A former Justice Department official discriminated against liberal job applicants at the department and then made false statements to Congress on the matter, according to a Justice Department report released Tuesday.
The probe, conducted by two watchdog groups within the department, reviewed "allegations that political or ideological affiliations were considered in hiring, transferring and assigning cases to career attorneys in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice," specifically under former DOJ official Bradley Schlozman, who held an interim post at the head of the division.
According to the report, Schlozman circumvented many of his colleagues and arranged the hiring of lesser-qualified applicants based on their conservative political ideology.
The jobs involved were not political appointments but career positions for which candidates, according to federal law and guidelines, are to be selected for their qualifications, not their political or ideological leanings.
In one Jan. 30, 2004, e-mail, Schlozman declined a lunch invitation from a colleague, citing a previous commitment to interview "some lefty who we'll never hire."
In a March 5, 2004, message, he referred to potential hires in another division of the department as "commies" and said that "as long as I'm here, adherents of Mao's little red book need not apply."
The report notes that Department of Justice officials interviewed as part of the investigation said Schlozman believed many career employees at the departments were holdovers from prior administrations and not, as Schlozman reportedly said, "on the team." He wanted to hire "real Americans," a term those interviewed said Schlozman used "when referring to political conservatives."
Additionally, in a February 2006 voice mail Schlozman left for a colleague, he said that in hiring volunteer interns, experience relevant to the job should not always work in the candidate's favor.
"[W]hen we start asking, 'What is your commitment to civil rights? ... [H]ow do you prove that? Usually by membership in some crazy liberal organization or by some participation in some crazy cause ? Look, look at my resume -- I didn't have any demonstrated commitment, but I care about the issues. So, I mean, I just want to make sure we don't start confining ourselves to, you know, politburo members because they happen to be a member of some, you know, psychopathic left-wing organization designed to overthrow the government."
After their review of e-mails and other messages from Schlozman and interviews with his former colleagues, the investigators found that he "favored applicants with conservative political or ideological affiliations and disfavored applicants with civil rights or human rights experience whom he considered to be overly liberal."
In addition, he winnowed down the applicant pool for the prestigious jobs before allowing section chiefs in his division to review resumes, the report concluded.
Schlozman testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2007, and under questioning from lawmakers, he said that he "did not" violate government statutes, which state that a candidate's political ideology cannot be considered when hiring for a so-called career position.
Based on Schlozman's statements during the hearing and his written responses to lawmakers' questions, investigators concluded that he was not truthful in his testimony.