The Justice Department first came under fire last year when questions were raised about whether nine U.S. Attorneys were fired for political reasons. Further investigations revealed broader problems at the department, including how top political officials had screened out applicants for career positions who had more liberal affiliations and politics.
So far, the department's inspector general has issued two reports on the politicization at the department. They found that Goodling, Elston and McDonald violated the law in vetting candidates for career positions based on their political allegiences and affiliations.
Lawsuits seeking to hold top officials civilly liable for acts done during their tenure in government often face difficultly in court, such as the recent case seeking to hold top military officials including former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld accountable for the abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. But if successful, the lawsuit may be the only legal consequences these officials face. Earlier this week Attorney General Michael Mukasey said the feds will not prosecute individuals involved in the Justice Department scandal.