As we reported earlier, in an apparent attempt at payback for our aggressive reporting on the US Attorney firing scandal, the DOJ Public Affairs Office removed TPMmuckraker from its press list and has followed up with a series of comical rationales for the banning — the best of which is that DOJ budget cuts make it impossible for the DOJ to afford the emails.
Since we spoke to you last, we submitted a FOIA request asking for records relevant to our banning or discussion of TPM or its lead reporters. We asked for an expedited process on the basis that not being discriminated against by the DOJ is a timely and pressing issue for our continuing reportage. We got the rejection on that front yesterday.
Today before the House Judiciary Committee Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) asked Attorney General Mukasey about why TPM had been banned. And his basic answer was: tough luck. You can see the details and video here.
Now, as we explained earlier, there are certainly more onerous forms of government harassment than getting kicked off a press list. But this almost comically juvenile stunt is a very telling example that the kind of rank politicization of the department — our reporting of which seems to have gotten us into this position — is alive and well at DOJ. And it does hamper our ability to inform you about what is happening at DOJ as Attorney General Mukasey takes over from the disgraced tenure of his predecessor.