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On the Politicization of the Justice Department

The Inspector General's findings of widespread politicized and illegal hiring practices at the Justice Department are deeply troubling.

According to the report, illegal political and other improper screening tests were used by senior officials to prevent qualified individuals from serving in vital national security and other career positions at the Justice Department. Most disturbing, the report indicates that these Justice Department hiring practices were an outgrowth of political screening methods employed by the White House.

In addition, the report also found that personnel decisions were made on the basis of sexual orientation. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation has no place in America, but especially in the Justice Department, which is charged with securing civil rights.

The hiring and promotion of career employees at the Justice Department must adhere strictly to civil service laws that judge candidates on their merits, not politics. The American people must have the utmost confidence in our criminal justice system. Political manipulation of hiring in law enforcement positions seriously undermines our system of justice.

The Inspector General's report further underscores the importance of Congressional oversight. This report would not have occurred but for the vigorous oversight conducted by Chairman Conyers and the House Judiciary Committee.

The Judiciary Committee's ongoing investigation of the politicization of the Justice Department, including the effort to obtain testimony of individuals with knowledge of the improper firing of the U.S. Attorneys, must continue. The American people must find out what happened, and the politicization of law enforcement at the Justice Department must end.

I will be asking Chairman Conyers to consider legislation to ensure that the politicization of hiring of career employees at the Justice Department never happens again.

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