MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
It's official, and former Department of Justice (DOJ) Criminal Division Chef Lanny Breuer is bragging about it. He'll return for the third to time the white collar (now expanding its clients internationally) legal defense firm of Covington & Burling, but this time at a whopping salary.
According to the New York Times: "Mr. Breuer is expected to earn about $4 million in his first year at Covington. In addition to representing clients, he will serve as an ambassador of sorts for the firm as it seeks to grow overseas."
As BuzzFlash at Truthout has speculated before, one can argue (and the same holds true for Eric Holder, also a Covington & Burling alumni appointee), Breuer was building his value in the marketplace at the DOJ, while Wall Street executives who nearly destroyed the American economy went unprosecuted. And his future value to his old white collar defense firm was dependent, in large part, on him not angering the people who would be the clients of Covington & Burling when he left the Department of Justice. The result, one can contend: no prosecutions of banks "too big to fail" execs as publicly stated as a policy by both Breuer and Holder.
This isn't just a revolving door; one can argue it's a dereliction of legal responsibility by an employee of the people of the United States. One can proffer that it's a cash-in career move by a resume climber who was careful not to bite the hands that will write the checks that will feed him on a lavish scale.
BuzzFlash at Truthout has written more than fifteen commentaries on the failure to prosecute Wall Street execs in recent months. These include: "Consigliere Lanny Breuer, Head of the DOJ Criminal Division, Leaves Without Prosecuting One Made Man on Wall Street" ; and "The Covington & Burling Trio Overseeing the Department of Justice Criminal Division: An Injustice."
Breuer isn't the least bit sheepish about grabbing the brass ring after failing to hold those responsible for nearly sinking the economy criminally accountable. According to the website Main Justice,
Breuer said that he will also maintain his white collar clients, which he hope to grow following his stint as the Criminal Division's longest-serving leader in recent history. Moving forward, he expects to have individual and corporate clients in areas such as foreign bribery, money laundering, export control and securities law and whistle blower cases.
Breuer has spent a combined total of approximately two decades at Covington & Burling.
According the Corporate Crime Reporter:
At Covington, Breuer will work with a corporate criminal defense team that includes:
Robert Amaee, the former Head of Anti-Corruption and Head of Proceeds of Crime at the UK Serious Fraud Office.
Bruce Baird, former Chief of the Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
Tom Barnett and Deborah Garza, both a former Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Antitrust Division.
Michael Chertoff, himself a former Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division before becoming Secretary for Homeland Security.
Steve Fagell, former Deputy Chief of Staff and Counselor in the Criminal Division.
Jim Garland, former Deputy Chief of Staff and Counselor to Attorney General Eric Holder.
Nancy Kestenbaum and Lynn Neils, both former Chiefs of the General Crimes Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
Ethan Posner and Jean Veta, both former Deputy Associate Attorneys General.
Alan Vinegrad, former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
And numerous other former federal prosecutors and enforcement officials, including Stephen Anthony, David Bayless, Casey Cooper, Haywood Gilliam, Geoffrey Hobart, and Simone Ross.
Criticism of Breuer’s exit through the revolving door came quickly from Dennis Kelleher, a former partner at Skadden Arps in Washington, D.C., and currently president of the public interest group Better Markets.
Kelleher told Corporate Crime Reporter that “nothing is more corrosive to the American people’s trust in government than the revolving door where too many officials turn their so-called public service into multi-million dollar riches unimaginable to most Americans.”
“This blatant cashing-in is destroying faith in government and government officials,” Kelleher said.
“Lanny Breuer’s spinning through it is only the latest example: partner at big DC law firm representing corporate clients before the Department, then becomes a senior official at the Department making decisions whether or not to prosecute those same or similar corporate clients, then leaves to go back to private practice representing those same or similar corporate clients with legal issues before, bingo, the Department of Justice,” Kelleher said.
As we noted in one of our previous BuzzFlash at Truthout commentaries deploring the systemic injustice of people who use government service to raise their cash value in DC, this is quite possibly a crime against the American people for personal enrichment. We are certain Lanny Breuer would deny anything but the purest motives, and that is his right. As he told Main Justice: "So, I love the advocacy system. I'm a zealous advocate, and I look forward to being a zealous advocate for our [Covington & Burling] clients again."
But BuzzFlash at Truthout has a different perspective. At a reported $4 million a year, much of Breuer's salary will have been earned at the expense of not prosecuting justice.
And a lot of perps are riding around in chauffeured limousines because Lanny Breuer didn't lift a finger to take away their keys. Now they are his clients again.
How do you imagine that happened?
Some additional BuzzFlash commentaries of interest on the lack of Wall Street prosecution:
This commentary, "Holder Admits that Department of Justice Believes Big Bankers Are Above the Law," contains hyperlinks to many of the recent BuzzFlash commentaries on the DOJ's negligence in prosecuting Wall Street campaign donors and executives of banks too big to fail.