Another "Gonzales guy" resigns

Bradley Schlozman, a Bush loyalist in the politicization of the Justice Department.

Published August 21, 2007 11:37AM (EDT)

TPM Muckraker is reporting that Bradley Schlozman has resigned from his post at the Justice Department.

Who is Bradley Schlozman? A former Justice Department has described him as "one of Gonzales' guys," and the description seems apt in so many ways.

As acting assistant attorney general for civil rights, Schlozman is said to have pushed out lawyers who happened to be women or minorities or suspected liberals to make way for what he allegedly called "good Americans" -- which is to say, applicants with the words "Federalist Society" on their résumés. He overruled recommendations from career lawyers and approved a Texas redistricting map and a Georgia photo I.D. voting law, both of which federal courts subsequently declared illegal.

Although Schlozman had virtually no trial experience, Gonzales named him interim U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri under a loophole in the Patriot Act that allowed the attorney general to make the appointment without Senate confirmation. Schlozman took the place of Todd Graves, who had refused to sign off on a voter fraud case Schlozman wanted him to file and who may have been the first federal prosecutor to fall victim to the Bush administration's 2006 purge of U.S. attorneys.

Once in office in Missouri, Schlozman filed voter fraud charges against members of the liberal group ACORN just days before the 2006 midterm elections. Although Justice Department policy requires that most such cases be held until after an election so as not to unfairly prejudice the outcome, Schlozman claimed in sworn testimony before the U.S. Senate that he had filed the charges when he did because he was directed to do so by the Justice Department's election crimes branch -- a claim he subsequently "clarified" out of existence.

After his stint in Missouri, Schlozman returned to main Justice, where he worked in the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys. On a call with TPM Muckraker, he confirmed Monday that he resigned last week but declined to say anything more. That's just as well; the epitaph for his Justice Department career has already been written: As the former chief of the voting rights section once said, "Schlozman didn't know anything about voting law ... All he knew is he wanted to be sure that the Republicans were going to win."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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