In the Tuesday, July 29, 2008 electronic edition of the New York Times appears an article written by Eric Lichtblau entitled, “Report Faults Aides in Hiring at Justice Department." The article reads, in pertinent part, as follows:
“Senior aides to former Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales broke Civil Service laws by using politics to guide their hiring decisions, picking less-qualified applicants for important nonpolitical positions, slowing the hiring process at critical times and damaging the department’s credibility, an internal report concluded on Monday.”
The remainder of the article may be viewed at the following link: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/29/washington/29justice.html?th&emc=th. We ordinarily do not highlight or draw attention to articles critical of one political party in an effort to avoid being viewed as partisan, and consistent with our philosophy that both parties are responsible for the current state of affairs in our nation, and that both need to improve. However, there is one line in this article which we thought deserved specific examination and consideration.
We should take some comfort in the fact that the investigation was conducted, and the report generated, by the Justice Department’s Inspector General and its Internal Ethics Office. Furthermore, to his credit, the current Attorney General, Michael B. Mukasey, who replaced Mr. Gonzales, said in a statement released following the disclosure of the report, that he was “of course disturbed by the findings that improper political considerations were used in hiring decisions relating to some career employees.” He also stated that he would take steps to ensure that such conduct did not occur again.
However, what caught our attention was the response of a White House spokesman, Tony Fratto, who said of Monday’s report, “There really is not a lot new here.” Sad but true, Mr. Fratto. Sad but true.
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