I don’t know who the next U.S. attorney general will be. But I know I pity that person. Restoring the Justice Department’s reputation in the wake of Eric Holder’s tenure will take a lot of work.
You can find out just how big a task it will be in “Obama’s Enforcer: Eric Holder’s Justice Department,” a new book by John Fund and Hans von Spakovsky. Even at a relatively slim 217 pages, it’s quite a bill of indictment.
It’s one thing to read about certain cases as they pop up in the news cycle -- an article about a civil-rights investigation here, a blog post about Operation Fast and Furious there. It’s another to assemble them in one place and get the big picture in one sitting.
Holder is the first attorney general in U.S. history to be held in contempt of Congress. Considering his behavior toward the legislative branch, it’s not surprising. He stonewalled, for example, when the Senate Judiciary Committee questioned him about the scandal that erupted when it was revealed that the IRS was targeting conservative organizations.
Or take the testimony he gave the House Judiciary Committee when asked about prosecuting the press over publishing classified material. Holder swore that he had never been involved in that or even thought about doing so.
Yet the committee subsequently learned that Holder had approved a search warrant for Fox News reporter James Rosen’s emails by “swearing to a federal court that Mr. Rosen was a co-conspirator in a national security leak investigation.”
How did Holder explain this gap between his answer and the truth when the committee asked about it? He didn’t. He refused to answer.
Then there’s the deplorable way the Civil Rights Division has been run under Holder and Thomas Perez, an assistant attorney general from 2009 to 2013.
In their chaper “The (Un)Civil Rights Division,” Fund and von Spakovsky detail numerous instances in which Holder and Perez “pursued a militant civil rights agenda intended to help Democrats win elections and implement …. a socialized America where racial, ethnic, and sexual quotas are required in everything from college admissions to public employment to school discipline.”
But Holder will probably be best known for overseeing Operation Fast and Furious, which put more than 2,000 guns into the hands of a Mexican drug cartel and led to the deaths of hundreds of Mexican citizens and a U.S. Border Patrol agent. When federal lawmakers began investigating, Holder again opted not to cooperate, but to cover up.