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and doesn’t feel you can be trusted."

That sentence sums up the ongoing destruction of credibility happening at the US Department of Justice.  "She" as you probably already guessed is Monica Goodling.  Today's NY Times has a piece on her that helps fill in some details about how pivotal her role is in not just the US Attorneys scandal, but the politicization of the entire department.

Want a job at DoJ?  Jump below to see some of the questions you would need to face:

"Which Supreme Court justice do you most admire and why?"

I'm sure "quack, quack" would be an appropriate answer here.

"Which legislator do you most admire and why?"

I wonder if she was interested in hearing people say the much persecuted and crucified bug-man.

"Have you ever cheated on your wife?"

WTF?

And my personal favorite as she gets "this close" to channeling Stephen Colbert

"And which president do you most admire and why?"

George W. Bush -- Great president or the greatest president?

Those questions are real...and really ridiculous for a nonpartisan job interview.  But, as we know, it wasn't just interview questions:

Ms. Goodling also moved to block the hiring of prosecutors with résumés that suggested they might be Democrats, even though they were seeking posts that were supposed to be nonpartisan, two department officials said.

And she helped maintain lists of all the United States attorneys that graded their loyalty to the Bush administration, including work on past political campaigns, and noted if they were members of the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group.

I generally like to give people the benefit of the doubt and would like to agree with Bud Cummins assessment when he notes, "she might have somehow figured that what she was doing was the right thing."  However, considering how quickly she jumped at pleading the fifth to every unknown question it is pretty clear she knew what she was doing.

You need to read the article because it is a laundry list of examples of her handiwork.  The takeaway though, is the reflection on James Comey's testimony last week:

Mr. Comey said that if the accusations about Ms. Goodling’s partisan actions were true, the damage was deep and real.

"I don’t know how you would put that genie back in the bottle, if people started to believe we were hiring our A.U.S.A.s (Assistant United States Attorneys) for political reasons," he said at a House hearing this month. "I don’t know that there’s any window you can go to to get the department’s reputation back if that kind of stuff is going on."

Party over country will destroy the institutions that make the country great.

Update [2007-5-12 9:42:7 by MLDB]: An insider's view from the comments:

This is so far outside what has happened at DOJ during previous administrations, both Democratic and Republican, that it sickens me.  I was hired at DOJ in the administration of Bush's father, and there was never so much as a hint of political intereference.  I know people who are Democrats, Republicans, independents, and pretty much apolitical who were hired then, as well as in the Clinton administration.

I retired a year and a half ago, and although I was in a part of DOJ that generally attracts little political interest, the atmosphere had already changed, especially from what I heard about the areas of DOJ that attracted more political interest.  But even then, it would have been difficult to believe that things were this bad.

The truly mind-boggling thing is that people who should have known better put this wet-behind-the ears zealot in a responsible position to begin with, and then proceeded to let her exercise hitherto unprecedented power while she occupied that position.  And if we hadn't elected a Democratic Congresss this past November, none of this would have yet come to light (or if it had, it would have been quietly swept under the rug).

There is this way of running a public agency, and then there is the way that Joseph Curran ran the Maryland Attorney General's office, where I briefly worked as a lawyer.  His entire professional staff theoretically served at his pleasure, but his hiring decisions were totally non-political.  My time in that office coincided with one of his reelection campaigns, and when he announced, he called all of the attorneys together for a meeting, at which he gave the following instructions:

  1. None of us were to donate any money to his campaign;

  2. None of us were to volunteer to work on his campaign, or to have any contact with his campaign office, the sole exception being the person who did his scheduling, and then only to assure that scheduling for campaign events and official events didn't conflict; and finally,

  3. That if we wanted to help his campaign, the way to do so was to do as good a job as possible serving the interests of the people of Maryland.

THAT'S the way a public agency should be run, and it's pretty much the way DOJ was run until this sorry excuse of an administration.  The political appointees during the administration of Bush's father were certainly largely Republicans, but they were overwhelmingly Republicans who understood that, once they took their oath of office as government officials, they were serving the people of the United States, not the narrow interests of the Republican Party.  And the same is true of the political appointees in the Clinton administration, who overwhelmingly realized that, while they were Democrats, as public officials, they were serving the interests of the people of the United States, rather than the narrow interests of the Democratic Party.

The last few years have been a sad time for the Department of Justics, and for the United States.  But hopefully, this will prove to be a temporary aberration and contary to Mr. Comey's prediction, the genie will be able to be put back into the bottle.

Thanks, leevank!

Update [2007-5-12 10:44:33 by MLDB]: It also looks like we may hear from Goodling soon:

Committee staffers and Goodling's attorney, John Dowd, have held only informal talks about her testimony, according to aides on Capitol Hill. Those talks are expected to intensify next week, with the committee's goal to have Goodling testify before the House breaks for a week-long Memorial Day recess on May 25.

My question...will Monica wear a blue dress to the hearing?

Originally posted to MLDB on Sat May 12, 2007 at 04:48 AM PDT.

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