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DOJ Scandal Results in Another Resignation
NY Times
August 24, 2007

WASHINGTON, Aug. 23 — The head of the Justice Department's civil rights division announced Thursday that he was resigning, the latest in a long string of departures from the department in the midst of a furor over the leadership of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales.

The department said that the resignation of the official, Assistant Attorney General Wan J. Kim, had nothing to do with the recent controversies over Mr. Gonzales's performance, and that Mr. Kim had been planning his departure for months.

His departure was announced on the same day that department officials confirmed that a senior official who preceded Mr. Kim in running the civil rights division, Bradley J. Schlozman, had also resigned.

In Senate testimony two months ago, Mr. Schlozman, who was interim director of the division in 1993, acknowledged that he had actively recruited conservative Republican applicants to work in the division and that he had rewritten the performance evaluations of career lawyers who were not considered loyal to the Bush administration.

Mr. Kim, who has worked in the Justice Department for most of his career, has led the civil rights division since November 2005. Although Congressional Democrats and civil rights groups have accused the division of abandoning its commitment to protection of minority rights under President Bush, Mr. Kim was not personally singled out for criticism.

In a statement on Mr. Kim's resignation, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts and one of the administration's strongest critics on the Senate Judiciary Committee, did not mention Mr. Kim by name. Instead, the senator attacked the department as a whole.

"The Bush Department of Justice has failed our country," Mr. Kennedy said. "Too many officials have resigned to evade the accountability that is to come for the disastrously flawed policies of this administration."

Mr. Gonzales saluted Mr. Kim in a statement, saying he would miss Mr. Kim's "honest opinions and valuable contributions as an adviser to me."

Mr. Kim's departure creates another major vacancy in the department, which has lost several other top managers in recent months. The department has yet to announce nominees for the posts of deputy attorney general and associate attorney general, the No. 2 and 3 jobs at the department. Department spokesmen say the vacancies are not a surprise so late in a president's second term.

Mr. Schlozman went on from the civil rights division to appointment as an interim United States attorney in Kansas City, Mo., where he was criticized for having brought a voter fraud case shortly before the November 2006 election against a liberal group that registered voters.

At the Senate hearing in June, Mr. Schlozman defended the timing of the case and said it had little impact on the election.

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