"Justice Department policy and federal law prohibit the department from considering political affiliation, among other things, in deciding to hire or not hire an individual applying for a career position at the department, including the position of assistant U.S. attorney," Boyd said.
The fired attorneys scandal, which has resulted in numerous members of Congress calling for Attorney General Gonzales to resign, has boiled over as more details have come out about the firings.
After hearing about Goodling's involvement of hiring career line attorneys at the Justice Department, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said, "If true, these allegations would show an unprecedented insertion of politics into U.S. attorneys offices, even at the entry level, which has always been non-political."
Schumer is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which, along with its counterpart, the House Judiciary Committee, continues to investigate why the eight U.S. attorneys were fired.
At least three of the eight prosecutors who were fired were conducting ongoing public corruption investigations. In documents recently released by the House Judiciary Committee, the fired U.S. attorneys detail their individual cases.
The former U.S. attorney in Seattle, John McKay, described an August 2006 meeting he had at the White House, saying, "I was aware that the White House counsel's office had heard or believed that I had 'mishandled' the 2004 governor's election in Washington state by not seeking indictments for election fraud, voter fraud or other federal crimes."
McKay also wrote, "This meeting lasted approximately 45 minutes, and began with Mr. Kelley asking me why 'Republicans in the state of Washington' were upset with me."
Six of the eight fired U.S. attorneys have testified before Congress, and statements released Wednesday supplemented their original testimony.
The additional information provides more detail on those attorneys' interactions with officials at Justice Department headquarters. Former San Diego U.S. attorney Carol Lam told the committee, "I called DAG [Deputy Attorney General Paul] McNulty to inquire why I was being asked to resign. He responded that he wanted some time to think about how to answer that question because he didn't want to give me an answer 'that would lead' me down the wrong route ... Mr. McNulty never responded to my question."
The documents from the former U.S. attorneys also flesh out allegations that Mike Elston, a top aide to McNulty — the second-highest ranking Justice Department official — threatened the former prosecutors before their congressional testimony.
"Their reaction was fairly uniform and it was that they were offended and viewed the statements made by Elston as a threat. One remarked, 'What's next? A horse head in the bed?' I think we all viewed the 'threat' to be that they would speak publicly about that which they had already spoken privately with senators," wrote ousted Arkansas U.S. attorney Bud Cummins.
Paul Charlton, former U.S. attorney in Arizona, echoed Cummins' statement. "I received a call from Mike Elston, chief of staff to the DAG [Deputy Attorney General]. In that conversation I believe that Elston was offering me a quie pro quo aggreement: my silence in exchange for the attorney general's."