Thursday, January 15, 2009

As Eric Holder Faces A Nomination Hearing For Attorney General, Will He Continue To Show A Lack Of Judgment And Independence?

/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following was released today by the Republican National Committee:

In August 1999, President Bill Clinton Offered Clemency To 16 Former Members Of The Puerto Rican Terrorist Group The Armed Forces Of National Liberation (FALN). "The dustup began Aug. 11, when the President offered clemency to 16 former members of the FALN..." (Edward Lewine, "How Bill Chose Clemency," [New York] Daily News, 9/5/99)

-- FALN Was Responsible For Bombings In The 1970s And 1980s That Killed
Six People. "The FALN was responsible for a wave of bombings in the
late 1970s and early 1980s that left six dead, although none of those
freed were tied to any deaths." (Shannon McCaffrey, "Reno: Puerto
Rican Terrorists An 'Ongoing Threat'," The Associated Press, 10/20/99)

Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder Played A Major Role In The FALN Clemency Decision According To FALN Documents And Memos. "Holder, a Barbadian immigrant's son who grew up in Queens and received his law degree from Columbia, has played major roles in the probe of Democratic funny-money in the 1996 elections, the Sexgate scandal and the recommendation to President Clinton on whether to free FALN terrorists from jail. A list of FALN documents withheld from Congress shows that many memos on the FALN clemency decision went directly to Holder, while Reno's role was minimal." (Brian Blomquist, "Ailing Reno Yielding Reins Of Justice," New York Post, 12/1 5/99)

Although The FBI Opposed Clemency, Holder Supported Clemency For The FALN Members. "Although The New York Times reported that the FBI, Bureau of Prisons and U.S. state attorneys opposed clemency, Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder, the Justice Department official most involved with this issue, reportedly supported clemency. 'Eric Holder told me he was recommending that,' a high-ranking official said. Ruff also supported clemency, sources said. Holder declined to comment." (Edward Lewine, "How Bill Chose Clemency," [New York] Daily News, 9/5/99)

In 1997, Holder Met With Three Members Of Congress And Made Recommendations To Them About How The FALN Members Could More Easily Be Granted Clemency. "The committee's documents show that Mr. Adams and Eric Holder, the Deputy Attorney General, met on Nov. 5, 1997, with Representative Luis V. Gutierrez, Democrat of Illinois, and Representatives Jose E. Serrano of the Bronx and Nydia M. Velazquez of Brooklyn, both Democrats, to discuss the case of the Puerto Rican inmates. According to Mr. Adams's notes, Mr. Holder told the members of Congress that because the prisoners had not applied themselves for clemency this could be taken that they were not repentant, and he suggested that a statement expressing some remorse might help. In their testimony today, both Mr. Adams and Mr. Holder declined to answer several questions about how the clemency decision was reached, citing executive privilege. Both said, however, that the Justice Department had acted appropriately throughout the process." (Neil A. Lewis, "Records Show Puerto Ricans Got U.S. Help With Clemency," The New York Times, 10/21/99)

Holder Played A Major Role When President Clinton Pardoned Fugitive Marc Rich In His Final Week In Office:

During His Final Week In Office, President Bill Clinton Pardoned Marc Rich, An International Financer Who In 1983 Was Indicted For Evading Nearly $50 Million In Taxes. "As one of his last official acts, Mr. Clinton released a list of almost 140 people to whom he had granted pardons, which restore civil rights like voting, or commutations, which shorten prison terms. Many of the people from the metropolitan area were white-collar criminals who had committed financial fraud or similar acts, including Marc Rich, a commodities trader wanted for evading nearly $50 million in taxes." (Edward Wong and Sherri Day, "Former Terrorist Is Among Those Pardoned Or Freed In Clinton's Final Acts In Office," The New York Times, 1/21/01)

A Report By The House Government Reform Committee Said That Eric Holder Played A Major Role In The Pardon Of Marc Rich. "A forthcoming Congressional report on the last-minute pardons by President Bill Clinton says Deputy Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. was a 'willing participant in the plan to keep the Justice Department from knowing about and opposing' a pardon for Marc Rich, the financier. ... Mr. Holder, the 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." (Allison Leigh Cowan, "Panel Says Top Justice Dept. Aide Held Information On Rich's Pardon," The New York Times, 3/13/02)

Documents Emerged That Indicated Holder Knew Of Pardon "Well In Advance" And Gave Rich's Lawyer Jack Quinn "Public-Relations" Advice. "New documents suggest ex-Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder knew about Bill Clinton's controversial pardon of fugitive felon Marc Rich well in advance - contrary to Holder's claims. The memos raise the question of why Holder failed to notify Manhattan U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White and the FBI in time for them to argue strongly against the pardon, as he knew they would. Rich's lawyer, Jack Quinn, Clinton's former White House counsel, released his own memos and e-mails yesterday. They buttress his claim that Holder supported - or at least didn't oppose - the pardon, met with Quinn to discuss it, and even gave Quinn public-relations advice on getting out the 'legal merits' of the case." (Brian Blomquist, "Memos Add To Furor Over Rich's Pardon," New York Post, 2/2/01)

-- Holder Had Close Relationship With Rich's Lawyer And Delivered
"Crucial" Endorsement Of Pardon. "The lawyer Mr. Rich selected, the
former White House counsel Jack Quinn, turned out to have the
connections that counted most. He had a close relationship with Eric
Holder, the deputy attorney general at the time. It was Mr. Holder who
delivered a lukewarm but crucial endorsement of the pardon in the
waning hours of the Clinton presidency." (Alison Leigh Cowan,
"Plotting A Pardon," The New York Times, 4/11/01)

-- Rich's Attorney Had Been In Touch With Holder About The Pardon.
"International financier Marc Rich's attorney said yesterday that he
told Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder two months ago that he would
be seeking a pardon for Rich and that Holder told him later that he
had no problem with the clemency plea." (James V. Grimaldi and Robert
O'Harrow Jr., "Recollections At Odds On Pardon," The Washington Post,

Holder Was Involved In The Seizure Of Elian Gonzalez And His Return To Cuba:

Then-Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder Was Involved In The Seizure Of Elian Gonzalez And His Return To Cuba. "At issue ... legal advisor Eric Holder, a member of Obama's vice-presidential search committee who was deputy attorney general when the 6-year-old boy was seized by federal agents and returned to Cuba." (Beth Reinhard, "Elian Saga Might Hound Obama Visit," The Miami Herald, 6/19/08)

-- Holder Defended The Right Of The Federal Government To Seize Gonzalez
By Force. "The Justice Department yesterday warned the Miami relatives
of Elian Gonzalez that force could be used 'if it becomes necessary'
to return the boy to his father. 'We have that power,' said Deputy
Attorney General Eric Holder." (Richard Sisk, "Gov't Says Force An
Option Reunite Father, Son," [New York] Daily News, 4/7/00)

-- Holder Also Defended The Use Of Guns In The Raid. "Mr. Holder said his
agents were heavily armed when they entered the house because they had
'intelligence that the possibility existed there were guns in the
house. We had to make sure our people were protected and they were in
a position to protect people within the house. I don't know if there
were any guns in the house. I don't know if they found any guns. We
had to deal, however, with the intelligence we had that we got from
local sources and make sure everybody was adequately protected.'
Apparently no guns were found." (Jerry Seper and Clarence Williams,
"Holder Defends Sudden Raid For Elian," The Washington Times, 4/24/00)

Holder Also Engaged In Lobbying For A Controversial Company:

In 2002, Eric Holder Lobbied On Behalf Of Global Crossing After The Company Had Accumulated Nearly $12 Million In Debt. "Smelling blood in the water, Republicans now plan to pounce on another member of Obama's veep-selection committee, former Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder, for his lobbying on behalf of telecom giant Global Crossing. Holder lobbied for the company, which underwent one of the largest bankruptcies in American history after racking up nearly $12 million in debt, as it emerged from bankruptcy in 2002, Senate lobbying disclosure documents reveal." (Charles Hurt and Geoff Earle, "O's Veep Hunter Quits," New York Post, 6/12/08)

Eric Holder Helped Chiquita Secure A "Slap-On-The-Wrist Plea Deal" Related To Their Involvement With Columbian Paramilitary Forces:

As An Attorney At Covington& Burling, Holder Has Represented Many High-Profile Clients, Including Chiquita. "And if Holder's partners at Covington were listening -- a highly unlikely prospect -- there would have been a collective sigh of relief at his response; in seven years at the firm Holder has become a sought-after attorney, with high-profile assignments from the National Football League, Merck & Co. Inc. and Chiquita last year alone." (Andrew Longstreth, "Making History With Obama," The American Lawyer, 6/5/08)

-- "[H]older Helped Chiquita Secure A Slap-On-The-Wrist Plea Deal To
Charges That It Had Paid Off The Terrorists." (Andrew Longstreth,
"Making History With Obama," The American Lawyer, 6/5/08)

In 2007, Ohio-Based Chiquita Brands International Admitted To Paying $1.7 Million To "Right-Wing Death Squads That Have Killed Thousands." "Colombia's attorney general said Tuesday that his office would try to seek the extradition of eight executives from Chiquita Brands International, the Ohio banana company that last week admitted to paying $1.7 million to right-wing death squads that have killed thousands in this country's long civil conflict." (Juan Forero, "Colombia May Seek Chiquita Extraditions," The Washington Post, 3/21/07)

-- Chiquita Reached An Agreement With The Justice Department When The
Company Plead Guilty To Doing Business With The Paramilitary Group And
Paid A $25 Million Fine. "In deal with the Justice Department,
Chiquita last week agreed to plead guilty to doing business with the
United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia... In agreeing to pay a $25
million fine, the company characterized the payments as extortion that
helped protect banana workers in the northwest Uraba region near the
border with Panama." (Juan Forero, "Colombia May Seek Chiquita
Extraditions," The Washington Post, 3/21/07)

The Paramilitary Organization Had Been Declared An "International Terrorist Group" By The State Department In 2001. "Chiquita admitted making payments to the paramilitaries from 1997 to 2004, which Iguaran said violated Colombian law. On Sept. 10, 2001, the State Department declared the AUC, as the paramilitary coalition is known, an international terrorist group, making it a violation of U.S. law for a U.S. company to conduct business with the organization." (Juan Forero, "Colombia May Seek Chiquita Extraditions," The Washington Post, 3/21/07)

Chiquita's Case Was The "First Time A Major U.S. Company Was Charged With Having Financial Dealings With Terrorists." "In March of this year, Chiquita pled guilty to engaging in transactions with a terrorist group and agreed to pay $25 million in fines, the first time a major U.S. company was charged with having financial dealings with terrorists." (Laurie P. Cohen, "Chiquita Under The Gun," The Wall Street Journal, 8/2/07) .

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