Re­call­ing ‘Stonewall’ Holder’s GOP en­ablers

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - Michelle Malkin

While calls for U.S. At­tor­ney Gen­eral Eric “Stonewall” Holder’s res­ig­na­tion grow and the House GOP gears up for a con­tempt vote this week, it’s worth re­mem­ber­ing how we got into this mess. In two words: feck­less bi­par­ti­san­ship.

“I like Barack Obama and want to help him if I can.” That was Utah GOP Sen. Or­rin Hatch in Jan­uary 2009, just weeks be­fore the Se­nate voted on Pres­i­dent Obama’s at­tor­ney gen­eral nom­i­nee, Eric Holder. Right out of the gate, upon Obama’s elec­tion in Novem­ber 2008, Hatch sig­naled that he would green­light the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s top law en­forcer.

“I start with the premise that the pres­i­dent de­serves the ben­e­fit of the doubt,” the six-term in­cum­bent Hatch told The Hill news­pa­per. “I don’t think pol­i­tics should be played with the at­tor­ney gen­eral.”

Utah vot­ers, mark those words. Bend­ing to bi­par­ti­san­ship for bi­par­ti­san­ship’s sake — and ig­nor­ing the ob­vi­ous con­se­quences — is playing pol­i­tics.

And, con­ser­va­tives, please re­mem­ber the ac­tions of all 19 Repub­li­can se­na­tors who ig­nored Holder’s abom­inable ca­reer as a po­lit­i­cal fixer and con­firmed him. “I found Mr. Holder to be a good lis­tener, which is an im­por­tant pre­requi- site for any good leader,” Mis­souri GOP Sen. Kit Bond ex­plained in sup­port of the nom­i­na­tion. “I be­lieve him when he says that he’s willing to take good ideas from wher­ever they come.” In ad­di­tion to Hatch and Bond, the other 17 Se­nate Repub­li­cans who helped put Holder in place at the Jus­tice Depart­ment were: La­mar Alexander, R-Tenn., Bob Ben­nett, R-Utah, Saxby Cham­b­liss, R-Ga., Su­san Collins, R-Maine, Bob Corker, R-Tenn., Lind­sey Gra­ham, R-S.C., Charles Grass­ley, R-Iowa, Judd Gregg, RN.H., Johnny Isak­son, R-Ga., Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., Richard Lu­gar, R-Ind., John McCain, RAriz., Lisa Murkowski, RAlaska, Jeff Ses­sions, R-Ala., Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, Arlen Specter, R-Pa., and Ge­orge Voinovich, R-Ohio.

It’s not like th­ese GOP en­ablers weren’t warned over and over about Holder’s shady judg­ment and ques­tion­able ethics. The 2002 House Com­mit­tee on Govern­ment Re­form’s re­port on the Clin­ton-era Marc Rich par­don scan­dal spelled out Holder’s will­ing­ness to put po­lit­i­cal am­bi­tion above the rule of law. Then-Deputy At­tor­ney Gen­eral Holder and former White House coun­sel Jack Quinn, who was rep­re­sent­ing the fugi­tive fi­nancier Rich, worked together to cut the Jus­tice Depart­ment out of the process.

The duo en­sured “that the Jus­tice Depart­ment, es­pe­cially the pros­e­cu­tors of the South­ern District of New York, did not have an op­por­tu­nity to ex­press an opin­ion on the Rich par­don be­fore it was granted.” The re­port noted fur­ther that “Holder failed to in­form the pros­e­cu­tors un­der him that the Rich par­don was un­der con­sid­er­a­tion, de­spite the fact that he was aware of the par­don ef­fort for al­most two months be­fore it was granted.”

Holder ad­mit­ted that he al­lowed his judg­ment to be over­rid­den by crony po­lit­i­cal con­sid­er­a­tions. He told GOP se­na­tors he had learned from his “mis­take” and that it would make him a bet­ter at­tor­ney gen­eral. But it wasn’t just one “mis­take.”

Holder pan­dered to left­ist spe­cial in­ter­ests in en­gi­neer­ing clemency for 16 mem­bers of the vi­o­lent ter­ror­ist groups Fuerzas Ar­madas de Lib­era­cion Na­cional (FALN) and Los Ma­cheteros — linked by the FBI to more than 130 bomb­ings and six mur­ders. He gave the ter­ror­ists un­prece­dented ac­cess to phone calls and con­sul­ta­tions as they negotiated their free­dom. He hid be­hind ex­ec­u­tive priv­i­lege cov­ers when asked by vic­tims’ fam­i­lies to ex­plain the de­ci­sion process. And as a part­ner at Cov­ing­ton and Burl­ing, the pow­er­house D.C.- and N.Y.based law firm in­fa­mous for rep­re­sent­ing Gitmo de­tainees, Holder’s op­po­si­tion to the ji­hadi de­ten­tion cen­ter raised bright red con­flict-of-in­ter­est flags.

Is it any won­der that such a se­rial con­niver would now be em­broiled in mul­ti­ple scan­dals in­volv­ing the en­dan­ger­ment of na­tional security? And that he would name old pals to run in­ter­fer­ence for him in his time of need?

To in­ves­ti­gate his depart­ment’s bloody malfea­sance in the Fast and Fu­ri­ous gun­walk­ing scan­dal, Holder ap­pointed act­ing DOJ In­spec­tor Gen­eral Cyn­thia A. Schnedar.

She worked un­der Holder in the 1990s and had co-filed sev­eral le­gal briefs with him. Schnedar is in hot wa­ter for hav­ing re­leased se­cret Fast and Fu­ri­ous au­dio­tapes to the U.S. At­tor­ney’s Of­fice in Phoenix be­fore re­view­ing them.

The tapes some­how found their way into the hands of the local ATF of­fice.

Both are tar­gets of con­gres­sional probes.

To in­ves­ti­gate self-ag­gran­diz­ing White House leaks on ji­hadi kill lists and com­puter viruses tar­get­ing Iran’s nu­clear fa­cil­i­ties, Holder named two po­lit­i­cal ap­pointees. One is Ron­ald Machen, an Obama donor, a tran­si­tion team leader and a U.S. At­tor­ney in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., who for­merly worked un­der Holder.

Blind Democrats are ou­traged at ques­tions about the in­de­pen­dence of Holder’s ap­pointees. Johnny-come-lately Repub­li­cans are de­mand­ing spe­cial pros­e­cu­tors and balk­ing at Holder’s ar­ro­gance, ob­struc­tion­ism and wan­ton dis­re­gard for Amer­i­can security and safety. Note: Two of the loud­est voices be­long to Sens. McCain and Gra­ham, who both ap­proved Holder’s nom­i­na­tion.

Joseph Con­nor, son of FALN mur­der vic­tim Frank Con­nor, was right. In Jan­uary 2009, he spoke from pain-filled ex­pe­ri­ence: “Holder clearly does not have the judg­ment, char­ac­ter or val­ues to be at­tor­ney gen­eral.” GOP sur­ren­der-ism cost more in­no­cent lives. For the sake of the vic­tims, let this be a les­son learned — and not re­peated again.

Michelle Malkin is the au­thor of “Cul­ture of Cor­rup­tion: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies” (Reg­n­ery 2010).

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