July 29th, 2008
As I blogged yesterday, the U.S. Department of Justice has uncovered its own illegal use of politics in making employee decisions.
Read the Department of Justice Inspector General and internal ethics office report.
In addition to using political viewpoints to make hiring decisions, at least one DOJ employee used her views against homosexuality to make decisions.
Indianz.com reports in part: “A well-respected federal prosecutor was blocked from working on Indian issues because Department of Justice political appointees believed she was lesbian, according to an investigation released on Monday.
Leslie Hagen was as assistant U.S. Attorney in Western Michigan assigned to violent crimes in Indian Country. . . .
Hagen ended up on a detail to a higher-level office to work on national Indian issues as part of the Native American Issues Subcommittee at DOJ. She won an “outstanding” rating on her performance reviews, the highest possible appraisal.
But Monica Goodling, an aide to former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, prevented Hagen from extending her work for “political” reasons, the investigation said. The reason was Hagen’s alleged sexual orientation as well an unsubstantiated relationship with former U.S. Attorney Margaret Chiara of Western Michigan.
“Goodling opposed the detail extension because Goodling had problems with the AUSA’s alleged sexual orientation,” the director of the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys (EOUSA) told DOJ investigators. . . .
“We concluded that Goodling’s actions violated department policy and federal law, and constituted misconduct,” the Office of Professional Responsibility and the Office of the Inspector General said in the lengthy report.” . . .
This isn’t the first time Goodling has been under scrutiny. In May 2007, she told a House committee that former U.S. Attorney Tom Heffelfinger of Minnesota was targeted for firing because he spent too much time on Indian Country as chair of the Native American Issues Subcommittee at DOJ.
Heffelfinger resigned before the Bush administration fired eight U.S. Attorneys — five of whom were prominent Indian advocates. . . .
A second Gonzales aide, Kyle Sampson, also broke the law, the report concluded. Prior to working at DOJ, Sampson served in the White House, where he played a role in the firing of former Special Trustee Tom Slonaker, who told Congress that an historical accounting of the Indian trust was impossible.”