Via Christy, the LAT has an important addition to the story of Monica Gooding's interference in political hiring. It describes how Goodling and Sampson attempted an end run around the Parsky Commission, a bipartisan commission that attempts to develop consensus candidates for judicial appointments coming out of CA. Importantly, Goodling and Sampson intervened to have their own candidate replace Deborah Wong Yang--that is, to be the USA in charge of the Jerry Lewis investigation.
Once Yang resigned in November to pursue private law practice, it was up to the commission to make recommendations to the White House and the Justice Department. But Sampson and Goodling tried to generate candidates of their own. Interviews were scheduled with half a dozen people, many of whom had held political appointments in the department.
Parsky did not respond to e-mailed questions about his role in the process.
After word of the interview schedule leaked, Parsky called the White House and the Justice Department to complain, according to a person familiar with the process who requested anonymity because it involves a personnel matter. Goodling was allowed to proceed with the interviews, but was told she had to tell the candidates that they would have to reapply through the commission.
Ultimately, the commission is believed to have recommended two candidates; the only one interviewed by the Justice officials in Washington was a career prosecutor who has headed the criminal division of the Los Angeles office. The White House has not said whom it will nominate for the post.
Some people close to the selection process suspect Goodling and Sampson were attempting an end-run around the commission to install a politically connected Washington insider, possibly by using a law that permitted the attorney general to appoint interim U.S. attorneys without Senate oversight.
"They were caught in the act," said the person familiar with the process. "This was frankly a warning sign that problems existed among a relatively small group … who decided they had power and authority and could do what they wanted."
This repeats a pattern I've traced before--the Goodling DOJ has repeatedly ignored the advice of Republican Senators in order to place their own candidates in USA positions. But note the importance of this particular USA position. Yang's replacement will oversee any investigation into Jerry Lewis--and basically into the Appropriations process while the GOP had the majority. There is significant evidence to suggest that Harriet Miers intervened personally to replace Yang--this effort seems to come straight from the White House.
I wanted to make one more point though, about this quote from Dean Boyd, DOJ spokesperson:
Dean Boyd, a Justice Department spokesman, strongly disputed the characterization that the interviews were an end-run around the commission. A White House spokesman added: "We have previously and since have worked through the Parsky commission to interview potential judicial and U.S. attorney candidates in California, and that is appropriate."
I spoke with Dean Boyd the other day while working on this column. When I pointed out that the process to replace Tim Griffin sure looked like what Sampson described when he threatened to "gum to death" Griffin's replacement, Boyd tried to pin it on Congress. "We're working with Congress," Boyd said over and over. I pointed out Congressman Boozman had already supplied names, almost 50 days earlier, to which Boyd said DOJ was waiting for input from Arkansas' (two Democratic) Senators.
I pointed out that DOJ hasn't consulted Democratic Senators in replacing USAs for years and Boyd acted all surprised, as if Mark Pryor has been at the center of negotiations to replace Griffin rather than pulling teeth to get basic information about why Cummins was fired.
DOJ still doesn't want to admit the replacement process they're using for USAs.
Boyd is, ultimately, parsing carefully in his LAT article. It is true that before Goodling and Sampson tried their end-run around the Parsky Commission, BushCo consulted with the Commission on hirings. And it is true that, after Parsky learned of the end run, BushCo reverted to consulting with the Commission. But that doesnt' change the central facts, about which Boyd is playing dumb. In seeking a replacement for Deborah Wong Yang, the USA who will continue the Jerry Lewis probe, even the bipartisan Parsky Commission was too apolitical for this White House.