Eric Holder’s DOJ: Covington, Boling…& West

Eric Holder has staffed the United States Department of Justice with, naturally, his own people.  Unfortunately, they all hail from his former law firm of Covington and Boling – which has interesting clients, to say the least.

In a scary development, a major Obama fundraiser who defended a convicted al Qaeda terrorist will become the third highest ranking official at the Department of Justice (DOJ), which, ironically, is charged with defending the interests of the United States.

Northern California lawyer Tony West has been named Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division, making him the No. 3 guy at the agency. In 2009 West, who helped Obama raise tens of millions of dollars as finance co-chairman of his first presidential campaign, was appointed to help run the DOJ’s civil division which represents the government, Congress and presidential cabinet officers and handles cases dealing with significant policy issues.

In a statement announcing the promotion this week, Attorney General Eric Holder says West has served the department with “professionalism, integrity and dedication.” Holder also mentions West’s work before coming to the DOJ a few years ago, including a stint as a Special Assistant Attorney General in California and a lengthier career at a large San Francisco law firm.

Conveniently omitted in the press release is that West represented convicted al Qaeda terrorist John Walker Lindh, who is serving a 20-year prison sentence. Lindh was captured in Afghanistan in 2001 while fighting against the U.S.-backed Northern Alliance as a member of the Taliban army. He actually pleaded guilty to aiding the Taliban and carrying explosives while fighting U.S. troops in the region.

Holder also knows a thing or two about defending terrorists. After all, he was a senior partner in a prestigious Washington D.C. law firm (Covington & Burling) that represented more than a dozen Yemeni terrorists held at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay Cuba. While Holder was a senior partner the firm employed a number of radical attorneys to provide the Islamic extremists with thousands of hours of free legal representation, according to a news report.

Another highlight in Holder’s resume is that he orchestrated Bill Clinton’s shameful last-minute pardons, including that of a fugitive financier and a pair of jailed domestic terrorists. In fact, shortly after the pardon scandal, Holder predicted that his public career was over. Under his leadership the DOJ has been embroiled in a number of high-profile scandals, including a gun-running operation (Fast and Furious) in which weapons were sold to Mexican drug cartels. One was later used to murder a federal agent. Judicial Watch has sued the DOJ to obtain records involving the operation.

United States Attorney General Eric Holder has a three year history of dubious decisions and deals, and a lot of them involve Covington and Boling.

In her best seller, Culture of Corruption, published in 2009, Michelle Malkin wrote that

Holder returns to a more modest $186,000 salary as Obama’s attorney general. But parting has its perks, too. The Washington revolving door pays.

Covington & Burling will make a separation payment valued at between $1 million and $5 million, plus a repayment of up to $1 million from the firm’s capital account, plus a retirement plan of up to $500,000. His net worth: $5.7 million. Reflecting on his past eight years raking in the dough and watching him schmooze friends and clients from his “elegant new Manhattan offices,” an American Lawyer profile observed: “Life is good for private citizen Eric Holder, Jr.” President Obama and the missus, such outspoken detractors of climbing the corporate ladder and influence-peddling, were unavailable for comment.

Some “Separation Package”, huh?

But, when is leaving a firm not really leaving a firm?  When you bring the firm with you.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Lanny Breuer, head of the Justice Department’s criminal division, were partners for years at a Washington law firm that represented a Who’s Who of big banks and other companies at the center of alleged foreclosure fraud…

…The firm, Covington & Burling, is one of Washington’s biggest white shoe law firms. Law professors and other federal ethics experts said that federal conflict of interest rules required Holder and Breuer to recuse themselves from any Justice Department decisions relating to law firm clients they personally had done work for.

Both the Justice Department and Covington declined to say if either official had personally worked on matters for the big mortgage industry clients. Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler said Holder and Breuer had complied fully with conflict of interest regulations, but she declined to say if they had recused themselves from any matters related to the former clients.

Reuters reported in December that under Holder and Breuer, the Justice Department hasn’t brought any criminal cases against big banks or other companies involved in mortgage servicing, even though copious evidence has surfaced of apparent criminal violations in foreclosure cases.

The evidence, including records from federal and state courts and local clerks’ offices around the country, shows widespread forgery, perjury, obstruction of justice, and illegal foreclosures on the homes of thousands of active-duty military personnel.

In recent weeks the Justice Department has come under renewed pressure from members of Congress, state and local officials and homeowners’ lawyers to open a wide-ranging criminal investigation of mortgage servicers, the biggest of which have been Covington clients. So far Justice officials haven’t responded publicly to any of the requests.

…Senior government officials often move to big Washington law firms, and lawyers from those firms often move into government posts. But records show that in recent years the traffic between the Justice Department and Covington & Burling has been particularly heavy. In 2010, Holder’s deputy chief of staff, John Garland, returned to Covington, as did Steven Fagell, who was Breuer’s deputy chief of staff in the criminal division.

The firm has on its web site a page listing its attorneys who are former federal government officials. Covington lists 22 from the Justice Department, and 12 from U.S. Attorneys offices, the Justice Department’s local federal prosecutors’ offices around the country.

Between the Black Panther intimidation cover-up after the midterm elections, the attempt to try Islamic terrorists in the heart of New York City, and now this, it appears that corruption, or at the very least the appearance of it, is the norm and not the exception under Attorney General Eric Holder.

It is time for him to go.

His boss, too.

Share
This entry was posted in Law, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.