Multiple Choice Question: Which Washington, DC, law firm did Eric Holder just recently join:
A. The same one where he was a partner for 8 years before becoming Attorney General.
B. A law firm that represents all of the nation’s biggest banks.
C. The law firm that kept a corner office empty and waiting for him while he served as AG.
D. The law firm where 5 of his former deputies at Department of Justice landed before him?
E. All of the above.
If you’re unsure, check out David Dayen’s post at Salon: Why Eric Holder’s new job in an insult to the American public. Actually, check out Dayen’s post anyhow. I loved Dayen’s summation:
Whether inside or outside government, Holder remained the same cautious corporate lawyer, determined not to mess up future employment opportunities. As Deputy Attorney General under Bill Clinton in 1999, he wrote the infamous “collateral consequences” memo, arguing that prosecutors should take what might happen to ordinary workers into account when they decide to charge large corporations (of course, that doesn’t explain why DoJ doesn’t charge corporate officers). Then he went to work for corporations who used that memo as a shield. Then he rotated back to DoJ, where his actions on financial fraud spawned the phrase “too big to jail.” Now he’s back to aiding corporate executives on the other side of the negotiating table.
Corporate law firms love to hire people with personal knowledge of the rules and how to get around them, and relationships with those who remain inside government. A plum white-collar defense position is a final payback to regulators and law enforcement officials who don’t get too out of line and keep the tender fannies of corporate titans out of prison. As long as they play ball and prove their future worth, they can cash in. I’d wish Eric Holder good luck, but I’m pretty sure he doesn’t need it.
So, after eight years of supposedly pursuing legal action against the country’s largest banks, Eric Holder will have an equity interest in a firm that is paid millions in fees by those banks. And it barely even makes the news.