Monica Goodling

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U.S. attorney firings controversy
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Monica Goodling was the Director of Public Affairs for the United States Department of Justice, serving under Attorneys General John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzales.

At the RNC

In 1999, after graduating from Pat Robertson's conservative Regent University, Goodling "landed a job at the D.C. headquarters of the Republican National Committee just as the 2000 Bush-Cheney campaign was ramping up. Goodling’s position put her inside the newly created war room for political opposition research. There, she worked alongside a crew of party faithful who would later shepherd her through the ranks at Justice," T.R. Goldman and Emma Schwartz wrote April 2, 2007, in Legal Times.

At the Justice Department

"Among Goodling's close associates were Barbara Comstock, who was then head of opposition research" for the RNC and "later the chief spokeswoman" for Attorney General John Ashcroft. Comstock and Goodling "helped prepare Ashcroft and Theodore Olson for their confirmation hearings to be attorney general and solicitor general, respectively," Goldman and Schwartz wrote.

In 2001, when Tim Griffin left the Justice Department, Goodling became Comstock's deputy. "When Comstock became Ashcroft’s spokeswoman in 2002, she brought Goodling along as her deputy. Goodling stayed for three years," Goldman and Schwartz wrote. In 2007, Goodling helped Griffin "to win the interim appointment to replace one of the eight ousted U.S. attorneys in Arkansas."

"In spring 2005, Goodling returned to Main Justice, this time in the Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys, where she worked for Mary Beth Buchanan, the U.S. attorney in Pittsburgh, who knew Goodling from her days in the press shop," Goldman and Schwartz wrote. "A few months later, she moved into Gonzales' office as a senior counsel and soon took on the responsibilities of White House liaison. In that post, Goodling served as the gatekeeper for the White House for all 400-some political appointees in the Justice Department, from U.S. attorneys and marshals to secretaries."

David Ayres, the former chief of staff to Bush's first attorney general, John Ashcroft, told the Washington Post that Goodling was "the embodiment of a hardworking young conservative who believed strongly in the president and his mission." [1]

One former Justice Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Washington Post that "she forced many very talented, career people out of main Justice so she could replace them with junior people that were either loyal to the administration or would score her some points."[2]

Note: In April 2007, Comstock joined former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney's 2008 presidential campaign team.

Role in the Scandal Over the Firing of U.S. Attorney's

She was involved in the Bush administration U.S. attorney firings controversy.

Internal Department of Justice emails reveal she played a role in the replacement of H.E. "Bud" Cummins as the U.S. attorney in Arkansas with Tim Griffin, "a protege" of George W. Bush's adviser Karl Rove. In one email from Goodling to Gonzales' then chief of staff, Kyle Sampson, she foreshadowed political problems with pushing Griffin's nomination. "We have a senator prob, so while wh is intent on nominating, scott (Rove's deputy, Scott Jennings) thinks we may have a confirmation issue," she wrote. [3]

On March 19, 2007, Goodling took an indefinite leave of absence.[4]


In 1995 she graduated from Messiah College, which states it is "committed to an embracing evangelical spirit" and aimes "to educate men and women toward maturity of intellect, character and Christian faith in preparation for lives of service, leadership and reconciliation in church and society". [5] [6] In 1999 she graduated from Regent University Law School, [7], which was founded by Pat Robertson and states that it is dedicated to producing "Christian leaders who will make a difference, who will change the world." [8]

"After earning a joint degree in law and public policy in 1999, she worked as a researcher for the Republican National Committee on the Bush campaign, then moved to the Justice Department's press office. She spent six months with the U.S. attorney's office in the Eastern District of Virginia," the Washington Post reported in March 2007. [9]

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