In the order, Gonzales delegated to his then-chief of staff, D. Kyle Sampson, and his White House liaison "the authority, with the approval of the Attorney General, to take final action in matters pertaining to the appointment, employment, pay, separation, and general administration" of virtually all non-civil-service employees of the Justice Department, including all of the department's political appointees who do not require Senate confirmation. Monica Goodling became White House liaison in April 2006, the month after Gonzales signed the order.Well, Gonzales did tell us that administrative and managerial tasks weren't his strong suit. So I guess he figured it was best to just get out of the way and let a couple of underlings take direction directly from the White House political operation.
The existence of the order suggests that a broad effort was under way by the White House to place politically and ideologically loyal appointees throughout the Justice Department, not just at the U.S.-attorney level. Department records show that the personnel authority was delegated to the two aides at about the same time they were working with the White House in planning the firings of a dozen U.S. attorneys, eight of whom were, in fact, later dismissed.
Now, that's pretty lame, but it's not illegal or anything. Except for the fact that he didn't see fit to say anything about this during his testimony before Congress a week ago. Even though hiring and firing of DOJ employees was the whole point of the hearing. Patrick Leahy isn't amused.