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Just A Teeny, Tiny Question…

monicagoodling.jpgAfter sitting through the hours of "if I broke the law, I didn't mean to" from Monica Goodling yesterday, there are a whole lot of questions that I want answered…still.

Such as: how can someone who worked in a building full of experienced prosecutors possibly think that is remotely credible? My ignorance of the law made me politicize the hiring of multiple career justice employees? Puh-leese.  (Any cops in the audience want to tell me how well that works in the real world?  "I'm sorry officer, I didn't know the speed limit was 65 here."  Um…yeah.)

Or this gem — the whole "I was student council president in college, so I'm highly qualified to judge career professionals who have dedicated their lives to the Constitution and the rule of law and fire their asses if they aren't Republican enough." I don't know if I was watching Heathers or some warped version of American Pie.  ("This one time at band camp….")  If I were a DoJ employee who got riffed, or a prospective employee with stellar qualifications and a commitment to justice who didn't get hired because I had once hosted a bake sale for peace in junior high that showed up in a Nexis oppo search from the local paper write-up?  I'd be pissed. 

We already know about a number of former Justice employees who are disgusted and angry about all of this.  But it truly is time for the grown-ups to stand up and be counted, because there aren't exactly some principled Sam Ervin wannabes waiting in the wings in the House Judiciary Committee, now are there? 

If Rep. Chris Cannon had opened his yap one more time to praise Goodling's testimony — you know, the testimony in which she admitted to multiple Hatch Act violations, deliberate politicization of the hiring process for career and immigration judge hires, called both the AG and DAG's testimony into question, said that the AG tried to "coach" her testimony by reviewing his version of events with her after she'd already been notified that Congress expected her testimony…well, the list goes on and on.  But there sat the triumverate of blowhardy unlawful enablers, tap dancing with every asinine diversionary tactic they could muster:  Cannon, Lundgren and Issa, the mouths who bored.  But who am I kidding: IOKIYAR.

Lest anyone wonders, DAG McNulty has already fired back with a Monica isn't quite so accurate missive.  (Yes, knock me over with a feather.) 

But it is this overarching question that has been nagging at me since yesterday:

But Democrats quickly realized that Goodling, who worked for the RNC before joining the Justice Department, was of more use to them as a savvy operative than as an ingenue. Their questions encouraged her to paint political considerations at Justice as so pervasive that she couldn't quantify them.

How many job applicants did she block because of political leanings? "I wouldn't be able to give you a number." Did she ask aspiring civil servants whom they voted for? "I may have." Did she screen applicants for career prosecutor jobs so that Republicans landed in those positions? "I think that I probably did." How many times? "I don't think that I could have done it more than 50 times, but I don't know." She further admitted that she "occasionally" researched career applicants' political affiliations and checked their political donations.

Since Little Miss Nixon wouldn't own to to being anything but a political enforcer working on someone else's orders, here's the burning question of the day: on whose orders was she doing all this political questioning and oppo research on potential career hires at the DOJ?  Who issued the political fatwa on Democratic hires at Justice?  This is contrary to every standard under which the DOJ has operated for generations — so who issued the directive to throw justice on the compost heap in favor of seeding the DOJ with Republican partisan enforcers of the Rule of Karl?  Was it someone from Karl's Roosevelt Room political minions group?  Someone in Karl's political shop?  Was it Kyle Sampson and, if so, was this something he just pulled out of his unqualified arse or was he acting under someone else's marching orders as well?

This is about more than "the math" — it is about remaking the Department of Justice in their own, fetid, self-dealing, crony-laden image.  Sure, gutting the civil rights division and enforcing false claims of voter fraud in an effort to suppress a targeted voting population can reap benefits, but think what you could do by gutting the department and replacing all its long-time, committed, decent lawyers with political hacks on a mission to reverse years of legal precedents on purely ideological grounds, with no basis in law or fact?  And imagine that multiplied throughout the entire DOJ — not based on a sense that the laws are wrong for the public on the whole, but because they aren't advantageous for your vision of political control of the electoral and political process.  And then imagine this happening at other agencies as well (hello, GSA).

Just one teeny, tiny question:  On whose orders was the career hiring at the Department of Justice turned into a perverted partisan seeding ground?  Sunshine, please.

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com

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