Josh notes a passage in a BoGlo article that suggests the politicization of the DOJ started before Kyle Sampson's suggestions to fire all the USAs in 2005. In fact, John Ashcroft changed hiring practices so as to make it easier to politicize hiring in 2002:
Their path to employment was further eased in late 2002, when John Ashcroft, then attorney general, changed longstanding rules for hiring lawyers to fill vacancies in the career ranks.
Previously, veteran civil servants screened applicants and recommended whom to hire, usually picking top students from elite schools.
2002 ... 2002 ... What happened in 2002? Well, for starters, that's when Monica Goodling came over to DOJ with Barbara Comstock:
Goodling quickly won Comstock’s trust for her hard work and talent for digging up information on tort litigation and judicial nominations. And when Griffin left in 2001, Goodling became Comstock’s deputy. They helped prepare Ashcroft and Theodore Olson for their confirmation hearings to be attorney general and solicitor general, respectively.
When Comstock became Ashcroft’s spokeswoman in 2002, she brought Goodling along as her deputy. Goodling stayed for three years. In no time, Goodling became “indispensable” to the office, says Corallo, who became Ashcroft’s spokesman in 2003. “I have never known anybody that works harder or does better work than her.”
Her dedication was legendary, so much so that Ashcroft’s office would ask to “borrow” her for projects. Corallo says Goodling would stay all night. “I’d come in at 8 a.m., and she’d be sleeping on my sofa in the office.”
Goodling often traveled with Ashcroft on tours promoting neighborhood safety and the Patriot Act. Former colleagues say Ashcroft also had a particular taste for Goodling’s brownies. She was meticulous and a perfectionist. She was the point person on judicial nominations, often working in the Office of Legal Policy with then-Assistant Attorney General Viet Dinh, says a former colleague.
And just to reiterate why I'm so suspicious about Monica Goodling's personal involvement in politicizing the DOJ, let's look at precisely the questions Schumer asked Kyle Sampson during his Senate Judiciary testimony:
SCHUMER: Thank you.
OK. Are you aware of whether anyone at DOJ who has -- whether anyone at DOJ has asked applicants for career positions, not political positions, line positions -- questions about any of the following: their support for the president?
SAMPSON: I'm not aware of that.
SCHUMER: How they voted in any election?
SAMPSON: I don't remember. I did not participate in career hires. And I'm not aware of people doing that.
SCHUMER: You're not aware -- that's my question: Were you aware of anyone doing that?
SAMPSON: Let me be precise. I don't remember ever being aware of anything like that.
SCHUMER: OK -- whether they were registered Democrats or Republicans?
SAMPSON: I don't remember being aware of anything like that.
SCHUMER: OK -- and what their political leanings were?
SAMPSON: I don't remember anything -- I don't remember anything like that.
SCHUMER: OK. So you have no knowledge if such questions were ever asked of line-level assistant U.S. attorney applicants?
SAMPSON: Senator, I don't have any recollection of anything like that. I was not -- did not participate in the hiring of assistant U.S. attorneys.
SCHUMER: Would it be appropriate to ask such questions?
SAMPSON: I understand that assistant U.S. attorneys are career employees, and so it would not be appropriate.
SCHUMER: Thank you.
Let me just ask you a couple more on this. Did you know whether Ms. Goodling or anyone else asked such questions?
Well, let's ask -- Ms. Goodling -- so you have no knowledge that Ms. Goodling asked such questions of such people?
SAMPSON: Of career...
SCHUMER: Career, correct.
SAMPSON: ... applicants -- I don't remember any questions like that, that she would ask. [my emphasis]
Two "not awares," four "don't remembers," two "don't remember being awares," and one "don't have any recollection," by my count. Zero "no's."
I hate to keep harping on this point. But it seems pretty damn likely that Monica Goodling was right at the center of the inappropriate politicization of career DOJ employees.
You see, I think it highly likely that one of the reasons Goodling is pleading the Fifth is because she caused Paul McNulty to commit perjury. But another reason--a much bigger one, given the centrality of the politicization of DOJ hiring to the scandal surrounding the USA purge, is because she committed regular violations of the laws in place to prevent the politicization of our career employees.