Thursday, May 03, 2007

The prosecutor purge scandal edges that much closer to the White House. Increasingly it appears as if political party affiliation was used as a screening device for hiring federal prosecutors -- a practice that is illegal. Federal law prohibits the Justice Department from considering political affiliation in hiring/firing decisions.

Yet, as Murray Waas writes:
The existence of the order suggests that a broad effort was under way by the White House to place politically and ideologically loyal appointees throughout the Justice Department, not just at the U.S.-attorney level. Department records show that the personnel authority was delegated to the two aides at about the same time they were working with the White House in planning the firings of a dozen U.S. attorneys, eight of whom were, in fact, later dismissed.
Andrew Cohen sums it up:
No one who has followed this story closely can be shocked by this news. Of course, the fix was in with the Goodling, Sampson and Co. to replace professional nonpartisan officials with partisans; of course White House leaders directed the plan, and of course the Attorney General either went along with it (as he always does with his president) or negligently allowed it to happen on his watch.
Just deserts cannot come soon enough.

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