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Tag: Attorney General

Column: Republican Campaign Against Atty. Gen. Holder Ends Up Being Just Another Exercise in Partisan Politics

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Partisan politics inside the Beltway has been around forever. That’s a given. Unfortunately, these days it has reached such ridiculous heights.

That being said, if the Republicans had been serious at all about pressuring Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. to resign, they would have been a little smarter and tried to get some Democrats on board.

Allan Lengel

Instead, it ends up looking like another Republican opportunity to bash the Obama administration and its Justice Department.

So far, more than 60 members of Congress, along with two presidential hopefuls,  have called for Holder to resign. Not one is a Democrat.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying the Republicans’ campaign is even legitimate. Sure, Eric Holder should take some blame for the disastrous Operation Fast and Furious, but I don’t think there’s any evidence so far that he intentionally misled Congress as some are saying.  Simply put: Having no Dems on their side hurts the cause.

In the end, the attack-Holder campaign by the Republicans ends up being just another ugly exercise in partisan politics.

 

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Fed Up

 

Eric Holder Jr./ticklethewire.com file photo

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Eric Holder has had enough.

Holder told a reporter from the Daily Caller , a conservative news website, to stop egging congressional Republicans on to call for his resignation, reports Talking Points Memo.

“You guys need to… you guys need to stop this,” TPM reports hearing Holder tell the reporter, who approached Holder after a White House event of an unrelated nature involving counterfeit goods. “There’s not an organic thing happening, you guys are behind this.”

The conservative news site has been calling Capitol Hill offices, asking Republicans if Holder should resign over ATF’s botched Fast and Furious operation, TPM reported. While there appears to be  no evidence to date that shows Holder knew about the plan, a steady rank of Republicans have grown from four to 50 calling for Holder’s resignation.

To read more click here.

Atty. Gen. Holder Packs Up the Toothbrush This Week


file photo/doj

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It’s a pack-your-toothbrush kind of week for Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr., who plans to travel to the Dominican Republic, Barbados, Port of Spain and Trinidad and Tobago to meet with local leaders and law enforcement counterparts and to attend the Organization of American States Conference.

In the Dominican Republic, Holder is expected to sign an agreement at the Dominican Prosecutor General’s office with Dominican Prosecutor General Radhaméz Jiménez Peña to share forfeited assets, the Justice Department said.

Holder also plans to participate in a ministerial conference on combating crime and on cooperation with Dominican President Leonel Fernández at the Presidential Palace.

He returns to Washington on Friday.

 

 

Rep. Issa Presses Atty. Gen. Holder Over Shooting of ICE Agent in Mexico


Jamie Zapata/ticklethewire.com photo of ICE video at IACP

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Two Congressional members are pressing Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr. for more information relating to the shooting death of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent Jaimes Zapata, who was gunned down in Mexico in February by a drug cartel known as Los Zetas. Another agent was wounded in the incident.

In a letter to Holder dated Oct. 25, Rep. Darrell Issa and Sen. Charles Grassley complained that they tried to get answers but failed.

“On October 11, your Department (DOJ) sent Senator Grassley a letter regarding murdered Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agent Jaime Zapata,” the letter stated.”Not only was the response more than six months late, it completely failed to answer the key questions.”

In March of this year, ATF announced that Mexican authorities had recovered three guns used in the ICE agent’s slaying — one of which was tied to suspected gun trafficker Otilio Osorio. He and his brother Ranferi Osorio, 27, were arrested in March at their home in Lancaster, Tex. on charges of possessing firearms with obliterated serial numbers

Authorities alleged that Osorio purchased the firearm used in the ICE agent’s slaying last Oct. 10 in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. ATF said ballistic testing conducted by Mexican authorities linked the weapon to Zapata’s death. In a separate criminal complaint, authorities arrested Kelvin Leon Morrison, 25, who lived next door to the Osorio brothers, on charges of knowingly making false statements in connection with the acquisition of firearms and dealing in firearms without a license.

The letter to Holder, the Issa and Grassley went on to say: “In a March 1, 2011, press release, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) stated it was unaware of Otilio Osorio’s purchase on October 10, 2010, of the weapon used to murder Agent Zapata.’

“According to ATF documents, however, the agency had reason to believe as early as September 17, 2010, that Otilio’s brother and co-habitant Ranferi Osorio and their next-door neighbor Kelvin Morrison were straw purchasers. Yet the ATF apparently made no effort to contact Ranferi Osorio or Kelvin Morrison and inquire about how their weapons came to be trafficked to Mexico within 2 weeks of their purchase.”

The letter went on to say that ATF could have arrested the Osorio brothers and Kelvin Morrison during a staged operation on November 9, 2010, but did not. The letter asks Holder what and when the Justice Department knew of these gun runners.

 

Column: Atty. Gen. Holder Need to Step and Take Responsibility for ATF’s Fast and Furious

Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. is an honorable man.

So I believe him when he tells Congress he didn’t know about ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious until the controversy exploded in 2011.

The problem is that he needs to take responsibility for it. Period. He’s the top dog. People in his organization had some inkling last year that they might be sitting on a political stink bomb. They should have given him a heads up. They need to take responsibility as well.

It’s like the household where the kids hide matches in the house and play with them all the time, and one day burn down their neighbor’s garage. Yes, the parents can tell the neighbor “sorry”, but they also have to take some responsibility even if they had no clue the kids were always playing with matches.

CBS News recently reported that “two Justice Department officials mulled it over in an email exchange Oct. 18, 2010.”

“It’s a tricky case given the number of guns that have walked but is a significant set of prosecutions,” said Jason Weinstein, Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division. Deputy Chief of the National Gang Unit James Trusty replied “I’m not sure how much grief we get for ‘guns walking.’ It may be more like, ‘Finally they’re going after people who sent guns down there.'”

That sounds to me like someone in the Justice Department figured out the department was playing with matches by carrying out a program that encouraged Arizona gun dealers to sell to middlemen, all with the hopes of tracing the weapons to the Mexican cartels. Yes, they contemplated that someone could get burned.

We need to clean up this mess sooner than later. One helpful step along the way would be for Holder to say something to the effect: “Sure I didn’t know about Fast and Furious until the controversy erupted, but I take full responsibility and I want to find out why I wasn’t apprised of something so significant that endangered lives and had international implications.”

p.s. Atty. Gen. Holder, feel free to use that quote.

 

Ex-Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales to Join New Law School in Nashville

Alberto Gonzales/Fox 34

  
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Alberto R. Gonzales, who became a controversial figure as Attorney General during the Bush administration, will become a professor at the newly created Belmont University College of Law in Nashville, Tenn.

The university announced in a press release that Gonzales will fill the endowed position as the Doyle Rogers Distinguished Chair of Law on Jan. 2. The law school opened its doors in September.

Gonzales is currently  a Visiting Professor and minority/veteran recruitment consultant at Texas Tech University.

“The insight and experience Alberto Gonzales acquired while serving as the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, Counsel to the President, Justice on the Supreme Court of Texas and Texas Secretary of State will be immeasurable resources for our students and faculty,” Belmont’s Law School Dean Jeff Kinsler said in a statement. “Since leaving public office, these qualities have helped Judge Gonzales develop into an outstanding professor. We are incredibly fortunate that he has decided to join our charter faculty, and we are extremely grateful for the support provided by Doyle and Barbara Rogers.”

Gonzales was nominated by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the Senate as the 80th Attorney General on Feb. 3, 2005. He served in that post until September of 2007.

“I am honored to be named as the Doyle Rogers Distinguished Chair of Law, created in honor of an outstanding lawyer and extraordinary human being,” Gonzales said in a statement. ” I welcome the opportunity to be associated with the Belmont College of Law, and I look forward to working with an outstanding charter faculty to develop tomorrow’s leaders in the bar, the Nashville community and beyond.”

 

NJ Feds and State Atty. Gen. Publicly Fight Over Taking Credit in Health Fraud Settlement


NJ Atty. Gen. Paula Dow

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It’s not unusual for law enforcement agencies to clash behind close doors. It just happens sometimes.

But it is unusual when they start to spat in a very public way the way the New Jersey U.S. Attorney’s Office and the state Attorney General’s Office did.

The Newark Star-Ledger reports that each claimed credit Monday for a national, $150 million health care fraud settlement.

The paper reported that Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Gilmore Childers first publicly said in a statement to reporters that the state “played a limited administrative role in this case.”

“It is troubling and disappointing that they would take credit for years of tireless work done by federal agents and prosecutors,” Childers said, “particularly concerning an issue so important to the people of New Jersey.”

An hour later, the paper reported,  Attorney General Paula Dow publicly said the feds account was a “mischaracterization.”

She said he was “downplaying the role of the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office in leading 41 states to participate in this important national healthcare fraud case.”

The feds then fired back, according to the Star-Ledger.

“While pretending to be disinterested in who gets credit, the AG’s office has continued to make claims about its role that are not true,” a spokeswoman, Rebekah Carmichael, said in a statement.

 

FBI Agent Indicted in Suburban D.C. in Drunk Driving Death

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Here’s a story that has no good ending.

An FBI agent as been has been indicted by a D.C. suburban county grand jury in connection with a fatal drunk driving crash that killed an 18-year-old on Feb. 7 in Brandywine, Md.,  the Washington Examiner reported.

Washington Examiner reporter Emily Babay reported that a Prince George’s County grand jury returned a nine-count indictment against agent Adrian Johnson, 37, who was dismissed after the incident.

The paper reported that the charges include motor vehicle manslaughter, homicide by motor vehicle, driving under the influence and reckless driving.

Authorities allege that Johnson was drunk and speeding in his personal vehicle, a 2002 Mitsubishi Montero,  when he drove into oncoming traffic and  crashed into 18-year-old Lawrence Garner Jr.’s Hyundai Sonata, according to the Examiner. A passenger in Garner’s car was critically injured, but survived.

Johnson had been with the agency for six years and was preparing for an assignment of protecting the FBI director or U.S. attorney general, the paper reported.