Kevin Ohlson Will Be Holder’s Chief of Staff
By Mary Jacoby | January 20, 2022 2:46 pm

That’s what I hear. Ohlson is director of the Executive Office for Immigration Review and a long-time, trusted aide to Eric Holder. He was Holder’s chief of staff when Holder was Deputy Attorney General in the Clinton administration, and worked with him at the US Attorney’s office in DC. As deputy director of the EOIR in 2005, Ohlson was on the receiving end of Kyle Sampson and Monica Goodling’s efforts to politicize appointments of immigration judges.

“I expressed carefully, diplomatically to Kyle Sampson … the fact that I felt as if these immigration judge positions were not being filled on a timely basis,” Ohlson told DOJ IG/OPR investigators, according to this report. He repeatedly protested decisions not to advertise IJ vacancies, which were instead being reserved for Republican candidates recommended by members of Congress and the White House. One candidate suggested by a Republican member of Congress used profanity during an interview and, when asked his greatest weakness, responded: “Blondes.” The candidate’s interview “causes us to question whether he possesses the appropriate judicial temperament and demenanor to serve as an immigration judge,” Ohlson wrote in a Dec. 7, 2005 email to Jan Williams, Goodling’s predecessor as White House liaison to DOJ.

At another point, it was Ohlson who was being screened for loyalty, the IG/OPR report said. In 2007, when EOIR Director Kevin Rooney was retiring, and Ohlson was being considered for his job, Goodling contacted Associate Attorney General David Margolis. “As to your friend Kevin Ohlson, can you tell us whether he’s a D or an R?” Goodling asked. Margolis said he told Goodling that Ohlson was a career DOJ employee, but that he may have been more “politically attuned” to Republicans, according to the IG/OPR report.


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