Attorney General Eric Holder’s statements that prosecuting Wall Street fraud would hurt the economy is exactly backwards: the experts say that failing to prosecute fraud is dooming our economy.
But prosecuting fraud was never on Holder’s radar.
Ted Kaufman, a former Democratic Delaware senator who chaired Judiciary Committee hearings examining the dearth of prosecutions, says the lack of action on Wall Street corruption is likely to be “the single biggest thing” historians remember about Holder’s tenure. “The attorney general has done a lot of good things, don’t get me wrong. But this is certainly not his finest hour, not by a long shot,” Kaufman told me. “It just doesn’t pass the sniff test.”
In a scathing report released in March, the Justice Department’s own inspector general found that the criminal division’s efforts to hold Wall Street executives accountable were a low priority—in some cases, the lowest priority—despite Holder’s claim that it was at the top of his to-do list. “It was never his priority,” a former top Holder deputy told me. “He cared about national security and civil rights. … Wall Street wasn’t even on his radar.”
This is too charitable …
In reality, Holder laid the groundwork for the “too big to jail” approach in 1999.
And Holder and his head of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division were partners at a law firm which used to represent the big banks, Fannie and Freddie, and which wrote the legal opinion which allowed the creation of the cancerous MERS scam … which was at the heart of the foreclosure crisis.
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