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The New York Times has this story today about an internal report into illegal hiring practices at the Justice Department.

The report, prepared by the Office of the Inspector General and the Office of Professional Responsibility, found a pervasive culture of politicization in the hiring practices employed at the Justice Department, the story states. Department recruiters weeded out applicants for all levels of department jobs according to their political orientation, the report found.

According to the story, the inspector general is also looking into other alleged politicization at the department, and is investigating the dismissal of nine federal prosecutors in 2006, including San Diego U.S. Attorney Carol Lam.

And Lam turns up in the story in another context. The report mentions an e-mail she sent to Michael Elston, a former official on the Justice Department’s screening committee.

[Lam] sent an e-mail message to Mr. Elston to ask why a Stanford Law School graduate with strong grades had been rejected over her recommendation. Ms. Lam suspected it was because the applicant had clerked for an appellate judge appointed by President Bill Clinton, or because she had written an article on sex discrimination, the report said.

Ms. Lam asked if there was something unacceptable in the applicant’s background that she was not aware of. “Not that I know of, Carol,” Mr. Elston responded.

WILL CARLESS

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