The Wretched Tenure of Attorney General Eric Holder
Eric Holder has announced that he is leaving his post of Attorney General, which he has sullied and degraded for six years.
A corporate lawyer with the A-list Washington and Wall Street law firm Covington & Burling, Holder will be remembered for his timid defense of civil rights, his overseeing. and even encouragement of the massive militarization of the nation’s police forces, his anti-First Amendment efforts to pursue not just whistleblowers but the journalists who use them, threatening both with jail and in fact jailing a number of them (particularly in the case of whistleblower extraordinaire Edward Snowden, and Wikileaks journalist Julian Assange, both of whom reportedly face US treason charges), and his weak enforcement of environmental protection laws.
But Holder, who came into his position as the nation’s top law enforcement officer in early 2009 at the start of the Obama administration and at the height of the financial crisis, will be best remembered for his overt announcement that there would be no attempt to prosecute the criminals at the top of the nation’s biggest so-called "too-big-to-fail" banks, whose brazen crimes of theft, deceit, fraud and perjury during the Bush/Cheney years and beyond sank not just the US but the global economy into a crisis which is still with us.
Holder not only did not make any effort to put Wall Street’s banking titans behind bars for their epic crimes; he did not even make them step down from their exalted and absurdly highly compensated executive positions when his office reached negotiated settlements with the banks in civil cases involving those crimes -- civil cases that in almost all cases allowed the banks to settle without even having to admit their guilt. (His ludicrous excuse: punishing these criminal executive might jeopardize the banks’ stocks and hurt “innocent” shareholders!) Nor was this legal benevalence limited to purely financial crimes. Banks like Citicorp and HSBC, which were found to have knowingly laundered millions -- even billions -- of dollars in drug money for drug cartels, were also allowed by Holder to escape with petty fines, and no prosecution of a single bank executive.
As the US Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) notes in its response to word that Holder is leaving as AG, his Justice Department generally even allowed the Banks that were fined to deduct those fines from their taxes as a business expense -- something that ordinary citizens are not allowed to do by the IRS, and which Holder could have barred the banks from doing.
No surprise there. Among the clients of Holder's old law firm are both Bank of America and Morgan Stanley. The firm also has since 2010 had a lobbying services contract with Xe Services, the murderous mercenary firm formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide whose bloody abuses in Iraq were so monstrous the company had to change its name (but not its methods) in order to keep obtaining mercenary services contracts from the US government.