A.G. Appointee Eric Holder Soft on Corruption
Eric H. Holder, Jr., former Deputy Attorney General and senior legal advisor to President-elect Barack Obama, was tapped today to serve as Obama's Attorney General, Newsweek reports. (Holder also served as co-chief of Obama's veep selection committee.)
In a cover story in 1997—the same year Clinton nominated Holder for Dep. Attorney General—City Paper questioned Holder's approach to corruption during his tenure as U.S. Attorney for D.C.
But for all the love Holder has engendered in the community as U.S. Attorney, he has had precious little impact on the city's endemic municipal corruption.
Holder defended himself to reporter Stephanie Mencimer as follows:
"Certainly, the Dirty Dozen occurred while I was here," he says, referring to the 12 police officers caught up in an FBI sting operation in 1993 for bribery and other drug charges. "There was the housing case involving the sale of Section 8 authorizations, and there are other things in my mind that I think about our public corruption section and the work that they've done on the local side. So I'm not sure there's anything we have to apologize for, or try to defend. We've been as vigilant as we've ever been."
Further complications to this appointment include Holder's instrumental role in Clinton's presidential pardon of "billionaire fugitive" Mark Rich, and a June interview with Legal Times in which he said an ascent to A.G. "ain't gonna happen."
Just for good measure, a bit of CP prescience, courtesy of Mencimer:
Even without any big corruption trials, in the final analysis, Holder will get what all the District's U.S. Attorneys get for their trouble here: a better job. Holder's three and a half years in the District have given him wings. He's likely to be flying on to the Justice Department soon, where the albatross around his neck will be replaced by one who looks quite a bit like Bill Clinton. Meanwhile, the District will be left with the same old cadre of crooks, a durable group who know that if they bide their time they can outlast just about any U.S. Attorney.
Photograph courtesy of Covington & Burling LLP