How Eric Holder tried to showcase Loretta Lynch

Republican Senators, including Marco Rubio, reportedly have expressed an inclination to confirm Loretta Lynch as Attorney General. But given Lynch’s similarities to, and connections with, Eric Holder, a vote to confirm Lynch would be an endorsement of the Holder Justice Department (not to mention the executive amnesty).

This article by the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) describes how Eric Holder tried to showcase Lynch by enabling her to take credit for a prosecution undertaken by another office:

In 2012, Lynch announced a $1.9 billion settlement with the bank HSBC. . .Lynch’s office had little to do with the investigation or the eventual settlement. Instead, the investigation was conducted by the office of William J. Ihlenfeld, II, the U.S. Attorney for Northern West Virginia. Holder, however, arranged for Lynch to make the announcement in New York. The press conference was a bit of an embarrassment for Lynch. After her remarks, no reporter had a question for her.

Ihlenfeld’s office was about as diplomatic as it could be, putting out a press release that began, “One of the largest settlements of a criminal case in the history of the American justice system was reached in large part because of the efforts of federal prosecutors and agents from Northern West Virginia.”

To make matters worse, the settlement used by Holder to showcase Lynch was nothing to write home about. Here is how Juan Gonzalez of the leftist radio program Democracy Now described it:

The banking giant has escaped indictment for laundering billions of dollars for Mexican drug cartels and groups linked to al-Qaeda. The bank reportedly supplied a billion dollars to a firm whose founder had ties to al-Qaeda and shipped billions in cash from Mexico to the United States despite warnings the money was coming from drug cartels. Earlier this year, a Senate investigation concluded that HSBC provided a, “gateway for terrorists to gain access to U.S. dollars and the U.S. financial system.”

Despite evidence of wrongdoing, the Justice Department has allowed the bank to avoid prosecution and pay a $1.9 billion fine. No top HSBC officials will face charges. While it’s reportedly the largest penalty ever paid by a bank, the deal has come under wide criticism. Officials reportedly agreed to seek the fine over concerns that criminal charges would have hurt the global financial system.

But the real question for present purposes isn’t the merits of the settlement. The real question is why Lynch, sitting in the financial capital of the world, needed to graft onto the work of a West Virginia prosecutor in order to tout success in a banking fraud case. As NLPC observes:

Lynch assumed office in 2010 in the wake of the financial meltdown. [That] would seem like an opportune time to go after the perpetrators of crisis, which was based on fraud on top of fraud. Not one executive of a major banking center firm, however, has been prosecuted for their roles in the near-collapse of our financial system.

Even if one thinks that this statement overstates matters, Lynch should not have had to look to West Virginia to find a bank legitimately to prosecute. It seems likely that by allowing Lynch to steal credit for the HSBC settlement, Holder was attempting to patch up this major hole in his protege’s resume.

NLPC concludes:

Contrary to the rhetoric of Obama and Holder, no administration in history has been better for Wall Street and the big banks. Dodd-Frank institutionalized the “too big to fail” doctrine and insulates money center banks from competition. A policy of easy money guarantees profitability and has artificially buoyed the stock market.

The unwritten deal is that the financial services industry will get risk-free profits in return for absorbing administration shots. It looks like Loretta Lynch would fit right in, and that’s the problem.

Lynch is soft on both political and financial corruption. Marco Rubio should think long and hard about Lynch’s fitness to oversee federal law enforcement.

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