Politicized Justice

Andrew McCarthy:

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So where are they now, these selfless defenders of truth, Main Justice, and the American Way? They’re tripping over themselves to line up behind Holder, the truth-challenged nominee who helped preside over a hopelessly politicized Justice Department.

With Holder as the pliant deputy attorney general willing to grease the boss’s skids, President Clinton sought to improve the Democrats’ electoral position in New York by doling out pardons to members of FALN, the Puerto Rican terrorist group. Then, transparently in exchange for political contributions, he pardoned Marc Rich, at the time one of the FBI’s ten most wanted fugitives. This was Clinton's final presidential act. It shocked the country—so much so that millions in public funds were expended on congressional and criminal investigations.

The stench of the Rich pardon clings to Holder, who made it happen. It was undeniable that he had abused his office: A House committee report found that his “actions were unconscionable.” The only real question was whether he had been corrupt or merely out of his depth: whether his running interference against his own Justice Department for the fugitive’s benefit was, as the report put it, “the result of incompetence or a deliberate decision to assist Jack Quinn”—Rich’s lawyer and an influential Democrat Holder was hoping would help him become attorney general in a Gore administration.

Luckily for Holder, the investigation didn’t draw a final conclusion. And there it should have been left. Either conclusion illustrates Holder’s unfitness to be given the public trust again—especially given Schumer & Co.’s paeans to “truth and candor and integrity.” Yet here we are. So once again we must wrestle with why Holder went to such lengths for Rich.

What was most repulsive was Rich’s record: massive tax evasion, fraud, racketeering, and, worst of all, funding America’s enemies—particularly Khomeini’s Iran when it was holding Americans hostage in the late 1970s. Rich’s record was the yardstick of corruption—it said that, for all the Clinton administration’s “rule of law” malarkey, what matter most are money and political connections.

For precisely that reason, Holder has always tried to stay as far away from Rich’s record as possible. His only defense—and it has never been much of one—is that he did not know much about Rich and didn’t educate himself by getting input from the prosecutors responsible for the case. When pressed by the Judiciary Committee in 2001, Holder not only denied having even a vague awareness of the notorious Rich when Quinn first approached him in 1999 for help, but went so far as to claim that “Mr. Rich’s name was unfamiliar to me” at that time.

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There is much more. This guy should not be confirmed. He has lied to the Congress about his knowledge of Rich and why he helped him get a pardon. He does not have the character or courage needed for the job.

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