Remember when I complained that DOJ IG had concluded it could do nothing to punish Mike Elston and Esther McDonald? Well, CREW’s not satisied with that, so they’re lodging complaints in all the states in which the two alleged law-breakers have bar memberships.

Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed bar complaints against former Department of Justice officials Michael J. Elston and Esther Slater McDonald. CREW based its complaint on the report recently released by the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Office of Inspector General and Office of Professional Responsibility, An Investigation of Allegations of Politicized Hiring in the Department of Justice Honors Program and Summer Law Intern Program (DOJ Report).

According to the DOJ Report, Mr. Elston, formerly Chief of Staff and Counselor to Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty, and Ms. McDonald, formerly Counsel to Acting Associate Attorney General William Mercer, violated federal law and DOJ policy by making hiring decisions based on political and ideological affiliations. Both Ms. McDonald and Mr. Elston rejected applicants who they believed to be liberal or who had worked for Democrats.

Mr. Elston is a member of the Virginia, Kansas, Illinois and Missouri state bars and Ms. McDonald is a member of the District of Columbia and Virginia bars. CREW filed its complaints, with the DOJ Report attached, against Ms. McDonald in the District of Columbia and the complaint against Mr. Elston in Virginia, but sent copies to the other jurisdictions.

At the very least, one would hope this would embarrass the big corporate firms these two alleged law-breakers work for. After all, it appears that Alberto Gonzales still has only temporary employment. If all these hacks found themselves unemployable because of what they did, that’d be a start.



Marcy Wheeler aka Emptywheel is an American journalist whose reporting specializes in security and civil liberties.