Heartland Institute Reacts to Resignation of Attorney General Eric Holder

Eric Holder, who has served as U.S. Attorney General for the entire Obama presidency, publicly announced today he is stepping down.

The following statements from experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Director of Communications Jim Lakely at [email protected] and 312/377-4000 or (cell) 312/731-9364.

“This is the single best piece of news for those favoring a nation based on laws, and not men (or women), I have heard in several years.”

Richard Vedder
Professor of Economics
Ohio University
Policy Advisor, Economics
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

“Mr. Holder is leaving the office, but he cannot so easily leave the controversies that have surrounded his tenure, including:

  • the scandal surrounding the IRS, the missing emails, and his role in investigating the scandal;
  • the ‘Fast and Furious’ scandal, which made him the first cabinet member in U.S. history that Congress held in contempt;
  • his decision to avoid prosecution of the New Black Panther Party for voter intimidation, after the Department of Justice successfully secured an injunction;
  • and the unprecedented decision, which Holder personally approved, to subpoena, monitor, and issue a search warrant involving James Rosen, a Fox News reporter.

Holder will leave the office but is unlikely to leave the national stage because these controversies remain.

Ronald D. Rotunda
The Doy & Dee Henley Chair and Distinguished Professor of Jurisprudence
Chapman University
[email protected]

“The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons first got to know Eric Holder when he represented the government in our lawsuit about the illegal operations of the Clinton Task Force on Health Care Reform. The pattern then was stonewalling and obfuscation. Even when task force members finally turned over some documents on court order, many of the floppy disks were blank. Holder declined to prosecute Ira Magaziner, head of the Task Force Working Group, for perjury.

“In 1997, Judge Royce Lambert of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals wrote: ‘For more than three years, the administration and Department of Justice claimed that task force working groups consisted entirely of full-time government employees. Subsequent release of task force documents proved that claim to be false. Judge Lamberth found that the Executive Branch and its attorneys knew that claim to be false but did nothing to correct the record, thereby prolonging litigation.

“‘It seems that some government officials never learn that the cover-up can be worse than the underlying conduct,’ Judge Lamberth added. ‘Most shocking to this court, and deeply disappointing, is that the Department of Justice would participate in such conduct. … [T]his type of conduct is reprehensible, and the government must be held accountable for it.’

“Judge Lamberth squarely placed the blame on the White House and its lawyers: ‘It is clear that the decisions here were made at the highest levels of government. The court agrees with plaintiffs that these were not reckless and inept errors taken by bewildered counsel. The executive branch of the government, working in tandem, was dishonest with this court.’

“The pattern has only worsened with Holder as the highest law enforcement officer in the land. Who will ever hold him, and the White House, accountable?”

Jane M. Orient, M.D.
Executive Director
Association of American Physicians and Surgeons
[email protected]

“Eric Holder’s resignation represents an opportunity for the president to appoint an attorney general willing to end what some have seen as a witch-hunt against American banks. Under Holder, the Department of Justice shook down Bank of America for billions of dollars, as punishment for the bank’s alleged crime of complying with the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) of 1977 and lending money to individuals unable to repay. The CRA mandated that banks must make bad loans, the banks complied with the bad policy, but the bank is not at fault for the results of that bad policy.

“Hopefully, whoever replaces Holder as ‘top cop’ will understand how causality works and end the practice of shaking down the finance industry as punishment for following Washington, D.C.’s orders.”

Jesse Hathaway
Managing Editor
Budget & Tax News
Research Fellow
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

The Heartland Institute is a 30-year-old national nonprofit organization headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.