January 27, 2009

von Spakovsky on Civil Rights Division IG Report

Following up on this post about this report, Hans von Spakovsky has written this article for the Weekly Standard. It begins: "JUSTICE DEPARTMENT INSPECTOR GENERAL Glenn Fine, himself a political appointee in the Clinton administration, has released his report on the supposed 'illegal' political hiring at the Civil Rights Division of George W. Bush's Department of Justice. [Full disclosure: I served four years as a career lawyer in CRD during the Bush era -- apparently to little notice since the report barely mentions me in passing.] Fine issued the report just days before Attorney General nominee Eric Holder's confirmation hearing. That timing seemed aimed at providing maximum political benefit to Fine's fellow Democrats. The political left, which never seems to tire of attacking the Bush Justice Department as corrupt, greeted the report with glee. But a dispassionate read can produce only sadness -- sadness that an official report can be so thickly laced with bias, inaccuracies, gross exaggerations, and deliberate misrepresentations of both facts and the law. It is also sad that the biases of those producing the report prevented them from highlighting the blatant examples of ideologically-driven hiring that occurred at Justice when Eric Holder was the Deputy Attorney General."

It is worth noting that the report only discusses von Spakovsky "in passing" because he refused to cooperate with investigators. Report, p. 2 ("We were unable to interview several former Civil Rights Division officials no longer employed at the Department who declined our request for interviews. For example, Bradley Schlozman, who served as DAAG, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, and Acting AAG in the Division, declined our interview request through his counsel. In addition, J. Michael Wiggins, who also served as a Principal DAAG for the Civil Rights Division, and Hans von Spakovsky, former Counsel to the AAG, declined our requests to interview them as part of this investigation. Jason Torchinsky, former Counsel to the AAG, did not respond to our written request for an interview.").

I'd add that however "biased" the IG office might be, the most damning evidence in the report comes from Schlozman's (and others') own words.

UPDATE: Bob Bauer comments.

Posted by Rick Hasen at January 27, 2009 02:15 PM