04.04.08

Leahy, Specter Push For Inclusion Of Hagen Case In IG-OPR Investigation

WASHINGTON (Friday, April 4, 2008) – The Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee today sought confirmation that the Department of Justice Inspector General and the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) are examining the case of a former Department attorney, whose dismissal, according to press reports, may have been due to her sexual orientation rather than job performance. The Inspector General and OPR are conducting a far-reaching investigation of improper hiring and firing practices at the Department of Justice.

National Public Radio recently reported that Leslie Hagen was removed from her job as liaison between the Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorneys’ Committee on Native American issues amid rumors of her sexual orientation despite receiving an “outstanding” job performance rating. Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Ranking Member Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) sent a letter Friday seeking confirmation that the Inspector General’s office and OPR were including Hagen’s case in their investigation.

The Inspector General and OPR have been examining the politicization of hiring and firing practices at the Justice Department after several Congressional Committees, including the Senate Judiciary Committee, conducted investigations into the firing of U.S. Attorneys for seemingly political reasons and improper personnel practices throughout the Department.

The text of the letter follows. 

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April 4, 2008

The Honorable Glenn A. Fine
Inspector General
The Department of Justice 
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20530


H. Marshall Jarrett

Counsel
Office of Professional Responsibility
The Department of Justice

950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 3266
Washington, D.C. 20530

Dear Inspector General Fine and Mr. Jarrett:

We are writing to confirm press reports that your offices are investigating allegations surrounding the treatment of career attorney Leslie Hagen. Ms. Hagen was appointed in October, 2005 as the liaison between the Department and the U.S. Attorneys’ Committee on Native American issues. According to a recent report on National Public Radio, despite receiving the best possible rating of “outstanding” on her job performance evaluation, Ms. Hagen was removed from her position at the Justice Department amid rumors of her sexual orientation. It has been reported that several people interviewed by your staff believe that Ms. Hagen’s removal was because of these rumors.

We were encouraged by Attorney General Mukasey’s commitment during his confirmation hearing to end any disparate treatment of Department employees based on sexual orientation. Allegations of disparate treatment should be fully investigated. Accordingly, this matter should be a part of the ongoing joint IG and OPR investigation of improper personnel practices at the Justice Department. Please simply confirm for us that it is part of your investigation. 

We look forward to your prompt response. 


Sincerely, 

PATRICK LEAHY                    ARLEN SPECTER
Chairman                                    Ranking Member

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Press Contact

David Carle: 202-224-3693

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