Virginia Bar Continues Whitewash of DOJ Misconduct

By Andrew Kreig / Project Director

In a typical whitewash of misconduct by top officials, Virginia Bar Association issued merely a reprimand to a former Bush Department of Justice executive who lied about whether she used improper political criteria to hire the Department's attorneys. Alabama-based legal commentator Roger Shuler draws these apt lessons from what he calls “the farcical outcome” of the Virginia Bar's investigation of Monica Goodling, the DOJ's former principal deputy director of public affairs:

President Barack Obama might have secured a sense of justice regarding Osama bin Laden, but Americans should be deeply concerned about the administration's efforts to provide cover for Bush-era bad actors. State bar associations, in too many cases, are incapable of policing rogue lawyers -- and the public should have little, if any, confidence in these organizations.

I have reached similar conclusions through the years in such cases, including my 1985 column, “The Power of Attorneys” about a lawyer permitted by Connecticut State Bar authorities to practice his specialty of matrimonial law right up to the time all of his appeals ended for a felony conviction and he was imprisoned at the state's maximum security prison.  His crime?  Murdering his wife. The Yale Law School ethics expert Geoffrey Hazard told me back then that lawyer-discipline is hampered by “The Good Ol’ Joe Syndrome.”  Hazard, the nation’s most eminent expert on lawyer ethics during his lifetime, told me that discipline panels instinctively believe that “good ol’ Joe” couldn’t really be a bad person or lawyer because he never acted that way around them.

Flash forward to today. As part of the Justice Department’s effort to create “loyal Bushie” prosecutors, Goodling hired vast numbers of Justice Department lawyers because of their Republican politics, enabling them to obtain powerful career positions and foreclosing that opportunity for Democrats or others not connected or motivated by partisan politics. Goodling became notorious for, among other reasons, telling a Senate Judiciary Committee oversight panel that she had sworn allegiance to the president -- not the U.S. Constitution, as most officials would say. Shuler continues:

Bottom line? Monica Goodling violated federal law and then lied about it in an official proceeding. And her punishment is a public reprimand?

Perhaps most alarming is this: The DOJ, under both Bush and Obama, apparently has made no effort to follow the trail of sleaze to its origin. We know that Goodling took directions from her boss, Kyle Sampson. It certainly stands to reason that Sampson took directions from Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez. And the DOJ report hints that the whole process was driven by the White House Office of Political Affairs, led by . . . Karl Rove….

Some pundits have stated that the killing of bin Laden almost assures Obama's re-election in 2012. But serious voters should look closely at Obama's overall justice record. The Monica Goodling episode is just the latest sign that his performance has been shameful.

Shuler’s thorough report is listed below, with links to other relevant materials. This is a continuation of our extensive coverage of how the Obama administation has orchestrated internal investigations at the DOJ that cover up both its own wrongdoing and that of its predecessors. In November, for example, our project published in the Daily Censored, "Justice Department Probe of CIA Torture Evidence: Another Whitewash?"

Separately, we have been undertaking plans to upgrade this website shortly to provide more news and more interactive communications. Additionally, we are ramping up a speaking schedule. I and scheduled to speak May 10, for example, before the McLean chapter of the American Association of University Woman in Virginia.  The topic is, “The Frightening Erosion of Women's Movement Gains – And What To Do About It!”

Below are significant articles on legal reform and related political, security and media factors. The articles contain a sample of news. See the full article by visiting the News Reports archive on the homepage, and clicking the link.

Legal Schnauzer, Monica Goodling Ruling Shows That Legal Watchdogs Have No Teeth, Roger Shuler, May 9, 2011. Former U.S. Justice Department official Monica Goodling has received a public reprimand from the Virginia State Bar for her role in unlawfully mixing political considerations and hiring decisions in the George W. Bush administration.  Because of Goodling, numerous unqualified lawyers now serve in the DOJ. Because of Goodling, numerous qualified lawyers do not serve in the DOJ. Because of Goodling, and many others, our justice department was used as a political tool.

BLT, Blog of the Legal Times, Virginia Bar Reprimands Ex-DOJ Official Goodling, David Ingram,  May 6, 2011. The Virginia State Bar has publicly reprimanded former U.S. Justice Department official Monica Goodling for her role in mixing politics and hiring decisions during the George W. Bush administration.