Judicial Watch Obtains Eric Holder Contract Documents from California Legislature Regarding Law Firm’s Work in Developing ‘Legal Strategies’ against Trump Administration
Holder’s Covington and Burling Law Firm to Receive $25,000 Per Month for 40 Hours of Work Strictly for Providing ‘Legal Strategies’ From February Through April 2017
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that on January 12, 2017, it obtained records from the California Legislature Joint Rules Committee revealing that the Legislature will pay the law firm of former Obama U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. $25,000 a month for 40 hours of work each month for providing “legal strategies regarding potential actions of the federal government that may be of concern to the State of California.” The contract precludes any other litigation or advocacy work.
The records came in response to a January 9, 2017, Legislative Open Records Act request seeing the following:
All contracts between the California Legislature and former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. or Covington and Burling.
All communications between the California Legislature and former U. S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. or Covington and Burling about the Legislature’s retention of Holder and/or Covington and Burling.
On January 4, California legislative leaders announced that they had hired Holder to assist them in anticipated federal challenges to several state policies such as climate change and immigration.
In a statement, Kevin de Leon, California Senate President Pro Tempore said, “With the upcoming change in administrations, we expect that there will be extraordinary challenges for California in the uncertain times ahead.” The California Attorney General, who represents the State’s interest in court, already has a budget of $190 million.
In the Covington contract provided to Judicial Watch in response to its records request, Holder’s firm limited its activities to providing “legal strategies” and stipulated that it would require a “new engagement letter” for any activities beyond providing such advice:
We are pleased to confirm that we will serve as Special Counsel to the California State Senate and the California State Assembly (collectively “the Legislature”) in helping the Legislature develop legal strategies regarding potential actions of the federal government that may be of concern to the State of California…
Should the Legislature wish to retain us to work on any particular litigation or other matter or public policy advocacy work, that would not fall within the scope of this undertaking and would require a new engagement letter.
“The new records show California state legislators are wasting tax dollars to bankroll another corrupt politician – Eric Holder – under the pretense of attacking the Trump administration,” stated Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton. “This expensive contract is crony corruption pure and simple. The swamp of public corruption has taken over California.”
Holder was one of Obama’s longest-serving and most controversial Cabinet members. On June 28, 2012, he became the first U.S. Attorney General to be held in contempt of Congress on both civil and criminal grounds. The contempt charge came in connection with Holder’s refusal to turn over documents on Operation Fast and Furious, the Obama administration’s gunwalking scandal. Judicial Watch has since exposed numerous atrocities associated with this scandal.
Under Holder the Justice Department dismissed its voting rights case against the New Black Panther Party. The Justice Department originally filed its lawsuit against the New Black Panther Party following an incident that took place outside of a Philadelphia polling station on November 4, 2008. According to multiple witnesses, members of the New Black Panthers blocked access to polling stations, harassed voters and hurled racial epithets. A video of the incident, showing a member of the New Black Panther Party brandishing police-style baton weapon, was widely distributed on the Internet. In March 2011, Judicial Watch sued the Holder Justice Department for records detailing its contacts with NAACP about the dismissal of the lawsuit.
In 2013, the Holder Justice Department was caught spying on The Associated Press by collecting months’ worth of phone records of reporters and editors. Fox News’ James Rosen was among those targeted by Holder’s Justice Department.
Holder left the Justice Department in 2015 to rejoin Covington & Burling.