At the core of the complex of scandals swirling around the Department of Justice now is a process of Gleichschaltung, namely a careful review of career staff to purge all those considered not sufficiently loyal to the Republican Party and George W. Bush. While this process seems to have gone on all over the Justice Department, most of the information which has been collected so far goes to the Civil Rights Division and to the Republican Party operative who was placed in charge of it, Bradley Schlozman, or as Kyle Sampson calls him in email traffic, “the Schloz.” Carol Leonnig has an excellent article in today’s Washington_Post detailing claims that Schlozman,
repeatedly questioned the loyalty of his underlings to President Bush and the Republican Party during his tenure as acting assistant attorney general for civil rights.
Schlozman raised the question of partisan politics bluntly in the fall of 2004, they said, when asking appellate supervisors about the “loyalty” of division lawyer Angela Miller, who had once clerked for David. B. Sentelle, a conservative federal appeals judge. He told Miller’s bosses that he learned that she voted for McCain in the 2004 Republican primary and asked, “Can we still trust her?”
He also warned section chief Diana Flynn that he would be keeping an eye on the
legal work of another career lawyer who “didn’t even vote for Bush,” according to colleagues who said they heard Flynn describe the exchange. Miller told several of the colleagues that she considered Schlozman’s remarks a form of intimidation, and started looking for another job, the lawyers said.
The article goes on to detail an incident when even a lawyer in a late term of pregnancy was reassigned for fear of political disloyalty, disregarding her high performance ratings. Under the stewardship of Schlozman and von Spakovsky, the Civil Rights Division was transformed – with a significant part of its minority staff being driven out, and replaced with loyal partisan functionaries. But the Post article shows that even being a loyal Republican was not enough for Schlozman. Even voting for Bush was not enough. They needed to be engaged political zealots in all they did. Like Schlozman and von Spakovsky.
Schlozman is said to have defended his conduct by saying that he wanted to surround himself with “good Americans.” Evidently the principal test for being a “good American” was demonstrated political fidelity to the GOP, to George W. Bush and to Karl Rove. After ravaging the Civil Rights Division, Schlozman went out to the Kansas City as the U.S. Attorney, and proceeded to do much the same thing. He left a path of ethical destruction everywhere he went.
The Washington Post’s Andrew Cohen reviews the Leonnig article and a slew of others and asks the patently obvious question: “Why does Bradley Schlozman still have a job at the Justice Department? Why are taxpayers still funding his professional career despite a growing body of evidence that suggests he has brought nothing but shame and scandal and rank partisanship to the department?” The answer, of course, is that he hasn’t done a thing that Alberto Gonzales and Karl Rove didn’t want him to do. And yes, Gonzo is still the Attorney General. Do you want evidence of how deep, how festering the corruption at the Justice Department is today? Brad Schlozman is there, and he’s been promoted – so now he can influence all of the U.S. attorney’s offices, across the country.
Evan Magruder contributed to this post.