Judicial Watch • Eric Holder

Eric Holder Archives | Judicial Watch

On the same week that the U.S. House of Representatives found him in criminal contempt, the nation’s embattled Attorney General professed solidarity with a radical leftist Latino group, proudly celebrating its socialist mission of “uno para todos, todos para uno” (all for one and one for all).

It wasn’t enough for Eric Holder to earn the accolade of being the nation’s first sitting Attorney General to be found in criminal contempt by Congress for stonewalling the investigation of a disastrous experiment conducted by his office. Known as Operation Fast and Furious, the project allowed Mexican drug traffickers to obtain U.S.-sold weapons. Many of the guns have been linked to serious crimes, including the murder of a U.S. Border Patrol agent in Arizona.

Judicial Watch has sued the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the various agencies that operate under it for records related to the Fast and Furious. As part of that ongoing investigation, last fall JW obtained internal government records that show the number of crimes connected to the failed gun-running venture is significantly higher than previously disclosed. This led to the broader congressional probe that Holder has impeded.

As the House publicly admonished him, Holder was at a fancy Disney resort in Florida praising a Latino civil rights group—League of United Latin American Citizens LULAC— best known for accusing a Mexican fast-food eatery of a “hate crime” for using a Chihuahua in a commercial. In the 1990s a top LULAC official accused the food chain of the hate crime by saying that “Mexican Americans are treated like dogs, they have to work like dogs, and now they’re being portrayed as dogs.”

Yet there was the country’s top law enforcement officer praising about 1,000 LULAC delegates at an upscale Disney resort, repeatedly chanting “all for one and one for all” in both English and Spanish. Holder bragged that his DOJ has filed more civil rights cases than in any previous period in the nation’s history and he highlighted an ongoing witch hunt against an Arizona sheriff known for cracking down on illegal immigration.

“I want to assure communities in Arizona and around the country, and you, that the Department of Justice will continue to vigorously enforce federal prohibitions against racial profiling and ethnic discrimination,” Holder told the crowd. He also assured that his department is pursuing “careful, thorough and independent” assessments of voter identification laws that Democrats assert discriminate against minorities.

He continued: “On these and other critical issues, you’ve succeeded in bringing a diverse range of partners together. You’ve proven the power of unity – and the virtues of diversity.  And you’ve breathed new life into the old adage that – more than 80 years ago – gave voice to LULAC’s mission and vision: Uno para todos, todos para uno.

This enduring ideal – of all for one, and one for all; and the common understanding – that, here in the United States, we rise and fall as one people, and that we will only succeed if we work together as one nation – has been at the heart of the success we’re gathered to celebrate today – and to advance. “

In a scary development, a major Obama fundraiser who defended a convicted al Qaeda terrorist will become the third highest ranking official at the Department of Justice (DOJ), which, ironically, is charged with defending the interests of the United States.

Northern California lawyer Tony West has been named Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division, making him the No. 3 guy at the agency. In 2009 West, who helped Obama raise tens of millions of dollars as finance co-chairman of his first presidential campaign, was appointed to help run the DOJ’s civil division which represents the government, Congress and presidential cabinet officers and handles cases dealing with significant policy issues.

In a statement announcing the promotion this week, Attorney General Eric Holder says West has served the department with “professionalism, integrity and dedication.” Holder also mentions West’s work before coming to the DOJ a few years ago, including a stint as a Special Assistant Attorney General in California and a lengthier career at a large San Francisco law firm.

Conveniently omitted in the press release is that West represented convicted al Qaeda terrorist John Walker Lindh, who is serving a 20-year prison sentence. Lindh was captured in Afghanistan in 2001 while fighting against the U.S.-backed Northern Alliance as a member of the Taliban army. He actually pleaded guilty to aiding the Taliban and carrying explosives while fighting U.S. troops in the region.

Holder also knows a thing or two about defending terrorists. After all, he was a senior partner in a prestigious Washington D.C. law firm (Covington & Burling) that represented more than a dozen Yemeni terrorists held at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay Cuba. While Holder was a senior partner the firm employed a number of radical attorneys to provide the Islamic extremists with thousands of hours of free legal representation, according to a news report.

Another highlight in Holder’s resume is that he orchestrated Bill Clinton’s shameful last-minute pardons, including that of a fugitive financier and a pair of jailed domestic terrorists. In fact, shortly after the pardon scandal, Holder predicted that his public career was over. Under his leadership the DOJ has been embroiled in a number of high-profile scandals, including a gun-running operation (Fast and Furious) in which weapons were sold to Mexican drug cartels. One was later used to murder a federal agent. Judicial Watch has sued the DOJ to obtain records involving the operation.

 

How considerate of the Justice Department to finally cut back on the extravagant work conferences that stick it to U.S. taxpayers with exorbitant tabs for overpriced food, beverages and fancy party planners.Heads turned a few weeks ago when a Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General probe revealed that the bloated agency blew more than $120 million to host law enforcement conferences that featured “extravagant and wasteful” costs for food, beverages and event planning. The details were astounding.Examples listed in the inspector general’s report include $16 muffins for breakfast, $76 lunches, $10 cookies and candy bars that cost more than $7 each. The agency also wasted thousands on event planning “consultants” and their travel between venues. Considering the DOJ hosted nearly 2,000 conferences between fiscal years 2008 and 2009 that translates into $121 million.In a sampling of 10 conferences that took place in less than a year, investigators determined that the DOJ doled out more than $4.4 million. For 10 government conferences paid entirely with taxpayer dollars! A big chunk of it went to “wasteful” event planning services, food and beverages, according to the agency’s inspector general.This week Attorney General Eric Holder announced that, as part of the agency’s cost-cutting measures the DOJ will graciously limit conference spending to only those that may be “essential.” He also took the opportunity to pat himself on the back for already yielding “significant reductions in conference spending” during the first three quarters of fiscal year 2011. That means conference spending is down $14 million over the same period last year, according to Holder.“The Department of Justice is seeking ways to do more with less while we maintain our commitment to our critical law enforcement mission and our most important public safety priorities,” Holder said after announcing a series of other cost-cutting measures at the DOJ. He said the cost-saving will help the agency utilize its “limited resources in the most effective way possible.”Other measures that will save the agency some cash include streamlining operations, consolidating or reducing office space, a temporary hiring freeze and limiting travel and training. These brilliant ideas were discovered by the Attorney General’s Advisory Council for Savings and Efficiencies, which Holder credits with saving taxpayers $51 million. Created in 2010, the special council provides a framework to identify and implement practices for saving taxpayer money, realizing efficiencies and monitoring savings progress.

In what could be viewed as a waste of taxpayer resources during a financial crisis, Obama’s Department of Justice (DOJ) has distributed $83 million in “second chance” grants to ensure that prison inmates become “productive, law-abiding citizens” upon completing their sentence.It’s part of an innovative plan devised last year by Attorney General Eric Holder to help convicts who may have difficulty integrating into society after serving time for major crimes. Holder created a special Federal Interagency Reentry Council he claims will help reduce recidivism, save taxpayer dollars in the long run and make communities safer.How? By bringing together numerous federal agencies to assist those returning from jail in becoming productive citizens. This, in turn, will save taxpayer dollars by lowering the direct and collateral costs of incarceration. Reentry council members include several Obama cabinet secretaries, including Ken Salazar of the Department of the Interior, Kathleen Sebelius at Health and Human Services, Tom Vilsack at the Department of Agriculture, Hilda Solis at the Labor Department and Arne Duncan at the Department of Education.Together they work to assist former inmates by, among other things, ensuring that they have access to federal benefits immediately upon release to “help stabilize the critical first days and weeks after incarceration.” Announcing the multi-million-dollar grant this week, Holder stressed that “we must use every tool at our disposal to tear down the unnecessary barriers to economic opportunities and independence so that formerly incarcerated individuals can serve as productive members of their communities.”The announcement came with a special brochure (“Reentry Myth Busters”) warning employers and others about laws that protect the “formerly incarcerated” when seeking jobs, housing and federal assistance or benefits, voting rights and Medicaid eligibility. The new publication insinuates that employers who don’t hire convicts violate the 1964 Civil Rights Act which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion or sex. The reasoning is that automatically barring everyone with a criminal record is likely to limit the employment opportunities of workers because of their race or ethnicity.Here is another great myth buster. The federal government does not have a policy that precludes employment of people with criminal records from all positions. In fact, the federal government frequently employs people with criminal records as long as they have the “requisite knowledge, skills and abilities.” Agencies are actually required to consider people with criminal records when filling positions if they are the best candidates.Also noted is that most states don’t enforce a federal lifetime ban on convicted drug felons receiving welfare benefits. The states that bother to enforce the ban are listed so convicts can avoid them upon release. They include Alabama, Alaska, Georgia, Texas, Mississippi, South Dakota and West Virginia. Another myth buster is that people can get food stamps without an official state identification or a mailing address.

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