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Top performing attorney in justice dept let go due to being gay, allegedly by Monico Goodling

Phokus

Lifer
Nov 20, 1999
23,003
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All Things Considered, April 2, 2008 · The Justice Department's inspector general is investigating whether a career attorney in the department was dismissed from her job because of rumors that she is a lesbian. The case grew out of a larger inquiry into the firings of U.S. attorneys and politicization at Justice under former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

Several people interviewed by the inspector general's staff described the case to NPR and said they came away with the impression that the Attorney General's office decided not to renew Leslie Hagen's contract because of the talk about her sexual orientation. Hagen received the highest possible ratings for her work as liaison between the Justice Department and the U.S. attorneys' committee on Native American issues. Her final job evaluation lists five categories for supervisors to rank her performance. For each category, a neat X fills the box marked, "Outstanding." And at the bottom of the page, under "overall rating level," she also got the top mark: Outstanding.

The form is dated February 1, 2007. Several months before that evaluation, Hagen was told her contract would not be renewed.

'The Best Qualified Person in the Nation'

Hagen would not comment for this story, but her job evaluation is consistent with what many others have said about her. A dozen former colleagues, inside and outside of the Justice Department, were interviewed for this story. They worked above, below and side by side with Hagen.

Each one raved about her work.

Sarah Brubaker, a tribal prosecutor in Michigan, said Hagen was "at the very top of any of the prosecutors I've ever worked with." Brubaker said it's very difficult "to find someone of her caliber, who is not only an excellent prosecutor, but also easy to work with ? personable, professional."

A former U.S. Attorney for Minnesota, Tom Heffelfinger, recruited Hagen in October 2005 to come to Washington from Michigan, where she won awards for her work as a federal prosecutor.

"I felt at the time she was the best qualified person in the nation to fill that job," says Heffelfinger. "I was never consulted about her performance as liaison to the Native American Issues Committee, and I never heard any criticism of her performance from any other component within the department."

The job Hagen filled at the Justice Department comes up for renewal every year. According to department sources, she had hoped to stay in the position rather than return to Michigan as a prosecutor and her supervisors wanted to renew her contract. But in October 2006, word came down from the attorney general's office that Hagen had to move on.

Monica Goodling's Role

The official line on Hagen's dismissal was that contracts like hers are a privilege. Rotating new people through the job each year gives more people a chance to serve.

But what happened next seems to undermine that explanation. Internal Justice Department documents obtained by NPR show that soon after Hagen was let go, two people in her office had their contracts renewed for another year.

And Hagen's post remained vacant months after she left.

Justice Department e-mails obtained by NPR show that Gonzales's senior counsel Monica Goodling had a particular interest in Hagen's duties. A few months before Hagen was let go, according to one e-mail, Goodling removed part of Hagen's job portfolio ? the part dealing with child exploitation and abuse.

Goodling, who left the Justice Department last year, declined through her lawyer to comment on the matter.

At the height of the scandal over the fired U.S. attorneys, Goodling admitted to making personnel decisions about career Justice Department lawyers based on improper partisan considerations.

"I crossed the line of the civil service rules," Goodling told Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) at a congressional hearing in May 2007.

'Even Worse Than Being a Democrat'

Goodling's conversation with Scott focused on whether Republican Party loyalty factored into her hiring decisions. But by all accounts, Hagen was a GOP loyalist.

So, what was Goodling's problem with Hagen?

The Justice Department's inspector general is looking into whether Hagen was dismissed after a rumor reached Goodling that Hagen is a lesbian.

As one Republican source put it, "To some people, that's even worse than being a Democrat."

Several people interviewed by the inspector general's staff said investigators asked whether people drew a connection between the rumors and Hagen's dismissal. The witnesses, who spoke to NPR on the condition of anonymity, said they felt that the rumors led to the decision not to renew Hagen's contract.

Someone who worked in Hagen's office says that in a 2006 meeting, senior officials were told that Hagen's contract would not be renewed because someone on the attorney general's staff had a problem with Hagen. The problem, it was suggested during the conversation, was sexual orientation ? or what was rumored to be Hagen's sexual orientation.

One person at the meeting asked, "Is that really an issue?" But the decision had been made.

People who know Hagen say she's a private person who does not discuss her personal life. The inspector general's office declined to comment, saying the department does not discuss pending investigations. A Justice Department spokesman also declined to comment.

Heffelfinger says it's "a real loss to the Department of Justice and to the people the department serves when somebody like [Hagen] is removed from a position, especially for no reason."

Today, Hagen has another temporary contract, in the Justice Department's Office of Justice Programs. She helps administer the Adam Walsh Act, which deals with sex offenders and child exploitation. People who know her say she feels hurt by what she's been through, and that she just wants to focus on her work.

Meanwhile, the job Hagen used to hold is again vacant.
Whoever gets into the whitehouse, i hope they purge these talentless hacks that have infested these gov't agencies.

http://www.npr.org/templates/s...y.php?storyId=89288713
 

nageov3t

Lifer
Feb 18, 2004
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Monico Goodling sounds like just the kind of person Donna Brazile would want working for her.
 

jonks

Lifer
Feb 7, 2005
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I thought Harriet Myers and Condoleeza were lesbians? course Goodling and most of the DoJ at this point are Christies from Regent U so...
 

RightIsWrong

Diamond Member
Apr 29, 2005
5,650
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I think that there needs to criminal and civil prosecution for crap like this so that others in the future might think twice about doing it. Allowing people like her and Scooter to just disappear into the abyss and continually resurface from time to time within the party (no matter what party) is sending a message that is just the opposite....

"Do whatever you want no matter how unethical, immoral or illegal. The President will pardon you and you will get a cushy consulting job somewhere or be rewarded by someone with strong connections."
 

Harvey

Administrator<br>Elite Member
Administrator
Oct 9, 1999
35,052
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Originally posted by: Phokus

Topic Title: Top performing attorney in justice dept let go due to being gay, allegedly by Monico Goodling

All Things Considered, April 2, 2008 · The Justice Department's inspector general is investigating whether a career attorney in the department was dismissed from her job because of rumors that she is a lesbian.
I heard the story when it was broadcast, yesterday. Please read the story again, and correct your title. It should read:

Top performing attorney in justice dept let go by Monico Goodling, allegedly due to being gay.

Goodling has already admitted she "crossed the line," and if you heard Rep. Scott's follow up, he made it clear that "the line" she crossed was the line of legality.

If I heard the story correctly, nothing in it said that Leslie Hagen is a lesbian, only that there were such rumors about about her.

OTOH, Goodling, her former boss, Gonzo the Clown and the rest of the Bushwhacko traitors should be tried for their crimes. I won't back off to call them "alleged." They did the crimes. They should all do the time.
 

Arkaign

Lifer
Oct 27, 2006
20,565
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Party affiliation in the Justice Department should be fucking banned.

Anyone who thinks the (D)'s aren't also sneaky in this regard (cronyism, favoritism in general) are fooling themselves.

It's just that Bush's goon appointees have really set a new low.
 

Mursilis

Diamond Member
Mar 11, 2001
7,760
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I'm not questioning the general point of the story, but some of the details seem off. For example, a "career attorney" at the DOJ would never be fired due to a contract not being renewed - we don't have contracts! [I'm not at DOJ, but I'm an attorney at another fed. agency and I know several DOJ lawyers.] If Hagen was a long-time DOJ staffer, her union really dropped the ball letting her get fired without any sort of review, etc. It's tough to fire someone from the fed. on a whim, without some sort of documented transgression(s), especially someone not in "probation" status.
If Hagen was fired for being gay, then it's more a reflection of Goodling's prejudices than the general atmosphere in gov't law. I know lots of openly gay gov't attorneys, and no one cares. Most gay lawyers I know consider federal service to be fairly accommodating and nondiscriminatory.
 

RightIsWrong

Diamond Member
Apr 29, 2005
5,650
0
0
Originally posted by: Arkaign
Party affiliation in the Justice Department should be fucking banned.

Anyone who thinks the (D)'s aren't also sneaky in this regard (cronyism, favoritism in general) are fooling themselves.

It's just that Bush's goon appointees have really set a new low.
I certainly agree that this is a bi-partisan issue. That is why I am calling for anyone/everyone that is involved with this type of activity to be brought in front of a judge...criminal and/or civil.

People will never change if there is nothing for them to loose. As Moonie will gladly tell us, we all hate ourselves to varying degrees so the prospect of losing only our self respect or self worth means very little. The stakes need to be much higher when it comes to public officials committing criminal, unethical or immoral acts.
 

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