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Every Single One’ Fallout: Justice Dept. in Turmoil From PJMedia Series

What’s happened up until now, and what internal leaks say about what’s coming. Hint: jobs may now be at stake. (This is the twelfth of a series of articles about the Justice Department's hiring practices since President Obama took office. Read parts one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, and eleven.)

by
David Steinberg

Bio

September 26, 2011 - 12:00 am

We cannot know for sure if Charlie Savage read Adams’ above recommendation, but he followed through on May 31, 2011, with an article covering the resumes of the new hires. Interestingly, the National Law Journal took Adams’ plea for an investigation to heart, and they performed one as well! They published a report on the resumes on May 30, 2011.

Two reports in two days. Savage mentioned the following in his piece:

The New York Times analyzed the résumés — obtained via the Freedom of Information Act — of successful applicants to the division’s voting rights, employment discrimination, and appellate sections.

You’ve likely already noticed what stinks to heaven about this, but for the sake of placing it in writing: we filed our FOIA in Spring 2010, and it was not even partially complied with until early May 2011. But little did we know — at the same time we were fighting a legal battle — that both the New York Times and the National Law Journal had made the exact same FOIA requests! Which were also complied with in … May 2011.

Two possibilities:

1) Both left-leaning organizations caught wind of our FOIA, and decided to file the exact same FOIA to get to the bottom of this rumored lefty hiring spree. Perhaps they fought the same almost year-long battle for compliance. (Note: I call this a “possibility” in that the standard model of particle physics would not prevent it from occurring.)

2) The FOIA referred to in Savage’s article above was actually our FOIA. The DOJ voluntarily released the resumes to the New York Times and the National Law Journal at the same time they were released to us so that the two left-leaning organizations could offer an opposing viewpoint to our investigation.

But this possibility only holds water if the two organizations actually were shameless enough to report that all was well after viewing the left-wing resumes. Did that happen? Hit it, Charlie:

In Shift, Justice Department is Hiring Lawyers With Civil Rights Backgrounds

Under the Obama administration, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division has reversed a pattern of systematically hiring conservative lawyers with little experience in civil rights, the practice that caused a scandal over politicization during the Bush administration.

Instead, newly disclosed documents show, the lawyers hired over the past two years at the division have been far more likely to have civil rights backgrounds — and to have ties to traditional civil rights organizations with liberal reputations, like the American Civil Liberties Union or the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

The release of the documents came as a House Judiciary subcommittee prepared to hold its first oversight hearing, on Wednesday, on the Civil Rights Division since Republicans regained the House. It also comes against the backdrop of efforts by conservative activists and media outlets to throw back at the Obama administration the charges of politicizing the Justice Department that were made against the Bush administration.

Which conservative media outlets? Tell us!

Savage and the National Law Journal actually did manage to spin a clear and severe violation of the Civil Service Reform Act into the Carville-ian: “Bravo for hiring lawyers with a civil-rights background.” (Note: the same defense later employed by the DOJ itself. Keep reading).

So we know what Savage and the National Law Journal think. Forgive us for feeling slighted, but we want to know about everyone else: What do the Boston Globe, the rest of the MSM that breathlessly parroted the findings of Savage’s original article, and the Pulitzer committee think of our objectively superior, unimpeachable work?

PJMedia readers will get that answer. Stay tuned.

The Spin, the Turmoil, and the Even Bigger Reveal

Our investigation has not yet resulted in an inspector general investigation, group resignations, or a Little League trophy to show at the White House Correspondents Dinner, but we are getting results.

As a direct follow-up to “Every Single One,” Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) submitted a letter to Eric Holder on August 10 demanding answers regarding our published proof of an ideological litmus test. Grassley did not go ignored: Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich responded on September 8. The key passage:

Your letter questions whether the Division has nonetheless considered the actual or perceived political or ideological affiliations of applicants for career positions and thereby reverted to the politicized approach in hiring that was documented in the 2008 Report. We can assure you unequivocally that it has not done so. The Division does not take into account actual or perceived political or ideological affiliations in the career hiring process — much less inquire into applicants’ political or ideological affiliations as occurred during the period examined in the 2008 Report and documented in the Report. The blog postings referenced in your letter posit that working at certain organizations, belonging to certain groups, participating in certain activities in law school, or even having a certain sexual orientation necessarily reflects a particular political or ideological affiliation, and therefore establishes that hiring decisions were made based on that perceived affiliation. That is not the case. As would any responsible employer, the Division places a high value on an applicant’s relevant experience in the field, as well as demonstrated commitment to full and fair enforcement of civil rights laws, when making hiring decisions. The examples of prior employment cited in these blog posts and your letter — noting, for example, that numerous new hires for the Civil Rights Division had previously worked for civil rights organizations — reflect nothing more than that. (Emphasis added)

The two defenses as laid out in this paragraph from Weich are important, as they define the tactics which the DOJ has selected to defend themselves publicly, and — perhaps eventually — legally. They are: 1) Despite appearances, we did not inquire about political affiliation. 2) The 113 lawyers hired happen to be leftists because only leftists care about civil rights. Charlie Savage agrees.

These two arguments noted in this paragraph were parroted by Main Justice, a site run by Mary Jacoby that bills itself as “an independent news organization and not part of the U.S. government,” and which exists to cover insider news about the DOJ. In reality, Main Justice has appeared closer to being a DOJ mouthpiece.

Following the money leads to some circumstantial evidence: Eric Holder’s former law firm Covington & Burling buys advertising on the site. And a DOJ employee who wishes to remain anonymous tells PJMedia: “When Jacoby is reporting it, Jacoby is hearing it from a DOJ official.”

Main Justice’s role as mouthpiece is evident in the article “Behind Grassley’s Attack on Civil Right Division Hiring, Some Familiar Faces”:

Their series is entitled, “Every Single One,” as in “every single one” of the new hires is a liberal. Their research found the new lawyers have worked for organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union. It apparently formed the basis of Grassley’s assertion in a congressional hearing earlier this week that the Civil Rights Division in the Obama era “has hired 96 liberals and zero conservatives.”

The punch line here is, of course, that Adams and Von Spakovsky are the ones connected to improperly politicized hiring inside the division.

Heritage Foundation fellow Von Spakovsky was a political appointee in the division when it ran amok during the Bush administration hiring career attorneys based on their conservative ideology, and driving out veteran lawyers perceived to be too liberal.

The stumbling block for Grassley (and Adams and Von Spakovsky) is that the historical mission of the Civil Rights Division — ensuring full voting, housing and other rights for minorities who have faced documented discrimination — is inherently a liberal mission.

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