WASHINGTON – Few, if any, people in Washington know what it’s like to go up against Eric Holder’s Justice Department better than attorney Tom Fitton, and he is scathing in his summation of the attorney general’s tenure, calling him “one of the worst in history.”
“I guess one could do worse than Eric Holder as an attorney, but I’d be hard pressed to think of a worse record out there, particularly in the modern era,” Fitton told WND.
The Washington attorney and president of Judicial Watch said Holder’s record was tainted “in terms of the corruption, not only his personal corruption, but his willingness to place politics, ideology and race-baiting above the rule of law.”
Fitton called Holder too “woefully lacking in ethics” to be attorney general and speculated that whatever is causing him to resign, it is “for all the wrong reasons.”
Holder announced Thursday he intends to resign, effective once a successor is confirmed.
“I don’t believe it is any coincidence, as we break new ground in the IRS scandal and Fast and Furious. … He wants out,” Fitton said in a phone interview.
Members of Congress share his assessment, as WND is reporting.
Fitton’s Judicial Watch has been on a mission to hold the attorney general accountable to the rule of law, using Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, requests to obtain documents through the courts that congressional investigators have been unable to acquire with subpoenas.
As WND reported Thursday, a federal judge ruled the Department of Justice must respond properly to a federal FOIA case brought by Judicial Watch over its handling of the Fast and Furious scandal.
Were it not for documents unearthed by his government watchdog organization, arguably there would be no congressional select committee on Benghazi, no more congressional hearings on the IRS scandal and little further investigation of the Justice Department’s Fast and Furious scandal.
It was Judicial Watch that obtained what Fitton called the “smoking gun email” showing then-White House Deputy Strategic Communications Adviser Ben Rhodes orchestrated an attempt to blame the Benghazi attack on “an Internet video, and not a failure of policy.”
And it was Judicial Watch that discovered two years worth of Lois Lerner’s IRS emails had been destroyed.
Judicial Watch also uncovered emails showing the Justice Department was in contact with Lerner over the possibility of filing criminal charges against groups for political activity.
Fitton cited a litany of transgressions he believed the nation’s first African-American attorney general had committed in office, including enforcing the law in a “racially biased manner.”
“The law requires it be enforced in a race-neutral manner, and this attorney general simply refuses to do that,” asserted Fitton.
The attorney mentioned Holder’s comment that America was “a nation of cowards” when it comes to discussing race-relations; his interjecting himself in the race-based civil disturbances in Ferguson, Missouri; his refusal to pursue an alleged case of voter suppression by the Black Panthers; “and then the subsequent cover up.”
“He is a race-baiter. There is no doubt about it. And he stokes up resentment,” Fitton told WND.
He lamented having “an attorney general support and encourage racially hostile attitudes toward law enforcement.”
Furthermore, Fitton charged Holder had “placed the security of Americans at risk through his advocacy for more rights for terrorists.” He referenced the Justice Department’s initial decision to try the Sept. 11 planners in a civilian court of law in New York, before reversing course and sending them to a military court.
As for lawmakers’ claims the attorney general is stonewalling the congressional investigation into the IRS, Fitton said, “Eric Holder and Lois Lerner are two peas in a pod.”
Referring to the former head of the tax-exempt division that targeted tea party and other conservative groups, the attorney said, “As Lois Lerner is to the IRS, Eric Holder is to the Department of Justice, and both agencies deserve equal scrutiny.”
He added: “One of the notable failures, in my view, of congressional oversight is the failure to get the Department of Justice under control.”
Would Holder’s successor be an improvement?
“I can’t imagine the new model will be any better,” the president of Judicial Watch replied. “Eric Holder is the attorney general for the ‘catch me if you can’ president.”
Due to the president’s “lawlessness,” Fitton said he presumed “any successor would be only placed there because he shares Obama’s view of the presidency that the law doesn’t apply to him, and he will ignore it at will.”
Fitton also implied Holder is feeling the heat from all the work Judicial Watch has done investigating administration scandals.
The House voted 255-to-67 two years ago to hold Holder in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over documents in the Fast and Furious gun-running scandal, making him the first sitting Cabinet member ever to face that charge.
Fitton believes Holder is particularly nervous about what may come to light in that scandal, as well as documents Judicial Watch obtained implicating the Justice Department in the IRS scandal.
The attorney said those documents show the Justice Department has been covering up rather than investigating the IRS scandal.
Fitton believes Holder is resigning to try to shield the administration from fall-out over his department’s scandals.
“The writing is on the wall, so it’s no surprise he’s resigning,” he said. “I mean, that material is going to see the light of day, and he can’t stave off the rule of law forever.”
Follow Garth Kant @DCgarth