Eric Holder. How many times have you read that name lately, on TTAG and elsewhere? In the history of U.S. Attorneys General, I’d bet you a subpoena or six that Holder’s gotten more ink and recycled electrons than any AG since John Mitchell. Yet not many people know how Eric Holder came to be the United States Attorney General, or why he’s at the center of a growing scandal. In truth, Eric Holder didn’t just wake up one day and think, “How can I subvert the U.S. Constitution?” Nope. He evolved . . .
Unlike his boss (President Obama), Eric Holder doesn’t come from “community organizing. Before being tapped to helm the Department of Justice, Holder’s spent most of his career in government service and corporate law.
As a heavy-hitter with Covington & Burling, Holder defended Chiquita Brands relating to funding for Columbian “death squads.” AUC paramilitary thugs stood accused of the murders of 4,000 civilians in the banana regions of that banana republic. Chiquita was accused of funding the terror.
Holder claimed that Chiquita was forced to pay protection money to the “paramilitaries.” Mario Iguaran, Attorney General of Columbia saw things just a wee bit differently. “This was not payment of extortion money. It was support for an illegal armed group whose methods included murder.”
At the time, the feds had a former Columbian paramilitary leader in custody, ready to sing a song about the payments from Chiquita, Dole and Del Monte. Holder used his influence as a former public servant to negotiate what can only be thought of as a “sweetheart deal” for Chiquita Brands. The key points of his deal with the Feds:
- No jail time for Chiquita execs.
- All case records sealed to prevent release of the names of the executives involved in the payoffs.
- A fine of $25 million, payable over a five-year span.
It was the moral equivalent of a slap on the wrist, a wink and a nod.
The Human Rights Watch group questioned Holder’s fitness for the AG position well before Obama nominated him. In November ’08, the Huffington Post stated emphatically that Holder should be disqualified from consideration, given his track record.
Ronald Reagan appointed Holder to serve as a judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Holder joined the Clinton administration.
Holder played a big role in Clinton’s 11th hour pardon for Marc Rich. Holder also influenced Clinton’s decision to reduce the sentences of 16 members of the Boricua Popular Army, dubbed a terrorist organization by the FBI. Opposing his request: U.S. Pardons Attorney Margaret Love, the FBI, the federal prosecutor and the victims.
The Boricua Popular Army members were not required to repudiate their actions and were not required to narc-out Victor Manuel Gerena, a co-conspirator and one of the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives, nor were they required to repay or account for the millions of dollars stolen by the group in a 1983 robbery of a Connecticut Wells Fargo branch.
From 2001 to the time he took over Justice, Holder represented the drug firm Merck and the NFL. He repped for a casino deal over the objections of the Illinois gaming commission staff, who were concerned about Holder’s client’s ties to organized crime.
During his current tenure, Holder sided with Washington D.C.’s case before the Supreme Court regarding their restrictive gun laws.
With a resumé and track record like that, no one should be surprised that Eric Holder is facing subpoenas from Congress over Fast and Furious and his (and the Administration’s) roles in it. No, we should be surprised that it took so long for Holder to screw up – and screw us.