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Cronyism, political donations explain Obama and Holder's failure to charge top Wall Street bankers

Thursday, August 09, 2012 by: J. D. Heyes
Tags: cronyism, Wall Street, criminal prosecution

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(NaturalNews) Chicagoland politics are alive and well in the Windy City under the "leadership" of former Obama chief of staff-turned-mayor Rahm Emmanuel, but that political style is being emulated by a former native son and seasoned practitioner and his cronies in the nation's capital.

That would explain the conclusion of a new report from the conservative Government Accountability Institute, which found recently that the failure of President Barack Obama and his attorney general, Eric Holder, to criminally charge any top bankers from Wall Street is most likely the result of political cronyism inside the Justice Department, as well as donations made to Obama's reelection campaign.

If you recall, Obama and Holder unleashed a cascade of criticism against Wall Street following the near-collapse of the banking system and the housing markets in 2008. In 2009, Obama went so far as to blame the collapse on "reckless speculation of bankers," while Holder charged that "unscrupulous executives, Ponzi scheme operators and common criminals alike...targeted the pocketbooks and retirement accounts of middle class Americans."

Despite those serious charges, the government hasn't "filed a single criminal charge against any top executive of an elite financial institution," GAI wrote in its report, a copy of which was obtained exclusively by The Daily Caller.

Why? If the big bankers behaved so illegally (and Congress and federal financial regulatory agencies are so totally innocent), shouldn't Americans be watching the trials of Wall Street executives on Court TV?

Cronyism is alive and well on the Hill

Yes, GAI argues, were it not for political cronyism. You see, the group says, many senior Justice Department figures - Holder, Associate Attorneys General Tom Perrelli and Tony West, Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, Deputy Attorneys General James Cole and Karol Mason - "all came to the DOJ from prestigious white-collar defense firms where they represented the very financial institutions the DOJ is supposed to investigate," the report said.

The report notes that Holder and Breuer both came to the department from Covington & Burling, a "top-tier Washington law firm" with a list of clients including financial heavyweights ING, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan-Chase, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and UBS, among others.

The group, in its report, asserted that Obama's decision to appoint Holder, "a white-collar defense attorney," as attorney general, over a "more fiery prosecutor" may have been designed to send "a subtle signal to the financial community" that his administration really had no intentions of going after them, despite the hard words.

In addition, the report provides details about Cole, who was with Bryan Cave LLP - "a white-shoe firm with A-list clients" - before becoming a top lieutenant of Holder's at DOJ.

One of his clients at the firm, says the GAI report, was insurance and financial giant AIG, which, according to CNN, received nearly $70 billion in taxpayer-funded bailout money through the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).

During his tenure at Bryan Cave, Cole did some $20 million worth of work for AIG between 2004 and 2008, GAI said in its report, noting the firm was "at the heart of the financial crisis largely because of its noncompliance in regulatory and compliance issues." But that didn't stop the administration - or Holder - from inviting him to join DOJ.

More smoke, and more fire

Other financial sector scandals that demand investigation are being ignored as well.

For instance, the GAI said, the Obama administration has never appointed an independent counsel to look into MF Global, a leading cash and derivatives broker-dealer which has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection following the vaporization of $1.6 billion in client funds.

The company's CEO, Jon Corzine, a former Democratic U.S. senator and governor of New Jersey, has been able to fade away scott-free, the GAI asserts, because the now-defunct firm was a client of Holder and Breuer while they were at Covington.

Corzine, also, is an Obama bundler, meaning he helps raise significant amounts of cash for the president's campaign. Some 65 members of Congress have pressed for an investigation, but none is forthcoming.

"More and more Washington insiders are asking a question that was considered off-limits in the nation's capital just a few months ago: Who, exactly, is Attorney General Eric Holder representing?" writes Richard Eskow, a liberal blogger at the Huffington Post.

"As scandal after scandal erupts on Wall Street, involving everything from global lending manipulation to cocaine and prostitution, more and more people are worrying about Holder's seeming inaction -- or worse -- in the face of mounting evidence," he wrote.






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