11 Sep

Bradley Schlozman Won’t Face Criminal Charges For Lying Under Oath

“Perjury is often a close call, but in this case it wasn’t. Mr. Schlozman was way over the line,” Schumer said.

DEVLIN BARRETT | 09/11/09 05:32 PM | AP


WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric Holder has decided not to bring any criminal charges against a former Bush administration official who lawmakers said lied to them in sworn testimony.

An inspector general’s report found that Bradley Schlozman, the former head of the civil rights division, misled lawmakers in sworn testimony about whether he politicized hiring decisions.

At his February confirmation hearing, Holder pledged he would review that decision to prosecute Schlozman when he took over the department and promised to strengthen and rebuild the civil rights division.

Holder’s decision was revealed in a letter sent to lawmakers on Friday.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who was one of Schlozman’s questioners at the original hearing and had urged Holder take a second look at the case, called the attorney general’s decision “very disappointing.”

Under questioning from Schumer, Schlozman had denied making hiring decisions at the Justice Department based on the applicants’ political affiliations.

“Perjury is often a close call, but in this case it wasn’t. Mr. Schlozman was way over the line,” Schumer said.

In the letter to lawmakers, Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich said Holder oversaw an “extensive” review of the Schlozman matter. Holder found the alleged conduct of Schlozman disturbing, but ultimately chose to defer to the prosecutors’ original decision not to bring charges, Weich wrote.

Schlozman resigned from the Justice Department in 2007 and went to work as an attorney in private practice in Wichita, Kan.

His lawyer, Bill Jordan, said his client “is extremely pleased” by the attorney general’s decision, and called the original allegations in the report “grossly inaccurate and biased.”

The investigation of Schlozman was among a number of probes that found senior Justice Department officials in the Bush administration had violated civil service laws under the tenure of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

The Justice Department controversies – in particular the firing of nine U.S. attorneys – led to Gonzales’ resignation in 2007.

The report on Schlozman said he politicized and mistreated his staff and tried to punish agency employees he believed were too liberal. The report cited a 2003 e-mail in which Schlozman noted it had been awhile since he had had to “scream with a bloodcurdling cry at some commie.”

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