The release of "An Investigation of Allegations of Politicized Hiring by Monica Goodling and Other Staff in the Office of the Attorney General" (click here for the 524 KB .pdf file from the DOJ site) has been all over the news and blogosphere ever since it was released on the 28th of July. For those of you who haven't read the 150 page document we offer the following condensed version: allegations confirmed. What caught Ziefbrief's eye was the discussion of the techniques Ms. Goodling used to determine the political leanings of applicants. According to the report: "We found that Goodling’s Internet research on candidates for Department positions was extensive and designed to obtain their political and ideological affiliations." In a footnote the report noted " It does not violate federal law or Department policy to search for and consider political information concerning candidates for political positions. However, Goodling also conducted such searches, and considered the results of those searches, for candidates for career positions, including IJs and career candidates for temporary details."
The report also includes the actual lexis/nexis search that Jan Williams, her predecessor as the Department’s White House Liaison, passed on to her to use in screening applicants:
"[First name of a candidate]! and pre/2 [last name of a candidate] w/7 bush or gore or republican! or democrat! or charg! or accus! or criticiz! or blam! or defend! or iran contra or clinton or spotted owl or florida recount or sex! or controvers! or racis! or fraud! or investigat! or bankrupt! or layoff! or downsiz! or PNTR or NAFTA or outsourc! or indict! or enron or kerry or iraq or wmd! or arrest! or intox! or fired or sex! or racis! or intox! or slur! or arrest! or fired or controvers! or abortion! or gay! or homosexual! or gun! or firearm!"
We note a number of problems with the search technique in the above search. Ignoring the redundant search term "fired", we note that the search is incredibly broad -- especially if the search is run in one of the general news collections on Nexis. We challenge all ZiefBrief readers to come up with a better search to identify the political inclinations of potential members of the AG's staff. Submit your suggestion as a comment to this posting.