Conservative politicians are piggybacking on Attorney General Eric Holder Jr.’s troubles to raise money or their profiles. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) went so far as to post a political attack ad-style fundraising pitch on his campaign website accusing the nation’s top law enforcement officer of "wiretapping journalists."
The message was hastily changed to accuse Holder of "seizing phone records" after an NLJ reporter asked Cruz’s press office to substantiate that statement. His office did not otherwise respond to questions about the page.
Anti-Holder fervor lately has centered on the Justice Department’s seizure of phone records from the Associated Press via a subpoena. DOJ has also come under fire for obtaining a search warrant that targeted the emails of a Fox News reporter. In the AP case, prosecutors insisted that the government didn’t obtain the content of any phone call.
Holder has said he had recused himself from making the final decision on whether to seize the AP phone logs. While there have been requests for him to prove that statement, there’s no evidence that he personally signed off on the subpoena. DOJ has acknowledged Holder’s participation in the decision to execute a search warrant against emails belonging to Fox reporter James Rosen.
The controversies appeared to be hurting Holder’s reputation with the public. A poll released on Wednesday suggested that Holder’s popularity is suffering amid intense criticism from news organizations and Republicans and Democrats in Congress about how the Justice Department handled leak investigations and targeted news gatherers.
Only the Internal Revenue Service fared worse in an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. Only 10 percent held a favorable view of attorney general, compared to 32 percent with a negative view. (43 percent did not know Holder or did not express an opinion.)
Cruz, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, took to social media on June 3 to promote his web page calling for Holder’s resignation. The Tea Party-backed senator, who formerly ran the Supreme Court and appellate practice at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, used his personal Twitter account to spread the word that "it’s past time for Eric Holder to go." More than 1,400 people retweeted Cruz’s post, meaning that potentially tens of thousands of people saw the tweet.
The page, www.tedcruz.org/eric-holder-should-resign, includes a black and white photo of Holder with the word RESIGN stamped in red on top of it. There is a petition to demand Holder’s resignation. At the bottom, under a video clip of Cruz calling for Holder’s resignation on Fox News, is a "donate" button. That takes you to another page that says: "Please make a generous contribution right now and help Ted Cruz push for the resignation of Eric Holder."
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