The American labor movement has taken another one on the chin from the new President-elect. The first blow was the appointment of Rahm Emanuel, a big NAFTA backer in the Clinton administration.
Now Obama is ready to appoint as the nation’s top cop a guy named Eric Holder who while in the Clinton Administration was helpful in obtaining the pardon of one Marc Rich who would be on anyone’s “Ten Most Wanted by the International Labor Movement” list.
The details are laid out in this story at Common Dreams. As Cornell University researcher Kate Bronfenbrenner wrote about Rich: He “was culpable for what went on and the suffering the Ravenswood [steel plant] workers went through” during a bitter strike in the early 1990s.
The apparent future Attorney General, Eric Holder, played a significant role in helping Rich obtain counsel for the pardon process (a friend at a prominent D.C. law firm) and helped advise that lawyer on how to navigate through the effort. He also made a recommendation to the President of “neutral leaning towards favorable” on the application itself. A conflict of interest? You betcha. A congressional committee (Republican-chaired) concluded his behavior was “unconscionable.”
More recently Holder advised the CEO of Chiquita Bananas on how to deal with charges related to funding right wing paramilitary forces in Colombia. Details here and here.
A far cry for a man whose first job out of law school was the “Public Integrity Section” of the Department of Justice.
Of course, the Democratic Party has always had a double standard when it comes to crime: one standard for their rich and powerful friends, another for the average working man and woman.