Right Gearing Up To Attack Holder On Rich Pardon

Via Glenn Reynolds, the the Right's brief against Holder - it is the Marc Rich pardon. Interestingly, it does not focus on the Clintons, but on Holder himself:

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.

Fred Hiatt demands answers:

[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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    On or about January 19th, I think (5.00 / 4) (#4)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 09:04:42 AM EST
    we are going to be witness to a whole bunch of pardons from the Bush Administration.  

    So what effect that event has on this line of attack against Holder will be interesting imo.

    Spot on (none / 0) (#8)
    by rdandrea on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 09:22:18 AM EST
    Until I read your comment, I was going to write that the efficacy of that strategy all depends on who Bush decides to pardon, since the hearings will be held after the Bush pardons are announced.

    We're likely to have some "Pot, meet kettle" if they come at Holder over Rich.


    Pot black, kettle not. (none / 0) (#19)
    by MyLeftMind on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 11:58:55 AM EST
    People at TL will see the connections, but the Faux News audience will hear nothing of the sort.  They'll hear (and remember): 1) Bill Clinton was bad, 2) Bill Clinton unethically pardoned bad people, 3) Obama is hiring all the crooked Clinton cronies.  

    If they hear or read of Bush pardons, they'll hear/think/believe:  Bush kept us safe from terrorists by doing what had to be done after 9/11.  The Patriot Act, war in Iraq, wiretapping, and now his pardons are essential to support the good work he and others do to keep us safe.  Without that power and his foresight and good judgment, we could all be dead.  They won't see/understand/believe the connections between Bush pardons and Clinton pardons.  


    I'm not sure (none / 0) (#23)
    by rdandrea on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 12:33:26 PM EST
    that the President-Elect vets his cabinet picks through Fox News.  Nor do I think he needs to.

    My point was that the pardons that (none / 0) (#28)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 02:33:05 PM EST
    might come from the Bush White House may end up totally eclipsing the pardon of this Mark Rich guy who hardly anyone even knows and it will be difficult for the Republicans to break through that noise - no matter how hard Fox works for them to help.

    Not for nothing, Holder was originally a Reagan appointee and he really is pretty conservative.  I think most people are going to see the Rich attack as the red herring that it is.


    exactly. (none / 0) (#17)
    by cpinva on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 11:29:19 AM EST
    we are going to be witness to a whole bunch of pardons from the Bush Administration.

    not that mr. holder sends tingles down my leg (thank god for small favors!), but somehow this will seem like the pot calling the kettle, um, black. so to speak.

    i'm more concerned with his stated position, regarding mandatory minimum sentencing, especially for non-violent pot "offenders". i'd be curious to know how he justifies that, other than having friends in the penal industry.


    Screw Marc Rich... (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by kdog on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 09:17:42 AM EST
    Holder's drug policy and civil liberties record is what should be of concern.

    Yeah and Orrin Hatch is going (none / 0) (#29)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 02:34:11 PM EST
    to spear-head that attack against him. lol

    I have a mild interest (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Steve M on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 09:19:05 AM EST
    in this otherwise uninteresting story because, once upon a time, I was the very guy who was in charge of processing pardon applications for our state Parole Board.

    Holder's involvement in the Rich pardon seems to have been exceedingly small.  The underlying theory seems to be that the Rich pardon was so sleazy that anyone who even touched it in passing somehow bears the stain forever.

    In reality, the dishonest bit is that sure, Holder oversaw the DOJ attorneys who handle the pardon process, but he was the #2 guy at Justice.  He oversaw everyone.  If Clinton decided to bypass normal procedures and give this guy a pardon without soliciting DOJ comment, that's his right, and it's Clinton who bears the responsibility.

    Not knowing the process (none / 0) (#21)
    by coast on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 12:27:00 PM EST
    When Holder says he made a recommendation on the pardon of "Neutral, leaning for" is that him making the recommendation or someone on his staff.  From his responses to questions in the past it seems like he made the recommendation.  Making a recommendation seems like a something more than an "exceedingly small" role, unless the DOJ's input does not carry much weight in deciding who does and does not get pardons.  Like I said, I don't know the process.  Republicans will bring it up, but its not going to stop him from being confirmed.

    My understanding (none / 0) (#26)
    by Steve M on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 01:29:37 PM EST
    is that he made that statement personally, but that it was not understood to be an official DOJ position or anything like that.  My state had a very specific procedure to follow in terms of soliciting input and making recommendations and I'd imagine the federal regulations are even more complex.

    Isn't there an easy riposte to this? (5.00 / 3) (#9)
    by ThatOneVoter on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 09:28:44 AM EST
    Make it known that Scooter Libby will be called to testify if the issue comes up.

    I like your style (none / 0) (#11)
    by cal1942 on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 09:35:59 AM EST
    why not threaten to harass the Bush crowd with interminable legal action.

    Marc Rich's Atty.... (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by Carolyn in Baltimore on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 09:34:36 AM EST
    ....none other than Scooter Libby. Maybe that'll help lay Holders' minor role to rest.

    Libby Libby Libby (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by eric on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 11:02:17 AM EST
    Every time someone even mentions Marc Rich, the response should simply be, "You do realize that Rich's lawyer was Cheney's Chief of Staff...".

    The double standard in the press is so clear on this issue.  


    Didn't Bush pardon Henry Lee Lewis (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by ThatOneVoter on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 12:29:21 PM EST
    as governor of Texas? Maybe he just commuted his death sentence.
    Here's a guy who claims he killed several hundred people, who shows no remorse, but Bush let him off.
    Where's the outrage.
    Anyway, who thinks that good guys get pardons? Good guys don't need them!

    Hnery Lee Lucas (none / 0) (#34)
    by txpublicdefender on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 02:54:15 PM EST
    He commuted the death sentence of Henry Lee Lucas to life (he died in prison a few years later).  He didn't pardon him.  It was, by the way, the only death sentence he commuted.  It was done because everyone and their grandmother, including the state AG who had thoroughly investigated and largely debunked Lucas's claims of all his murders, knew that he was not guilty of the crime he was on death row for.  He was in a completely different state when it happened.

    Of all the things I have to complain about Gov./Pres. Bush, his commutation of Lucas' sentence is not one of them.  


    Oh, I don't judge that decision, but (none / 0) (#36)
    by ThatOneVoter on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 04:01:01 PM EST
    just imagine if a CLINTON had done such an outrageous thing, pardoning a "mass murderer"!

    Pardoning Thieves (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by koshembos on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 12:34:11 PM EST
    Marc Rich is a thief that was pardoned. There is no point to make it more than that. Unconscionable  crimes the war crimes that took place under Bush with total support of the Republican caucuses in both chambers of congress.

    Furthermore, talking about thieves how about thousands of CEOs that stole shareholders money by allocating themselves bonuses and perks they didn't deserve? Is Paulson any better that Marc Rich?

    It's about time that the Fred Hiatts of the world develop a minimal set of values instead of harping on "Marc Rich, Marc Rich" instrument time and again.

    IOKIYAR (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by squeaky on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 01:24:29 PM EST
    Blatant hypocrisy, lying, cheating and stealing for personal gain, is the mantra of the GOP. It doesn't matter that Libby was Rich's atty, nor would it matter if Hiatt was Rich's lover, the attacks on Holden having a hand in pardoning Rich would still be the same.

    Michele Bachman case in point:

    Colmes: You said you were concerned during the campaign that Obama had anti American views and you said the news media should do a penetrating expose and take a look at the people and find out, are they pro-America or anti-America

    Bachmann: Actually that's not what I said. It's an urban legend that was created and that's not what I said.

    Colmes: I have the tape at my website Alan.com

    He was quoting her directly and she still pretended that she hadn't said what she had clearly said.


    So, is it ok that Clinton pardoned Rich? (none / 0) (#32)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 02:44:05 PM EST
    It Is Irrelevant (none / 0) (#33)
    by squeaky on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 02:53:26 PM EST
    Making a big issue over this is clearly hypocritical.

    Ah, irrelevant, so convenient... (none / 0) (#35)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 03:57:58 PM EST
    is this about Clinton's behavior (none / 0) (#37)
    by dws3665 on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 04:12:52 PM EST
    or Holder's?

    You hate Bill. We get it. Bill is not the nominee for AG.


    I'm responding to "IOKIYAR " (none / 0) (#38)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 04:33:10 PM EST
    Is it ok that Clinton, a Dem, pardoned Rich?

    The Rich Pardon (none / 0) (#1)
    by cal1942 on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 09:00:18 AM EST
    If Mark Rich ever did set foot in the US would he have been liable to civil actions?

    His Location (none / 0) (#16)
    by kaleidescope on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 11:24:08 AM EST
    Has little bearing on his civil liability.

    Thanks n/t (none / 0) (#27)
    by cal1942 on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 02:14:07 PM EST
    According to press reports. . . (none / 0) (#2)
    by LarryInNYC on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 09:01:33 AM EST
    Obama vetted the Holder nomination with key Republican senators before making the offer.  The issue of the Rich pardon is expected to be raised and dealt with in committee hearings.

    I look forward to Sen. Specter (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by oculus on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 10:19:58 AM EST
    taking a moral stand and then caving.

    Back to the bad old days of (none / 0) (#30)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 02:39:31 PM EST
    having to get Orrin Hatch's blessing on every law and order and judicial appointment.

    There's a reason why they get a portion of their most conservative candidates through Congress even when Dems could scuttle the appointments and we get our most conservative candidates when we are in the position to pick.  That reason is that they don't ever consult with us and we always consult with them.


    Was Holder involved with drugs (none / 0) (#3)
    by Saul on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 09:03:31 AM EST
    I do not know if that is true or not but I heard something like that on the radio.  Any truth to Holder behind involved with drugs.

    He is anti-drug. (none / 0) (#5)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 09:08:55 AM EST
    So if you mean involved with drugs by trying to get rather insanely long sentences for drug posession, then yes.  If you mean he did them, there is nothing I've ever heard about that at all.  

    I've read several accounts that during his time in DC Superior Court as a judge he came to really be frustrated by DC juries because they acquitted drug cases that he felt should have been open and shut.


    fox "news" launched these (none / 0) (#12)
    by kenosharick on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 10:14:04 AM EST
    very attacks 3 days ago. And surprisingly the attacks are at Holder and barely mention the Clintons.

    Why are the Republicans upset about Rich? (none / 0) (#15)
    by KD on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 11:23:56 AM EST
    Rich's crime was tax evasion. That's a virtue to Republicans. I don't know how they can be upset about it.

    because, (5.00 / 3) (#18)
    by cpinva on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 11:32:03 AM EST
    Rich's crime was tax evasion. That's a virtue to Republicans. I don't know how they can be upset about it.

    he left the country without telling them how he did it! :)


    The Right? (none / 0) (#20)
    by dws3665 on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 12:11:36 PM EST
    Does that include liberal bloggers, too? This talking point was all the rage on FDL and other sites when Holder was announced.

    It's an associated feature of CDS, in my opinion.

    Whatever happened to the story (none / 0) (#31)
    by hairspray on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 02:44:03 PM EST
    about Marc Rich that implied his pardon was politically motivated by the Israeli Palestinian peace process that Clinton was so desperate to finalize before he left office?  The rumor at the time was that Ehud Barak was behind it and wanted to use it to move the process along faster.  Marc Rich was a very important person in Israeli, having done much for the country and was dearly loved by a number of high officials.  When GWB came into office he immediately sealed all of the presidential records all the way back to his father's time as VP. These records included information on pardons. In the mix of course, were Bill Clinton's records.  BC objected, saying he wasn't adverse to having his opened, but GWB was anxious to protect his father's record. In fact the elder Bush pardoned some very disreputable characters for nefarious reasons. Two names come to mind, Luis Posada Carrilles and someone named Bosch.  Ring a bell?

    Gearing up to Attack Pardons....???? (none / 0) (#39)
    by jiminportlandoregon on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 09:34:25 PM EST
    The right should not overplay their hand until they see what Whas in store for his parting gifts. I'll bet you anything they all walk away free men and women.
    The Clinton pardon of Mark Rich will pale in comparison.