Right Gearing Up To Attack Holder On Rich Pardon
Holder’s role is not in dispute. Without him this travesty would likely not have occurred, as described here:
Mr. Holder, the [Congressional] report says, played a major role, steering Mr. Rich’s lawyers toward Jack Quinn, a former White House counsel. Mr. Rich hired Mr. Quinn, whose Washington contacts and ability to lobby the president made the difference, according to the report. It says that Mr. Holder’s support for the pardon and his failure to alert prosecutors of a pending pardon were just as crucial. …
The panel criticized Mr. Holder’s conduct as unconscionable and cited several problems. It cited his admission last year that he had hoped Mr. Quinn would support his becoming attorney general in a Gore administration.
So to be clear, Holder helped steer the attorney for Rich, a fugitive whose pardon request would likely have been rejected through normal channels due to his status as a fugitive, to the man Holder wanted assistance with in getting his next job. Now there’s a man who knows something about conflicts of interest.
[T]here is a blot on Mr. Holder's otherwise stellar reputation. Mr. Holder was No. 2 at the Justice Department when President Bill Clinton pardoned fugitive financier Marc Rich, whose ex-wife was a major Clinton contributor. Although Mr. Holder oversaw the lawyers responsible for evaluating pardon requests, he did not insist that his department formally evaluate the legal merits of the claim after Mr. Rich applied directly to the White House for his pardon. He told the White House on President Clinton's last night in office that he was "neutral, leaning toward favorable" on the pardon. Mr. Holder has since said he would have opposed the pardon had he had more information.
Mr. Holder testified before Congress in 2001 about the Rich affair. But Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) was right to say on MSNBC yesterday that, if nominated, Mr. Holder must be questioned again about his failure to block that unconscionable pardon. Ultimately, the call was President Clinton's, but why did Mr. Holder not object to the pardon of a fugitive millionaire politically connected to the president? After almost eight years of a highly politicized and dysfunctional Justice Department, the Senate should assure itself that the next attorney general will be beyond reproach.
Coming from Hiatt, this is, pardon the pun, rich. His support for Alberto Gonzales has never been explained.
In any event, it appears opposing Holder will be a rallying point for the Right.
By Big Tent Democrat, speaking for me only
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