Monica Goodling Testimony, Part III

spillthebeans.jpg(Shot of spilled beans via Dougalug.)

The House Judiciary Committee will be taking testimony from Monica Goodling this morning, beginning at 10:15 am ET in 2141 Rayburn.  C-Span3 and C-Span radio will be broadcasting the testimony live.  And it looks as though the committee will have some sort of webcast going as well.  I'll be liveblogging below, too.  Hang on kids, we are about to learn what, if any, beans Monica decides to spill.

REP. COBLE QUESTIONS:  Recalls that USAs were terminated for poor performance — and then later learned that they had good performances.  Who was responsible for this?  Goodling says that DAG and AG were responsible for determining performance.  EARS reports do make determinations on how things are going with USAs — comprehensive review of each USA office both in legal aspects and also management and accounting.  Explain your role as serving as WH liaison at DoJ — what were your duties, both at DoJ and at WH?  Goodling says she didn't serve at WH.  (1) Hiring of political appointees — Schedule C hiring interviews with component head and also Sampson.  (2) Served basic liaison function of communication — travel requests, schedules, reports, etc. (3) A lot of morale boosting for employees or communications (CHS notes:  PR functions and rah rah rewards for employees to do things at the WH.)  Did you ever see the initial list or final list of USAs who were recommended for replacement?  Doesn't have a memory of seing the initial one in 2005 — did see the one in 2006, was at the meeting where it was discussed.

REP. SCOTT QUESTIONS:  Says that the criminal justice system cannot function if people do not feel that it is fair.  This does not work if partisan political considerations are raised above legal considerations.  Cultural loyalty to the Administration was more important than the rule of law — and these are serious allegations, because it could undermine the confidence of the public in the system.  It has been difficult to get to the bottom ofthis because we get conflicting answers, you have accused others of failing to be fully forthcoming today.  Do you believe that political considerations being taken into account in hiring public employees?  Says that she doesn't believe that she intended to break the law.  Says that she knows that she crossed the line of the civil service rules, but she didn't mean to.  She says that not as far as she knows that politicization played a role in the firings based on political considerations regarding investigations and prosecutions.  Was aware of Dominici saying that he was irritated that Iglesias "didn't move cases," and is aware that the Senator called Iglesias about a case from press accounts.  The reasons given for firing Iglesias don't include Dominici's complaints on the official list — says that McNulty didn't feel it was apporpriate to raise the issues of one Senator with other Senators, though Dominici should raise it himself.  Says that someone made a comment about Iglesias being "kind of a dud" on the AGAs board — and the "absentee landlord" questions, not being in the office and delegating a lot of responsibility to his 1st assistant.

REP. GALLEGLY QUESTIONS:   How should this have been handled differently?  Goodling says it would have been better to document things differently.  During the meeting, there was a lot of agreement — but would have been better to document this.  Would have been good to give the USAs more of an idea what the problems were, and to give them the opportunity to address them.  Didn't want to do this in person because they didn't want to "litigate" with the USAs why they were being fired since they "served at the pleasure fo the President."  Doesn't remember how names got on list — doesn't remember that time very well.  Sampson brought list in and asked for her thoughts.  At Nov. 27th meeting, there was discussion about Bogden specifically — DAG said he had a question about why Bogden was on the list, Sampson said general sense that "we could do better."  Goodling said aware of one case on Patriot Act that she was aware of from years ago.  AG nodded and said okay, brief reference — only time group as a whole discussed a particular USA.

REP. WATT QUESTIONS:  Watt asking about the conflict between Goodling's testimony and what he recalls from Sampson in Senate.  Goodling says not a conflict — she was talking about having not spoken to anyone in the WH about putting someone on or off the firing list, not at DOJ — did talk about it with DoJ folks.  Talking about Wagner in SC — "bend over backwards" for AG, is that appropriate consideration?  Goodling thought how helpful she was for AG ought to be taken into account — some USAs are more engaged and responsive in helping with the AGs public events.  Question about comments made about Iglesias — who was in room?  DAG, Sampson, Goodling, Ellston, and thinks that someone else may have been there, maybe Moschella.

REP. LUNGREN QUESTIONS:  Spending his beginning time trying to bolster the witness' credibility — nothing like a little vouching, I always say.  Ahem.  And then starts talking about himself and how he ran his AG office in CA.  Goodling says that she was trying to find well-qualified people who were enthusiastic about the AG's priorities.  (CHS notes:  Nothing like a rah rah person who puts party over country and the rule of law, eh?  Phrase of the morning thus far:  "enthusiastic of the priorities.")  

REP. LOFGREN QUESTIONS:  Did you ever or have a staff member ask a job applicant who they voted for?  Political appointees, yes; career appointees, maybe because a number of people interviewed for both types of positions.  Goodling says she may have.  You stopped hiring in the immigration field because you couldn't apply a political litmus test, is that fair?  Goodling says that she thinks the hiring was paused so that officials could evaluate tyhe process after the civil service decision.  Now talking about Graves — Battle has testified that Goodling was the one who told them to ask for Graves resignation.  Goodling says that her memory was that Graves had been asked to resign.  In January, Sampson was asked question about how many had been asked to resign in 2005 — Sampson said 8, said thought she heard incorrectly that Graves would have made 9.  Do you think that putting Schlotzman into the USA position so quickly was to pursue a vote fraud case prior to the election?  Goodling says that Graves was under investigation with the OIG at DoJ.  Schlotzman talked to her about voter IDs — said he had done an election law manual.  Doesn't recall at this point of specific discussions on particular cases.  Doesn't remember talking to Von Spakovsky about voter fraud issues either.  Sampson would have told her to make the call on Graves.  Doesn't remember if she asked political information from civil applicants, but we did research them and sometimes learned political information during the research.


REP. GOODLATTE QUESTIONS:  What was your experience in terms of who the replacements were for the USAs fired?  Goodling says lots of debate on who to put in — wanted good people — chose the people who they thought could nest lead in the situation they were under.  Says she thinks they will do a good job, in some circumstances she may have made different decisions, but thinks that ultimately they will do a good job.  Did you ever intend to mislead Congress in any of your preparation for testimony activities?  No, I never deliberately withheld information.  (CHS notes:  Can someone please ask her if she or anyone else ever made efforts to supplement or amend testimony to make it more complete in the weeks since it was given?  And if not, why not?)  Tried to find people at main justice who would be on the leadership team — wanted them to be compatible ideologically.  For immigration judges, thought they could consider other factors.  Other cases also that cropped up from time to time — wanted well qualified lawyers who pulled in the same direction in terms of priorities.  Did you ever act as a screener for GOP candidates at the USAs offices for AUSAs?  Yes — looked at waiver requests, looked at resumes, did reference calls, may have learned information that influenced her decision-making.  Regrets mistakes on this. 

REP. JACKSON LEE QUESTIONS:  Starts by discussing immigration judge stalling of hiring.  You might have been better served if you had been loyal to the American people, and not just to the Bush Administration.  Bruce Fein says that both she and Sampson knew politics, but not the law.  Going into questions now on the Howard Univ. student who was applying for a DoJ position — "too liberal" for the position.  Goodling says that she regrets making a snap judgment made based on information on his resume.  It was a career atty Taylor at civil rights who pursued hiring him — and only through his intervention.  Goodling says she doesn't remember receiving e-mail from Rove, but does recall receiving them from Miers.  Can you tell us what Rove knew or what he did to create the plan to fire the USAs.  Goodling says she knows that Rove was consulted — Dec. 4th e-mail that Sampson forwarded to her, that Rove's office signed off on the firing plan.  Goodling says she can't give the WH story — Jackson Lee says that the only way they can get the full story is for SWh personnel to testify to their knowledge.  Now onto Iglesias meeting.

Starting fresh thread.

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