As anticipated, the Department of Justice internal probe into the conduct of former Civil Rights Division senior lawyer and former U.S. Attorney in Kansas City Brad Schlozman concludes that he repeatedly broke the law, making partisan politics the lodestar for critical decisions he took on behalf of the Justice Department in hiring and other matters. It also finds that he lied to Congress about all of this. The report, prepared as a joint effort by the Inspector General and Office of Professional Responsibility, describes Schlozman’s histrionic conduct in some detail and suggests that his core strategy was to build a secret “team” of initiates within Justice who would run the show. The “team” was to be composed of politically engaged Republicans active in the Federalist Society. Here’s a passage from an email that Schlozman sent one of his henchmen:
Just between you and me, we hired another member of “the team” yesterday. And still another ideological comrade will be starting in one month. So we are making progress.
These ideologues were recruited and placed in career positions throughout the Justice Department as part of a conscious policy of partisan entrenchment. Which shows that Eric Holder will have his work cut out for him.
All of this occurred while the Civil Rights Division abandoned its historical mission of enforcement of the civil right laws, engaging instead in partisan shenanigans designed to disadvantage the minority groups that legislation was supposed to protect. The report refers the matter to the U.S. Attorney in Washington, D.C., for a criminal investigation and prosecution, and the Bush-appointed U.S. attorney declined to take enforcement action. This makes for a perfect track record for the Bush Justice Department in refusing to bring charges relating to the criminal conduct of Bush appointees.
The announcement comes after another internal probe which concluded that the Bush Justice Department had U.S. marshals act as security for
favored reporters at Fox News certain announcers for Fox Sports, lending further credence to charges that Fox is treated as a public affairs adjunct of the Bush Administration. As the New York Times reported today:
Investigators found that the lawyer, Joseph Band, also arranged for deputy marshals to provide vehicle escorts to Fox Sports announcers at two World Series games in 2007, and an N.F.L. playoff game and the Super Bowl in 2008. The report identified the broadcasters as Tim McCarver, Joe Buck and Troy Aikman.
The report found that Band, whose job at the Marshals Service’s Office of General Counsel included advising employees on “matters of ethics and integrity,” repeatedly committed “ethical violations” in using federal resources for personal business and that he “lacked candor” when questioned by investigators.