Lurita Doan

Eric Holder’s incompetent team of legal minds has botched things up again.

Roger Clemens is in a fight for his life, and his enemies are fierce, partisan and patently unfair. His alleged crime—making false statements to Henry Waxman in a congressional hearing-- has cost the American taxpayer tens of millions of dollars, all because in 2008, during an election year, Henry Waxman needed a high profile hearing to showboat, to garner as much publicity as possible, to allow him to bang his gavel, to feel superior, to peacock around. Waxman could have decided to focus legitimate attention on the use of steroids in baseball, but instead chose to focus the government’s attention to vilify, disparage and ruin the reputation of one man, Roger Clemens.

But then, as now, Henry Waxman is not a man interested in fairness. He’s not very much interested in the more demanding and difficult task of how our government should direct its attention, taxpayer resources and effort. No chance of that. (Remember the over 1500 pages of Waxman’s energy cap and tax bill, costing taxpayers trillions of dollars, which he admitted he hadn’t ever read?) Instead, Mr. Waxman decided to harness the full power of the government and direct it at ruining one person, Roger Clemens.

Back in 2008, I knew that Roger Clemens was going to face trouble when he wore a suit to his congressional hearing. Clemens is a working man, and he should have worn his work clothes (i.e. his baseball uniform) to the hearing. (Some might argue that Clemens should have worn a Red Sox uniform; others that a Houston Astros‘ uniform would have been more appropriate, and others that only a Yankees’ jersey would suffice). When Waxman repeatedly started to bang the gavel and to posture, Clemens would have been better served, perhaps, had he pulled out a baseball, signed it and thrown one at Waxman’s head.

Back in 2008, Waxman wanted theatre—Waxman would have gotten theatre, and that might have been an end to it.

After all, the goal of a Waxman congressional oversight hearing has been to use the full power of the government to attack high profile individuals, such as Clemens, to wreck him financially and to destroy his reputation. All done on the taxpayer dollar.

Are we, as a country comfortable with that?

Consider the cost to the American taxpayer of Waxman’s antics. Clemens’ hearing, quite likely, involved tens of thousands of pages of discovery items: lengthy multiple hour-long depositions, medical files, legal reviews and the thousands of pages of testimony from previous players during previous hearings, commissioner of baseball statements, functional area expert witness testimonies and opinion pieces, as well as that of various coaches, doctors, trainers from major league baseball. That kind of review and preparation work would take thousands of man hours and a few million dollars of taxpayer money.

Then, there were the government’s legal briefs that had to be developed and the legal review to determine whether to refer the case to the Department of Justice for criminal/legal activity. Several thousand of man hours would have been expended in that endeavor, also a few million dollars of taxpayer money for legal assistance, depositions, photocopying, filing, document production and conference calls.

Then followed the actual court case put forth by the Department of Justice, led, after three years of research, by Eric Holder’s crack team of attorneys, involving even more thousands of man hours, all at taxpayer expense, to conduct depositions, discovery and develop the legal arguments that resulted, after 36 months of effort, in a mistrial, when a jury refused to convict Roger Clemens.

But remember, Waxman is a small and petty man, and he must have his trophy. So what happens? Once again at taxpayer expense, Eric Holder is persuaded to retry the Roger Clemens case 8 months later, with the addition of one new witness. Only, guess what? It turns out that the witness for the prosecution is only 50% sure he heard what the Justice Department wants him to swear that he heard.

If this were the first time the Holder team performed incompetently, Holder might be excused. But, these kinds of missteps seem to be standard operating procedure for the Holder legal team, who seem to serve as pawns for powerful Democrat members of congress with political axes to grind and who find it all so easy to use the power of government to punish people they do not like. And now Americans learn that once again, at enormous taxpayer expense, Eric Holder wants to charge Americans for a do-over because of the government’s incompetence and crank up another prosecution of Roger Clemens.

Are we, as a country, really comfortable with that?

I am no expert on the uses of steroids in baseball. (Full Disclosure: I, however, am a dedicated and unabashed baseball fan). But, determining whether or not Clemens did or did not use steroids seems better suited to the purview of the Commissioner of Baseball, and should be his duty to police and his duty to penalize, rather than tasking and taxing the American taxpayer and our legal system at a time when our nation is drowning under a tsunami of debt.

But, Eric Holder and his cracked team at DOJ are reluctant to turn their powers onto more legitimate, though perhaps less publicized efforts. What Americans are seeing here is the worst of the oversight world, where prosecutors desire high profile cases that elevate them to “star” status rather than doing the hard work of ensuring that right and justice are done.

Eric Holder stated the standard when justifying the Department of Justice’s efforts and expenditures of millions of dollars: “one has to view these cases in their totality…it’s about testifying falsely before congress. On that basis, it was a justified use of our resources to bring the case.”

Attorney General Holder and the Obama Justice Department have determined that the show must go on, and any taxpayer expenditures that are needed to further ruin a high profile foe such as Roger Clemens must be spent. At the same time, of course, Eric Holder is quite reluctant to apply a similar standard to others, and especially towards him. After all, Eric Holder has ducked, dodged, prevaricated, and misled Congress in regards to the Fast and Furious Case.

Perhaps it is time for the Department of Justice to bring criminal charges against Eric Holder.

After all, we just want to be fair.


Lurita Doan

Lurita Alexis Doan is an African American conservative commentator who writes about issues affecting the federal government.