By: John Fund and Hans von Spakovsky
In our new book, “Obama’s Enforcer: Eric Holder’s Justice Department,” we provide the first investigative look at the Justice Department under the tenure of Attorney General Eric Holder. Holder is at the center of a growing list of scandals and congressional investigations, and is the first attorney general in history to be held in contempt for refusing to turn over information to Congress about Operation Fast & Furious. That is probably the most reckless law enforcement operation ever conducted by the Justice Department and led directly to the death of an American border patrol agent and hundreds of Mexican citizens.
In the middle of the recent revelations about the destruction of two years of emails of Lois Lerner and six other key IRS employees, notice what was not reported – any involvement by the FBI and the Justice Department in trying to obtain those records or trying to reconstruct the supposedly destroyed files. Yet Eric Holder announced that he had supposedly opened a criminal investigation in May of 2013 that was put under the charge of an Obama campaign donor and he is has resisted all calls to appoint a special counsel to investigate IRS wrongdoing. A year after the investigation had been “opened,” neither the FBI nor the Justice Department had yet spoken to the victims of the IRS targeting.
This is just another example of how Holder has completely politicized the enforcement process at the Justice Department. In fact, one DOJ veteran who was hired during the Clinton administration told us that Holder is the worst attorney general since John Mitchell under Richard Nixon, when most Justice Department observers believe the Department reached its nadir.
An unprecedented contempt for the rule of law pervades today’s Justice Department. Attorney General Eric Holder considers himself a member of President Obama’s political team first, and attorney general a distant second. Unlike past attorney generals who have upheld the highest ethical and professional standards, and have understood that their first duty is to the Constitution and the rule of law, Holder has demonstrated that he is driven by progressive ideology and loyalty to Barack Obama, not the interests of fair and impartial justice.
We have covered the Justice Department since the start of the Obama administration. But even we were shocked by the behavior of the Department we uncovered, including numerous accusations of prosecutorial abuse by federal judges. This included Justice Department employees posting anonymous blogs attacking defendants and their lawyers in a DOJ prosecution, as well as the intimidation and bullying of employees perceived as conservatives.
We catalogue everything from how Holder got to the Justice Department to his transformation of DOJ into a stronghold of progressive legal activism. This includes abusing federal environmental laws to pursue frivolous lawsuits like the unjustified prosecution of Gibson Guitar and the settlement of the second Pigford claim against the Department of Agriculture, which an employee of the Department called the biggest scam perpetrated on American taxpayers in our history.
Holder has selectively prosecuted national security leaks, going after low-level employees and reporters while studiously ignoring leaks of classified information coming out of the White House obviously intended to make President Obama look tough on terrorism and help his election prospects. Holder has exhibited a contemptuous attitude towards the oversight responsibilities of Congress, refusing to turn over information and documents and misleading and lying to Congress on numerous occasions.
In the area of civil rights, Holder has attacked the exercise of religious freedom, abused federal law to restrict the free speech of pro-life activists, gone after school districts for having dress codes that don’t allow boys to come to class in drag or for implementing voucher programs to help poor students get out of bad schools, and waged a war on election integrity. A current employee of the Department told us that Holder has “racialized and radicalized” the Civil Rights Division “to the point of corruption.” As in other areas of Justice, he has “embedded politically leftist extremists in the career ranks who have an agenda that does not comport with equal protection or the rule of law; who believe that the ends justify the means; and who behavior unprofessionally and unethically.”
It has been Eric Holder who has advised and counseled the president on how to ignore, twist, break, and change the law, ignoring the constitutional requirements that devolve on both the president and the attorney general. In essence, Eric Holder has acted as Obama’s enforcer and his heat shield, protecting the president’ flank on numerous occasions and pushing his dream of transforming America into a progressive utopia .
John Fund is the national affairs correspondent at National Review Online and Hans A. von Spakovsky is a former Justice Department official and contributor at National Review Online. This is excerpted from their recently released book “Obama’s Enforcer: Eric Holder’s Justice Department” (HarperCollins/Broadside 2014).