Holder promises new era as head of Justice Dept.
WASHINGTON - Attorney General Eric Holder, on his first day on the job, signaled a clean break with past policies of the Bush administration and promised to hold Wall Street accountable if any major financial institutions engaged in fraud that contributed to the global financial crisis.
Vice President Joe Biden swore in President Obama's choice - the first African-American to hold the post - in a ceremony yesterday before dignitaries and employees at the department.
Holder, 58, a former prosecutor, federal judge, and number two Justice Department official during the Clinton administration, promised the start of a new era at the agency, which was racked by Bush administration scandals over politically motivated hirings and firings.
Holder has pledged to restore its reputation. "This is a place that has, I think, been hurting, but I think it's ready to heal," he said.
Shortly after the ceremony, Holder was questioned about Wall Street. "We're not going to go out on any witch hunts, and yet we'll drill down and see" to what extent the economic troubles are the result of fraud or misconduct, Holder said.
Tammy Duckworth, who lost both her legs and partial use of one arm when her helicopter was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade in 2004, will be assistant secretary of public and intergovernmental affairs for the Department of Veterans Affairs, the White House announced yesterday. In the job, Duckworth will also oversee programs for homeless veterans, consumer affairs, and special rehabilitative events. Duckworth, a visible supporter of Obama's during the campaign, has been director of the state veterans office in Illinois since 2006.
But now an advocacy group is trying to use the case of Obama's aunt, who was discovered living in Boston illegally just before the election, to pump up the subject again.
Zeituni Onyango, Obama's late father's half sister, faces an April 1 hearing on her immigration status and is believed to be living in Cleveland. Obama has said that he wasn't aware of her case and that the law should be followed. Americans for Legal Immigration PAC said this week that it is filing an arrest request with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and issuing a public demand for Obama to deport his aunt.
"Obama must either deport his aunt or destroy his own credibility by showing her favoritism," William Gheen of the group said in a statement.
CEO Ty Warner of Oak Brook-based Ty Inc. said in a statement yesterday that the dolls have been renamed "Marvelous Mariah" and "Sweet Sydney."