In fact, Holder and Breuer have a long history of fealty toward “too big to fail” banks. In a 1999 memo from his time as Deputy Attorney General, Holder wrote that prosecutors should “consider the collateral consequences of a corporate criminal conviction in determining whether to charge the corporation with a criminal offense.” In an 2012 speech to the New York Bar Association, Breuer said his fears of the ripple effect of prosecuting criminals at the nation’s largest banks “literally keep me up at night.”
It wasn’t always this way. In the aftermath of the savings and loan meltdown of the late 1980s, the Justice Department convicted more than 1,000 bankers. Charles Keating Jr. of Lincoln Savings and Loan and David Paul of Centrust Bank, whose crimes cost taxpayers a combined $5.1 billion, were both sent to prison.
Holder hasn’t even tried to seek similar justice against those responsible for the 2008 meltdown. But we probably should have seen this coming when Obama appointed a team of foxes to guard the henhouse.
JUSTIN VERNOLD is a copy editor at The Daily Star. Contact him at email@example.com.