US attorneys looking for a job in the US Justice Department were discriminated against based on their political beliefs in past years, according to an internal investigation released Monday, dpa reported.
The report from the Justice Department's Offices of Inspector General and Professional Responsibility said that three former employees had violated federal laws by taking political ideology into account when hiring for career positions at the department.
The investigation stems from the tenure of former US attorney general Alberto Gonzales, a confidant of President George W Bush, who resigned in September 2007 after months of controversies including political motives in the firing of nine US attorneys.
Attorney General Michael Mukasey, who replaced Gonzales, said he was "disturbed" by the report's findings and had already taken measures to reduce the role of politics in the department.
"I have said many times it is neither permissible nor acceptable to consider political affiliations in the hiring of career department employees," Mukasey said in a statement. "I have acted, and will continue to act, to ensure that my words are translated into reality."
The investigation focussed on the Justice Department's former White House liaison Monica Goodling, her predecessor Jan Williams and Gonzales' former chief of staff Kyle Sampson. Goodling and Sampson resigned in early 2007.
"The evidence showed that Sampson, Williams and Goodling violated federal law and department policy by considering political and ideological affiliations" for certain career positions at the department," the report said.