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Feds say Rockford native violated law as Justice Department official

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REPORT released Wednesday says Michael Elston, a 1987 graduate of Auburn High School in Rockford who later served as a senior official in the U.S. Justice Department, violated federal law by using political considerations in screening candidates for coveted entry-level positions in the department.

The report was prepared by the Justice Department’s inspector general and the Office of Professional Responsibility.

The Washington Post SAID Elston won’t likely face legal sanctions, because he resigned from the Justice Department last year amid questions about his role in the firing of nine federal prosecutors.

Several of the fired prosecutors said they received intimidating phone calls from Elston warning them against making a fuss over their dismissals.

Elston, who now works for a private law firm,  did not respond Wednesday to calls from various news media.

There’s more on all of this HERE.

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8 Comments

  1. Craig Knauss

    “Meanwhile no one asks why the DOJ has an overwhelmingly liberal orientation.”

    What was that based on, documented facts or personal opinion? If you have references state them. If it is your personal opinion, say so. I haven’t seen any evidence that DOJ is liberal. Especially with their lack of enforcing Constitutional protections against illegal wiretaps, illegal searches, waterboarding, etc.

  2. Got a link to the report, I’d like to see that.

  3. redrover

    Here’s the important part of this story, in my opinion:

    “Prior to 2002, career employees within each Department component decided which applicants to interview and select for both the Honors Program and SLIP. However, under a new system implemented by the Attorney General in 2002, a Screening Committee, generally comprised of politically appointed employees from the Department’s leadership offices, had to approve all Honors Program and SLIP candidates for interviews by the components. In addition, the political appointees in each Department component were encouraged to become move involved in the hiring process to select these candidates.”
    http://www.swamppolitics.com/news/politics/blog/2008/06/watchdogs_whack_doj_for_cronyi.html

    This kind of system, where DOJ staff attorneys and/or DOJ political appointees can select or deselect candidates at will and for whatever reasons they wish, is just simply unavoidably corruptible no matter who, “conservative” or “liberal”, does the selecting / screening.

    These positions ought to be filled based on some sort civil service like exam and/or evaluation of the candidate’s legal qualifications that is blinded to his/her political affiliations. Period.

    I hope that will be what the good that comes out of this dishonorable mess.

  4. Craig Knauss

    “On pp. 20-21, we find the numbers that establish that the DoJ career staff in 2002 nominated twice as many identifiable liberals as identifiable conservatives for the Honors track program: 100 vs. 46.

    And on page 27, we read that the DoJ bureaucracy advanced nearly three times as many identifiable liberals as conservatives for summer internships that year, 81 vs. 29.”

    Really? Does it say that on their name tags? Were they forced to wear big red letter “Ls” and “Cs”? Some people think anyone to the left of Heinrich Himmler was liberal, while others think anyone to the right of Mao Tsi Tung was conservative. I worked for the DoD from 1975 to 1986 and don’t remember any labeling like that back then. Times must have really changed!

  5. Any idea where one could take a look at the application?

  6. I’m many things, but lazy is not one of them. I checked out your link and the application is not available right now (applications will be accepted starting July 25th). I agree with Craig’s post, and I would like to see the application. Are there ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ check boxes? My guess would be no. What if a candidate does not list any political activity, or service to an obviously right or left wing organization? Then what? Is the applicant then liberal or conservative? This whole thing doesn’t add up. Finally, if this is such a liberal biased process, why did the Republican administration adopt it, and why haven’t they corrected the ‘problem’?

    You really should read the links before you post it. The DOJ site wasn’t any more help to your argument than was the one about polar bears.

  7. Craig Knauss

    When I was with the government, we had something called the Hatch Act. Accept for outright patronage employees, any work-related politcal activities were expressly prohibited. And there were no check boxes for political affiliation. That’s why it wasn’t any easier to determine one’s political orientation than it was to determine one’s religion. And that’s the way it should be. I suspect the “data” was speculative, at best.

  8. Craig Knauss

    Ouch! “Accept” should be “Except”. Born here and I still don’t know the language.

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