Next up: Eric Holder

posted at 10:08 am on June 13, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Now that Jim Johnson has exited stage left after embarrassing Barack Obama, the focus will now fall on Eric Holder, the second questionable member of his VP selection committee. Holder served as deputy Attorney General for the Clinton administration, a role he did with apparent professionalism and competence, until it came to the Marc Rich pardon. He pushed the pardon request through the Department of Justice but bypassed the prosecutors who were trying to nab the fugitive after his flight overseas to escape trial, violating the standard procedure for vetting pardon applicants.

The media has found interest in Holder’s connection to the Obama campaign and the hypocrisy it represents:

Washington Times

The criticism Thursday centered on Obama adviser Eric H. Holder Jr., who is scrutinizing candidates to be the Democratic presumptive presidential nominee’s running mate. As deputy attorney general under President Clinton, Mr. Holder reviewed the last-minute pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich.

Charged with 51 counts of fraud, tax evasion and illegally trading with Iran, Mr. Rich fled to Switzerland in 1983 but won a pardon from Mr. Clinton in 2001. The decision prompted a congressional investigation because Mr. Rich’s wife was a major Democratic donor and prosecutors said they were never consulted.

Indicted by then-U.S. Attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Rich failed to return to the U.S. following the indictment and was on the FBI’s Most Wanted list for several years. Mr. Holder had given a “neutral, leaning towards favorable” opinion of the pardon that led directly to the pardoning of Mr. Rich on Mr. Clinton’s last day in office.

New York Post

Now Obama needs to turn his attention to another member of that committee – Eric Holder, a former No. 2 in the Clinton Justice Department who played a key role in processing the infamous last-minute pardon of the notorious tax-cheat fugitive Marc Rich. … As for Holder, he helped push the pardon on behalf of Rich’s lawyer, former Clinton White House counsel Jack Quinn – whose help he reportedly sought in trying to become attorney general in an Al Gore administration. The pardon deal completely bypassed prosecutors in the case, who were irate when they learned of it. Even Democratic pit bull Rep. Henry Waxman said the Rich pardon “set a double standard for the wealthy and the powerful.”

Washington Post

Holder, one of two remaining members of Obama’s vice presidential search committee, was always expected to be a lightning rod. As Bill Clinton’s deputy attorney general, he was the gatekeeper for presidential pardons. Most famously, he waved through the pardon for fugitive financier Marc Rich in the waning days of the Clinton White House. But Republicans — through the Republican National Committee, conservative media outlets like the Wall Street Journal editorial page and aggressive freelance operators — are spreading their net wider. One target of opportunity: Clinton‘s pardon of 16 Puerto Rican nationalists (or terrorists, depending on your perspective) linked to the FALN, the Spanish acronym for the Armed Forces of National Liberation.

Associated Press

Obama largely ignored the criticism on Monday and Tuesday. But on Wednesday, Johnson stepped down.

When he did, the RNC increased its criticisms of another member of Obama’s vice presidential vetting team, former Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder. Using e-mails, conference calls and other outlets, the committee challenged Holder’s role in a pardon given to fugitive financier Marc Rich in the final days of Bill Clinton’s presidency.

CNN

The day after Jim Johnson resigned from Sen. Barack Obama’s vice presidential candidate vetting committee, Sen. John McCain set his sights on Eric Holder, one of the two remaining members of the committee….Rich was a commodities trader who fled to Europe in 1983 after tax evasion charges and allegations of illegal oil dealings with Iran. He was pardoned by former President Clinton at the end of his second term, while Holder was deputy attorney general.

In fairness to Holder, the neutral-to-favorable rating probably didn’t make much difference either way. With Denise Rich putting almost a half-million dollars into the Clinton Presidential Library fund, only a public repudiation by the prosecutors would have stopped the pardon — and maybe not even that. Holder made sure it didn’t get that far by cutting the prosecutors out of the loop until it was far too late.

One aspect of this case that gets little mention is what happened to Rich after his pardon freed him to surface once again. He proceeded to show how the forgiveness of Bill Clinton transformed him into an even bigger crook than before by becoming a critical middleman in the Oil-for-Food scandal at the UN. He served as a front man for the oil companies who looked to keep their hands clean while putting billions of dollars into Saddam Hussein’s pockets and starving the Iraqis who were supposed to benefit from the program.

Barack Obama has shown himself to have extremely poor judgment in two ways with the appointment of Holder to this committee. Either he didn’t bother to research Holder very well, or he didn’t care to do so, which says volumes about the kind of appointments he’ll make as President. However, one has to wonder why he chose to tie himself to the Clintons in such an unnecessary manner. Now he has the Marc Rich scandal all over his campaign rather than just limiting it to Hillary Clinton, and for what purpose? Why would a deputy AG have any great insight into the VP selection process anyway?

Team Obama needs an overhaul from top to bottom if this is the level of decision-making going on in Chicago.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

First! Ed, you’re on fire posting so many stories this morning.

Vincenzo on June 13, 2008 at 10:09 AM

Why would a deputy AG have any great insight into the VP selection process anyway?

LOL. Leave that to the Caroline Kennedy’s of the world.

JiangxiDad on June 13, 2008 at 10:10 AM

Taking Obama’s bus-throwing proclivities into account, is it RNC strategy to keep him occupied in this task on a repeated basis, to keep Obama from campaigning at his own tempo?

Think_b4_speaking on June 13, 2008 at 10:21 AM

I actually feel bad for Obama. Trying to find an ethical Democrat. Man, that’s a tough job.

pecan pie on June 13, 2008 at 10:22 AM

It’s time to coin a new word ……. Obumbling.

fogw on June 13, 2008 at 10:23 AM

Holder’s mere consorting with oil traders and oil companies is more likely to raise hackles on the left and in the media than the Mark Rich pardon.

jon1979 on June 13, 2008 at 10:26 AM

Barack Obama has shown himself to have extremely poor judgment

Obama isn’t making the decisions, he just the guy reading the teleprompter in front of the cameras.

rockhauler on June 13, 2008 at 10:26 AM

Since BO seems to have a definite talent for finding associates of very questionable character it will be no problem for him to find more of the same. His sense of ethics seems to be very negotiable.

old trooper on June 13, 2008 at 10:27 AM

Get used to it. This is the Chicago way. Someone “sent” Holder.

mred on June 13, 2008 at 10:29 AM

“Team Obama needs an overhaul from top to bottom if this is the level of decision-making going on in Chicago.”

If he somehow get’s elected, don’t expect the ‘decision making’ to get any better. Invest in companies that make buses. The Obamassiah will be throwing lots of people under ‘em.

GarandFan on June 13, 2008 at 10:30 AM

The left side usual suspects are already in full spin mode saying the smear and swiftboating they be coming.

Amazing how they continue to confuse substance with racism or swift boating etc.

Guess they figure if they shout loud enough and run around with their hair on fire a few times that conservatives will fold like a house of cards.

I hope they are mis judging on that count.

CommentGuy on June 13, 2008 at 10:30 AM

Let Obama defend him for a few days before throwing him under the bus. I have so many unanswered questions about the Marc Rich pardon, the oil-for-food scandal, and the very large contributions Linda Rich made to the Clintons (hint, money is fungible, and these are all connected). Not to mention many other pardons that Holder pushed.

Think_b4_speaking on June 13, 2008 at 10:31 AM

Is it too much wishful thinking to hope they might replace J. Johnson with David Kendall.

Change!

Shivas Irons on June 13, 2008 at 10:34 AM

Does anyone else think that these stories should be spread out a little more? Not on HA, necessarily, I mean in general. I find myself thinking “who cares?” and I really want Senator Obama to go down in flames.

I think these are coming too fast and furious to make an impact. It’s just, for lack of a better term, “white noise” at this point.

MikeZero on June 13, 2008 at 10:34 AM

There’s a third option. Obama did investigate Holder but wasn’t disturbed by what he found.

None of the three options makes Obama look good.

MarkTheGreat on June 13, 2008 at 10:35 AM

If Obama keeps throwing people under the bus at this rate, by the time the election rolls around, there won’t be anyone left.

MarkTheGreat on June 13, 2008 at 10:36 AM

liberals are so convinced of their intellectual and moral superiority, that they truely believe that it is ethical for them to do whatever it takes to get into positions of power.

They have convinced themselves that any damage they do to the system on the way up will be immediately repaired by their perfect solutions to all of the world’s problems.

MarkTheGreat on June 13, 2008 at 10:39 AM

This is not the Eric Holder I knew.

Mr. Bingley on June 13, 2008 at 10:44 AM

There’s a third option. Obama did investigate Holder but wasn’t disturbed by what he found.

None of the three options makes Obama look good.

MarkTheGreat on June 13, 2008 at 10:35 AM

BObama was “irate” at the news reports of Johnson’s and Eric Holder’s meetings on Capitol Hill – Shoe is about to drop.

Anita on June 13, 2008 at 10:44 AM

Beautiful!

Barrys’ serial ineptness has literally become his signature characteristic. I mean, c’mon, to screw up this consistently can’t be freakin easy.

Only rivalled by the extaordinary shallowness of the MSM as they to cover up his gaffes.

Actually kind of fun watching folks who think they are the smartest people in the room continually display their breathtaking stupidity.

In a perverse sort of way.

there it is on June 13, 2008 at 10:46 AM

But…Caroline Kennedy everybody! “Sweet Caroline.” Camelot!

She never murdered anybody, I’m pretty sure…!

Rhinoboy on June 13, 2008 at 10:46 AM

With all of this “Obumbling” going on, do you think the outlets of the MSM who are in the tank for Bambi might do a little more research from this point on?

Travis1 on June 13, 2008 at 10:46 AM

I think these are coming too fast and furious to make an impact. It’s just, for lack of a better term, “white noise” at this point.

MikeZero on June 13, 2008 at 10:34 AM

It has had the opposite effect on me. For example, Hillary is a competent lefty, and can run a socialist government competently.

Obama is an incompetent lefty, and can’t run anything.
(btw, just who will run the gov’t during an Obama Presidency?)

These stories expose not only Obama’s radicalism, but his incompetence. Now he loses on two scores.

JiangxiDad on June 13, 2008 at 10:48 AM

They made the Johnson leaving all about his issues with loans and sort of left out all the Soros connections and the ties to the Scott McClellan book and with Holder everyone is still forgetting he was the lead dog in charge during the Waco BBQ and Reno was just the mouthpiece up front.

CommentGuy on June 13, 2008 at 10:49 AM

I actually feel bad for Obama. Trying to find an ethical Democrat. Man, that’s a tough job.

pecan pie on June 13, 2008 at 10:22 AM

Money

Coule not have said it better.

jdsmith0021 on June 13, 2008 at 10:51 AM

This is not the Eric Holder I knew.

Mr. Bingley on June 13, 2008 at 10:44 AM

Beg pardon?

James on June 13, 2008 at 10:51 AM

I hear Nagin, at the Obama Campaign’s request, is finally getting all of those buses in New Orleans moving. Obama needs to set up an assembly line to take care of his “fine” choices in life.

ej_pez on June 13, 2008 at 10:55 AM

Beg pardon?

James on June 13, 2008 at 10:51 AM

.
+1

Think_b4_speaking on June 13, 2008 at 10:58 AM

Team Obama needs an overhaul from top to bottom if this is the level of decision-making going on in Chicago.

They better watch their P’s & Q’s!

Akzed on June 13, 2008 at 11:00 AM

He may have not made much difference, but it is fun to watch him twist in the wind…

right2bright on June 13, 2008 at 11:05 AM

These stories expose not only Obama’s radicalism, but his incompetence. Now he loses on two scores.

JiangxiDad on June 13, 2008 at 10:48 AM

Three – they interfere with his attempts to introduce himself to the country as the sparkling new Democratic nominee.

It reminds me of something Heinrich Boell once said about the Nazis that I’ll revise and extend here: They keep on announcing the Second Coming, trumpets sounding and angels assembling, and when the big moment arises, this kid stumbles into view, fly down, shirt-tail sticking out, cheeto smears on his nose and fingers, ummm-ing and y’know-ing his way through the first question as it becomes apparent he doesn’t even know what it means.

CK MacLeod on June 13, 2008 at 11:11 AM

Since BO seems to have a definite talent for finding associates of very questionable character it will be no problem for him to find more of the same. His sense of ethics seems to be very negotiable

“Old Trooper” is probably on to something here. But I’m wondering whether BHO “found” these associates of questionable character, or whether they found Obama. Maybe there is a cabal of Chicago crooks and/or radicals who pushed forward Obama as an intelligent, articulate (sometimes) mouthpiece who thus far succeeded in getting elected Senator and derailing the Clinton machine, who could dupe naive college kids with his oratory, and cry racism whenever anyone dared to criticize him, and skate into the White House on a vague “change” agenda, whose radicalism will become apparent only when voters will have four years of remorse.

Is Barack Obama an empty suit who chooses his friends unwisely, or a well-spoken puppet whose puppeteers have much more sinister motives?

Steve Z on June 13, 2008 at 11:14 AM

Obama is the guy who is going to change the way Washington does business?

Into what, exactly?

His sense of ethics seems to be very negotiable negligible.

old trooper on June 13, 2008 at 10:27 AM

hillbillyjim on June 13, 2008 at 11:23 AM

Is Barack Obama an empty suit who chooses his friends unwisely, or a well-spoken puppet whose puppeteers have much more sinister motives?

Steve Z on June 13, 2008 at 11:14 AM

Fair question, and regardless of the answer, a disastrous choice for POTUS.

hillbillyjim on June 13, 2008 at 11:29 AM

Maybe Mark Rich was going to show up on the short list for VP?

If this keeps going maybe they will have to dump Obama like they dumped Toricelli in New Jersey. But who could replace Obama?
How could they do that when Obama’s already clinched the nomination? Oh yeah, Hillary (Lautenberg) is just waiting for the opportunity to help her party in a time of need. The only question is whether or not they do it before the convention (legally) or after the convention (illegally, like New Jersey).

jerseyman on June 13, 2008 at 11:31 AM

I wish Obama would just issue an all-inclusive statement so he could then move on to some substantive discussions of his issues.

It could go something like this:

“As in the recent past, for the immediate present, and for the forseeable future, any person I am involved with, either as an employee or volunteer for my campaign or future administration, as an acquaintance, or as a complete stranger, I now declare that any and all said persons are not the persons I knew. This should excise any further distractions. I am Barack Obama and I approve of this message.”

Yoop on June 13, 2008 at 11:35 AM

Yahoo news is leading with a fawning and creepy AP puff-piece on Caroline Kennedy and the VP search team. They must be pretty nervous.

Caroline Kennedy brings discretion to veep search

By GLEN JOHNSON, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 51 minutes ago

BOSTON – Caroline Kennedy lives a very private life with a very public profile. It’s the perfect skill set for her newest assignment.

As part of Barack Obama’s vice presidential search team, Kennedy must function with the utmost secrecy in what is sure to be one of the most closely watched endeavors of this year’s presidential campaign.

JiangxiDad on June 13, 2008 at 11:36 AM

This Portfolio story about the VIP loan program from Countrywide is astounding. The figures implicated are incredibly powerful players in DC and Global politics. The Senate chairmen of the Banking and Budget committee received VIP loans from Countrywide. Countrywide has affairs before BOTH of these committees.

This is a firestorm. How can these committees not investigate these loans? This is an incredible breaking story from Portfolio. This story has to have legs. This cannot be brushed under the carpet.

gabriel sutherland on June 13, 2008 at 11:43 AM

Why would a deputy AG have any great insight into the VP selection process anyway?

For the same reason that Caroline Kennedy, a woman who has never held a real job in her life, does: they have connections to the right people. Who cares about knowledge, skill, experience, training, judgment, insight, etc.? These are Democrats we’re talking about. They don’t believe in such things. If they did, they wouldn’t be nominating Obama.

AZCoyote on June 13, 2008 at 11:44 AM

BOSTON – Caroline Kennedy lives a very private life with a very public profile. It’s the perfect skill set for her newest assignment.

Living and breathing is now a skill set.

Everyone got that? Update your resumes accordingly.

fogw on June 13, 2008 at 11:53 AM

Yahoo news is leading with a fawning and creepy AP puff-piece on Caroline Kennedy and the VP search team. ……….

By GLEN JOHNSON, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 51 minutes ago

JiangxiDad on June 13, 2008 at 11:36 AM

The same Glen Johnson wrote a bio of John Kerry. Happens when democrats fake as “Repoters”.

Anita on June 13, 2008 at 11:55 AM

However, one has to wonder why he chose to tie himself to the Clintons in such an unnecessary manner.

The answer lies in the last word of the last sentence of the post… “Chicago“.

The answer to literally everything about Obama is there in that word too. The guy is not stupid… he is sloppy the way a politician who operates with immunity inside a protective political / media machine gets sloppy. Like many Dems, knowing he has the refs in his pocket, he doesn’t even have to bother pretending to play the game straight – it’s just not necessary, so it is a behavior that is never learned.

drunyan8315 on June 13, 2008 at 11:59 AM

Anita on June 13, 2008 at 11:55 AM

Thanks. Didn’t know that. However, I wasn’t dumb enough (any longer) to believe that this article wasn’t commissioned as part of a media propaganda campaign to save Obama and get him elected.

I have only to see AP to know to believe just the opposite of what I’m being told.
Clearly, Caroline Kennedy was picked for the name association. She is a quiet, mousy, unintelligent little thing, who now is thrust in the spotlight where she will wither.

JiangxiDad on June 13, 2008 at 12:02 PM

drunyan8315 on June 13, 2008 at 11:59 AM

I tried to make this point yesterday. You say it much better.
(btw, I fear our candidate may be stupid.)

JiangxiDad on June 13, 2008 at 12:03 PM

So many imposters, so little time.

SouthernGent on June 13, 2008 at 12:11 PM

Only bitter people focus on the divisiveness of the Obumbling. Trying to count the number of differently-ethical people The Obamassiah surrounds himself with does nothing to help Michelle’s children. Don’t worry about Wright, Pfleger, Ayers, Johnson, Holder, — did I leave anyone out? I think HA needs to have a running tally somewhere to list all these close friends that Barack barely knows and don’t work for him anyway.

rbj on June 13, 2008 at 12:45 PM

Time to root out the next Don inside Obama’s Chicago Cosa Nostra.

faraway on June 13, 2008 at 12:45 PM

Obama,

Let Rev. Wright, Jessie, or Al find your running mate Mate.

Texyank on June 13, 2008 at 12:45 PM

Maybe rename to the Chicago Obama Nostra

faraway on June 13, 2008 at 12:47 PM

Saying that Obama has poor judgment in choosing his staff is…..wait…. racist.

jukin on June 13, 2008 at 1:08 PM

Scandal is in the eye of the E. Holder.

James on June 13, 2008 at 1:10 PM

“That’s that the Eric Holder I used to know.”

drjohn on June 13, 2008 at 1:31 PM

Sorry, that’s

“NOT the Eric Holder I used to know…”

drjohn on June 13, 2008 at 1:31 PM

Caroline Kennedy brings discretion to veep search

Discretion.

Not judgment.

drjohn on June 13, 2008 at 1:33 PM

Team Obama needs an overhaul from top to bottom if this is the level of decision-making going on in Chicago.

Why? I think they’re doing fine the way they are. :)

irishspy on June 13, 2008 at 1:40 PM