To defend him against charges that he politicized DOJ hiring practices, Alberto Gonzales will have a private attorney -- on the taxpayers' dime, reports McClatchy.
The move, requested by Gonzo himself, will likely end up costing taxpayers about twice as much as a top DOJ attorney would have, according to the news service.
Gonzales is being sued by a former high-ranking Justice official, Dan Metcalfe, on behalf of a group of his law students. An internal DOJ report found that, under Gonzales, the department had favored politically conservative candidates for internships, prosecutor jobs, and immigration judgeships. The students allege that their careers were irreparably harmed as a result of being unfairly passed over for two department programs that hire law students.
A Justice Department spokesman told McClatchy the department wouldn't comment on the reasons for the approval, or on the cost to taxpayers.
And how do you like this rationale from Robert Bork Jr. -- a spokesman for Gonzales, and the son of the unsuccessful arch-conservative Supreme Court nominee -- for why Gonazles requested the private lawyer?
Gonzales, said Bork Jr., "values the work that the Department's civil attorneys do in all cases" but believes that "private counsel can often be useful where (department) officials are sued in an individual capacity, even where the suit has no substantive merit."