In a scathing article detailing dealings of former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi writes about Holder’s lack of bank prosecutions in the wake of the housing market bust and how he may now be personally benefiting from that.
Taibbi calls out Holder as “Double Agent,” parading “brilliantly” as the U.S. Attorney General when, in fact, he was “the best defense lawyer Wall Street ever had.”
To back this assertion, Taibbi notes that prior to him taking on the position of attorney general, Holder was a top attorney for the firm Covington & Burlington, which is known to be one of the best white-collar defense firms in the nation. In fact, it’s a go-to for those in hot water on Wall Street.
Not only did he come from there, he is now returning (as opposed to pursuing a judgeship). Further to the point, his job was actually held empty while the firm awaited his return. He is said to earn $2.5 million annually in his role there.
Six years after Holder routinely allowed major fraud crimes go unchecked, he will now be returning to a position where he will be defending those same companies. These are the defendants accused of huge cases of market manipulation, fraud, tax evasion, money laundering and bribery – the same type of offenses Holder failed to prosecute in his role as AG.
Meanwhile, Holder insisted he was returning to the firm because he wanted to “give back to the community.” He noted the company’s involvement in pro bono work – which is minute compared to the millions it rakes in on other cases.
For years as attorney general, he dealt these huge corporations softball settlements for perpetuating some of the biggest frauds on American homeowners, consumers and taxpayers – which spiraled us into a major economic recession. Very few of those connected to the mortgage crisis saw the inside of a jail cell. By some calculations, these deals not only saved higher-ups the possibility of prison, they also most likely saved these banks billions of dollars.
Now, Holder will make many millions of dollars now representing those same companies.
During his tenure, Holder:
- Did not win a single conviction in court for any crimes related to the massive financial crisis that knocked us into the worst economic climate since the Great Depression.
- Invented a concept of accountability for banks called “collateral consequences,” in which states could seek alternatives to criminal justice actions if doing so would result in “collateral damage” to workers, communities.
- Pushed for numerous extrajudicial settlement agreements, in which corporations would pay substantial sums to write off their liability for their financial crimes. These agreements did not require a judge’s signature.
- Helped helped to soften the blow to banks through a number of tactics, including labeling the settlements “remedial payments” rather than calling it what it was: fines for breaking the law. This allowed these companies to claim the payments as “business expenses” and in turn, seek tax deductions for them. So in one case, for a $7 billion settlement from one bank, after the tax deduction, taxpayers paid $2.45 billion.
That he now will personally benefit from these actions is troubling indeed.
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Eric Holder, Wall Street Double Agent, Comes in From the Cold, July 8, 2015, By Matt Taibbi, The Rolling Stone
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Study: Banker Ethics Sharply Decline, June 15, 2015, Miami Foreclosure Defense Attorney Blog