Eric Holder served as Attorney General of the United States from 2009 until earlier this year. Depending on whom you ask, his leadership of the Justice Department has been either great or terrible.
Sticking to the facts, he is the first African American to serve as Attorney General. He also previously served as a U.S. Attorney and Superior Court judge. While U.S. Attorney, he prosecuted Democratic Congressman Dan Rostenkowski on corruption charges.
His tenure as Attorney General also saw several record years for prosecution of whistleblower cases against big banks. That prosecution record includes the $25 billion national mortgage settlement and last year’s record $16.65 billion case against Bank of America, a case that was brought in part by some of our clients.
His detractors say that he is the first sitting Attorney General to be held in contempt of Congress (although the vote was along party lines). Others complain that no senior bank official was ever prosecuted during Holder’s 6 year watch.
It is the latter statistic that causes us some concern. During the savings and loan crisis, dozens of bank officials were prosecuted. The 2007 financial crisis saw little in the way of criminal prosecutions.
History will tell whether Holder’s decision to use civil sanctions instead of criminal prosecutions was correct.
Further clouding Holder’s legacy is his return to his old law firm of Covington & Burling. Eric Holder worked at the Covington firm from 2001 until his nomination as Attorney General. According to published reports, the Covington firm’s client list has included Bank of America, Wells Fargo, MERS, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup. Many would call those institutions the who’s who of the financial crisis.
We all have strong opinions as to who caused the financial meltdown. That Holder’s new / old law firm represented many of these institutions doesn’t mean he was in anyway biased during his tenure as Attorney General. It certainly raises some eyebrows, however, and perpetuates the public’s perception of revolving door between Wall Street and the federal government.
Obviously, our view is biased. As whistleblower lawyers, never have we seen such a high level of enthusiasm from the Justice Department. The Bank of America case was historic and it was the largest civil recovery against a single defendant in history.
While we would have loved to see several bank CEO’s doing the perp walk on the 6:00 o’clock news, we don’t see Holder as being biased towards Bank of America or any other lender. Others certainly do and his return to Covington & Burling will have folks talking for many more years.
What ever happens to Eric Holder and other top government officials, our mission is unchanged. We represent whistleblowers in cases against Bank of America and other financial institutions. We also represent businesses and individuals with claims against banks.
All inquiries are protected by the attorney – client privilege and kept strictly confidential.
MahanyLaw – America’s Fraud Recovery and Whistleblower Lawyers