Illegal Hiring Found in Justice Department Management Unit

The management arm of the U.S. Justice Department conducted illegal hiring and is plagued by a “pattern of fundamental misconduct,” according to a report today by the department’s inspector general.

Employees in the Justice Management Division including senior officials advocated for, and in some cases “undertook a sustained campaign,” to secure employment for family members inside the Justice Department, according to a report by Inspector General Michael Horowitz.

“Most of the misconduct described in this report -- the nepotism, the Prohibited Personnel Practices, the ethical lapses, the false and misleading statements -- was the result of bad behavior by individuals insufficiently impressed with the principles of fair and open competition,” according to the report.

The inspector general’s office began an investigation into the division’s hiring practices as a result of information provided by a former employee to Representative Frank Wolf, a Virginia Republican, the inspector general’s office wrote in the report. The report was the third since 2004 to identify misconduct in the department’s management division.

The Justice Department is “moving immediately to address the report’s findings,” said Gina Talamona, a spokeswoman.

“The department must maintain a zero-tolerance policy,” she said, adding that “swift and decisive action must be taken to deal with those involved in these activities.”

Seeking Employment

The report identified eight people in the division who violated statutes and regulations as they sought employment for relatives or the relatives of colleagues. In one case, the report alleges Pamela Cabell-Edelen, the former assistant director for human resources, changed an existing vacancy announcement to improve her daughter’s chances for a position. She also “improperly advocated” for her daughter’s appointment to positions, according to the report.

Her daughter was eventually hired by Edward Hamilton, the director of the management division’s Facilities and Administrative Services Staff, to be his secretary, according to the report. Hamilton’s son was later hired by Cabell-Edelen through an internship program.

Report’s Details

Cabell-Edelen “involved herself extensively in her daughter’s efforts to be hired” and advocated on her daughter’s behalf to department officials, the report said. Cabell-Edelen, who retired from the Justice Department in 2011, also “made multiple false statements under oath in a deliberate attempt to deceive” the inspector general, according to the report.

Reached by phone today, Cabell-Edelen said she hadn’t seen the report and declined to comment on its contents. Hamilton didn’t immediately respond to a message left with his office seeking comment on the report.

“While it was a small number of JMD staffs and individuals implicated in the investigation, the report was particularly troubling as it identified hiring improprieties for the third time in eight years,” Lee J. Lofthus, assistant attorney general for administration, said in a July 23 letter to Horowitz responding to report.

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