Why Eric Holder's confirmation should not be blocked · 12/17/2008

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This Daily Kos diary frames the story differently than I do here, but I think this is much more important than all the anti-Republican rhetoric the diarist puts around it.

Now most people know very little about Eric Holder and you are not likely to learn a lot if you follow the coverage of his nomination in the press. This profile in the NYTs is a good example of the type of coverage of Eric Holder being presented to the public. It makes note of his support of Barack Obama and his service on the VP selection team. And it spends more time talking about the Marc Rich pardon than it does about his career. To read this "profile" you would only know the barest details of his record—and his record fighting political corruption has all but been scrubbed from the narrative. This is the story of Eric Holder as a life-long fighter of political corruption is being buried by the Right Wing and their sycophants in the media. It is this story that we need to get out....

Eric Holder has been an anti-corruptionist since his first job out of Law School. While he was in law school he worked one summer at the NAACP and the next at the Department of Justice. When he graduated, Holder went to work for the DOJ.

In the wake of the Watergate scandal the DOJ formed a new investigative section, the Public Integrity Section. It is tasked with fighting public corruption through the prosecution of elected and appointed public officials at all levels of government. Since 1978 the Section has been required to send an annual report to Congress on their efforts to root out public corruption. This is where Eric Holder went to work in 1976 and he stayed there through 1988. Of all the moving parts of the DOJ this is the section that Holder knows best. It is also the section that has been severely damaged and hamstrung by the Bush Administration in the effort to obstruct investigations into Republican wrong doing. Holder's hands on knowledge and dedication to the mission of the Public Integrity Section is the biggest reason why the Republican Party fears him so much and why they are pulling out all the stops to fight his nomination. After all, when Holder was at the Public Integrity Section he went after Democrats and Republicans. It did not matter. While he was at the DOJ Holder worked to prosecute the ABSCAM scandal and helped to put a corrupt Democratic Congressman, John Jenrette, in jail. If they broke their public trust, he went after them. This would be a refreshing change from the Bush years.

In 1988 he was appointed by Ronald Reagan to be an Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. He served there until 1993 when Bill Clinton appointed him the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia—a position that is pivotal partner for the Public Integrity Section as they try and prosecute DC based political corruption. It was in this role as DC's US Attorney that Holder brought down one of the most powerful politicians in Washington, Dan Rostenkowski as part of the "Post Office" scandal. Holder had no problem going after a corrupt Democrat even he as had to know it would hurt his Party in the 1994 Mid-term Election—and it did.

In 1997, Holder became the Assistant Attorney General. Now for those who do not remember the Clinton years, it is worth remembering that the DOJ was very different that the shadow DOJ currently surviving the Bush years. Back then, the DOJ allowed investigations of the President to proceed, no matter how silly. There were endless investigations and yet the DOJ never stepped in to protect Bill Clinton. Now some will find fault with that, but on the whole it was the right call. The DOJ works for the people and not the President. It is not the job of the DOJ to protect the President, or any politician, from an investigation into their activities. Over the last eight years we have seen a dedication to protecting Bush and GOP politicians. We have seen what a politicized DOJ is like and it has caused great harm to our Nation. It is time to restore honor and integrity to the DOJ and Eric Holder is the just the guy to do that.

If you want to see what I left out, feel free to click through to the original.


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