By Steve Neavling
Two whistleblowers have accused a high-ranking Justice Department official of injecting politics into the hiring process by appointing an inexperienced attorney over more qualified candidates.
Jeffrey Bossert Clark was acting assistant attorney general in charge of the department’s Civil Division when he conducted a bogus interview process for the assistant director position of the Civil Division, the whistleblowers alleged in documents obtained by NPR.
The whistleblowers are calling for an investigation in a letter to House and Senate lawmakers and the DOJ’s inspector general.
The appointment came just days before Clark left the post in January.
The five-page letter states that Clark appointed an attorney who “volunteered and was part of the DOJ litigation team defending a controversial Trump administration policy … that barred pregnant, unaccompanied minors in federal immigration custody from obtaining abortions.”
In an email to CNN, Clark defended the appointment.
“Civil Division managers sent me three candidates to interview, each of whom they rated well-qualified. I interviewed all three using the same process I had used for other positions. I think it’s very unfortunate that the disappointed applicants would attack their own colleague’s selection,” he said. “That candidate had strong leadership qualities and was the best qualified. Pointing to that lawyer’s work on the Garza litigation, with a D.C. Circuit decision that came out years befoe I joined the Civil Division, is just a baseless attempt to cast aspersions.”