The George W. Bush Justice Department undid a small part of the damage that top officials caused in a scandal of politicized hiring and firing during the Bush administration. The department rehired an attorney who was improperly removed from her job because she was rumored to be a Lesbian.
NPR first broke the story of LESLIE HAGEN‘s dismissal in April 2008, and the Justice Department’s inspector general later corroborated the report. Now, Hagen has returned to her post at the department’s Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys.
In 2006, Hagen was the liaison between the main Justice Department and the U.S. Attorneys’ committee on Native American affairs. The chairman of that committee, Tom Heffelfinger, described Hagen to NPR last year as “the best qualified person in the nation to fill that job.” Hagen’s performance evaluations had the highest possible ratings — “outstanding” in each of five categories. The job came up for renewal every year. After the first year, Hagen was surprised to hear that she would have to move on.
NPR’s Ari Shapiro notes that “it is not a perfectly happy ending for Hagen” because “nobody official from the department ever apologized to her for what happened” and she still owes thousands of dollars in attorney fees that the Bush Justice Department refused to pay.