When Loretta Lynch, only a month ago, was confirmed as the nation’s attorney general following a contentious nomination process in which she was accused of turning a “blind eye” to “public corruption,” it seemed there would be no lack of work for her to do.
After all, the popular RedState.com website already had listed 16 “scandals” that were the legacy of outgoing AG Eric Holder, ranging from the Department of Justice’s secret targeting of reporters for AP and Fox News, Holder’s own agency’s threats to free speech, the department’s extensive “hostility” toward conservatives, the DOJ’s efforts to treat terrorists as criminal defendants, to its opposition to Arizona’s plan to enforce federal immigration laws, and its purges of references in America to “radical Islam.”
Oh yes, there was the Fast and Furious scandal, too, which was more than a scandal because it left dead a U.S. Border Patrol officer and an estimated 2,000 firearms, including some of the highest tech available, in the “hands of criminals.”
So on Wednesday, Lynch held a news conference to announce one of the first major accomplishments on her watch: The indictment and arrest of international soccer officials for corruption.
ABC posted a headline questioning, “FIFA Under Investigation: Why the U.S. Is Investigating Soccer’s World Government Body.”
AP reported European soccer interests immediately called for a delay in the election of a new president for FIFA because of allegations in the indictment of 14 people, and the arrests already of seven, for allegedly offering, or accepting, payoffs for special privileges connected to international soccer events.
The report said Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich claimed the arrests were “evidently another case of illegal extra-territorial implementation of American law.”
The National Journal said Lynch’s department released a 47-count indictment claiming racketeering, conspiracy and corruption against the 14 defendants.
“Many of the individuals and organizations we will describe today were entrusted with keeping soccer open and accessible to all,” Lynch announced. “They were expected to uphold the rules that keep soccer honest and to protect the integrity of the game. Instead they corrupted the business of worldwide soccer to serve their interests and to enrich themselves.”
The government said among the defendants were high-ranking international soccer organization officials, plus several corporations.
“The indictment alleges corruption that is rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted both abroad and here in the United States,” Lynch’s statement said. “It spans at least two generations of soccer officials who, as alleged, have abused their positions of trust to acquire millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks. And it has profoundly harmed a multitude of victims, from the youth leagues and developing countries that should benefit from the revenue generated by the commercial rights these organizations hold, to the fans at home and throughout the world whose support for the game makes those rights valuable.”
The indictment alleges marketing executives paid out $150 million in bribes to gain rights to major soccer tournaments.
The investigation also was being pursued by organizations in other countries, too.
But talk-radio icon Rush Limbaugh suggested the investigation probably had not gone far enough yet.
He noted the international soccer group, FIFA, gave money to the Clinton Foundation, which has been embroiled in controversy in recent weeks for accepting money from foreign interests while Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state.
There also have been a series of problems with the organization’s records and reporting duties.
“Why is FIFA giving money to the Clintons? Is Hillary known for playing or loving soccer? Is Bill known for loving soccer?” Limbaugh asked. “It’s clear, the FIFA guys, this is how they do business. They expect tax breaks. They expect gifts. They expect that if they are going to award, say, the World Cup to a country, to a city or whatever, that city is gonna end up paying them for the privilege and then some, both above the table, above the line and below the line.”
Since Lynch has been in office, the department also has begun investigating police actions in Baltimore that may have contributed to the death of an arrestee, a death that resulted in days and nights of violent riots and millions of dollars in damages.
Meanwhile, the RedState long list of Department of Justice scandals suggests there’s plenty of work to be done.
- The revelations that the DOJ was engaging in politicized hiring in the career civil service ranks. Holder reported admitted the department was “going to be looking for people who share our values.”
- The original designation of the terrorism at Fort Hood in 2009 by radical Muslim Nidal Hasan as “workplace violence.”
- The DOJ’s surveillance of the telephone records of reporters and editors for the Associated Press.
- The similar monitoring of Fox News reporter James Rosen.
- The Marc Rich pardon, under President Bill Clinton.
- The pardon of Weather Underground members Susan Rosenberg and Linda Evans.
- Threats from Holder’s DOJ to free speech, which came DOJ official Bill Killian in Tennessee warned that online posts deemed inflammatory toward Muslims could be considered “a violation of civil rights laws.”
- The DOJ’s hostility to conservatives, set out in a number of statements from Holder, including that conservatives seek “social division, mindless tax cutting, and a defense posture that does not really make us safer.” He also said conservatives “put the environment at risk for the sake of unproven economic theories, to play to the fears of our citizens, and not to their hopes, and to return the nation to a time than in fact never existed.”
- DOJ opposition to Second Amendment rights. He claimed the provision does not protect an individual’s right to keep and bear arms – a position the U.S. Supreme Court struck down – but that it only applies to government militias.
- The DOJ also has tried to treat war-hardened and battlefield-captured terrorists as criminal court case defendants.
- And when Arizona tried to use the state system to enforce federal immigration laws, the DOJ sued the state.
- There also was the New Black Panther intimidation case, where party members confronted voters coming to a Philadelphia polling place with weapons. Holder’s agency dropped the case against those charged.
- The DOJ also has routinely opposed voter ID laws, which are designed to reduce voter fraud.
- Fast and Furious, through which the government sent guns illegally to drug lords in Mexico. U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was murdered because of the program.
- The DOJ’s purges of various government programs of references to “radical Islam,” because it was “offensive” and “racist” to various Islamist groups.
- There also was the DOJ outreach to groups such as the Islamic Society of North America, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Muslim Public Affairs Council and others. At the time, CAIR had been named as an unindicted co-conspirator in a terror funding case.