In a letter
today, the Justice Department's Inspector General and head counsel for the Office of Professional Responsibility notified the Senate Judiciary Committee that their joint probe into the U.S. attorney firings had expanded to include a broad array of allegations "regarding improper political or other considerations in hiring decisions within the Department of Justice."
The expansion was first reported
last week in the wake of Monica Goodling's testimony, but it was unclear just how wide a net investigators had cast. The letter
"Among the issues that we intend to investigate are allegations regarding Monica Goodling's and others' actions in the DoJ hiring and personnel decisions; allegations concerning hiring for the DoJ Honors Program and Summer Law Intern Program; and allegations concerning hiring practices in the DoJ Civil Rights Division."
Goodling admitted last week to improperly taking political considerations into account in the hiring of assistant U.S. attorneys, immigration judges and appointments to the Board of Immigration Appeals. But the IG and OPR's investigation appears to go far beyond Goodling.
Allegations concerning political hiring for the Honors Program -- the Department's historically rigorous program for hiring entry-level lawyers -- have centered on Michael Elston, the chief of staff to the deputy attorney general. A group of anonymous Justice Department employees raised alarms
with Congress last month, complaining that Elston rejected hundreds of potential applicants to the program last year seemingly based on their political backgrounds.
And Goodling also hasn't been implicated in allegedly political hiring practices in the Department's Civil Rights Division. Those allegations have centered on Bradley Schlozman, the former #2 at the division, who has been accused
of recruiting Republicans for career spots and then asking them to scrub
mentions of their GOP bona fides from their resumes. Schlozman subsequently was appointed as an interim U.S. attorney in Kansas City -- and returned to main Justice to work in the Executive Office of United States Attorneys after he was replaced by a Senate-confirmed U.S. attorney. He's scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee this coming Tuesday.
So it appears that the DoJ's internal investigation has a lot of ground to cover. The report will be made public
upon its completion.