Justice Dept. Math: Subtract Politics, Add Confidence

Obama needs to tread careful bipartisan line in cleaning up after Bush
By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 13, 2008 2:54 PM CST
President Bush walks with President-elect Barack Obama down the Colonnade of the White House in Washington, Monday, Nov. 10, 2008, to the Oval Office.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
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(Newser) – Repairing a Justice Department heavily politicized by the Bush administration’s ideologically motivated hiring practices and controversial counterterrorism measures will be one of Barack Obama’s most daunting challenges, Carrie Johnson writes in the Washington Post. One key area is the secretive Office of Legal Counsel, which advises the government on a range of issues from domestic spying to religious-group funding.

Some lawmakers are calling for the office’s advisory memos to be made public, but Obama can’t be seen as targeting GOP-friendly Justice officials. “It would not be beneficial to spend a lot of time calling people up to Congress,” one former official says. Another point of contention is funding, with the department’s resources increasingly devoted to terrorism rather than drugs or white-collar crime.