There’s a secret cosmic door that connects the parallel universes of Washington and Wall Street. It’s not the proverbial revolving door, but a wide-open passageway – reserved for those in the know.
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Lanny Breuer is definitely in the know. He passed effortlessly from the job of defending Wall Street wrongdoers in cases before the Justice Department – to then being the Department’s chief prosecutor of Wall Street wrongdoing. Four years ago, he left Covington & Burling, the prestigious Washington law firm, where he represented Wall Street clients, to head the Criminal Division of Justice. Dismissing criticism that his long service to Wall Street banksters created an inherent conflict with his new duty to the public, Breuer insisted that he’d be a better prosecutor “because of my deep experience in the private sector.”
Yet, he did not bring even a single case against the Wall Street executives who’ve been publicly exposed as perpetrators of destructive financial crimes. Not one.
Why? Call me cynical, but perhaps because he was using his four years at Justice to pad his resume and further enhance his value to Wall Street.
No surprise, then, that Breuer has now passed back through that cosmic door, rejoining Covington in a specially-created position to expand its role in defending corporate clients charged with foreign bribery, money laundering, securities fraud, and such. “I’m a zealous advocate,” said the guy who studiously refrained from being a zealous prosecutor. “I look forward to being a zealous advocate for our clients again,” he added.
Sheesh, couldn’t he at least pretend to have some ethics? Instead, Lanny was relieved to be back on Wall Street’s side: “It’s my professional home,” he confessed. Oh, did I mention that his starting salary at Covington will be $4 million a year?
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