Jan. 24--No financial institutions are too big to indict, the new voter identification law that was presented in Congress needs to be strengthened, and the National Security Agency's controversial policy of collecting phone record data is completely legal, U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said on MSNBC Friday.
"There are no institutions that are too big to indict," Mr. Holder told MSNBC reporter Ari Melber. "We have brought charges against thousands of people over the course of these last four-and-a-half years."
The government's $13 billion settlement with financial institution JP Morgan Chase & Co is an example of strong oversight by his department, Mr. Holder told MSNBC. He added that a criminal investigation was ongoing and the public needs to be patient with the process.
In terms of voter identification laws, Congress needs to strengthen a bill introduced last week by Rep. John Lewis, a Democrat, and Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, a Republican, to ensure that no one is improperly turned away or discouraged to vote, Mr. Holder said.
"People have to understand that we are not opposed to photo identification in a vacuum," Mr. Holder told MSNBC, but it must not be used "to disenfranchise" people for racial or "partisan reasons."
While some GOP lawmakers may have a "good faith" concern here, Mr. Holder said, others are disingenuously "using it for partisan advantage."
He also defended the legality of the NSA phone record data collection, despite a report from a watchdog group yesterday that declared it illegal. He reiterated White House spokesman Jay Carney's remarks that as many as 15 judges on about 35 occasions have said that the program itself is legal.
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Original headline: Eric Holder: U.S. investigating big banks and voter fraud
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