Skip to comments.Democrats Rush Holder Confirmation
Posted on 01/13/2009 6:56:10 AM PST by 2nd amendment mama
In two days, Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) will begin the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Eric Holder, former Clinton deputy attorney general who is President-elect Barack Obamas highly controversial nominee to the office of Attorney General. Holder, best known for playing a major role in the Clinton pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich, will face skeptical Republicans, including ranking Republican Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.).
Specter has run into a Leahy roadblock in his attempts to get some of the background documents on the nomination. Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy has refused to sign off on document requests by Republicans relevant to the hearing from the Department of Justice and the Clinton administration archives at the library in Little Rock.
This is -- according to Republican staff sources -- enormously frustrating to Specter. He cannot make document requests unilaterally using the power of the Committee. Only if Leahy joins in the request will it likely even be answered. Those staffers said that they cannot recall any instance in which Specter refused a Leahy request when the Republican was chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
According to Republican committee staffers, Leahy declined to sign these requests for production of documents. The initial letters were sent in early December. Late Monday, the DOJ finally dumped 600 pages of documents in response, noting that Republicans on the committee could receive more documents in the future related to this request. There have to date been literally no documents produced by Republican requests to the Clinton presidential archives. Under this shadow of the appearance of a possible cover-up, Senate Democrats are still attempting to expedite Holders nomination.
Chairman Leahy should be aware that his refusal to put the force of his committee chair behind the Republican request for documentation results in the request carrying little more weight than a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request from the general public -- which has proven in the past to take as long as 10 years for fulfillment. Republican Judiciary Committee staffers could not recall any instance where then Chairman Arlen Specter denied Democrats any request for documentation on a Bush nominee.
Another Clinton administration retread, Holder was at the epicenter of some of the largest Clinton presidential scandals. Document requests to the DOJ and Clinton archives include information on Holders role in matters such as the Waco-Branch Davidian massacre, the Elian Gonzales snatch and grab, pardons of Weather Underground domestic terrorists and FALN Puerto Rican terrorists, the DOJ investigation into fundraising activities involving representatives of the Chinese government by then Vice-President Al Gore, and the DOJ investigation by the Clinton administration into the dual-use nuclear and communications technology transfer to China by top Democrat donor Loral Space Corporation.
Most notable of Holders pardon scandals was his leading role in the Marc Rich pardon; Rich -- on the FBIs Ten Most Wanted list for millions of dollars in federal income tax evasion and violations of the Trading with the Enemy Act for Richs business dealings with Iran -- was pardoned by President Clinton on his last day in office.
Adding further appearance of impropriety, according to Senate staffers, Holder has also neglected to fully complete his nominations questionnaire in areas related to his opinions and published opinions.
To further complicate matters, reports came to light on Monday evening of a more extensive connection between Holder and Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich which Holder did not fully disclose. Holder claims that he did not perform any substantive work for the disgraced Illinois governor in a gaming board licensing matter that was clouded by charges of corruption. Yet in response to a request for documentation from Republican Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), the Illinois governors office has produced an April 22, 2004 letter from Holder himself on his firms letterhead which states that Blagojevich hired him for oversight on the entire investigation. Reports show Holders firm was paid $300,000 in legal fees. This latest development may be the first crack in the wall of secrecy erected by Senate Democrats around Holders confirmation process.
From the truth is stranger than fiction file, Holder in private practice was the attorney for Fernando Aquirre, CEO of Chiquita Brands International wherein Holder acquired a $25 million settlement for the corporation when its top executive was charged with paying $1.7 million to a Columbian death squad that killed thousands of people, including hundreds of labor leaders and workers organizing banana picking laborers in Columbia.
Given the extent of the multitude of controversies swirling around this nominee, it is fair to ask why Senate Democrats are attempting to push this nomination through in an expedited manner while withholding participation in the fulfillment of requests for documentation. What are Senate Democrats trying to hide?
Connie Hair is a freelance writer, a former speechwriter for Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) and a former media and coalitions advisor to the Senate Republican Conference
These guys are Allah’s gift to terrorism. Holder helped pardon terrorists, and Obama is close friends with one.
Nothing to see here. Move along.
If the Republicans don’t do EVERYthing in their power to get publicity on that...they are STUPID. LEARN FROM THE DEMS...DO SOMETHING TO SHAME THE PRESS INTO A PRESS CONFERENCE.
why the rush?
we taxpayers were able to wait for a new attorney general while Leahy and the demoncrats took the time to tear apart John Ashcroft
JOIN THE NRA!
And Arlen Specter will not learn a single thing from this experience.
The “fix” is in......................
Join NRA, GOA, VCDL and every other gun group you find.
They have no power, nor are they likely to get any any time soon, like the rest of this century...........
So, we should just give up, huh? The Dems never do, and I would like to believe we are better than that.
Sad but true.....unless somehow it becomes Scottish law ;-)
Specter isn’t gonna rock the boat. Nobody (R) is gonna say or do anything because it will look like whining. They’ll just sit on their hands and grin and smile for the cameras, just like they did for 40 years before Newt.........
I guess after that Rep Senate Retreat...where they were told to put an emphasis on the last word ...retreat.
And will Specter make ANY of these issues clear on national TV during the hearings (assuming of course that our non-biased media will actually televise them.) Don’t be silly. Why, that wouldn’t be bipartisan!
The only consolation in this whole sorry affair is to read about what sounds like Specter’s irritation and exasperation. As for Leaky Leahy, that POS should have been indicted, tried, convicted and shot for leaking classified information.
Note that this is just an excerpt on one issue. The linked piece addresses all of Holder's record.
Holder and the Pardon of FALN Terrorists:
Holder was also intimately involved in President Clinton's August 11, 1999 pardon of 16 members of the FALN, acronym for the Armed Forces of National Liberationa violent terrorist organization (as designated by the FBI) that was active in the U.S. from the mid-1970s through the early 1980s.
The FALN was a Marxist-Leninist group whose overriding mission was to secure Puerto Rico's political independence from the United States. Toward that end, between 1974 and 1983 the group detonated nearly 130 bombs in such strategically selected places as military and government buildings, financial institutions, and corporate headquarters located mainly in Chicago, New York, and Washington DC. These bombings were carried out as acts of protest against America's political, military, financial, and corporate presence in Puerto Rico. All told, FALN bombs killed six peopleincluding the Chilean ambassador to the United Statesand wounded at least 80 others.
On April 4, 1980, eleven FALN members were arrested in Evanston, Illinois. More of their comrades would also be apprehended in Chicago in the early 1980s. All were charged with seditious conspiracy, but they refused to participate in their own trial proceedingsclaiming defiantly that the U.S. government was an illegitimate entity and thus had no moral authority by which to sit in judgment of them. All the defendants were found guilty and were sentenced to federal prison terms ranging from 35 to 105 years.
On November 9, 1993, a self-identified "human rights" organization named Ofensiva '92 filed a petition for executive clemency on behalf of 18 members of the FALN and another violent organization seeking Puerto Rican independence, Los Macheteros ("The Machete-Wielders"). According to a December 12, 1999 report issued by the House Committee on Government Reform, the prisoners themselves "refused to take part in any process that would legitimize the government's actions against them, therefore they refused to file their own petitions."
This presented a problem because the Department of Justice (DOJ) traditionally stipulates that clemency will be considered only if a prisoner first files a petition on his or her own behalf, an act which the Department views as a sign of contrition. Nonetheless DOJ made an exception in this case and accepted Ofensiva '92's petition, a document which cast the FALN prisoners as blameless freedom fighters analogous to those Americans who had fought in the Revolutionary War against Britain.
Among the notables who joined Ofensiva '92's clemency crusade were Cardinal John O'Connor, Coretta Scott King, Jimmy Carter, and the National Lawyers Guild. Perhaps the most passionate support came from Democrat Representatives Luis Gutierrez (IL), Jose Serrano (NY), and Nydia Velazquez (NY), each of whom echoed Ofensiva '92's claim that the FALN members were "political prisoners" who deserved to be released.
The attorneys and advocates who were fighting for the freedom of the FALN prisoners first met with the Justice Department's Pardon Attorney on July 19, 1994. In October 1996 they met with Jack Quinn, Counsel to the President. They were unsuccessful, however, in their efforts to convey the legitimacy of their cause to the Office of the Pardon Attorney (OPA), which in 1996 contacted the Justice Department and recommended against clemency; that recommendation, in turn, was forwarded to the White House.
But the matter was not over; OPA continued to meet with groups and individuals lobbying for clemency on behalf of the FALN terrorists. Then in 1997, Eric Holder -- who was President Clinton's new Deputy Attorney General (in the Justice Department headed by Janet Reno) -- became involved in the case.
In this role, Holder was responsible for overseeing clemency investigations and determining which of those requests were ultimately worthy of President Clinton's attention. As evidenced by a September 1997 memorandum from the Pardon Attorney, the Justice Department was, at this point, receiving numerous inquiries about the FALN and Macheterosfrom the White House and from supporters of the prisoners. The aforementioned House Committee on Government Reform report stated: "Throughout the closing months of 1997 it appears that Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder was active in the issue. The privilege log reflects at least two notes regarding his questions on the clemency or his thoughts on the matter."
On November 5, 1997, Holder met with Representatives Gutierrez, Serrano, and Velazquez to discuss the clemency issue. He advised the legislators that they might greatly increase the likelihood of a presidential pardon if they could convince the prisoners to write letters testifying as to the personal remorse they felt for their past actions. But no such letters would be produced for five months, during which time the clemency issue remained on hold. Meanwhile, in a January 6, 1998 letter a senior Justice Department official expressly referred to the FALN members as "terrorists."
Then on April 8, 1998, Holder again met with FALN supporters. This time, they finally delivered statements from the prisoners as Holder had advised in November. But all the statements were identicalindicating that not one of the prisoners had made an effort to craft his own personal expression of repentance.
Undeterred, Holder then raised the question of whether the prisoners might at least agree to renounce future violence in exchange for clemency. One of the prisoners' backers, Reverend Paul Sherry, made it clear that they surely "would not change their beliefs"presumably about the issue of Puerto Rican independencebut was vague as to whether they were apt to eschew violence altogether.
Over the next few weeks, Holder and the Justice Department continued to meet with numerous advocates of clemency and to review pertinent materials which the latter brought forth on behalf of the prisoners. Holder clearly was the point man for these clemency negotiations. As Brian Brian Blomquist wrote in the New York Post, "A list of FALN documents withheld from Congress shows that many memos on the FALN clemency decision went directly to Holder, while [Janet] Reno's role was minimal." Similarly, New York Daily News reporter Edward Lewine wrote that Holder was "the Justice Department official most involved with this issue."
Throughout the clemency review process, neither Holder nor anyone else in the Justice Department contacted any of the people who had been victimized (or whose loved ones had been victimized) by the FALN. Most were never aware that clemency for the terrorists was even being contemplated. And those few who were aware of the possibility were rebuffed in their efforts to participate in the review process.
On May 19, 1998, the Pardon Attorney sent Eric Holder a 48-page draft memorandum "concerning clemency for Puerto Rican Nationalist prisoners." Seven weeks later, on July 8, Holder sent President Clinton a "memorandum regarding clemency matter." Indeed the Deputy Attorney General was methodically spearheading the march toward clemency -- despite the fact that the sentencing judges, the U.S. Attorneys, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the Fraternal Order of Police, and the FBI were unanimous in their opposition to pardoning the individuals in question.
In late July 1999 an attorney from Holder's office spoke to White House Counsel Charles Ruff regarding the clemency matter. On August 9, 1999, Holder's office and OPA held one final meeting to hammer out the details, and two days later the President made his announcement: clemency was granted to sixteen terrorists, most of whom had served only a fraction of their prison terms. Of the sixteen, twelve accepted the offer and were freed, two refused it, and two others, who already were out of prison, never responded.
Congress, for its part, was not pleasedcondemning the clemencies by votes of 95-2 in the Senate and 311-41 in the House.
In the aftermath of August 11, 1999, a report by the Justice Department stated that the FALN posed an "ongoing threat" to national security. And in late October 1999 the Senate Judiciary Committee released a report from Attorney General Janet Reno stating that the FALN members' "impending release from prison" would "increase the present threat" of terrorism.
In an October 20th Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, and again with reporters the following day, Eric Holder denied that Reno was referring to the same FALN terrorists whose pardons he had worked so long and hard to secure. Yet when Holder was asked to identify whom Reno was in fact talking about, he responded as follows:
"I don't know, no, I don't know that. We might be able to get you some more information on that, but, I mean, you know, there were certain people who are due to be released, or who were at least eligible for parole, had a release date in the next, as I said, three, four years. I don't know exactly who they were. Maybewe might be able to get you that information."
Neither Holder nor the Justice Department ever provided any additional names. The December 1999 House Committee on Government Reform report stated:
"The 16 [FALN] terrorists appear to be most unlikely candidates. They did not personally request clemency. They did not admit to wrongdoing and they had not renounced violence before such a renunciation had been made a quid pro quo for their release. They expressed no contrition for their crimes, and were at times openly belligerent about their actions . Notwithstanding the fact that the 16 did not express enough personal interest in the clemency process to file their own applications, the White House appeared eager to assist throughout the process. Meetings were held with supporters, and some senior staff [i.e., Holder] even suggested ways to improve the likelihood of the President granting the clemency. Overall, the White House appears to have exercised more initiative than the terrorists themselves."
That’s about right. They are running true to form. If they would just elect some real leadership. But that’s the problem, there isn’t any.................
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