Eric Holder’s shameful legacy

Matt Taibbi at Rolling Stone gives a blow-by-blow account of the way that Eric Holder saved the banks many billions of dollars and kept their top executives out of jail and now expects us to believe that the reason he chose to return to working at a high salary for the law firm Covington and Burling that represents some of those same banks is because of its pro bono work on behalf of the public! Yes, he really expects us to believe that he is driven by high-minded altruism.

As Taibbi carefully explains, Holder has essentially institutionalized what was earlier more informal, a two-tier justice system whereby the government has decided that certain people and businesses are beyond the reach of the law.

Here’s a man who just spent six years handing out soft-touch settlements to practically every Too Big to Fail bank in the world. Now he returns to a firm that represents many of those same companies: Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo, Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup, to name a few.

Now he will presumably collect assloads of money from those very same bankers. It’s one of the biggest quid pro quo deals in the history of government service.

Holder doesn’t look it, but he was a revolutionary. He institutionalized a radical dualistic approach to criminal justice, essentially creating a system of indulgences wherein the world’s richest companies paid cash for their sins and escaped the sterner punishments the law dictated.

Holder doubtless seriously believed at first that in a time of financial crisis, he was doing the right thing in constructing new forms of justice for banks, where nobody but the shareholders actually had to pay for crime. You’ve heard of victimless crimes; Holder created the victimless punishment.

But in the end, it was pretty convenient, wasn’t it, that “the right thing” also happened to be the strategy that preserved Democratic Party relationships with big-dollar donors, kept the client base at Holder’s old firm nice and fat, made the influential rich immeasurably richer and allowed Eric Holder himself to crash-land into a giant pile of money upon resignation.

What a coincidence! In any civilized country, it’d be a scandal. In America, though, he’s just another guy selling whatever he can to get by. It was just too bad that what Holder had to sell was the criminal justice system.

As I have said repeatedly, the banks are the rulers of the world.


  1. Mano Singham says


    Thanks for the link. I had not noticed that I had not included the link in the original post but have done so now.

  2. says

    The problem is if it’s not illegal, then it’s considered ok, regardless of the ethical implications.

    Words like Revolving doors, Golden parachutes, Chinese walls, and using privelaged information is a grey area and near impossible to prosecute, because evidence is intentionally not documented to show any wrongdoing.

    Imagine how much banks must have made illegally if they are willing to settle for billions.

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