Senators warn of 'burrowing in' at Justice

July 25, 2008 at 1:57 AM

WASHINGTON, July 25 (UPI) -- Two U.S. senators have urged Attorney General Michael Mukasey to keep political appointees out of career Justice Department positions, The Washington Post said.

In a letter to Mukasey, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., urged the attorney genral and other Justice Department officials to monitor hiring in the department during the remaining months of the Bush administration, so political appointees do not improperly fill jobs intended for non-partisan professionals, the newspaper said Friday.

"We don't need ideological stowaways undermining the work of the next administration," Schumer said.

Justice Department Inspector General Glenn Fine said last month appointees in charge of the department's honors and summer intern programs had used political ideology and other "impermissible" considerations as a basis for rejecting hundreds of applicants between 2002 and 2006.

Analysts say concern that partisan employees will pull strings to get civil service jobs is always an issue in Washington but even more so during an election year. Congressional investigators call the practice "burrowing in."

A Justice Department spokesman told the Post officials will review the letter from Schumer and Feinstein.

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