The controversy that led U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to resign in 2007 has now led to allegations that former First Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado, Cliff Stricklin, got his job in 2006 because of political favoritism.
A U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) report on the hiring and firing of U.S. attorneys under Gonzales’ charges that former DOJ official Monica Goodling recommended Cliff Stricklin for the Colorado job because he passed her political litmus test.
U.S. Attorney Troy Eid has dismissed the report, saying he chose Stricklin as his first assistant because of his expertise, not his political views.
Before joining Eid’s staff, Stricklin had been one of four prosecutors who won securities fraud convictions against Enron executives Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling. Stricklin, a former judge, is now a partner in a Denver law firm.
The DOJ report concluded Goodling interviewed Stricklin for the U.S. attorney job in 2006. Afterward, she wrote to Eid that Stricklin was “on the team,” which the report says was Goodling’s code for politically conservative individuals. “We concluded that Goodling solicited political information from, and then described in ideological terms, a candidate whom she recommended for a career position,” the report reads.
The federal government distinguishes between political and career appointees, and allows applicants’ political views to be considered only for political positions.
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