Wednesday, August 06, 2008

DOJ Subpoenas its own

Talking Points Memo

Lifting the veil on one of the two remaining Justice Department OIG reports, Murray Waas for the Huffington Post reports that Hans von Spakovsky, among other former Justice Department lawyers, has been subpoenaed by the OIG to testify about politicization of the Civil Rights Division.

Investigators for the Inspector General have also asked whether [Brad] Schlozman, while an interim U.S. attorney in Missouri, brought certain actions and even a voting fraud indictment for political ends, according to witnesses questioned by the investigators. But it is unclear whether the grand jury is going to hear testimony on that issue as well.

One person who has been subpoenaed before the grand jury, sources said, was Hans von Spakovsky, who as a former counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights was a top aide to Schlozman.

As Waas points out in the article, the DOJ forcing former members of its own ranks to testify is an "extraordinary step."

Both Schlozman and Spakovsky are being investigated for violating civil service laws in making hiring decisions based on political affiliation.

Two previous reports by the OIG have both found that hirings were politicized at various points at the Justice Department. The first report showed the politicization of the Attorney General's Honors Program, while the second, released last week, focused on the politicized hiring surrounding Monica Goodling and others at the DOJ.

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Murray Waas, HuffPo:

During his tenure in the Civil Rights Division, career employees charged that Schlozman disregarded longstanding voting rights law to electorally favor Republicans over Democrats.

Joseph Rich, who was chief of the voting rights section of the Civil Rights Division under Schlozman, told the Boston Globe: "Schlozman was reshaping the Civil Rights Division. Schlozman didn't know anything about voting law. . . . All he knew is he wanted to be sure that the Republicans were going to win." [more from Mr. Rich]

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