By Jim Kouri
While most major members of the Obama administration — including Hillary Clinton, Leon Panetta, Timothy Geithner and others — are being replaced by new appointees, on Wednesday it was confirmed that Attorney General Eric Holder is staying at the Justice Department when President Barack Obama starts his second term.
The White House announced on Wednesday that Holder is among the Obama minions who will remain in the administration during its second-term.
Holder is currently working closely with Vice President Joe Biden on a gun control task force, a subject close to Holder’s heart. According to the White House, it is rare for an attorney general to serve more than four years. The last one who did was Janet Reno during the Clinton Administration who also was a strong proponent of disarming American citizens.
Holder has been the target of fierce criticism from Republicans and many law enforcement officials, who pushed for his resignation or firing after a botched federal scheme known as Operation Fast and Furious that allowed the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to illegally slip 2,000 weapons into Mexico.
Holder denied knowing about the operation in spite of evidence to the contrary discovered by lawmakers in both houses of Congress.
But this wasn’t the first time Holder’s honesty had come into question. Even before taking office, Holder may have hid information from lawmakers, according to an Oct. 11, 2011, news story in the Law Enforcement Examiner.
In the past, Justice Department officials have admitted that when members of the U.S. Senate — including Judiciary Committee members — were considering the nomination of Eric Holder as President Obama’s attorney general in 2009, he failed to disclose all of the legal briefs he had written or signed from his time in private practice especially those briefs that are pertinent to his current positions and views during the so-called war on terrorism.
The issue of Holder’s past legal papers came up after some Republicans asked why lawyers who had previously done legal work for terror detainees now had jobs in the Justice Department, something President Barack Obama successfully avoided discussing, and something conveniently overlooked by a Justice Department now saturated with Holder colleagues whose work records show they defended terrorism suspects and Gitmo detainees.
Attorney General Eric Holder didn’t tell the Senate Judiciary Committee about at least six Supreme Court Amicus briefs he prepared or supported, his office acknowledged in a letter, including two urging the Court to reject the Bush administration’s attempt to try Jose Padilla as an enemy combatant.
“It has come to our attention that some but not all briefs submitted to the Supreme Court by or on behalf of Attorney General Holder as counselor Amicus were supplied to the Committee in the course of his confirmation process last year. We regret the omission,” Assistant Attorney General Ronald Welch wrote to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy. Sen. Leahy, who has his own problems with honesty dating back to the days of the cold war, did not have his committee will take any action against Justice Department executives and attorneys or against Holder.
For example, Attorney General Eric Holder didn’t tell the Senate Judiciary Committee about at least six Supreme Court amicus briefs he prepared or supported, his office acknowledged in a letter, including two urging the Court to reject the Bush administration’s attempt to try Jose Padilla as an enemy combatant.
While Holder and Obama can count on the support and loyalty of the majority of Senators and congressmen, some conservative lawmakers are not ignoring the AG’s suspected duplicitous behavior.
“I am deeply concerned by Attorney General Holder’s failure to disclose to the Judiciary Committee his third-party brief in support of Jose Padilla’s Supreme Court case,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions, the committee’s top Republican. ” Not only was the Attorney General required to provide the brief as part of his confirmation but the opinions expressed in it go to the heart of his responsibilities in matters of national security. This is an extremely serious matter and the attorney general will have to address it.”