Eric Holder has earned a lot of praise in his career, but there’s one glaring blemish on his resume: the pardon of Marc Rich. Critics say Barack Obama’s attorney general pick was the driving force behind the fugitive’s backdoor pardon, while supporters say he’s an innocent scapegoat. In reality, he was a pawn who made a major misstep, reports the New York Times.
Holder was friendly with Rich’s lawyer, Jack Quinn, and even unwittingly recommended Quinn to Rich’s PR man. When Quinn later discussed the case with Holder and asked him to offer the administration his opinion, Holder obliged, assuming, he says, that it was also going through official channels. It wasn’t. “There’s no question Quinn played him,” says Holder’s lawyer. Holder’s good word was taken as official Justice Department approval, though no official review had occurred.