Monica Goodling

Monica Goodling

Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy
( )
G. W. Bush administration officials involved
Involved administration officials who resigned
U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary
110th Congress
U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary
110th Congress

Monica Marie Goodling (born August 6, 1973) is a former United States government lawyer and United States Attorneys in 2007. She was the principal deputy director of public affairs for the United States Department of Justice, serving under Attorneys General John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzales. A Department of Justice investigation concluded that she had violated the law, but she was not prosecuted because she had been granted immunity in exchange for her testimony. The Virginia State Bar publicly reprimanded Goodling in May 2011 for having "improperly utilized political affiliation and other political considerations when making hiring decisions for career positions."[2]


Goodling is a 1991 graduate of Northeastern High School in Manchester, Pennsylvania, and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1995 from Messiah College. After completing her bachelor's degree, Goodling started her legal education at American University.[3] Deeply religious and politically conservative, she later transferred to Pat Robertson's Regent University School of Law, where she received her Juris Doctor degree in 1999. [4]

Political and legal career

Goodling worked with [5] Goodling was hired by U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan to work in the executive office.[6]

Less than a year later, Goodling moved again, to the Attorney General’s office, working as the White House liaison.[5] According to David Ayres, senior chief of staff to Attorney General John Ashcroft, "She was the embodiment of a hardworking young conservative who believed strongly in the president and his mission".[7] According to Bud Cummins, one of the fired prosecutors and an Arkansas Republican, "She was inexperienced, way too naïve and a little overzealous".[5]

After moving to the Attorney General's office, she retained some authority over personnel matters. Goodling's authority over hiring expanded significantly in March 2006, when Gonzales signed an unpublished order delegating to Goodling and Kyle Sampson, his then chief of staff, the power to appoint or dismiss all department political appointees besides United States Attorneys, who are appointed by the President. The delegation included authority over interim United States attorneys (who are appointed by the Attorney General) and heads of the divisions that handle civil rights, public corruption, environmental crimes and other matters.[5][8][9]

U.S. attorneys controversy

According to e-mails, Goodling was involved in planning controversial 2006 U.S. attorney dismissals and in later efforts to limit the negative public reaction.[10] Goodling "warned of potential political problems with Timothy Griffin's interim appointment as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas and underscored White House interest in getting it done."[10] Reportedly, Goodling "took a leading role" in Bud Cummins's dismissal.[10]


On March 23, 2007, she took an indefinite leave of absence.[11] On March 26, 2007, Goodling cancelled her upcoming appearance at a Congressional hearing, citing her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.[12][13] No Department of Justice employee has ever exercised his or her Fifth Amendment rights with respect to official conduct and remained an employee.[14] 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."[15]

Limited immunity to testify

On April 25, 2007, the House Judiciary Committee voted 32-6 to grant Goodling immunity, (meeting the required two-thirds majority requirement) and immediately authorized a subpoena.[16] In early May 2007, the Department of Justice's Office of Professional Responsibility investigated whether Goodling violated federal law in making "hiring decisions on assistant U.S. attorneys based on party affiliation."[17]

Initially, commentators speculated that Justice Department officials could try to bar Goodling's testimony to the House Committee, on the grounds that it might interfere with an ongoing criminal investigation. However, the Justice Department subsequently agreed not to contest the congressional grant of immunity.[18]

On May 11, 2007, U.S. District Court Chief Judge Thomas Hogan signed an order granting Goodling immunity in exchange for her truthful testimony for the investigation of the firings, stating that "Goodling may not refuse to testify, and may not refuse to provide other information, when compelled to do so" before the Committee.[19]

House Judiciary committee hearing

Goodling appeared before the House Judiciary Committee, on May 23, 2007, under a limited immunity agreement,[19] and provided to the committee a written statement that she read at the start of her testimony.[20][21]

In response to questions during the hearing, Goodling stated that she "crossed the line" and broke civil service rules about hiring, and improperly weighed political factors in considering applicants for career positions at the Department of Justice.[22][23] transcript of the hearing.Washington PostLink to

Investigation of Goodling's hiring practices

On May 3, 2007, the Washington Post reported that the United States Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General launched an internal probe into whether Goodling "illegally took party affiliation into account in hiring career federal prosecutors" in her work at the Department.[24]

On May 12, the New York Times published an article about Goodling repeatedly engaging in "prohibited personnel practices" while at the Justice Department. "You have a Monica problem" several Justice Department officials told Robin C. Ashton, a criminal prosecutor at the Department of Justice. "She believes you're a Democrat and doesn't feel you can be trusted."[25] Ashton was denied a promotion during Goodling's tenure, but in the Obama administration, Attorney General Eric Holder determined that she was qualified and appointed her as Counsel for Professional Responsibility, the head of the Justice Department's internal ethics unit.[26]

One week after Goodling's testimony before the House, the Department's Office of the Inspector General and Counsel for the Office of Professional Responsibility confirmed in a letter[27] to the Senate Judiciary Committee, that they were expanding their investigation beyond "the removals of United States Attorneys" to also include "DOJ hiring and personnel decisions" by Goodling and other Justice Department employees.[28]

On July 28, 2008, a Justice Department report concluded that Goodling had violated federal law and Justice Department policy by discriminating against job applicants who weren't Republican or conservative loyalists. "Goodling improperly subjected candidates for certain career positions to the same politically based evaluation she used on candidates for political positions," the report concluded. In one instance, Justice investigators found, Goodling initially objected to hiring an assistant prosecutor in Washington because "judging from his resume, he appeared to be a liberal Democrat type." In another, she rejected an experienced terrorism prosecutor to work on counterterrorism issues at a Justice Department headquarters office "because of his wife's political affiliations,". In another case, colleagues said that Goodling blocked the appointment of a female prosecutor in Washington because she "believed the lawyer was involved in a lesbian relationship with her supervisor", according to the report. "There was no romantic relationship," said Lisa Banks,[29] the attorney for Leslie Hagen, "but the rumors were pernicious and grew legs, and it cost her the job."[30] Hagen was subsequently rehired to her old job.[31]

Role in other DOJ controversies

On May 7, 2007, National Journal's "Inside Washington" column reported that it was Goodling who ordered drapes to be placed over the partially nude Art Deco statues (Spirit of Justice) in the Justice Department's Great Hall during Ashcroft's tenure as Attorney General. At the time, the department spent $8,000 on blue drapes to hide the two giant, aluminum statues, according to spokesman Shane Hix. The coverings were removed in 2005.

On April 2, 2008, NPR's All Things Considered reported that the Justice Department's inspector general was investigating whether Goodling was instrumental in the February 2007 dismissal of Department career attorney Leslie Hagen from her job due to rumors that Hagen was a lesbian. An e-mail shows that a few months before Hagen was let go, Goodling decided to remove part of Hagen's job portfolio.[32] On April 4, 2008, the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee sought confirmation that the Department of Justice Inspector General and the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) were examining the case of the dismissal of Hagen.[33][34] According to NPR, the Inspector General confirmed the NPR report, and in February 2009 Hagen was hired back at her previous position.[35]

On July 15, 2009, Washington Blade's "The Latest" column reported that it was Goodling who asked Michael Elston to lead a 2006 screening committee for the Justice Department Summer Internship Program. The column goes on to describe an evaluation of apparent discriminatory application process similar to the 2007 attempts to remove Department attorneys based on non-qualifying criteria. The research shows that under Goodling/Elston, 82% of applicants with liberal affiliations on their resume were rejected for the program while only 13% of applicants with conservative affiliations were rejected.[36]

Current Status

Monica Goodling married Michael Krempasky, co-founder of She is currently employed under her married name, Monica Krempasky, at Corallo Media Strategies, a Virginia public relations shop run by former John Ashcroft spokesman Mark Corallo.[37][38]


  1. ^ [[1]
  2. ^ May 6, 2011.Legal Times
  3. ^ Cooperman, Alan. [2] Washington Post, March 30, 2007. Retrieved June 15, 2007.
  4. ^, May 12, 2007, Colleagues Cite Partisan Focus by Justice Official by ERIC LIPTON,[3]
  5. ^ a b c d Lipton, Eric (May 12, 2007). "Colleagues Cite Partisan Focus by Justice Official". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-05-12. 
  6. ^ Jerome L. Serman and Paula Reed Ward (June 16, 2007). "House, Senate aides quiz Buchanan on firings". Pittsburgh Post Gazette. 
  7. ^ Cooperman, Alan (March 30, 2007). "Bush Loyalist Rose Quickly at Justice". Washington Post. p. A15. Retrieved 2007-04-26. 
  8. ^ Wass, Murray (2007-04-30). "Secret Order By Gonzales Delegated Extraordinary Powers To Aides". National Journal (National Journal Group, Inc.). Retrieved 2007-05-09. 
  9. ^ Internal Document Granting Personnel Hiring Authority to DoJ Aides (via Talking Points Memo, May 9, 2007.) Retrieved May 10, 2007. Alberto Gonzales, Office of the Attorney General. Order 2808-2006. Delegation of certain personnel authorities to the Chief of Staff to the Attorney General and to the White House Liaison of the Department of Justice. March 1, 2006.
  10. ^ a b c "Who is Monica Goodling?".  
  11. ^ Dan Eggen (March 24, 2007). "Gonzales Met With Top Aides On Firings: Papers Appear to Contradict Denial".  
  12. ^ Letter from Goodling's attorneys to Senator Patrick Leahy, Judiciary Committee, March 24, 2007
  13. ^ Dan Eggen (March 26, 2007). "Gonzales's Senior Counselor Refuses to Testify".  
  14. ^ Transcript: FBI Director Robert Mueller at Senate Judiciary Committee; March 27, 2007
  15. ^ Jordan, Lara Jakes (2007-04-06). "Gonzales aide Goodling resigns".  
  16. ^ Gonzales aide gets immunity
  17. ^ "Former Gonzales aide under investigation".  
  18. ^ Appuzo, Matt (2007-05-11). "Goodling Granted Immunity in DOJ Probe".  
  19. ^ a b "Order Granting Monica Goodling immunity". Gonzales Watch. 2007-05-11. Retrieved 2007-05-11. 
  20. ^ Dan, Eggen; Carol D. Leonnig (May 23, 2007). "Officials Describe Interference by Former Gonzales Aide". Washington Post. pp. A04. Retrieved 2007-05-23. 
  21. ^ Goodling, Monica (May 23, 2007). "Remarks of Monica Goodling before the Committee on the Judiciary, United States House of Representatives" (PDF). Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. House of Representatives. Archived from the original on 2007-05-30. Retrieved 2007-05-23. 
  22. ^ Stout, David (May 23, 2007). "Ex-Gonzales Aide Testifies, ‘I Crossed the Line’". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-05-23. 
  23. ^ Congressional Quarterly, Transcripts Wire (May 23, 2007). "Goodling Testifies Before The House Judiciary Committee". Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-05-23. 
  24. ^ Eggen, Dan; Amy Goldstein (2007-05-02). "Ex-Aide to Gonzales Accused Of Bias". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-05-30. 
  25. ^ Lipton, Eric (2007-05-12). "Colleagues Cite Partisan Focus by Justice Official".  
  26. ^ Reilly, Ryan J. (December 24, 2010). "Reported Victim Of Bush-Era DOJ Politicization To Head DOJ's Internal Watchdog".  
  27. ^ Gonzales Watch (May 30, 2007). "Letter from Justice Department Inspector General and Counsel, Office of Professional Responsibility". Gonzales Watch. 
  28. ^ Eggen, Dan (2007-05-30). "Justice Dept. Widens Firings Probe". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-05-30. 
  29. ^
  30. ^ New York Times website: July 28, 2008.
  31. ^
  32. ^ Shapiro, Ari (2008-04-02). "Justice Probes Lawyer's Dismissal Amid Gay Rumor". National Public Radio. Retrieved 2008-04-02. 
  33. ^ Leahy, Specter Push For Inclusion Of Hagen Case In IG-OPR Investigation
  34. ^ NPR article
  35. ^ NPR story
  36. ^ Reference Blade article
  37. ^ Roberts, Roxanne (May 11, 2011). "Monica Goodling — hard to find these days but still around — reprimanded by Virginia Bar". Washington Post. Retrieved July 16, 2012. 
  38. ^ "Corallo Media Strategies - Team". Retrieved July 16, 2012. 

External links

  • Transcript of Monica M. Goodling's May 23, 2007 testimony before the Committee on the Judiciary, United States House of Representatives Congressional Quarterly via The Washington Post, May 23, 2007.
  • Goodling's donation to the 2004 election campaign of George W. Bush at
  • Washington Post article on Goodling
  • Archived copy of Goodling's Regent University website, circa 1997
  • Ranking of Law Schools by US News & World Report (2007)
  • Dept. of Justice Report (Jul 2007) in convenient format