Holder: “I Will Review That Determination” Not To Prosecute Schlozman

January 15, 2009 7:19 a.m.

Not that it’s likely, but Brad Schlozman may want to hope that Eric Holder’s confirmation somehow gets derailed.

That’s because Holder just told the Senate Judiciary committee that he wants to reconsider the Bush Justice Department’s curious decision not to bring criminal charges against Schlozman, a former top department official who was found by a DOJ investigation to have politicized hiring decisions, then lied about it to Congress in an effort to cover it up.

Asked about the issue moments ago by Sen. Dianne Feinstein — one of the lawmakers to whom Schlozman was found to have given an untruthful answer during testimony — Holder declared: “I want to know why the determination was made not to pursue charges.”

Here’s his answer in full:

I understand that prosecutors in the US attorney’s office in DC — again, just based on the press reports, actually reviewed the report and then made a prosecutive determination.

If I am fortunate enough to be confirmed as Attorney General, I will indicate to you that I will review that determination. I don’t know all the facts of the case, but given the findings in the Inspector General’s report that are consistent with what you have said, I want to know why the determination was made not to pursue charges, criminal charges.

Asked by Feinstein about the report’s findings more broadly, Holder responded:

I have not had a chance to read the report, Senator, and yet I have read the news accounts of it. What’s contained in the report is very disturbing. The notion that the Justice Department would ever take into account a person’s political affiliation or political beliefs in making hiring decisions is antithetical to everything the department stands for and everything I’m familiar with.

I served very proudly in the Justice Department, under Republican Attorneys General, Democratic Attorneys General, and it was never a thought given to what your party affiliation was, what your political beliefs were in hiring, in promotion decisions. What we have seen in that report I think is aberrant, but is also I think one of the major tasks the next Attorney General is going to have to do. You have to reverse that.

So we may not have seen the last word on this.

Late Update:
Here’s video of the exchange between Feinstein and Holder about Schlozman:

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