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Report: Justice Dept. Considered Politics in Hiring

Nina Totenberg discusses the report on 'Morning Edition.'

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A hiring committee at the Justice Department regularly decided who could get key job interviews based upon their political affiliations, according to a report by the department's inspector general.

The report showed that young lawyers with Democratic Party and liberal affiliations on their resumes were denied job interviews at the Justice Department, while Republican-affiliated applicants had a better chance at the key jobs.

"The screening committees in 2002 and 2006 improperly deselected candidates for interviews based on political and ideological affiliations," the report said.

Considering politics in the hiring process is a violation of department policy and federal law.

The report said that everyone who performed screening was contacted, and all denied considering politics when deciding who would be permitted into a competitive honors program for entry-level attorneys or as summer interns.

After determining that the hiring process was hugely politicized, the IG contacted the screeners to show them the analysis. The screeners told investigators they were surprised by the findings.

The report noted that these hiring practices were changed in 2007 and that Attorney General Michael Mukasey said such practices would not be repeated. In addition, Mukasey said he would adopt the inspector general's additional recommendations.

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