- Attorney General Holder, June 1st:
[W]e must also ensure that anyone found responsible for this [Gulf oil] spill is held accountable. That means enforcing the appropriate civil -- and if warranted, criminal -- authorities to the full extent of the law. . .
During the early stages of the response efforts, I sent a team of attorneys including the head of the Environment and Natural Resources Division, Ignacia Moreno, and the head of our Civil Division, Tony West, to New Orleans to lead our efforts to protect not only the people who work and reside near the Gulf, but also the American taxpayers, the environment and the abundant wildlife in the region. They have been working diligently ever since to gather facts and coordinate the government’s legal response.
As we move forward, we will be guided by simple principles: We will ensure that every cent of taxpayer money will be repaid and damages to the environment and wildlife will be reimbursed. We will make certain that those responsible clean up the mess they have made and restore or replace the natural resources lost or injured in this tragedy. And we will prosecute to the full extent any violations of the law.
- President Obama, June 4th:
Now, I don't have a problem with BP fulfilling its legal obligations. But I want BP to be very clear, they’ve got moral and legal obligations here in the Gulf for the damage that has been done. And what I don't want to hear is, when they’re spending that kind of money on their shareholders and spending that kind of money on TV advertising, that they’re nickel-and-diming fishermen or small businesses here in the Gulf who are having a hard time.
We’ve assigned federal folks to look over BP’s shoulder and to work with state and local officials to make sure that claims are being processed quickly, fairly, and that BP is not lawyering up, essentially, when it comes to these claims.
The company certainly has huge obligations as a result of its actions in this matter. But surely the constitutional-law-professor-in-chief would concede their right to a legal defense. If you were facing a full-scale federal investigation in which the attorney general personally pledged to punish you "to the fullest extent of the law," you might well consider lawyering up.Historically, lefties are quick to stress the importance of the right to counsel. Except, apparently, for crimes against Gaia.