News | Administration

Holder talks financial crime, affirmative action at Low

United States Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. discussed financial regulation and affirmative action at a World Leaders Forum event on Thursday, although he did not take live questions from audience members, as WLF speakers normally do.

Holder, CC ’73 and Law ’76, spoke primarily about the Department of Justice’s response to the fraudulent lending practices and mortgage packaging that he said helped cause the economic downturn.

Several hundred Columbia students gathered in the Low Library Rotunda for the event.

University President Lee Bollinger, who introduced Holder, said that DOJ might have work left to do.

“One of the looming questions at this point in time is what left is to be done by legal authorities, at the federal and state level, to hold authorities accountable for the creation of fraudulent mortgage-backed securities and other investment instruments,” Bollinger said.

Holder listed several recent actions DOJ has taken to fight financial fraud, including reaching a $25 billion settlement with the nation’s top five mortgage providers over foreclosure abuses. He also said that under his watch, DOJ has identified, prosecuted, and convicted a record number of individuals involved in financial fraud.

World Leaders Forum speakers—who can range from presidents of foreign countries to renowned artists—generally take questions from audience members after they speak. For this event, though, audience members who wanted to ask questions had to write them down and submit them before the event began. Bollinger then posed questions to Holder.

One of Bollinger’s questions concerned the United States Supreme Court’s decision earlier this week to reconsider affirmative action. Bollinger was involved in defending affirmative action when the court declared it constitutional in a landmark 2003 case, and he said on Thursday that the court’s decision to revisit the issue is “ominous.”

Holder expressed support for affirmative action, saying that he “can’t actually imagine a time in which the need for more diversity would ever cease.”

“Affirmative action has been an issue since segregation practices,” Holder said. “The question is not when does it end, but when does it begin ... When do people of color truly get the benefits to which they are entitled?”

He added that as a Columbia student, he “saw diversity and interacted with people who had different views.”

“People come from so many different backgrounds and bring so many different perspectives that the study of contemporary civilization is enriched by those people,” he said.

Holder—who was appointed Attorney General in 2009 by President Barack Obama, CC ’84—also fielded a question about why the Obama administration has not yet shut down the American detention facility in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

“Congress wouldn’t let us,” Holder said. “President Obama came in and he said we want to close Guantánamo in a year, and here we are four years later.”

During the event, several members of the Student Global AIDS Campaign protested Holder outside of Low. They criticized Holder’s handling of a case involving Antonio Davis, an HIV-positive activist at risk of losing his paralegal license because medicinal marijuana was found in his system.

“We were trying to get the message across that this treatment is unjust and that it needs to change,” SGAC co-president Amirah Sequeira, CC ’12, said. “Our message for Eric Holder was that he needs to make sure that these charges are dropped.”

Asked by Bollinger what he would like his legacy as attorney general to be, Holder said he wanted to be remembered as “a person who fought for justice, who tried to keep the Justice Department focused on great traditions that have always defined it.”

Jeremy Budd contributed reporting.

yasmin.gagne@columbiaspectator.com

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Soren Kay posted on

“Affirmative action has been an issue since segregation practices,”
Holder said. “The question is not when does it end, but when does it
begin ... When do people of color truly get the benefits to which they
are entitled?”

Asians are "people of color" but they are discriminated against when it comes to affirmative action.
 

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Anonymous posted on

As are Indians. 

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joewest666 posted on

 They are not Holders people and therefore are irrelevant.

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Anonymous posted on

Who determines what is diverse?

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Anonymous posted on

Perhaps Holder would be kind enough to define precisely what he thinks the benefits are that people of color are entitled to. I seem to recall a while back that Van Jones was advocating that all whites have their savings and investments seized and turned over to blacks. No doubt for these reparationists that would only be a first step.The vague terms Holder uses tell me that the list of things included in 'benefits' is never ending.
As Soren and Anon above pointed out, 'people of color' to Holder means blacks. Holder clearly thinks more like the KKK than a person seeking justice. Could this guy get any creepier?

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Anonymous posted on

yeah, you sheeple will be begging' us clansmen to accept you when the the final swing comes down on YT's neck, but you've had your head in the sand so long we'll tell you to just keep it there!...beginning to see that EVERYBODY is a "racist" now?, but that only trusting, stupid whites are the only ones that act like everybody else loves us...ha...you better wake up! Enemies are an inconvenience, but believe they do exist!

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Anonymous posted on

This reminds me of George Wallace on the courthouse steps saying "segregation now, segregation forever". Only this time it's OK because it,s for a more mobile cause

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needfreespeech posted on

Why isn't this felony perjurer and felony gun runner and felony obstructor of justice in federal prison awaiting trial?  He sends 2500 guns to violent mexican cartels, intentionally loses track of them, gets a border patrol agent killed with one of those guns, gets other innocent people killed, and WHY isn't he in federal prison?  He's free to go around demanding racist benefits to people who didn't earn them.  I need to puke.

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Frost posted on

What democrats and liberals forget is that slaves were handed their literal 40 acres.  General Sherman gave each of the freed slaves 40 acres, however  President Andrew Johnson took the land away and returned it to the previous owners. 

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joewest666 posted on

I don't know who makes me more violently ill, Holder or Bollinger.

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Renrah posted on

So the man who is black and holding the highest office in the Dept of Justice asks " When do people of color truly get the benefits to which they are entitled?”  and no one there has the cojones to point out the disconnect on that statement ? These people are constantly spouting their drivel and no one calls them on it. 

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gemjunior posted on

Yes it is quite sad that the AGOTUS is frequently shown up as so utterly one-sided, so obviously working the system as much as he can for "his people."  One of the main requirements of his position would be impartiality on behalf of the US citizen, whatever his creed, color, etc.  Obviously he does not possess the requirement.  And I might also mention that while his main boogymen are Whites, he is further dividing the nation into other groups identifying as something other than Americans.  Just at the top of the comments there are two whose main points are that they are Asian and Indian and are not receiving Affirmative Action or other benefits according to their perceived minority status.  When will it end?  The compulsion of today's Americans to self-identify as victimized ethnics while Whites who do the same are racists, nazi's who wish to exterminate 6 million Jews and revive slavery or Jim Crow laws?  Jeez.  Our country is not only NOT post-racial, it's become more racially divided than ever AT THE HANDS of our "black leadership" with comments such as "my people" and "if I had a son he'd look just like Trayvon" even though the mess was not tried by a jury but by the media?  We are in big trouble folks......

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Anonymous posted on

In the 1960's all and only white countries opened their borders to massive non-white immigration. Then governments and media demanded we "mix together." Now those same governments and medias are calculating that by the year 2040, there won't be a single white majority nation left on the planet, and that this is a "good thing." If this was done to all and only black countries, people would quickly recognize it for the genocide it is. "Anti-racism" is a codeword for anti-white.

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RobRoySimmons posted on

Holder proves that anti-racism is nothing but anti-white.

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whitechildren posted on

 The US Founders never would have imagined an American elite so corrupt that they would dissolve the people and import a new one. But how about the WHITES? There future?

How is this not genocide:
White countries are being flooded by non-whites. We are told to be TOLERANT. We are forced to integrate.

With assimilation we see the extinction of one race only, the white race. Its not funny, not comedy, its white genocide.

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Anonymous posted on

Anti-racist is a codeword for anti-white.

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Anonymous posted on

Mr.holder should be held accountable for his numerous illegal accomplishments. The only reason he was selected by Unpresident Obama was his being born a "Person of Color" What about those of us of American Indian ancestry? We were persecuted. What about those whom are of Asian ancestry? What about the Latinos. This privledged, got where he is because he was allowed to move ahead due lower standards because he claims african ancestry. He should be in jail for his felony actions.  

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Anonymous posted on

gross!!! Time for you and your boss to go.

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