By Keith Johnson —
On September 25, 2014, Attorney General Eric Himpton Holder, Jr. officially tendered his resignation as President Barack Hussein Obama’s chief prosecutor, two days after he was ordered by United States District Court Judge John D. Bates to turn over non-privileged documents responsive to a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee subpoena. The court’s decision was spurred by a lawsuit from Judicial Watch, Inc., “a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, promot[ing] transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law.”
Holder will soon be leaving behind a nearly six-year legacy of corruption and abuse of power unparalleled in modern American history, and as the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, he broke more laws than he enforced, violated more civil rights than he defended and made a mockery of the Constitution he swore to uphold.
Topping the list of Holder’s crimes is the notorious Fast and Furious gun walking scandal of 2009, in which the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) allowed Mexican drug cartels to come into possession of more than 2,000 illegal guns. One of those guns was used to kill U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. Several other firearms were connected to at least 11 violent crimes throughout the U.S. It is not known how many of the weapons were used to commit crimes in Mexico.
After BATFE whistleblowers exposed the program, Holder aggressively worked to cover up incriminating details about the gun-running scheme and refused to comply with a congressional investigation into the matter, making him the first U.S. cabinet member in American history to be held in contempt of Congress.
Holder’s problems escalated in May 2013, when it was revealed that the Department of Justice (DoJ) had seized the telephone records of nearly two-dozen Associated Press reporters. When asked in a congressional hearing if DoJ had planned to prosecute journalists under the Espionage Act, Holder replied, “that is not something that I’ve ever been involved in, heard of or would think would be a wise policy.”
The attorney general would later be accused of lying when he made that statement after it was discovered that DoJ monitored FOX News reporter James Rosen’s phone calls and emails and that the subpoenas authorizing their seizure were signed by Holder himself.
By November 2013, a coalition of GOP legislators decided they’d had enough and formally introduced Articles of Impeachment against Holder.
“For nearly five years, we have witnessed Mr. Holder repeatedly deceive Congress and degrade the credibility of the Justice Department in the eyes of the American people,” the legislators wrote. “Unfortunately, Mr. Holder has continued to act in a manner unbefitting of a cabinet official. He has failed to perform his constitutional duties and violated the law on a number of occasions.”
Of course, Holder’s misdeeds weren’t all spelled out in the Articles of Impeachment. Perhaps his greatest crimes were the things he failed to do, like investigate rampant thievery on Wall Street.
Despite being given $165 million in funds to investigate and prosecute those responsible for the 2008 mortgage crisis, Holder refused to send one single banker to jail and ended up de-prioritizing mortgage fraud to the “lowest-ranked criminal threat” from 2009 to 2011.
Is it any wonder that Holder leaves office with a mere 15% approval rating?
Whether it’s giving the National Security Administration carte blanche to expand their warrantless domestic spying operations or declaring that the president has the legal authority to order a targeted assassination against an American citizen anywhere in the world, Holder has clearly been on the offensive against those he swore an oath to defend.
Good riddance to bad rubbish.
Keith Johnson is a writer based in Tennessee.