Posts Tagged ‘Attorney General Eric Holder’

A loophole on police asset seizures

January 30, 2015

In a previous post, I praised Attorney General Eric Holder for ending federal participation in police asset seizures.  But Susie Madrak on the Crooks and Liars blog pointed out a loophole in his announcement that I didn’t notice.

Holder’s decision allows some limited exceptions, including illegal firearms, ammunition, explosives and property associated with child pornography, a small fraction of the total. This would eliminate virtually all cash and vehicle seizures made by local and state police from the program.

What this means, as a practical matter, is that local and police state departments will focus their energies on the firearms and child porn busts, because they’ll be determined to fill those gaping holes in their budgets.

via Crooks and Liars.

Bill Black on why financial crime isn’t prosecuted

October 4, 2014

Bill Moyers did a great interview with Bill Black, an expert on white-collar crime and former financial regulator, on the Obama administration’s failure to prosecute financial fraud.  He sums up the situation accurately, clearly and briefly.  Here are highlights from the transcript.

§§§

WILLIAM K. BLACK:  Yeah, in baseball terms they’re batting 0.000.  But they’re not just batting 0.000, they took called strikes. They never got the bat off their shoulder and even swung.  They didn’t even try.

BILL MOYERS:  Do you remember when President Obama told “60 Minutes,” I think it was late December of 2011 that, “Some of the most damaging behavior on Wall Street…wasn’t illegal?”

BLACK: I do.

MOYERS: What did you think?

BLACK: I thought that he was wrong. That in fact if he listened to what the United States of America has demonstrated in court and through investigations, the activity was clearly illegal, it was a violation of a whole series of laws that make it felonies.

And these are just the frauds that caused the crisis. In addition to the frauds that caused the crisis, which are massive and we could talk about, we have the largest cartel in world history. This was the bid rigging of Libor, which is an international standard that sets the prices [interest rates] on over $300 trillion in [loans and financial] contracts.

A trillion is a thousand billion, right?  And then we have the foreclosure frauds where we have false affidavits [that the records were verified].  Over 100,000 felonies in that context.  And then we have the bid rigging on bond prices where all the major banks, according to the Justice Department, were involved.

And then we had the Federal Housing Finance Administration, a federal agency suing virtually every largest, of the largest 20 banks in the United States of America, saying they defrauded Fannie and Freddie through false sales.  And it goes on and on.

The savings and loan debacle, we made over 30,000 criminal referrals [during the administration of the elder George Bush].  Here, zero criminal referrals as far as we can get any public information.  So the first thing Holder should’ve done is re-establish the criminal referral process.  Because, you know, banks don’t make criminal referrals against their own CEOs.

MOYERS: Do you tell yourself, well, there is a justifiable and understandable reason why they don’t prosecute?

BLACK: No, there is no justifiable reason.  Apparently modern financial regulators are vastly more sophisticated than we were as financial regulators 25 years ago.  Because we had never figured out that the key to financial stability was leaving felons in charge of the largest financial institutions in the world.

(more…)

Eric Holder stepping down as attorney general

September 25, 2014

Attorney General Eric Holder plans to step down as soon as a successor is confirmed.  I think the following is a just summary of his legacy.

Holder’s tenure as Attorney General has been a tragic one. Not only has he been engulfed in partisan scandals over an incompetent gun running sting known as “Fast and Furious,” he has been under fire for attacking the First Amendment rights of the media and is widely seen as having given his friends and former clients on Wall Street a complete pass on the criminal conduct that led to the 2008 financial crisis.

Holder’s involvement with the war on whistle-blowers, tracking and intimidating reporters, killing Americans without judicial review, and the abysmal failure to enforce the law against criminals in the financial services industry has left America a more divided and unjust society.

Not a particularly good legacy to leave behind.

America not only saw a white collar crime wave go unpunished, but saw Holder himself announce a doctrine that has been called Too Big To Jail.  

Holder claimed in congressional testimony that some Wall Street banks could not be prosecuted because of their size, saying “If you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy.”

Holder made no corresponding effort to break up the banks so they could become the appropriate size for him to feel comfortable prosecuting them when they broke the law. 

Instead, the comment signaled to everyone that if you were big and powerful enough the Holder Justice Department was not coming after you in criminal court – which still holds true as there has not been any major prosecutions against the banks or bankers.

As Eric Holder exits the stage America remains worse off from his having been in office.

via FDL News Desk.