Secret Gonzales Memo Shows Politics Reigned Supreme at DOJ


Contact: Drew Courtney or Josh Glasstetter at People For the American Way

Email: [email protected]

Phone Number: 202-467-4999

A confidential memo made public yesterday by the National Journal showed that Attorney General Gonzales abdicated virtually all control of hiring and firing in the Department of Justice, handing over responsibility to two inexperienced partisans. The memo dated March 2006, delegated to chief of staff and White House liaison, D. Kyle Sampson, “the authority, with the approval of the Attorney General, to take final action in matters pertaining to the appointment, employment, pay, separation, and general administration” of non-civil-service employees. Shortly thereafter, Monica Goodling stepped into the role of White House liaison.

People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas issued the following statement:

“There can no longer be any question that politics and partisanship trumped the rule of law at the Department of Justice. We all knew that the Attorney General and the White House were intent on politicizing the DOJ, but now we can see exactly how they were planning on going about it. There’s simply no other explanation for putting the White House liaison and an inexperienced Chief of Staff in charge of all personnel matters. This is more evidence that the Department of Justice is just another tool for Karl Rove and the White House political operation.

“The fact that this memo had to be issued confidentially makes it clear that Alberto Gonzales knew he had something to hide. It seems as if there’s no end to the lengths he will go to mislead the American people. He has shown complete disrespect for Congress, willful ignorance of crucial issues, and a complete lack of interest in seriously fulfilling his role as the people’s lawyer. It’s long past time for him to go.”