Friday, June 6, 2008


DICK MORRIS & EILEEN MCGANN On his first day as the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Barack Obama made his first clear, serious mistake: He named Eric Holder as one of three people charged with vice-presidential vetting. As deputy attorney general, Holder was the key person who made the pardon of Marc Rich possible in the final hours of the Clinton presidency. Now, Obama will be stuck in the Marc Rich mess.

If ever there was a person who did not deserve a presidential pardon, it's Marc Rich, the fugitive billionaire who renounced his U.S. citizenship and moved to Switzerland to avoid prosecution for racketeering, wire fraud, 51 counts of tax fraud, tax evasion (to the tune of $48 million), and illegal trades with Iran in violation of the US embargo following the 1979-80 hostage crisis.

Seventeen years later, Rich wanted a pardon, and he retained Jack Quinn, former counsel to the president, to lobby his old boss. It was Holder who had originally recommended Quinn to one of Rich's advisers, although he claims that he did not know the identity of the client.

And he gave substantive advice to Quinn along the way. According to Quinn's notes that were produced to Congress, Holder told Quinn to take the pardon application "straight to the White House" because "the timing is good." And once the pardon was granted, Holder sent his congratulations to Quinn.

JERRY SEPER, WASHINGTON TIMES, MAY 2002 - Former White House Counsel Jack Quinn and former Deputy Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. sought to cut the Justice Department out of a decision by President Clinton to pardon fugitive financier Marc Rich, according to a congressional report. The 467-page report, to be released by the House Government Reform Committee, said Mr. Quinn and Mr. Holder "worked together" to ensure that department officials - particularly federal prosecutors in New York who handled the Rich case - "did not have the opportunity to express an opinion on the Rich pardon before it was granted . . . The evidence amassed by the committee indicates that Holder advised Quinn to file the Rich pardon petition with the White House, and leave the Justice Department out of the process," the report said. "

ASSOCIATED PRESS 1999: The federal prosecutor who raised questions about a possible Justice Department cover-up in the Waco standoff was abruptly removed from the case along with his boss, according to a court filing made public today. Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder recused U.S. Attorney James W. Blagg in San Antonio and assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Johnston in Waco from any further dealings in criminal or civil proceedings related to the siege. Holder appointed the U.S. attorney in a neighboring district as a ``special attorney to the U.S. attorney general." . . . Johnston wrote Reno warning that aides within her own department were misleading her about federal agents' roles. The recusal notice provides no explanation for Holder's action.

PROGRESSIVE REVEW, 1997 It was just symbolic and, in the end, the money comes out of our pockets but at least one judge has called the White House for lying, assessing a fine of over a quarter of a million dollars. Judge Lamberth's opinion indicates this was no minor peccadillo but rather, "the Executive Branch of the government, working in tandem, was dishonest with this court." At issue was the composition of Hillary Clinton's health task force, a body stacked with those from the medical industry who would gain most from the faux reforms of the Clintonistas. . .

The health care incident also sheds some interesting light on the number two official in the Justice Department, Eric Holder. Turns out it was Holder, then DC's US Attorney, who decided not to prosecute Ira Magaziner on the grounds that no one had written down what "membership" in the task force meant -- the sort of disreputable wriggle for which DC lawyers are famous.

Holder has led a charmed life until recently. As US Attorney in DC, he was under the patronage of the Washington Post, which started boosting him as a suitably conservative black candidate for mayor. Unfortunately, no one could point to anything that Holder had really done other than to give comforting speeches to white business groups. The Post trial balloon burst before take-off.

Holder, however, soon was given the Web Hubbell chair at Justice. Everything was rolling along just fine until scandals erupted in the DC police department and other city agencies. Now it appears that Holder was just a little lackadaisical in following important leads that might have blown the cover on wrong-doings. Even the Washington Post quotes a senior prosecutor as saying that Holder's office shelved an investigation into a $1-million-a-year corruption case in the DC Water and Sewer Authority.

One of Holder's predecessors, Joseph DiGenova, says, "When you have corruption staring you in the face, and you fail to act, you should resign. You can't worry about judgeships or your next job. And this from former city auditor Otis Troupe: "For years, in audit after audit, and in newspaper article after newspaper articles, we have established fact patterns that constitute crimes. And in all but a handful of case, nobody did anything in the prosecutor's office."

Nonetheless, Holder is still trying to stay in the establishment's good graces by chairing a sentencing commission that is expected to recommend even more severe penalties for those convicted in DC , which already locks up its violent criminals longer than anywhere else in the country. He also remains active on the local scene, helping those politicians with a punishment fetish figure out nifty new tricks. One of the latest seems to have his fingerprints on it: a measure that would take away the right of protestors on federal property to a jury trial. The gimmick: reduce the maximum penalty for the offense so it falls below DC's limit for jury trials. Then when protestors are arrested, hit them with multiple minor offenses. Result: long jail sentences but no need for a jury. Holder beta tested this constitutional assault on other sorts of cases while US Attorney. Sometimes ambition is not a pretty sight.


At June 7, 2008 3:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've no love for Billery and I have my doubts about Obama, but I do respect Al Giordano who's dedicated his life to authentic journalism. He says, " the Obama campaign is the first mass multi-racial collaboration in the United States since the Southern Civil Rights movement."
That has to give some hope.

At June 7, 2008 5:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Giordano's observation refers to the long overdue type of effective popular collaboration necessary to derail the hack-based machine that was propelling the presumptive nominee to the White House.

Sam Smith is talking about another kind of collaboration, the kind that generates badly conceived deals between the Obama campaign and the disreputable remnants of the defeated hack wing of the Democratic party.

Whether the popular forces behind Obama are able to detect, head-off , or even just mitigate the effects of similar self destructive pacts entered into by the Obama brain trust remains to be seen.

Will we settle for a rhetorical "new day" or will we demand the real thing? - John A. Joslin ( Detroit )


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