Ah, the Chicago way.
So: Governor Blago appoints Obama AG nominee Eric Holder to investigate corruption. Holder receives $300,000 for his legal services. Corruption probe finds no wrongdoing.
Before Eric Holder was President-elect Barack Obama’s choice to be attorney general, he was Gov. Blagojevich’s pick to sort out a mess involving Illinois’ long-dormant casino license.
Blagojevich and Holder appeared together at a March 24, 2004, news conference to announce Holder’s role as “special investigator to the Illinois Gaming Board” — a post that was to pay Holder and his Washington, D.C. law firm up to $300,000.
Holder, however, omitted that event from his 47-page response to a Senate Judiciary Committee questionnaire made public this week — an oversight he plans to correct after a Chicago Sun-Times inquiry, Obama’s transition team indicated late Tuesday.
“Eric Holder has given hundreds of press interviews,” Obama transition spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter said in a statement. “He did his best to report them all to the committee, but as he noted in the questionnaire itself, some were undoubtedly missed in the effort to reconstruct a list of them.”
Holder signed the questionnaire on Sunday — five days after Blagojevich’s arrest for allegedly putting Obama’s U.S. Senate seat up for sale. The Judiciary Committee asked him to provide lists and “copies of transcripts or tape recordings of all speeches or talks delivered by you” and “all interviews you have given to newspapers, magazines or other publications.”
The March 2004 Chicago news conference where Holder and Blagojevich spoke was widely covered because of a controversial 4-1 Gaming Board vote earlier that month to allow a casino to be built in Rosemont. That vote defied the recommendation of the board’s staff, which had raised concerns about alleged organized-crime links to the Rosemont casino’s developer.
A real stickler with unfailing attention to detail and unassailable ethics, that Eric Holder is, isn’t he?
Flashback to 2004 (you can watch the video at that link):
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 24, 2004
Governor Blagojevich names well-respected former U.S. Justice Department official as independent Special Investigator to the Illinois Gaming Board Eric Holder to assist Gaming Board in expanded review of issues surrounding Rosemont as location of 10th casino license
CHICAGO – One week after calling for a full and open review of concerns surrounding the location of Illinois’ 10th casino license, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced his appointment of former Deputy U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., as Special Investigator to the Illinois Gaming Board.
The Governor’s action came in response to a flood of questions and criticisms that followed the Gaming Board’s selection of the Isle of Capri Corporation – which intends to build a casino in the Village of Rosemont – as the winning bidder in the auction for the state’s last casino license.
“Last Wednesday, I called on the Gaming Board to conduct a full, open, and public review of all the facts surrounding the issue of gaming in the Village of Rosemont. I also said that I would name a special investigator to work with the Gaming Board to help oversee that review and ensure the integrity of the review process,” said the Governor. “For that reason, it is essential to find an outsider – someone with no connections with the parties involved, or with any of the proceedings that have taken place. We wanted someone with no horse in the race. We wanted someone whose legal knowledge, reputation for integrity, and independence are indisputable. So today, I am announcing the appointment of Eric Holder as the special investigator to work with the Gaming Board to conduct this review.”
Holder has an impressive record spanning nearly three decades as a public prosecutor and federal investigator…
“Eric Holder is one of the most qualified and experienced prosecutors in the United States. We are fortunate he agreed to work with the Gaming Board on this matter,” Blagojevich said.
As Special Investigator, Holder will work with the Gaming Board to conduct a full, open and public review of all of the facts, problems and concerns surrounding gaming in the Village of Rosemont, including the problems associated with Emerald Casino, the previous owner of the 10th license. The review will examine the Isle of Capri’s negotiations with the Village of Rosemont, and determine whether any of the concerns that caused the Gaming Board to take revocation actions against Emerald Casino Inc. are still present in any way.
Ed Morrissey weighs in.