Thursday, May 24, 2007

Monica's Own Monica Problem


In Alberto Gonzales's Justice Department, Democrats and liberals who were denied civil service jobs were said to have a "Monica Problem."

After yesterday's House Judiciary Committee hearing, the Justice Department has a Monica Problem of its own.

The source of the metastasizing Monica Problem (not to be confused with the previous president's Monica Problem) is Monica Goodling, a graduate of Pat Robertson's law school who was the Justice Department's enforcer of partisan purity until she resigned and investigations began. In a full day of testimony, she accused the No. 2 Justice official of giving false testimony to Congress, implied that Gonzales himself had improperly tried to influence her testimony, and generally described Gonzales's Justice Department as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Republican National Committee....


Democrats quickly realized that Goodling, who worked for the RNC before joining the Justice Department, was of more use to them as a savvy operative than as an ingenue. Their questions encouraged her to paint political considerations at Justice as so pervasive that she couldn't quantify them.

How many job applicants did she block because of political leanings? "I wouldn't be able to give you a number." Did she ask aspiring civil servants whom they voted for? "I may have." Did she screen applicants for career prosecutor jobs so that Republicans landed in those positions? "I think that I probably did." How many times? "I don't think that I could have done it more than 50 times, but I don't know." She further admitted that she "occasionally" researched career applicants' political affiliations and checked their political donations.

Legally, this could all add up to a major Monica Problem for Goodling, who brought three high-priced lawyers with her to the hearing. "I intend to establish a legal defense fund at some point," she told the committee....

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