Attorney General Michael Mukasey said yesterday that no charges would be filed against Justice Department officials who discriminated against job applicants for career positions for political reasons.
Mukasey said the findings of two internal watchdog audits revealed that officials did use political leanings at a litmus test for hiring applicants for the posts, which are supposed to be non-political. But that the findings did not rise to the level of warranting charges.
“Not every wrong, or even every violation of the law, is a crime,” Mukasey explained yesterday in remarks to the American Bar Association in New York. “In this instance, the two joint reports found only violations of the civil service laws.”
Mukasey’s predecessor, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, resigned amid revelations of politicized hiring practices and allegations that nine U.S. attorneys were fired for political reasons.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy was not pleased with Mukasey’s decision. “The Attorney General, the nation’s top law enforcement officer, seems intent on insulating this administration from accountability,” Leahy said in a statement after Mukasey’s remarks, adding that he believed Mukasey’s decision was premature given the ongoing congressional investigation into Justice Department’s hiring practices.