History of Eric Holder

Too big to Jail

Note: I am in the process of doing a book on the Obama Presidency, without the rose-colored glasses and without paying attention to his professional demeanor. For subscribers, I will be dropping excerpts here and there and I would love to hear your comments about it.

During the October 2016, Wikileaks data dump, many were expecting revelations of backroom dealings and corruption from the Clinton campaign.  However, the worst reveal was about President Barack Obama.  In August, 2008, while then Senator Obama was in the middle of a heated election, Michael Froman, a Citi-group executive sent an email to John Podesta where Michael set a timetable to “vet” Obama’s Cabinet.  The follow-up emails show that Michael Froman’s role was more similar to a head-hunter in charge of hiring than someone who merely vetted Obama’s recommendations.   Around late August, Michael Froman sent a spreadsheet entitled “vetting.xls.” One of the first names was a certain Eric Holder.

Eric Holder, the deputy attorney general under Bill Clinton, was holding a position in a prestigious law firm Covington & Burling.  During his 8-year tenure at the law firm, the firm had represented the four of America's largest U.S. banks - Bank of America, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo & Co - as well as at least one other bank that is among the 10 largest mortgage services.

More curiously, in 1999, when Eric Holder was the Deputy Attorney General, authored a memo, offering guidelines for prosecuting corporations for their crimes.  In the memo, Eric Holder discussed the issue of "Collateral Consequences" where he states, 

One of the factors in determining whether to charge a natural person or a corporation is whether the likely punishment is appropriate given the nature and seriousness of the crime. In the corporate context, prosecutors may take into account the possibly substantial consequences to a corporation’s officers, directors, employees, and shareholders,

Of course, no other criminal or criminal enterprise receives the same consideration in regards to collateral damage. The DOJ frequently imprisons single parents for low-level drug offenses without thinking about the collateral damage.  More curiously, in 2002, when the the Department of Justice prosecuted Arthur Andersen covering up Enron’s fraud, Arthur Anderson wielded Holder's argument and threatened the DOJ for“using their employees as human shields.”

Between 2007 and 2009, Citigroup would become the largest recipient of the bailout, totaling $476.2 billion in cash and guarantees. More importantly, there were zero prosecutions or even investigations, regardless of their egregious conduct.


In the end, Citigroup seemed to have selected the man who they knew believed they were too big to jail.