When President Obama nominated Eric Holder for Attorney General, the Republican establishment was not displeased. As I wrote at the time, “most members of that establishment feel more comfortable with their fellow Washington insider than they do with taking their chances on an Obama nominee to be named later.”
At Power Line, though, we had major concerns about Holder. Prominent among them was his lack of honesty. For one thing, we doubted Holder’s testimony to the Senate that, when he pushed through the pardon of Marc Rich, he didn’t know Rich had assisted America’s enemies, including Iran, or that Rich’s wife had donated large sums to Democratic and Clinton interests. If Holder truly was as ignorant as he claims to have been, we argued, it was because he didn’t want to know. President Clinton wanted the pardon and Holder wanted to get it accomplished.
Holder’s implausible denials were rendered even more doubtful by the obstructionist efforts of Senate Democrats on his behalf. The Dems refused to give Republicans the time they need to review the documentary record that was been produced; refused to allow them to present more than a handful of witnesses; refused to sign a letter that would have expedited the release of key documents from the Clinton library; and refused to subpoena key witnesses, including the pardon attorney at the time of the Rich pardon, Roger Adams.
Then, there was the matter of Rod Blagojevich, the crooked former governor of Illinois. Here, there is no doubt that Holder gave inaccurate testimony. Holder testified that he performed no substantive legal work for Blagojevich and that a contemplated representation of the governor by Holder’s law firm “never materialized.”
But in fact, Holder signed a letter dated April 2, 2004 in which he requested that the Chairman of the Illinois Gaming Board provide him with nine categories of documents in furtherance of an investigation Holder was performing on the governor’s behalf. The letter begins: “As you know, Governor Blagojevich has appointed me to investigate issues relating to gaming in the Village of Rosemont, Illinois.”
Holder’s request for production constituted “substantive work” for “Blago” on the “Gaming” investigation. Indeed, substantive work would have been required just to formulate a targeted request with the level of specificity that Holder’s letter set forth.
Holder also failed to disclose to the Senate a press conference in which “Blago” announced that Holder would be handling the gaming board investigation. He later conceded that he should have disclosed that press conference.
Holder’s false testimony about the “Blago” representation is, in some important respects, a precursor of his false testimony about the James Rosen matter. In both instances, Holder’s statements to Congress cannot be reconciled with legal documents that Holder signed.
How much false testimony will Congress, and the nation, have to put up with before Obama finally provides the United States with an honest chief law enforcement officer?