You know who should be feeling really, really stupid and sorry right now?
The 19 Republican Senators who voted to confirm Eric Holder as the nation’s attorney general despite his long track record of putting political interests of the public interest at the expense of public safety, conflicts of interest, and his own admissions of screwing up, then moving up.
Now, we learn that it just happened to conveniently slip Holder’s mind to mention during the Senate confirmation process that he had contributed to a legal brief with the use of federal courts in fighting terrorism on behalf of al Qaeda operative Jose Padilla:
“The brief should have been disclosed as part of the confirmation process,” Justice Department spokesman Matt Miller said in a statement. “In preparing thousands of pages for submission, it was unfortunately and inadvertently missed.”
GOP Sen. Sessions is “deeply concerned.” Unfortunately, Sen. Sessions was one of the 19 GOP Senators who misguidedly gave Holder the benefit of the doubt and voted to confirm him.
It’s not like they hadn’t been forewarned of Holder’s “forgetfulness.”
Let me remind you that before his confirmation, Holder “forgot” to mention that disgraced former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich had appointed him to probe corruption in the state’s casino licensing decisions. Holder pocketed $300,000 and — surprise, surprise — concluded that no corruption existed. Refresher:
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.
What else has Holder “forgotten” to tell us?