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:
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
Indicted by then-U.S. Attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Rich failed to return to the
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.”
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:
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.
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
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.