Oh, we get it. It’s a semantics game. Anyone connected with the finance industry will do as a prosecution target, as long as he wasn’t a top executive at a mega bank, a mega investment bank, or a mega mortgage company. He works on Wall Street! We went after Wall Street!
What’s next? A claim that they prosecuted the head of the asphalt company that repaved Wall Street, for tax evasion or something?
Actually, there seems to be a major facet missing in their approach. Which was the point of the expose.
All that said, I just think there’s something more that was going on there than just Lanny Breuer’s and Eric Holder’s desire to return to Covington & Burling after their Justice Dept. stints. For one thing, most top white collar crime defense attorneys began their careers as federal prosecutors and made their names in high-profile cases. They know how to defend in white collar criminal cases, precisely because they successfully prosecuted some complicated ones. So prosecuting big-name Wall Street execs would not have hampered their option to return to big-law criminal defense work.
For this reason, I think the criticism of Obama’s selection of Mary Jo White as SEC head is off-base; she was known as an extremely aggressive head of the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office, and do think Obama’s decision to nominate her is intended to indicate a toughness toward the finance industry. Yes, she’s been representing finance industry companies and execs in criminal-law matters, but because of that, she now knows all the more how the inside game is played. And the better she is at the SEC job, the more desirable, not the less desirable, she’ll be to the big Wall Street law firms. It’s counterintuitive, and of course exactly the opposite of people who work in regulatory agencies such as the EPA leaving to become lobbyists. But what matters in this situation, less, ideology than actual knowledge
* From The New York Times would rather cover a Breuer chair than cover Lanny Breuer, by lambert, at Corrente. H/T, reader rjs.
*POSTSCRIPT: The New York Times article notes specifically that White “defended some of Wall Street’s biggest names, including Kenneth D. Lewis, a former chief of Bank of America,” and that “[a]s the head of litigation at Debevoise & Plimpton, she also represented JPMorgan Chase and the board of Morgan Stanley.” So she’ll have to recuse herself from matters that touch upon issues related to the cases she worked on for those execs and banks or that rely in any respect on information she gained through those representations.