Even Hiram Eastland, Minor's attorney, suggested the blame should fall at the feet of the Federal Bureau of Prisons and said a number of people have stopped him on the street to express their outrage about the Minor situation.
But a check of the organizational chart in the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) indicates Holder should not be let off easily on this one. The Bureau of Prisons is part of the DOJ and answers to Eric Holder.
In short, the people who made the decision to keep Paul Minor from attending his wife's funeral work for Eric Holder. So why was Holder not able to instruct his subordinates to give Minor an emergency release?
Alabama attorney Jill Simpson, the key Republican whistleblower in the Don Siegelman case, thinks she knows the reason. Simpson has been saying for weeks now that White House Counsel Greg Craig has essentially been leading Holder and President Barack Obama around by their noses on justice matters.
Simpson says that Craig is more interested in protecting clients of his former law firm, Williams & Connolly, than he is in seeing that justice is achieved. And those clients include a Who's Who of Bush administration officials, including Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and George W. Bush himself.
Mounting evidence suggests that Simpson is right on target about Craig.
Simpson is not a backbencher when it comes to the White House counsel. Before Simpson testified in Congress about the Siegelman case, Craig expressed an interest in representing her. Simpson presented her full story to Craig, and he withdrew from consideration, citing a conflict.
In a letter dated February 22, 2009, Simpson outlined a number of charges against Craig, including the possibility that he shared privileged information with Rove. Craig has not responded to the charges.
The decision to keep Paul Minor from attending his wife's funeral has Craig's influence all over it, Simpson says. And that makes one wonder if Holder has the spine needed for the job he holds:
"Don't buy that Mr Holder couldn't have picked up the telephone and let Mr Minor go to the funeral. He could have, and that is why he remained silent. In fact, the buck stops with him and he is too much of a coward to admit it, so he is playing games by not responding to the request and trying to claim it was the Bureau of Prisons' decision. In fact, he is the head guy over them."
Simpson does not look for Holder to help any of the victims of the Bush Justice Department:
"Holder just needs to go ahead and admit he's not going to do anything to help Mr. Minor, Mr. Siegelman, Mr. Teel, or Mr. Scrushy. The time has come to admit the only folks he has helped have been Republicans, like Senator Ted Stevens. Amazingly he found the time to respond to those pleas for help, but not to answer all the calls of the Democrats who put his boss in office.
"One has to wonder what kind of file Karl Rove has on Mr. Holder, since it was recently revealed by the press that Karl keeps files even on his GOP friends. Maybe we should check Holder out ourselves. If Karl Rove can find (damaging information), I bet we can, too."