Today’s New York Times takes an in depth look at Monica Goodling’s involvement in the USA purge:
Two years ago, Robin C. Ashton, a seasoned criminal prosecutor at the Department of Justice, learned from her boss that a promised promotion was no longer hers.
â€œYou have a Monica problem,â€ Ms. Ashton was told, according to several Justice Department officials. Referring to Monica M. Goodling, a 31-year-old, relatively inexperienced lawyer who had only recently arrived in the office, the boss added, â€œShe believes youâ€™re a Democrat and doesnâ€™t feel you can be trusted.â€
Ms. Ashtonâ€™s ouster â€” she left the Executive Office for United States Attorneys for another Justice Department post two weeks later â€” was a critical early step in a plan that would later culminate in the ouster of nine United States attorneys last year.
Ms. Goodling would soon be quizzing applicants for civil service jobs at Justice Department headquarters with questions that several United States attorneys said were inappropriate, like who was their favorite president and Supreme Court justice. One department official said an applicant was even asked, â€œHave you ever cheated on your wife?â€
Ms. Goodling also moved to block the hiring of prosecutors with rÃ©sumÃ©s that suggested they might be Democrats, even though they were seeking posts that were supposed to be nonpartisan, two department officials said.
At first read people might think, “Wow – so she was the big problem”. There is more to this than in the article alone. We are talking about someone doing something obviously illegal to the careers of attorneys. Even worse, she is doing this to attorneys who may very well be Democrats. So why wasn’t action taken earlier? Government agencies have a protocol and chain of command you follow on grievances, and this would of been one hell of a grievance. Have any of these attorney’s filed complaints against Goodling, and if so what was the final outcome of those complaints? I would venture to say that word was around DOJ that this was going on and there is most likely an actual paper trail of such, but higher-ups at DOJ and even the White House colluded to cover up the problem.
The article doesn’t really answer the above, but it does give some insight into what was going on:
By the time Ms. Goodling resigned in April â€” after her role in the firing of the prosecutors became public and she had been promoted to the role of White House liaison â€” she and other senior department officials had revamped personnel practices affecting employees from the top of the agency to the bottom.
The people who spoke about Ms. Goodlingâ€™s role at the department, including eight current Justice Department lawyers and staff, did so only on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution. Several added that they found her activities objectionable and damaging to the integrity of the department.
So attorneys are afraid of retribution for speaking out on a possibly criminal action? Either our nation’s attorneys have really declined in quality or we have some real higher-ups playing the real bad guy. One way or the other, one thing is for sure – this is no way for our Justice Department to run.
The other interesting part cited above is that Goodling was promoted to liaison to the White House during all of this. That really smells of Karl Rove. Sounds like people in the White House were happy with how she was doing the partisan selection of attorneys. We might find out the answer to that in the coming weeks as Monica has her immunity by the House Judiciary Committee and has been ordered to testify by a judge.