nation's top lawyer and chief law enforcement official reportedly told the judge that Mercer was not breaking the law by spending his time working in Washington (for the Justice Department) and not Montana (for the people of his state). But this evidently was not true. Because on the same day, Eggen reports, "Mercer had a GOP Senate staffer insert into a bill a provision that would change the rules so that federal prosecutors could live outside their districts to serve in other jobs, according to documents and interviews."
Eggen writes: ".... [T]he episode, which received little notice at the time, provides another example in which Gonzales's statements appear to conflict with simultaneous actions by his aides in connection with U.S. attorney policies.... The measure also provides the second example in which the Justice Department sought to use the renewal of the Patriot Act antiterrorism law to assert tighter control over U.S. attorneys. Another provision sought by the Justice Department allowed Gonzales to appoint U.S. attorneys indefinitely without Senate input. Since repealed, it was central to the uproar over the prosecutor dismissals."
The piece is devastating and further proof to anyone who is following this story that so long as Gonzales remains in office there will be these sorts of drip-drop embarrassments. Just think about it. In this latest case, the Attorney General was unwilling or unable to accomplish one of the most basic tasks and responsibilities of being a lawyer-- telling the judge the truth. What a terrible example to set. And what a terrible standard he sets every day he remains in office.
Gasp! Wolfowitz Lied!May 02, 2007 11:10 World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz lied at a hearing on Monday when he said a bank ethics panel had advised him to give his girlfriend a promotion, the Dutch news agency ANP reported Wednesday.
Ad Melkert, chairman of the ethics committee at the World Bank at the time, told a Dutch TV program Tuesday that Wolfowitz "certainly did not tell the truth," ANP said.
Melkert is the former Dutch social affairs minister and a former leader of the Dutch Labor Party, one of the three parties in the current coalition government.
"We are said to have approved the remarkable pay package for Ms. (Shaha) Riza and that was not at all the case," he said in television program NOVA.
Riza had to be transferred because she was in a relationship with Wolfowitz when he was appointed president of the bank. A promotion was justified in order to compensate for the disruption of her career, Melkert said.
But Melkert said Wolfowitz gave his girlfriend a higher promotion than recommended and an excessively high salary.
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