Legal Ethics

Va. Bar Reprimands Monica Goodling for Making Political Hiring Decisions in DOJ

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Former Justice Department lawyer Monica Goodling has accepted a public reprimand from the Virginia State Bar.

The controversial staff counsel for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales had been accused in media reports of aiding a political purge of U.S. attorneys. But a Virginia Bar committee’s reprimand was based on another allegation—that Goodling used a political litmus test in hiring decisions at the department.

Virginia Lawyer’s Weekly and covered the reprimand, issued in March and disclosed late Wednesday.

An assistant bar counsel who handled the reprimand told Virginia Lawyers Weekly that Goodling is working in market research in Arlington, Va. She is not practicing law.

Goodling admitted in congressional testimony that she improperly considered political affiliation and politics when making some hiring decisions, according to findings of fact by a bar subcommittee. Some of the positions were career jobs protected from political considerations by civil service laws, according to the subcommittee’s determination (PDF).

The committee found that Goodling violated a misconduct rule barring commission of a criminal or wrongful act that reflects adversely on a lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness to practice law.

Prior coverage: “Report Finds Politics Influenced Hiring of DOJ Officials, Immigration Judges” “How Monica Goodling and Kyle Sampson Worked the System” “Lawyers Ask Va. Bar to Investigate Monica Goodling”

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