Thanks a lot, assholes!
Attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch could be facing new confirmation problems in the U.S. Senate after being tied to the world’s biggest banking scandal, involving HSBC, which used its power to temporarily shut down WND.com as the news site was breaking a series of stories on the mega-bank’s money-laundering practices – practices that resulted in more than $1.2 billion in fines
According to court papers filed Wednesday, Eric Holder’s Department of Justice appears to be stonewalling the release of documents that could implicate Lynch in a massive cover-up of Obama administration involvement in international money-laundering of Mexican cartel drug money.
In 2012, Lynch, as the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, oversaw the investigation of drug-related international money laundering allegations against London-based HSBC Holdings LLC.
WND published a series articles documenting charges HSBC laundered billions of dollars that traced back to the Mexican drug cartels, culminating with a $1.256 billion fine paid to the U.S. government to end the investigation and avoid the filing of criminal charges.
The federal government’s unwillingness to prosecute HSBC was exposed by a former HSBC vice president and relationship manager in New York, John Cruz, who called the bank a “criminal enterprise.” Cruz was ignored by law enforcement authorities until he brought to WND 1,000 pages of customer account records that document his claims.
Cruz called the $1.92 billion fine the U.S. government imposed on HSBC “a joke” and filed a $10 million lawsuit for “retaliation and wrongful termination.” Whistleblowers in India and London joined Cruz in charging the HSBC settlement amounted to a massive cover-up.
In response to WND’s reporting of Cruz’s evidence, HSBC lodged a complaint that blocked Internet access to one of the WND stories, and senior reporter Jerome Corsi was fired by the New York City investment firm he had worked with for two years as a senior managing director, Gilford Securities.
WND also reported on evidence Holder’s Justice Department did not investigate money-laundering charges in deference to bank clients of his Washington-based law firm, where he was a partner prior to joining the Obama administration.
In addition, WND reported HSBC was engaged in a systematic scheme to defraud citizens of India who live abroad out of billions of dollars in investment accounts.
‘Continuing to cover up’
In a telephone interview Friday, Cruz said the Obama administration “is continuing to cover up its role in the HSBC money laundering scandal.”
“The IRS has blocked every legal effort I have made to be credited as a whistleblower in the HSBC billion-dollar settlement,” Cruz said. “It is impossible that the Obama administration did not know HSBC was laundering drug money for the Mexican cartels, because the documentation I had showed the laundered money passed through the federal wire-transfer services.”
Cruz charged the 1,000 pages of customer account records show HSBC relied on identity theft, capturing legitimate Social Security numbers that were then used to create bogus retail and commercial bank accounts. Through the accounts, HSBC employees systematically deposited and withdrew hundreds of millions of dollars on a daily basis, apparently without the knowledge of the identity-theft victims.
“When an individual finds out they got a loan they never knew about, 5 percent of that loan went to the accounting firm that made up the phony tax returns and the other 95 percent of that loan went to the manager,” he explained.
“One manager was involved in the transaction, another manager was involved in notarizing the transaction, and senior management was involved where they signed off permission to give the loans even when the loans get rejected by underwriting.”
In an attempt to make his charges public, Cruz in 2011 published a book titled, “World Banking World Fraud: Using Your Identity.”
On July 17, 2012, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, released a majority and minority 330-page staff report titled, “U.S. Vulnerabilities to Money Laundering, Drugs, and Terrorist Financing: HSBC Case History.” It documented HSBC’s role in illegally laundering hundreds of billions of dollars of drug money for the Mexican cartels and for terrorist-affiliated Middle Eastern groups.
“In an age of international terrorism, drug violence in our streets and on our borders, and organized crime, stopping illicit money flows that support those atrocities is a national security imperative,” said the committee’s chairman at the time, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich.
Levin said HSBC “used its U.S. bank as a gateway into the U.S. financial system for some HSBC affiliates around the world to provide U.S. dollar services to clients while playing fast and loose with U.S. banking rules.”
HSBC paid the $1.256 billion fine in December 2012 in an deferred prosecution agreement with the Justice Department for violations of the Bank Secrecy Act, the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the Trading with the Enemy Act.
Attorney General Eric Holder will resign on Thursday, several media outlets have confirmed. “Attorney General Eric Holder will on Thursday announce his plans to leave his post at the Justice Department once a successor is confirmed, a Justice Department official said,” Politico reported. “Holder has been in the job for nearly six years, since the start of the Obama administration.”
“Eric Holder Jr., the nation’s first black U.S. attorney general, is preparing to announce his resignation Thursday after a tumultuous tenure marked by civil rights advances, national security threats, reforms to the criminal justice system and five and a half years of fights with Republicans in Congress,” National Public Radio added.
Holder was voted on a bipartisan basis into both criminal and civil contempt of Congress for his failure to comply with a congressional investigation into the gun walking program Operation Fast and Furious, run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) with oversight from senior Department of Justice (DOJ) officials. A total of 130 members of the House of Representatives called for him to resign in 2011 and 2012, as did eight U.S. Senators and every GOP presidential candidate in 2012, including the eventual presidential nominee Mitt Romney and vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan.
As the House Oversight Committee voted to hold Holder in contempt on both the criminal and civil citations, President Barack Obama asserted executive privilege over the Fast and Furious documents that Holder refused to provide to Congress pursuant to subpoenas from chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA). The U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, Ron Machen, declined to prosecute Holder on the criminal contempt of Congress citation, but the House of Representatives is currently pursuing ongoing legal action against the administration using the civil contempt citation to fight to have the president’s executive privilege overturned.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Issa have both argued the president’s privilege assertion over those Fast and Furious documents is invalid and illegal because he used the lower form of the two types of executive privilege – deliberative process privilege – rather than presidential communications privilege. If Obama used the higher form, it would have meant that either he or his senior White House staff was aware of the gun walking tactics employed in Operation Fast and Furious, something that both Obama and Holder have denied. Usually, deliberative process privilege claims are considered invalid when there is even a suspicion of government wrongdoing – something Issa and Grassley have noted time and again – and in this case the government has admitted to wrongdoing.
Nonetheless, President Obama continues to hide these documents from the American people and from Congress.
Holder accused this reporter in November 2011 at a White House press conference of being “behind” the calls for his resignation because this reporter had contacted various members of Congress, asking if they agreed with the surging calls for him to resign.
“You guys need to – you need to stop this. It’s not an organic thing that’s just happening. You guys are behind it,” Holder said of this reporter’s efforts while working for The Daily Caller.
Calls for Holder’s resignation have continued since 2011 for reasons other than Operation Fast and Furious.
Holder’s press team also coordinated against various media outlets using far left-wing advocacy groups like the George Soros-funded Media Matters for America (MMFA). MMFA, which is led by pro-Hillary Clinton activist David Brock, used talking points and direction provided by then-Holder spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler to smear this reporter, Issa, Breitbart News reporters, ex-DOJ officials and whistleblowers, and reporters from across the media.
Emails recently uncovered via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by The Daily Caller found that Holder’s press aide Schmaler specifically singled out and targeted this reporter.
“As revealed in the FOIA docs, Media Matters Deputy Research Director Matt Gertz sent a post concerning the NRA’s growing contributions to Holder’s critics to DOJ spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler, Holder’s top press flack who resigned in March, 2013,” the Daily Caller’s Betsy Rothstein wrote.
In response to that email, Schmaler wrote back to Gertz: “Thanks, you know boyle has been doing robo calls to top members right? This is campaign mounted by daily caller. He has called 60 offices and gotten to 8 last week.”
“Yeah, that was what my original piece on the story was about,” Gertz replied.
The terminology that was provided to Media Matters by the Department of Justice about this reporter – the word “campaign” specifically – appeared in subsequent Media Matters posts about this reporter.
The efforts to silence reporting on Fast and Furious are not the only questionable activity Holder and his team have been involved in with regards to the media. The DOJ labeled Fox News’ James Rosen a “co-conspirator” in an effort used to monitor him and targeted the Associated Press by monitoring the news agency’s communications.
Holder has been a lightning rod for scandal since he was confirmed in 2009. Right off the bat, he declined to prosecute the New Black Panther Party (NBPP) for voter intimidation at voting stations in 2008 in Philadelphia, despite efforts by career prosecutors at the DOJ to do so. He has been involved in the Trayvon Martin case in Florida in 2012, the Michael Brown case in Missouri this year, and in allegations by whistleblowers that Holder stopped the prosecution of alleged financial criminals, politicians, and DOJ officials who are accused of having taken bribes in connection with a U.S. Virgin Islands telecom cooperative. Just like how the DOJ originally denied guns were walked in Fast and Furious and has since retracted that denial, the DOJ denied the Virgin Islands scandal’s early report.
Extortion: Radical Democrat activist groups stand to collect millions from Attorney General Eric Holder’s record $17 billion deal to settle alleged mortgage abuse charges against Bank of America.
Buried in the fine print of the deal, which includes $7 billion in soft-dollar consumer relief, are a raft of political payoffs to Obama constituency groups. In effect, the government has ordered the nation’s largest bank to create a massive slush fund for Democrat special interests.
Besides requiring billions in debt forgiveness payments to delinquent borrowers in Cleveland, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Oakland, Detroit, Chicago and other Democrat strongholds – and up to $500 million to cover personal taxes owed on those checks – the deal requires BofA to make billions in new loans, while also building affordable low-income rental housing in those areas.
If there are leftover funds in four years, the settlement stipulates the money will go to Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Account (IOLTA), which provides legal aid for the poor and supports left-wing causes, and NeighborWorks of America, which provides affordable housing and funds a national network of left-wing community organizers operating in the mold of Acorn.
In fact, in 2008 and 2009, NeighborWorks awarded a whopping $25 million to Acorn Housing.
In 2011 alone, NeighborWorks shelled out $35 million in “affordable housing grants” to 115 such groups, according to its website. Recipients included the radical Affordable Housing Alliance, which pressures banks to make high-risk loans in low-income neighborhoods and which happens to be the former employer of HUD’s chief “fair housing” enforcer.
BofA gets extra credit if it makes at least $100 million in direct donations to IOLTA and housing activist groups approved by HUD.
According to the list provided by Justice, those groups include come of the most radical bank shakedown organizations in the country, including:
• La Raza, which pressures banks to expand their credit box to qualify more low-income Latino immigrants for home loans;
• National Community Reinvestment Coalition, Washington’s most aggressive lobbyist for the disastrous Community Reinvestment Act;
• Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America, whose director calls himself a “bank terrorist;”
• Operation Hope, a South Central Los Angeles group that’s pressuring banks to make “dignity mortgages” for deadbeats.
Worse, one group eligible for BofA slush funds is a spin-off of Acorn Housing’s branch in New York.
It’s now rebranded as Mutual Housing Association of New York, or MHANY. HUD lists MHANY’s contact as Ismene Speliotis, who previously served as New York director of Acorn Housing.
Eric Holder does not shy away from being called an activist – in fact, the U.S. Attorney General considers the label an honor.
“If you want to call me an activist attorney general, I will proudly accept that label,” Holder told journalist Juan Williams in an interview published at The Hill.
“Any attorney general who is not an activist is not doing his or her job,” he continued, adding that “the responsibility of the attorney general is to change things [and] bring us closer to the ideals expressed in our founding documents.”
Asked later about his response to critics who claim that the Justice Department houses an activist civil rights division and an activist chief, Holder said “I agree with you 1000 percent and [I am] proud of it.”
Holder also said he is troubled by the affirmative action stance of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who opposes the policy in maintaining that “the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”
“There are still [racial] issues we as a society are working our way through,” Holder said. “And the lack of desire to do that, I think, undermines the ability that I think is inherent in the American people to make progress. But it also does not prepare us for demographic changes, the likes of which this country has never seen.”
Holder’s activism on racial issues is nothing new.
In a profile at Politico last month, he was described as President Obama’s “heat shield.” Sources close to Holder said he is able “to talk about things the president can’t talk about as easily.”
His stance on race was on display early on in the Obama administration when Holder infamously claimed that the U.S. is a “nation of cowards” when it comes to racial issues. Those comments and Holder’s hesitation in investigating two Philadelphia New Black Panther Party members accused of voter intimidation outside of a precinct in Philadelphia in 2008 won him the ire of conservatives.
The interview did highlight some of Holder’s bi-partisan initiatives, including the year-old “Smart on Crime” program which focuses on reducing the prison population and prison costs. Republican senators such as Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and John Cornyn are backing the project, which has made headway in the Senate Judiciary Committee.