Eric Holder should be thinking about resigning

Many observers of our atrocious legal system, among them the writer Masaccio, have detailed the recent story of the resignation of SEC chief prosecutor Lanny Breuer. Breuer resigned after the airing of a Frontline documentary in which he stated he had no evidence of Wall Street bank fraud, at the same time that the SEC was being approached by whistleblowers with evidence of … bank fraud (my emphasis below).

Masaccio:

Lanny Breuer is out as head of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice, according to the Washington Post. After his ratlike performance on Frontline (transcript here) it won’t be long before we find him at some creepy New York or DC law firm defending his best friends, the banks and their sleazy employees. His legacy is simple: too big to fail banks can’t possibly commit crimes, so minor civil fines and false promises of reform are punishment enough.

Read the rest here. Raises the question of who Lanny Breuer works for, doesn’t it? Or maybe just answers it.

But wait, there’s more. In the following discussion with Ed Schultz, trail lawyer and radio host Mike Papantonio lays the dead cat not just at Breuer’s door, but at AG Eric Holder’s as well (not to mention his boss Barack Obama’s). Ultimately this is a story of Dem corruption by Wall Street, and both Papantonio and Schultz are not afraid to say so. Watch:

Noteworthy comments from the discussion:

Papantonio: “People make decisions to commit crimes, not corporations” (2:50 in the clip).

On the possibility of a “deal between the Obama administration and Wall Street” — stunning revelations (3:00 in the clip).

“Eric Holder was making the calls, not Lanny Breuer” (3:50).

Eric Holder’s background as a defender of corporate and banking clients and “it starts at the top” (4:15).

For fun, you can read more about Lanny Breuer’s non-prosecution of drug-money laundering here.

Your one take-away

There are many possible take-aways, including the fledgling anti-Obama motif coming from the MSNBC choir. But note especially this — that while Lanny Breuer is worried about excessive prosecution having excessive consequences — for fraudulent Wall Street banks — the over-zealous prosecutors in the Aaron Swartz case (detailed here) had no such qualms. In effect, they killed him knowing he was a suicide risk. In fact; they thought that his vulnerability gave them added leverage, and they used it.

So what’s the take-away? In this country, it’s now firmly established:

There’s one law for the Rich, another for the Rest. 

The United States has already crossed the line about Rule of Law — there is no rule of law for the rich. We’ve detailed that before, especially, but not exclusively, in the Jon Corzine case. But this juxtaposition — the non-prosecution of Wall Street bank fraud, the aggressive prosecution of citizen activist Aaron Swartz and his “transgressions” against owners of intellectual property — could not be a more perfect proof that rule of law is a thing of the past. These are diametrical identical situations, with diametrical opposite policies applied to them.

Ask yourself, if Aaron Swartz had been Mark Zuckerberg, would he have been prosecuted?

Again: One law for the Rich, another for the Rest. The Rich and the Rest, the tale of our times. That’s what we’re fighting, folks, in whatever manifestation you choose to look at it. And the coming climate catastrophe, which will soon make all the rest moot, is no different.

GP

To follow or send links: @Gaius_Publius


Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States. Click here for more. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius and Facebook.

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  • hollywoodstein

    Also too, anyone got anything on the XL pipeline?

    I was told pre election it was a done deal even though they were punting to 13 to avoid any unpleasantness during the campaign. I am told post inaugural address it still is going to go through despite Kerry going to State, and Obama’s recent global warming rhetoric.

    Two competing agendas. One is that Krugthulu has gotten through the austerians, and there is a glimmer that yes there is a jobs crisis, and if steps are taken to improve the economy, ( not just wait for it to magically business cycle back), then hey a large part of this deficit thingy might take care of itself. Hence mutterings of a pro growth agenda of which fracking the hell out of some marcelius shale and exporting energy is a large part.

    Two, even though Obama’s daughters will be able to afford air conditioning at Harvard’s Greenland annex in the future, there is a sense that his Legacy will not be well served ifin he be remembered for sitting on his hands doing nothing about global warming for his first four years while the frog boiled. Hence pretty words about dong something about it.
    So what’s it gonna be? Anyone want to hazard a guess?

  • hollywoodstein

    This cake was baked from the beginning. Big Pharma, Insurance, and the Health Industry were scared bejeebus of HillaryCare 2.0 so they put up Obama to run and got lucky. Remember getting your chain jerked about a public option? I thought ya could.
    Not surprised torture got flushed down the memory hole, efficiently, though disappointed at the lack of public interest. 100s of people died from abuse in US custody and nobody cares. But then hundreds of civilians are getting killed in drone strikes and night time raids, and nobody cares. I think I even heard a pundit say on the teevee that he didn’t want to know as long as they were keeping him safe. Home of the brave.
    The lack of prosecutions of Wall Street puzzled me so years ago I did some amateur citizen journamalism and a guy I met in a chat room ( yeah, I know) pointed me to Lanny Breuer as the apparatchik bag man. Interesting to document his Covington Burling LLP client work and revolving door government service and consistent role deferring prosecutions of egregious corporare conduct, and at most seeking resolutions as the cost of doing business. A guy I met in a bar, ( yeah, I know ), described some other players and then pointed out that Lanny’s BFF is Eric Holder. Oh, Jesus Christ, right out in the open. I never quite got to the depth of the Holder Obama connection, but they could not have served the power structure better if they conspired to. I really thought this oughta get out to a wide audience so when I was contacted by a man writing an expose book on the subject I turned over my notes and waited for the book. I’m still waiting.

    Internally, one of the rationales is that they needed the banks for a recovery that would benefit the American people, and prosecutions would gum up the works. Breuer said as much in his Frontline interview. I was told line this over a bottle of Cab at a table at a fundraiser. There was a pregnant pause, then a burst of laughter. Breuer resigned quickly, perhaps too quickly ( “he already was planning to leave”), because they don’t want anyone digging into this shitpile.
    Breuer is Holder’s guy. Holder is Obama’s guy. Obama is not your guy.

  • Slideguy

    Eric Holder is a white shoe lawyer who will leave public office and go back to representing the swells that he should be prosecuting. And he’s not about to make himself unwelcome. He’s just another example of the dangers of the revolving door between the regulators and the regulated.

  • htfd

    Connect the dots; Breuer….Holder….Obama. Almost word for word word the same statements at one time or another came out of all three mouths (I sure it’s all on YouTube). All three are attorneys, all three were trusted to know the laws and to be speaking the truth regarding the situation and to follow the law. Well as it turns out, maybe not.

  • EdA

    While President Obama HAS done some very positive things, when it comes to contempt for the rule of law, we have the 4th term of George W. Bush. There is no excuse for having given de facto amnesty to any of the banksters who crashed our economy, let alone all of them. There is no REAL excuse for not having prosecuted the out-and-out criminals of the Bush-Cheney regime — ANY of them, let alone actively trying to keep Scott Bloch from going to jail for contempt of Congress — imagine, the head of W’s Office of Special Counsel, established to protect whistleblowers, claiming that he didn’t understand the law! There is no reason why Don Siegelman should remain a political prisoner courtesy of Karl Rove. And so on, and so on, and so on.

  • GaiusPublius

    Yep, agree. I’m just promoting the conversation, doing what I can to wake up those who snooze about Holder (and Obama). About the drug and money-laundering scandal, I’ve covered it here:

    http://americablog.com/2012/12/dept-of-justice-hsbc-say-bite-me.html

    Also linked in the article. Thanks for your clear-sightedness, bushtheidiot.

    GP

  • Indigo

    Yes . . . And that’s one more piece of the terrible burden of this Empire we have on our hands that is not going away. My crystal ball, though fractured, sees a growing beauracracy and enough public corruption to fill seven more volumes of Les Miserables. Check back in 2020. It’s only seven years away but we’ll have hardened our souls by then and decided to live with it. There is no savior on the horizon.

  • Ford Prefect

    Resignation? At this point, we should be demanding Indictment, Arrest and Imprisonment on corruption charges. The whole lot of them.

    It’s just good for them Americans are so completely tolerant of corruption. Back in 2006, when Pelosi was talking about the “GOP culture of corruption,” she wasn’t being critical… she and the rest of the party was being envious, apparently.

  • nicho

    Amen.

  • Hue-Man

    I made the same point when the new SEC Chief was announced. Holder’s failure to pursue American war criminals was reinforced again this week with American hypocrisy on Sri Lankan war crimes. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20130129/us-us-sri-lanka/?utm_hp_ref=green&ir=green

  • bushtheidiot

    This is a little naive, GP. If one of the biggest banks in the world can serve as the largest money launderer for the biggest, most violent drug gangs in the history of the world (and get away without a single person going to jail while the peasants are forced into prison for minor drug crimes), then Shirley you can’t be serious about prosecutions on Wall Street.

    The Justice Department has aided and abetted white collar gangsters during its entire existence. And by the way, if the responsibility really starts at the top, then why not ask Obama to resign for infiltrating his entire administration and fiscal policy with Wall Street thugs that plundered the value of all our homes for their yacht club vacations?

    The implications are beyond control given the level of infection that we face from the cancer of corruption.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Holder should have resigned long ago. His is the office that submitted the DOMA-defending court briefs that equated same-sex marriage with incest and other sex crimes. And ought to have been in the forefront of torture investigations and prosecutions. And ought to have been going after the crimes revealed by whistleblowers, rather than constantly prosecuting the whistleblowers themselves.

  • Naja pallida

    He shouldn’t be thinking about resigning, he should have already been fired for not doing his job.

  • Max_1

    Under Obama, being a criminal banker has its rewards…

  • Phil Perspective

    Ask yourself, if Aaron Swartz had been Mark Zuckerberg, would he have been prosecuted?

    No!! For starters, I hope people know that the CIA is invested in FB. Yes, the CIA runs a hedge fund. Of course that doesn’t include FB giving the CIA, and other law enforcement, backdoor access to the information FB collects.

  • nicho

    I settled for Holder just thinking, instead of just following the instructions on the faxes he gets from Wall Street.

  • caphillprof

    I wonder if Lanny Breuer had been given a vacation in Guantanamo whether he would have come up with a prosecution or turned states evidence against Holder?

    I don’t quibble with the law for the rich and another law for the rest. However, there is a longer list of divides: one law for Occupy Wall Street and another law for The Tea Party; one law for progressives with guns and another law for right-wing gun nuts; one law for Republicans and another law for Democrats.

    This is what our “legal system” hath wrought.

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