Mr. Holder’s Very Bad Day: first Fast and Furious, now bribery?

**Posted by Phineas

It’s a busy morning today (1) at Public Secrets Global HQ, but it’s nothing compared to the busy and downright rotten day Attorney General Holder is having, thanks to scandals old and new. First, our old friend, Operation Fast and Furious.

AG Holder is right now testifying before the House Oversight Committee, chaired by his worst nightmare Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA). Congressman Issa is angry at the slow pace at which DoJ is turning over requested documents (read: “stonewalling”), so, a couple of days ago, he threatened to charge Mr. Holder before the House with contempt of Congress.

Go, Darrell.

Prior to today’s hearings, Rep. Issa released a statement excoriating the Obama-Holder DoJ’s non-cooperation and, at a minimum, incompetence. AG Holder provided a written preview of his opening statement in rebuttal (PDF), which began with this gem:

Chairman Issa, Ranking Member Cummings, and members of the Committee, I am here today because I understand and appreciate the importance of congressional oversight, and because I am committed to ensuring the highest standards of integrity and professionalism at the Department of Justice. That’s precisely what I pledged to do – exactly three years ago tomorrow – when I was sworn in as Attorney General. And it is exactly what I have done.

I wonder if the committee broke out laughing when he read that, or were they dumbfounded into a slack-jawed silence at the sheer brass?

Oh, by the way, when you read the document you’ll realize AG Holder is now hiding behind Executive Privilege. What was I saying the other day about Nixon?

Regardless of the committee’s reaction, PJM’s Patrick Richardson had a grand time taking apart Mr. Holder’s statement in a thorough fisking. Be sure to read it.

A while back, I raised the possibility that Eric Holder knew about Fast and Furious long before he admitted (under oath) that he knew. Guess what? A report just released by Rep. Issa and Senator Grassley (R-IA) argues on the basis of documentary evidence that high-ranking ATF and DoJ officials knew about Fast and Furious in early 2010. Naturally, Justice officials deny this and House Democrats are now floating the idea that is was all the Phoenix ATF’s fault.

Expect a lot more finger-pointing in the next weeks and months.

In the “schadenfreude is sweet” department, former CIA Director General Michael Hayden (and presumably many else in the intelligence community) is smiling grimly as the man who, in service to an extreme leftist agenda persecuted CIA officers for their efforts against Islamic terrorism, now faces his comeuppance.

Enjoy, General. Enjoy.

Schadenfreude aside, Jim Geraghty reminds us that this is serious business:

I’m sure Agent Brian Terry and over 200 dead Mexicans agree.

Finally, The Daily Caller in an exclusive late yesterday broke a story of possible bribery in the Department of Justice, with AG Holder accused of failing to punish the perpetrators in order to avoid embarrassment:

A U.S. Justice Department source has told The Daily Caller that at least two DOJ prosecutors accepted cash bribes from allegedly corrupt finance executives who were indicted under court seal within the past 13 months, but never arrested or prosecuted.

The sitting governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands, his attorney general and an unspecified number of Virgin Islands legislators also accepted bribes, the source said, adding that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is aware prosecutors and elected officials were bribed and otherwise compromised, but has not held anyone accountable.

The bribed officials, an attorney with knowledge of the investigation told TheDC, remain on the taxpayers’ payroll at the Justice Department without any accountability. The DOJ source said Holder does not want to admit public officials accepted bribes while under his leadership.

That source said that until the summer of 2011, the two compromised prosecutors were part of a team of more than 25 federal prosecutors pursuing a financial crime ring, and at least five other prosecutors tasked to the case were also compromised by the criminal suspects they were investigating, without being bribed.

TheDC is withholding the name of the source, a knowledgeable government official who served on the Justice Department’s arrest team and was involved in the investigation, in order to prevent career retaliation from political figures in the Obama administration.

A former high-level elected official vouches for the government source’s veracity. “[The source] was trustworthy … and you could tell [the source] information or [the source] could hear information and [the source] would keep things close to [the source’s] chest,” that former official told TheDC. “You could trust [the source] with your life.”

The identities of the prosecutors who accepted bribes and others who were compromised have not yet been made public, and TheDC has not yet independently confirmed their identities. The prosecutors themselves are now cooperating with Justice Department investigators.

Eric Holder, the source said, personally approved the makeup of the investigation and arrest teams.

Tell me again about your “highest standards of integrity and professionalism,” Mr. Attorney General?

Granted, this is an anonymous source, and so should be taken with a grain of salt, but I think Congressman Issa’s committee, as well as the House Judiciary Committee, are going to be even busier than expected. It’s a long article and a complicated story about financial as well as political corruption, but well-worth your time. (See also.)

And it’s well-past time for Mr. Holder to go.

(1) Why does this always happen on interesting news days?

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

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