President-elect Barack Obama’s nominee for attorney general, Eric H. Holder Jr., was viewed as a shoe-in for confirmation. Now, however, the GOP is closing in on Holder’s alleged role in three controversial nominations and have asked to delay the hearings. In the meantime, a grand jury is now looking into a donor of Bill Richardson, who has been nominated for Commerce Secretary.
At least eight Republican senators want a delay, including Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee.
Holder played a key role in one of most controversial one of the 177 pardons and commutations that President Clinton issued on his last day in office in January 2001 — that of fugitive financier Marc Rich. Rich’s ex-wife and supporter donated millions to Clinton’s campaigns, his library and other Democratic recipients. Frankly, I have never met anyone who could come up with a reason why Rich merited serious review, let alone a pardon from Clinton.
This is probably not enough to sink Holder, but it is part of Clinton’s lasting legacy of pardon abuses, including the outrageous act of giving his own brother a pardon. I consider the Roger Clinton pardon to be one of the greatest abuses in the history of presidential pardons. Rich, however, is not far behind. The problem for the democrats is that no one can defend Clinton’s pardon on the merits (which are nonexistent).