Compunctious smirk of Justice Department official accused of federal crime


My five-year-old daughter pulled this same face when I reprimanded her for sneaking a box of brown sugar into the backyard to feast on it.

Monica Goodling, a former Justice Department official who served as attorney general Alberto Gonzales' liaison to the White House, broke federal law by discriminating against against job applicants because of their political views, a new report says.
Former Justice Department officials broke federal civil-service laws (CNN)


  1. Cn w gt pctr f Hllry Clntn’s cmpncts smrk whn sh ws ccsd f th xct sm fdrl crm n th < hrf="http://n.wkpd.rg/wk/Wht_Hs_trvl_ffc_cntrvrsy">TrvlGt scndl ?

  2. When is someone going to ask McCain and Obama their position on cleaning the taint that Bush left in the DOJ (And FEMA, and the Pentagon, and the DHS, etc…)?

    It’s doubtful that Bush will get impeached for these crimes, or that there will be any measurable fallout, but a party affiliation test for the DOJ is actually against the law. This sort of cronyism is a recognizable pattern for the Bush White House.

    Is there any evidence that either candidate is interested in talking about this mess? Or for that matter, in doing anything about it?

  3. Prediction: nothing happens.

    It’s just a “report” after all, and the Bush DOJ has already declined to appoint a special prosecutor over any of this. In general the Bush administration seems to be “waiting out the clock” until they vacate D.C. over the next six months.

  4. Shew can smirk all she wants, she has a job somewhere or another for life, making twice as much as those questioning her.

    Jail, and jail alone, is the only cure for this.

  5. TJIC @1: “Can we get a picture of Hillary Clinton’s compunctious smirk when she was accused of the exact same federal crime in the TravelGate scandal ?”

    Go find one!

  6. “their position on cleaning the taint”?

    I need mind-bleach now. After I stop laughing.

  7. TJIC @1: Because the White House Travel Office plays a crucial role to the country on par with DOJ.

    I suppose ethical breaches are ethical breaches. Still, it’s awfully hard to compare the two scandals with a straight face.

  8. I’ve been reading that many members of this administration won’t be traveling to some European destinations after January 20th because they’ll be either arrested for war crimes, or turned back from entering those countries because of war crimes. Hopefully those people will have more success then those folks who tried to arrest Karl Rove this past week, in Iowa.

    I hope the new administration won’t make the mistake that the last Democratic Administration made, of dropping all open investigations that would have put Bush I people behind bars. They thought it would engender some cooperation across the aisle, but you’ll remember how that played out (see Travel-gate, White White, Monica, etc.). I’m horrified at how the MSM has helped suppress the law breaking of the past seven years.

  9. Aww, everybody and their dog beat me to the “cleaning Bush’s taint” jokes. Guess I’m not as creative as I like to pretend I am. ;p

  10. @#3

    I don’t think the next administration, regardless of who wins, will do anything. The cleanup is Congress’ responsibility. Will they refer this to DOJ for criminal prosecution? Based on their reactions to Rove, Miers, et al. ignoring Congressional subpeonas…I’m not going to hold my breath.

  11. she must have picked up her sense of ethics from Regent College, where she got her law degree. Pat Robertson must be so proud!

  12. I’m pretty certain this isn’t a smirk, but repressed grimace.

    Unfortunately my FACS (and other) reference manuals are 2564 miles away, so I’m relying on my memory.

    Smirks have upturned corners as the expressor tries to flatten the smile. Whereas this is flattened frown. Smirks also generally represent a sense of smugness and satisfaction. Look at the downturned corners and wrinkled brow. That is not a happy, unconcerned face.

  13. I use to do that same thing as a little kid! ( The braking “federal law by discriminating against against job applicants because of their political views” part, not the brown sugar part. ;) It was really unethical, but hell, I was four.)

  14. To put it in gender neutral terms,
    (regardless of whether that face is made by her, “W”, or either Clinton)
    the message conveyed is “I KNOW I’ve been very, very, naughty, and you are so wussy you will sit there and just take it!”
    Simultaneously, the underlying plea;
    “Please! someone! Have the courage to call me on my bullshit, take me across your knee and paddle the bedgjeeezus out of my naughty, naughty bottom!!!”

    Fascist thugs are incapable of personal morality and crave a strong external source of discipline.

  15. I’m more worried about Mark’s wee yin scoffin’ all that sugar…Cannae be good fer er!

  16. Learethak,

    It looks like she’s about to tell someone to go Cheney themselves. She gives the appearance of one who is trying to hold back her contempt.

  17. The world would be a better place if we all occasionally paused in our various endeavors to eat brown sugar directly out of the package.

  18. @3,9&10

    Thank you for making my day, and making me giggle uncontrollably for about 2 minutes :)

  19. Ms. Goodling has this to be proud of:

    “On March 23, 2007, she took an indefinite leave of absence. On March 26, 2007, Goodling canceled her upcoming appearance at a Congressional hearing, citing her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. In its history, no Department of Justice employee has ever exercised his/her Fifth Amendment rights with respect to official conduct, and remained an employee.On April 6, 2007, Goodling announced her resignation from the Department of Justice, writing to Gonzales, ‘May God bless you richly as you continue your service to America.'”

    Here’s Ms. Goodling in happier times:

  20. After looking at that picture, the one in the post reads more as ‘deer in the headlights’.

  21. Actually, I truly hope the PTB drag their feet until after the election so these people CAN’T get a pardon.
    And besides doing something that will cause irreparable harm to these unpatriotic SOB’s careers and finances, may we PLEASE see some action to correct the intended damage these people have already wrought on the system: IE Let’s have all the people they hired given a severance and notice to that they will be laid off in six months and only allowed to work for the federal legal system after a five to ten year hiatus.
    This will remove the bolus of right-wing judiciary bench-loaders that this illegal action was intended to achieve and show future illegal political schemers that future attempts will be useless.

  22. From the report, this is one of her regular interview questions: “[W]hat is it about George W. Bush that makes you want to serve him?”

    As with so many in the White House these days, she obviously has no clue how a democratic government is supposed to work.

  23. Yeah, she knows she can do anything except rat out the administration and she’ll still get a pardon.

  24. So i guess if the next president purges the DOJ, you guys will be up in arms? I mean, you wouldn’t want someone to fire these people just because of their political leanings….?

    Seriously, is this law she supposedly broke even a felony?

  25. i love the irony of the highest legal authority in the land, scoffing at the very laws which they swear to uphold. pleading the fifth. that is so rich!

  26. @#32. It is routine for presidents to appoint new attorneys upon entering office. Those attorneys then are expected to act independently of the White House. That’s obviously not what happened here, so your hypothetical is not accurate.

  27. My four-year-old steals brown sugar whenever she gets the chance. I have to hide it.

    And my very favorite thing in the world is when a recipe starts out with “Beat butter and brown sugar until fluffy…” It’s a wonder my baked goods come out at all, when half the brown sugar and butter is missing from the recipe.

  28. From Merriam-Webster Online:


    intransitive verb : to smile in an affected or smug manner

    transitive verb : to say or express with a smirk

    That ain’t no smile.

  29. She’s an underling. Focussing the lightning on her takes it away from the people it should be aimed it: her bosses and their boss.

  30. AteMyName: if she’s guilty, as appears likely, it’s a serious matter — she’s systematically suborned the impartiality of the law and the civil service.

    For the record: to me she looks more angry than abashed, and that expression is the indignant grimace of someone who’d been sure she’d never have to answer for her actions.

    I don’t believe for a moment that Monica Goodling devised these corrupt practices on her own, but I doubt the investigation will go much higher. The younger neocons are good at taking one for the team, and the older ones are good at letting their underlings take the hit.

  31. #40 Oh please, you cant even tell me what laws she supposedly broke, but your all really sure its quite serious.

    As for her look, im going with “pretending to care”.

  32. Hi BBAMN.

    Here you go: according to the DoJ report, “It is not improper to consider political affiliations when hiring for political positions. However, both Department policy and federal law prohibit discrimination in hiring for Department career positions on the basis of political affiliations.”

    (It’s right near the top of the report. Other misbehavior that she’s accused of includes lying during the investigation, and as it turns out, discriminating based on sexual orientation, too!)

  33. @ # 40 – The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978.

    HTH. HAND.

    There’s a good chance she’ll be disbarred because of it. Good, I say.

  34. #42 Well gosh, it does all sound super serious. I mean, wow, hiring on the basis of politics for a non-political position? That’s awful.

  35. BBAMN, Do you understand what the Department of Justice is and how it’s supposed to work? At the very least it should bother you that officials from the Justice Department are violating federal laws. Or do conservatives only care about rule of law when it applies to things like illegal immigration and gay marriage?

  36. BBAMN, well, yeah, it only matters if you think that the competence and ability of the career staff matters. Not sure if the basis for your sneer (do you mind if I call it a sneer?) is a general belief that all government is so off that the competence of individual employees doesn’t matter. I sure don’t agree, but that would be coherent, if that was your position.

  37. #48 Your close. It bothers me that so much of the federal legal power is subject to cronyism. Do you guys really think that Bill Clinton’s Justice Department placed people without regard to politics? Do you think any president’s Justice Department in the last 50 years has done that? Come on this story is bullshit made for TV drama. The only thing she did that was different was get caught doing it, which is so typical of this ham-handed administration.
    We did the same thing back in the Clinton days with travelgate. Every conservative acted all incensed because Bill Clinton did something illegal that we didn’t even know was illegal until we were told it was. Looking back at it now I realize it was all partisan bullshit, and thats what this is, partisan bullshit.
    #47 You managed to pick 2 topics on which i dont care at all. And yes, i care quite a bit about the rule of law, i just dont fool myself into believing the Justice Department has anything to do with it.

  38. You care about the rule of law, but you don’t think that our primary federal criminal investigation and enforcement agency has anything to do with it? I hardly feel the need to point out the absurdity of that statement. In fact the DoJ has everything to do with it. The rule of law is their sole concern.

  39. actually,Rule of Law belongs to the people, in such places as it is kept. All these other clowns are employee sand flunkeys – including those arrogant,power-mad pompous judges.

  40. BBAMN, can you prove that the Clinton WH did so? with citations, or even, citation (singular?). I ask, because Miss Goodling has admitted to exactly what she is accused of.

    In other words, eat it.

  41. #52 If i were going to criticize the Clinton Justice department of something, it would be Waco. You dont have to be a right wing kook to think that something went terribly wrong there, but incinerating people is totally legal for the government to do, because the justice department did it and said it was legal.

    As far as this administration’s Justice is concerned, i was convinced they suck when they rationalized torture, now its like… torture and illegal hiring practices, those fiends!

    I guess i expect more from a Justice department but in any event, pointing to this one stooge and gasping at her stoogery kind of misses the bigger picture, i think.

  42. Santa’s Knee: I don’t know if I agree with your interpretation.

    My point was not so much to explain her expression means, so much as it was to point out it is not a smirk.

    Other things it isn’t (so far as I can tell) is penitent, gleeful, or angry.

    If I had to guess I would say… I agreed most with BoingBoing Ate My Name’s description of “Pretending to Care.”

  43. “actually,Rule of Law belongs to the people…”

    That’s my point. The DoJ serves the people. Which is exactly why it’s completely outrageous that this woman was screening potential attorneys by asking them how they would “serve George W. Bush.”

  44. Boing Boing Ate My Name, please don’t assert a false symmetry. Other administrations haven’t been perfect in all matters having to do with justice, but the Bush administrations have gone off the badness scale.

  45. Speaking of symmetry, what’s up with the first 2 comments of this post? “Hllry Clntn” vs “Dubya”. Shouldn’t that have been “Dby”?

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