Congress widens probe of Justice Department

Congress sought cooperation from one Justice Department official and prepared to put the agency’s former White House liaison under oath in a widening investigation into the politics of Justice Department decision-making.

The Senate Judiciary Committee asked Bradley Schlozman, a former senior civil rights attorney and U.S. attorney, to speak with investigators. The Justice Department, meanwhile, said it wouldn’t try to prevent Congress from granting immunity to White House liaison Monica Goodling if she testifies before a committee.

Lawmakers want to talk to Schlozman and Goodling as part of an inquiry into whether the department played politics with the hiring and firing of department officials. The inquiry began as a question about whether U.S. attorneys — presidential appointees who serve as the top federal law enforcement officials in their state districts — were fired for political reasons.

It has grown, however, into an investigation of whether the agency let politics affect criminal investigations and whether officials made employment decisions for political reasons.

Lawmakers want to question Schlozman, who now works for the Executive Office for United States Attorneys, about a voter fraud lawsuit he filed against Missouri in November 2005.

Committee members said they wanted to know whether U.S. Attorney Todd Graves of Kansas City, Mo., was forced out for not endorsing that lawsuit, which was ultimately dismissed. Graves resigned from his post in March 2006 and Schlozman replaced him as interim U.S. attorney.

Five days before the November 2006 election, Schlozman filed another lawsuit, this time accusing members of a liberal activist group of voter registration fraud. Justice Department policy discourages such lawsuits so close to the election.

"The committee would benefit from hearing directly from you in order to gain a better understanding of the role voter fraud may have played in the administration’s decisions to retain or remove certain U.S. attorneys," Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., wrote in a letter co-signed by the committee’s top Republican, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania.

The letter asked Schlozman to voluntarily submit to interviews and testimony and provide documents to the committee.

Dean Boyd, a Justice Department spokesman, said politics do not influence decisions about whether to bring a case.

"The Justice Department brings its civil actions and criminal prosecutions based on evidence, not on politics," Boyd said. "We expect U.S. Attorneys to bring election and voter fraud cases where evidence of such fraud exists."

The Justice Department is conducting an internal review of the firings of U.S. attorneys and other decisions. As part of that investigation, the agency is reviewing whether Goodling sought to place Republicans as front-line prosecutors in state U.S. attorney districts.

Lawmakers want to question Goodling but, without a promise of immunity, she has refused. In a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., the department said it would prefer not to see an immunity deal.

"However, we understand the committee’s interest in obtaining Ms. Goodling’s testimony," the letter said. "Therefore, after balancing the significant public interest against the impact of the committee’s actions on our ongoing investigation, we will not raise an objection or seek a deferral."

The letter was signed by Inspector General Glenn Fine and H. Marshall Jarrett, counsel to the Office of Professional Responsibility.

Committee lawyers must now send an immunity request to a federal judge for approval. Once that deal is approved, Goodling would face a contempt order if she refused to testify. Her lawyer, John M. Dowd, said Monday she would testify under such a deal.

"She’ll be honest and clear and she’ll work very hard to answer all questions," Dowd said.

Conyers said he would move quickly to ask a judge to approve the immunity deal and schedule a hearing.

A congressional aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity because no agreement on testimony had been reached, said lawmakers were planning to hold a hearing as early as next week and hoped to secure testimony from Schlozman.


Associated Press writer Sam Hananel contributed to this report.


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  1. geyser

    My wife gets on me saying I only look at the Bad side of any subject, that really isn’t true. When I worked it was for One Company that lasted Twenty-five years, (I’m now disabled) My Boss taught me one valuable lesson. He said, when looking at a project, a worker or any piece of paper, have in mind there is a mistake somewhere.
    I always used that lesson evey day on the job. Only once did I use it doing the opposite. I did it that way looking at President Bush. I wanted to find something Good that either he did or came out that way. I failed miserably.
    Anything he started, any Bill he approved, any Appointment he chose, any Speech he made, any Visit anywhere, Not one thing stood out deserving praise. There wasn’t a thing worthy of any mention except to ridicule or play down. In the Six years of being in office, he wrote nothing, no Book, no Statement, nothing that could show any intelligence. Even his vocabulary is limited, he makes up words, he mumbles over parts of Speeches, at best, his vocabulary is at High School level.
    President Bush since appointed to the Office of President, has been one embarrassment after another. It will be many years before America can reestablish her greatness and integrity that has been wasted away by one person seeking immortality, by any means possible.

    Taking One Day at a Time

  2. Razor

    “It will be many years before America can restablish her greatness and Integrity that has been wasted away by one person seeking immortality, by any means possible”.

    Thought provoking words Geyser. All kinds of facts come to mind and try to jell into rational possibilities. What is possible, what is likely, and what is reality. To begin regaining those virtues we have to stop and change course and that won’t happen anytime soon. The MIC is in bed with the CIC and Fellow Bed Buddies VEEP and Bucky and a cast of thousands like minded demons.
    I can’t honestly see these thieves ever giving up the gravy train they have engineered. It could never happen again for another few decades, so they are going for it while they can. In my humble opinion, military intervention and occupation is not going to stop untill the well is sucked dry and non-refillable. And the USA will morph into one with Mexico and Canada.

    No more immigration issues. No more cash crunch.
    As much as I try to be optimistic, I can’t believe in fairy tales, only the facts and the present reality. This hour in our history will be made required study in future lessons. It will be a landmark used with comparison to the third reich atrocities and the Huns.

    People, the elites on snob hill are playing us like a fine violin. All this posturing and vetoing and grandstanding is bullshit. The sooner we all see reality and drop the denial that we have lost our country, the sooner a revolution can get some traction. The word “Intent” says volumes about motives and truth / fiction.

    Try to visulize, if you can, a good ending for the nitemare that GHW and GW have tortured the country of Iraq with the past 17 years. Can’t do it can you? Its because it is pure evil folks, you won’t see anything worse than downtown Bagdad, unless you look at Palistine or Lebanon or most any third world country that American Intervention has helped them to freedom and liberty, by God! Millions killed, maimed,raped,broken and lost. And Israel cries that they are threatened and terrorized by thier neighbors but when reality is examined, It is Israel who is terrorizing and occupying others land. Just like the US terrorizing and occupying anothers land. Denial by americans that were screwed is worsening our chances of ever returning to what we had. Logic and common sense have been methodically desenticised from the american thought process by mind conditioning via TV and Newspapers. This is insanity and it just continues with little resistence from the doomed sheeples. There is no limit to the amount americans ignore or deny as being true, saying ” There can’t be any goverment coverup with 911″ Yeah, right. And Bush has a soul. HaHa..BARhahjah.