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U.S. Justice Department

Politics Harmed Career DOJ Lawyers, Officials Say

Posted Jun 21, 2007 10:10 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Six officials from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division are calling into question statements by their former boss that he did not take any improper actions against career lawyers.

Bradley Schlozman acknowleged in congressional testimony that he had bragged about hiring conservatives and Republicans, but denied politics played a part in actions against career employees.

Six officials told the Washington Post they overheard Schlozman making political remarks about employees and observed him making career decisions apparently based on political motivations, the newspaper reports in a page one story.

One lawyer, Colan Dugan, told co-workers that Schlozman had transferred three minority women out of their jobs, despite objections by their immediate supervisors, to "make room for some good Americans" in the office. Four lawyers told the Post about Dugan’s statement.

One of the transferred lawyers later filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and reached a confidential settlement. She has returned to her job in the division.

Seven new lawyers were recently hired for the division’s appellate section; none were black, the newspaper says. Six were white and one was Asian. Most of the hiring took place under Schlozman’s supervision.

Schlozman became acting attorney general for civil rights in 2005 and left to become an interim U.S. attorney last year. He is now with the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys.

A lawyer for Schlozman said he could not comment on individual personnel decisions, but his client encouraged cases to be reassigned to the most talented lawyers. A Justice Department spokesman said the appellate section has had increasing success with amicus briefs in recent years.

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