Disparity

In a world where every story arises de novo and completely context-free, this might raise an eyebrow.

A federal investigation of Democratic Party leaders in Cuyahoga County could pose problems for Barack Obama’s campaign in Ohio, party insiders and political analysts say.

If the party’s local campaign operation suffers, some Democrats said, it could cost Mr. Obama votes in a Democratic area where he must win overwhelmingly to offset Republican strength elsewhere in the state.

“There’s no question that this is not helpful,” said Peter Lawson Jones, a Democrat who serves on the three-member Cuyahoga County Board of Commissioners with Jimmy Dimora, the chairman of the county Democratic Party, who is at the center of a federal inquiry.

I don’t condone any lawbreaking that might have happened, obviously, but it’s also hard to ignore context. Between 2001 and 2006 federal investigations skewed 79%-18% against Democrats. The DoJ doesn’t seem to be getting its money’s worth – without even trying they bagged dozens of Abramoff conspirators, “Duke” Cunningham, Tom DeLay, Scooter Libby, Larry Craig* and Ted Stevens among others. On the other hand, with 79% of their effort the DoJ has some local pols, William Jefferson’s freezer and a comically partisan affair that will likely end in more jail time for the prosecutors and White House liaisons than for the former Democratic governor of Alabama.

You’ll be shocked, then, to find out that the DoJ has been run as a little patronage mill to keep bright-eyed partisans and former campaign operatives on the public dole.

Former Justice Department counselor Monica M. Goodling and former chief of staff D. Kyle Sampson routinely broke the law by conducting political litmus tests on candidates for jobs as immigration judges and line prosecutors, according to an inspector general’s report released today.

Goodling passed over hundreds of qualified applicants and squashed the promotions of others after deeming candidates insufficiently loyal to the Republican party, said investigators, who interviewed 85 people and received information from 300 other job seekers at Justice. Sampson developed a system to screen immigration judge candidates based on improper political considerations and routinely took recommendations from the White House Office of Political Affairs and Presidential Personnel, the report said.

Goodling regularly asked candidates for career jobs: “What is it about George W. Bush that makes you want to serve him?” the report said. One former Justice Department official told investigators she had complained that Goodling was asking interviewees for their views on abortion, according to the report.

In that respect it’s just like Iraq! Monica Goodling, as you recall, famously told Congress that government hires swear an oath to the President.

Will these investigations make it a little awkward for Obama to win an important swing state? Of course they will. A kitten with its eyes shut is less naive than anyone who thinks that didn’t occur to anyone at DoJ.

(*) To be fair, credit for the great bathroom bust should go to Minneapolis airport police rather than the DoJ.

***Update***

Oy. A commenter gently reminded me that it was Sara Taylor at the White House and not Monica Goodling at DoJ who swore an oath to the president. Given the now-famous details of Goodling’s hiring policies at DoJ I would call it a distinction without a difference.






13 replies
  1. 1
    jake says:

    Meanwhile, Ken Blackwell still isn’t wearing a bright orange jumpsuit.

  2. 2
    Ella in NM says:

    Isn’t it time the Obama campaign just writes of states like Ohio, anyway?

  3. 3
    4tehlulz says:

    In a world where every story arises de novo

    This needs to read by the movie preview guy.

  4. 4
    Incertus says:

    Why should he write off Ohio? According to Pollster, Obama has a lead there.

  5. 5
    Josh says:

    This needs to read by the movie preview guy.

    In a world where both our cars were under water…

  6. 6
    rj says:

    Thanks for making this connection; let’s see how many more do. One small correction: it wasn’t Goodling but another cultist, Sara Taylor, who informed Pat Leahy that she swore an oath to the President (yielding a priceless little colloquy that will forever be a video classic).

  7. 7
    slippytoad says:

    You’ll be shocked, then, to find out that the DoJ has been run as a little patronage mill to keep bright-eyed partisans and former campaign operatives on the public dole.

    No. However, I do want to see an Obama Administration kick these babies out on the streets. They can go bawling for Wingnut Welfare from the fuckin’ private sector. OFF the public titty for them!

  8. 8
    Doug H. (Fausto no more) says:

    I see Rick Romero needs to take a visit to the offices of the Grey Lady: Career politicians getting caught with their hands in the cookie jar is a way of American life. The only surprise around here was that it took the Feds long enough to tag Dimora and Russo.

    Of course, it must hurt Obama – regardless of how blue Cuyahoga County is – while McCain’s association with the doomed Georgian government gets a pass because… well, I’m sure someone will be along to explain why.

  9. 9
    Paul L. says:

    Between 2001 and 2006 federal investigations skewed 79%-18% against Democrats

    And the author of the study showed himself to be a biased hack when someone questioned the dataset/methodology of his study.

    Omitted Data
    Just a few Google searches found several instances of Republican elected officials who were investigated by the Department of Justice but which were not included in the authors’ data set. My quick search revealed 6 Republican elected officials or candidates who have been served with subpoenas or had their offices searched as part of federal investigations.

    Ralph Reed is perhaps most prominent of the names omitted. Reed was subpoenaed as part of the investigation into Jack Abramoff’s misdeeds, while Reed was a candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Georgia. However, Reed is not included in Shields’ and Cragan’s “study.”

    Shields responds – weakly – to criticism of “political profiling” study

    Mr. Smerconish chose to swift-boat us and our research in the tradition of the attacks made on Senator Kerry and Congressman Murtha’s war records in 2004, not to mention Rush Limbaugh’s ridiculing Michael J. Fox’s Parkinson tremors.

  10. 10
    The Truffle says:

    Isn’t it time the Obama campaign just writes of states like Ohio, anyway?

    A swing state like Ohio which voted in Democrats in 2006 for Senate and the governor’s office? Uh, no.

  11. 11
    Kyle says:

    Goodling regularly asked candidates for career jobs: “What is it about George W. Bush that makes you want to serve him?”

    Want to bet that when Goodling printed the questions, it read, “What is it about George W. Bush that makes you want to serve Him?”

  12. 12
    bago says:

    Wasn’t that a 70’s porno? “To Serve Bush”?

  13. 13
    gizzi says:

    I can just hear Sara Taylor responding to Sen. Leahy’s admonishment in her best Valley Girl voice :

    “WHAT–EVERRR”

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