Political Hirings Probed at Justice Department

The Justice Department is expanding its internal inquiry on the firing of US attorneys into whether politics played a part in hiring career prosecutors.

In a rare note updating lawmakers on its investigation, the department said today it is looking into hiring practices within its Civil Rights division. Lawmakers have questioned whether the division has hired prosecutors with strong political resumes but little civil rights experience.

Nevada's former US Attorney Dan Bogden was among those who were
fired late last year or early this year.

The letter to the leaders of House and Senate Judiciary committees comes a week after the department's former White House aide, Monica Goodling, admitted that she "crossed the line" in considering job applicants' loyalty to the Republican Party before approving their hires.

Doing so is illegal.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)