Tags: holder | nomination

GOP Probes Nominee Eric Holder in Elian Gonzalez Case

Wednesday, 17 Dec 2008 01:58 PM

By Rick Pedraza

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Attorney general nominee Eric Holder is under pressure again by members of the GOP Senate Judiciary Committee who are seeking information about his role in the controversial Elian Gonzalez case that took place during his stint as former President Bill Clinton’s deputy attorney general, The Hill reports.

The probe into the alleged misdeeds will result in the delaying of Holder’s confirmation hearings, originally scheduled for Jan. 5, to Jan. 18, and reportedly will look into numerous scandals involving Holder during the Clinton administration, including:

  • His involvement with the U.S. agents' seizing of Elian in April 2000

  • His role in the 2001 pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich

  • His ties to the pardons of 16 Puerto Rican nationalists in 1999

  • His role in a gun-control measure Clinton signed in 1999

  • The extension of the gun-control Brady Bill

  • The 1996 fundraising scandal of then-Vice President Al Gore

  • The appointment of special prosecutors for the Whitewater case

  • The Monica Lewinsky scandal

  • And the 177 pardons Clinton granted on his last day in office

    In all, the committee has asked Terry Garner, director of the Clinton Presidential Library, to turn over information regarding 17 issues involving Holder during his tenure in the White House, most of which are “designed to resonate outside the Beltway,” The Hill reports.

    On Monday, Holder met with Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the top Republican on the judiciary committee, to discuss his tenure as deputy attorney general during the time the pardons were issued, according to the Los Angeles Times.

    "I don't think it is useful to get into the specifics as to the precise concerns which I raised and his precise answers," Specter told the The Times. "But by analogy to the Gonzales tenure, I think it is imperative we be sure the attorney general of the United States does not bend his views to accommodate his appointer; that the attorney general does not bend his views in any way which is partisan or political, to serve any interest other than the interests of justice."

    Along with Specter, GOP members of the Judiciary Committee requesting the information about Holder’s involvement in these issues include Sam Brownback of Kansas, John Cornyn of Texas, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Orrin Hatch of Utah, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Jon Kyl of Arizona.

    “They’re applying a standard of Supreme Court nominees to an attorney general nominee,” an aide to Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., told The Hill. “Not to diminish the importance of the office, but this is not a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court like [Samuel] Alito or [John] Roberts. It seems the hypocrisy here might be in their direction.”

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