Eric Holder is Obama's pick for attorney general. But will his confirmation be a breeze, or a storm? Newsday
recently reported that Team Obama has been taking senators'
temperature with questions about how they view a few controversial
issues in Holder's past, and now the press is mulling over what could
stand in Holder's way. Here's a breakdown of possible confirmation
Marc Rich: Just hours before Bush took office in January 2001, Clinton pardoned Marc Rich, a billionaire financier and fugitive indicted on multiple counts of tax evasion, tax fraud, and illegal oil deals whose wife had donated heavily to Clinton's presidential library and to the DNC. Holder, then acting attorney general, said he was "neutral, leaning towards favorable" on the pardon. Later, he apologized publicly, saying he made a snap judgment.
While deputy attorney general in 2000, Holder supported a forced return
of Elian to his father in Cuba. Although noting that it would be a last
resort, Holder was quoted in Newsday as saying "We have that power," to seize the little boy. His involvement in the controversy led eight Cuban-American groups to demand in July that Obama drop him from his advisory team.
FALN: In 1999, Holder reportedly supported granting clemency to 16 members of the Puerto Rican terrorist group the Armed Forced of the National Liberation (FALN). A senior Clinton official told the New York Daily News that although the FBI and U.S. state attorneys argued against clemency, Holder was in favor of it. He declined to comment at the time.
1996 CAMPAIGN FINANCING: Congressional Republicans demanded that as deputy AG, Holder call for an independent counsel to investigate money from the presidential race, while Democrats called for Justice to maintain control of any investigation. Holder said in 1998 that he saw no "specific and credible evidence" necessitating independent counsel. Although Justice prosecutors charged several fundraisers with illegal activity, an independent investigation was never conducted.