The Bush administration has taken the concept of cronyism to new heights and has largely gotten away with it. Political appointees at NASA and the EPA have interfered in the publication of scientific reports that the Administration wasn’t happy with (largely on climate change issues) and are accused of politicizing the Department of Justice. Things finally came to a head after nine lawyers who had received excellent job reviews were let go for apparently political reasons. The subsequent investigation has revealed the political concerns drove a number of career hiring decisions made by former White House liaison Monica Goodling:
“Goodling improperly subjected candidates for certain career positions to the same politically based evaluation she used on candidates for political positions,” the report concluded.
In one instance, Justice investigators found, Goodling objected to hiring an assistant prosecutor in Washington because “judging from his resume, he appeared to be a liberal Democrat.”
In another, she rejected an experienced terror prosecutor to work on counterterror issues at a Justice Department headquarters office “because of his wife’s political affiliations,” the report found. It also found she rejected at least one job applicant who was rumored to be a lesbian.
The folks at Think Progress have more details on the prosecutor and his Democrat wife:
He was an experienced terrorism prosecutor and had successfully prosecuted a high-profile terrorism case for which he received the Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service. … The candidate’s wife was a prominent local Democrat elected official and vice-chairman of a local Democratic Party. […]
[Executive Office for United States Attorneys (EOUSA) Michael] Battle, [EOUSA Deputy Director and Cheif of Staff] Kelly, and EOUSA Deputy Director Nowacki all told us that Goodling refused to allow the candidate to be detailed to EOUSA solely on the basis of his wife’s political party affiliation. Battle said he was very upset that Goodling opposed the detail because of political reasons.
And on the rumored lesbian:
Goodling brought up the issue of the attorney’s “relationship in progress” with her U.S. Attorney “and made it clear just that she thought that was inappropriate.”
[…] Voris said that Goodling then told her that the [assistant U.S. attorney] had a homosexual relationship with the U.S. Attorney in the AUSA’s USAO and that the two took trips together at government expense. Voris told us she believes that the AUSA’s alleged sexual orientation was a factor in Goodling’s decision not to extend the detail.
The report is also critical of former Gonzales chief of staff Kyle Sampson:
[A] majority of immigration judge candidates considered by former Gonzales chief of staff Kyle Sampson were recommended by the White House’s political affairs office — including one name forwarded by then-top adviser Karl Rove. Sampson told investigators that he did not consider those jobs to be protected from political considerations.
His lawyer, Brad Berenson, described those hiring decisions as an honest mistake and said that Sampson “immediately agreed with the recommendation to put a stop to this process” when he first learned he may have been wrong. White House spokesman Tony Fratto downplayed the report, saying, “There really is not a lot new here.”
Alas Fratto is quite right. There really isn’t anything new here as this kind of thing has been ongoing since Bush took office. Anyone who has been paying attention for any amount of time can’t possibly have missed this fact. This administration has always placed political loyalty over all other considerations on every thing it touches. How willing you are to tow the party line has taken precedence over how qualified you are to do the job as the whole FEMA non-response to hurricane Katrina showed.