WASHINGTON, Aug. 15 (UPI) -- Six attorneys passed over for civil service posts in the U.S. Justice Department sued former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and other top officials Friday.
The suit is an effort to hold top Justice Department officials accountable for the hiring scandal that led to Gonzales' resignation in 2007, plaintiffs' attorney Daniel Metcalfe of American University's Washington College of Law told ABC News.
"My clients wish that they hadn't had to bring this lawsuit -- they would have greatly preferred to be working inside the Justice Department, where by all rights they deserved to be, defending the government in court rather than standing as victimized examples of government wrongdoing," said Metcalfe, also an ex-Justice Department official.
The attorneys claim the officials violated applicants' privacy and due process through the politicized hiring process in the Honors Program and Summer Law Intern Program, ABC said. The suit alleges that in vetting candidates' political affiliations, officials broke privacy rules that say applicants' files should have no information about political activity.
Sean Gerlich, one of the attorneys, sued the department in June. Friday's amended complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, expanded Gerlich's suit to include Gonzales; Monica Goodling, former White House liaison; Michael Elston, ex-chief of staff to then-deputy attorney general Paul McNulty, and Esther McDonald, Gonzales' former counsel.