The Work

January 14, 2009 2:35 PM

Internal Report: Racial and Political Bias at Justice Department

Posted by Brian Baxter

Bradley Schlozman

Sibling publication Legal Times reports that the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) and Office of the Inspector General (OIG) have released a 67-page report into allegations of politicized hiring and personnel practices in the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.

The findings cast a particularly harsh light on Bradley Schlozman (right), a former principal deputy attorney general in the Civil Rights Division whom the OPR and OIG accuse of racial and political bias in the three years in which he controlled employment decisions for entry-level government lawyers.

In their report, investigators cite e-mails written by Schlozman, as well as interviews with more than 120 current and former Justice Department employees. Among the allegations: that Schlozman preferred what he called RTA's or "right-thinking Americans" over prospective applicants he felt adhered to "Mao's little red book." The report also states that Schlozman labeled liberal lawyers "commies" and "pinkos" whom he did not consider "real Americans," and of transferring one subordinate because the lawyer allegedly wrote in "ebonics."

Schlozman led the civil rights division from 2003 until 2007 when he was appointed interim U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri after Todd Graves was forced out in a Main Justice purge of several U.S. attorneys. (Graves is now a name partner at Graves Bartle Marcus & Garrett in Kansas City, Mo.)

The subsequent scandal brought Schlozman before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2007 where he testified that political affiliations never made their way into his hiring decisions. In the 67-page report released on Tuesday, Inspector General Glenn Fine and OPR chief Marshall Jarrett suggested that Schlozman may have perjured himself by making that claim.

The OPR-OIG report states that in March 2008 investigators referred their findings in the matter to the U.S. attorney's office for the District of Columbia for a decision about whether to pursue criminal charges against Schlozman. But while Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr called the OIG-OPR report "troubling" in a statement released on Tuesday, the U.S. attorney's office declined to prosecute Schlozman on January 9.

Schlozman, who resigned from the Justice Department in August 2007, previously worked in the U.S. Supreme Court and appellate litigation practice at Howrey in Washington, D.C. He's now employed in an of counsel capacity with Wichita's Hinkle Elkouri where he practices employment and tax law.

Schlozman's attorney, Alston & Bird litigation and government investigations partner William Jordan, blasted the OIG-OPR report as biased in an e-mailed statement.

"[Schlozman] hired individuals from across the political and ideological spectrum based upon their academic records, respect for the rule of law, and their ability to separate personal views from the enforcement activities of the Civil Rights Division," Jordan said in the statement. "[T]he fact that the OIG refuses to put the information that Mr. Schlozman provided to the government in its report--as well as the fact that he took and passed a polygraph exam with flying colors--shows how flawed, incomplete, and biased its report truly is."

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