The disgraced former attorney general, now serving as chair of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, is set to make millions in legal fees from ensuing gerrymandering lawsuits.
Former Attorney General Eric Holder speaks during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, July 26, 2016. (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)
In June 2012, Eric Holder, then-attorney general, made history by becoming the first sitting Cabinet member to be held in contempt by Congress. The contempt charges were focused around a now infamous government initiative known as “Operation Fast and Furious,” which used illegal gun sales to track buyers who were involved in criminal enterprises in Mexico. More specifically, the U.S. government sold thousands of semi-automatic firearms to people suspected of working with Mexican drug cartels.
The U.S. government failed to even notify the Mexican government of the operation. While Holder maintained that he fully complied with a Congressional investigation into the operation, Republicans held him in contempt, as he had initially claimed to know nothing of the operation until documents that were released later showed this to be false.
Despite being forced from his position, Holder remains active in politics, as evidenced by his appointment last year to the National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC). The NDRC – created by former President Barack Obama – exists for an overtly political and very clear purpose, taking “aim at the nation’s map of congressional districts that helped solidify the Republican Party’s control in Washington.”
Essentially, Democrats – unable to acknowledge other key factors that have led to the ruinous state of their party – are seeking to reverse-gerrymander congressional districts so they can win political elections without having to make serious reforms. As Politico noted, Democrats are arguing that they “have been losing races in large part because they’ve let Republicans tilt the field.”
There was no mention of the party’s illegal actions during the 2016 primary and general election, nor the marred legacy of Obama, as contributing factors in the recent electoral losses suffered by Democrats.
According to Holder, the NDRC’s efforts will unfold on three different fronts: through ballot referendums at the state level; on the campaign trail for the state and county positions that could influence redistricting; and in the courtroom, where Democrats will legally challenge current district maps they consider to be in violation of the law.
It is this last aspect of the NDRC’s approach that is of special interest to Holder. Holder has been a long-time partner of the international law firm Covington & Burling, which he re-joined following his resignation in 2012. Prior to taking the top position at the Justice Department, Holder had worked at Covington for several years, receiving a 3 million dollar “severance package” upon his appointment.
As attorney general, Holder avoided prosecuting big banks involved in the 2008 financial crisis, many of which were clients of Covington. Holder’s return to Covington in 2012 led award-winning journalist Matt Taibbi to call it “the single biggest example of the revolving door that we’ve ever had” – a reference to the “revolving door” between the public and private sector that defines D.C. politics. Salon called it “an insult to the American public.”
Covington & Burling, as Afro News notes, is set to have a role in NDRC-related legal battles by “giving Democrats the legal resources they need to take election fights to the courts.” ZeroHedge estimated that the ensuing gerrymandering lawsuits will net Covington millions in legal fees, especially considering that Holder will be directing the filing of all such lawsuits on behalf of Democrats.
But this will only be the latest lucrative deal to be struck between Covington and the public sector. California’s state legislature recently announced it would “retain” Holder and his firm “to lead the state’s resistance to the incoming Trump administration in the courts.” While the legislature has no shortage of lawyers, officials said Holder and Covington “brought specific litigation and political skills that could be needed.”
The size of Holder’s retainment fee has not been set, but some estimate that Holder – already a millionaire – stands to make millions more from the deal.
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