Holder: I’m No Gonzo — And I’ll Go After Corporate Crime

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December 1, 2008 3:26 p.m.

Earlier we noted that, in speaking this morning about Eric Holder, his pick for Attorney General, Barack Obama seemed to go out of his way to suggest that Holder would reverse the politicization of DOJ that we saw under President Bush and Alberto Gonzales.

Holder’s own remarks backed up that notion. He said:

It is incumbent upon those of us who lead the Department to ensure not only that the nation is safe but also that our laws and traditions are respected. There is not a tension between those two. We can and we must ensure that the American people remain secure and that the great constitutional guarantees that define us as a nation are truly valued. For example, working with Republicans and Democrats in Congress, should I be confirmed, we look forward to actually structuring policies that are both protective and consistent with who we are as a nation.

And Holder included an interesting hint suggesting that he may be more aggressive than his predecessors under Bush in going after corporate malfeasance — specifically, one would assume, in regard to the current financial crisis:

National security concerns are not defined only by the challenges created by terrorists abroad, but also by criminals in our midst, whether they be criminals located on the street or in a boardroom.

Holder’s full remarks follow after the jump…Thank you, President-elect Obama, for the honor that you have bestowed upon me. I look forward to working with you and members of this national security team assembled here. The Department of Justice plays a unique role on this team. It is incumbent upon those of us who lead the Department to ensure not only that the nation is safe but also that our laws and traditions are respected. There is not a tension between those two. We can and we must ensure that the American people remain secure and that the great constitutional guarantees that define us as a nation are truly valued. For example, working with Republicans and Democrats in Congress, should I be confirmed, we look forward to actually structuring policies that are both protective and consistent with who we are as a nation.

I also look forward to working with the men and women of the Department of Justice to revitalize the Department’s efforts in those areas where the Department has unique capabilities and responsibilities in keeping our people safe, in ensuring fairness, and in protecting our environment. This President-elect and the team you see before you are prepared to meet the challenges that we will confront. From my experience at the Department of Justice, I know that we cannot be successful if we act alone. We must never forget that in many ways those in state and local law enforcement are our first line of detection and protection against those from foreign shores who would do us harm. We will need to interact with our state and local partners in new, innovative ways to help them solve the other issues that they confront on a daily basis. National security concerns are not defined only by the challenges created by terrorists abroad, but also by criminals in our midst, whether they be criminals located on the street or in a boardroom. We must forge new ties and reestablish old bonds with our state and local partners.

There is much that needs to be done in this new century. I am confident that working with our President-elect, the people on this stage and the departments that they represent, those of both parties who I know and respect on Capitol Hill, we can keep our nation safe, strong and respected.

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