June 29, 2011

NOMINATION OF JAMES MICHAEL COLE TO BE DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL

Madam President, I am very pleased that soon we will be voting on Jim Cole to be the Deputy Attorney General of the United States. This is a person who puts principle over politics, a person who is very important in our war against terror and who will use all lawful tools to keep our Nation safe. So I am proud to take a few moments to urge my colleagues to vote for his confirmation. I think that is in our national security interests, and I know he will be and already is an incredible asset to this country in keeping us safe and doing so in the best traditions of the U.S. Attorney General's Office.

   I would like to talk for a moment on a personal basis because I got to know Jim Cole when I was serving in the House of Representatives. I was on the Ethics Committee. The Ethics Committee is not a committee, as you know, on which a Member asks to serve; it is something we must do.

   We had a very sensitive investigation in the House of Representatives concerning the Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, and the six of us who served on the Ethics Committee needed to come to a fair, nonpartisan conclusion to this very challenging investigation. To say we thought this would be impossible was an understatement of where we first thought we would be in regard to the investigation. But then we reached out and agreed to bring in an independent counsel to help us in our deliberations. That person was Jim Cole.

   Jim Cole worked with all of us to look at the facts and do what was in the best interests of the House of Representatives, the best interests of our country, and to leave our politics aside so that we could come out with a result that was fair and would restore confidence in the legislative process. In fact, we did that. We were able to reach a totally unanimous judgment, one that was agreed to on the floor of the House of Representatives and I think spoke volumes about our ability to get our work done in the best interests of our Nation.

   I thought Jim Cole did a fabulous job, a great job in helping us. That was also the view of Porter Goss, who was the Republican leader on the Ethics Committee and chairman of the committee at the time. He said he felt Jim Cole brought professionalism at the highest level to our investigation and allowed us to come forward with a fair nonpartisan conclusion. That is the exact person we need in the Department of Justice. It is the person we need to be Deputy Attorney General of the United States.

   The Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General are our Nation's lawyers. They don't represent one party; they represent our country. We need leadership in the Department of Justice who will work in a nonpartisan way, a way that will bring nonpartisan leadership to the Department of Justice. Jim Cole is that type of person. He has the experience, he has the character, and he has the commitment to fill this very important position in our Nation, with 13 years in the Department of Justice and experience in public interest law. His career has been devoted to the public interest in community service.

   I was listening to my colleague and friend Senator Grassley talk about his concerns about some of the private law practice of Jim Cole. Here is a person who has devoted his life basically to community and his career in public interest law. He has been a prosecutor. He has been a person who has dealt with white-collar criminals. And, yes, he is an effective attorney. As those of us who are lawyers know, we will represent our clients aggressively, but we don't lose sight of our system. That has been Jim Cole throughout his career. He will bring the expertise he has had in his previous experience to represent our Nation well. These are tough times. We are dealing with threats around the world where we need an Attorney General and a Deputy Attorney General who will use all lawful tools in order to protect our country.

   It is interesting that Jim Cole enjoys endorsement from both sides of the aisle. When we look at high-ranking Department of Justice former officials, both Democrats and Republicans have endorsed Jim Cole's confirmation to be the Deputy Attorney General.

   Let me quote from one Republican source that I think is typical of the endorsements we have received encouraging the confirmation of Jim Cole. We received a letter from Fred Fielding. I think most of you know Fred Fielding. He was White House Counsel for former President George W. Bush. I think most of us had close dealings with and respected him greatly in the service to the Bush administration. This is what Fred Fielding said about Jim Cole:

   Mr. Cole combines all the qualities you would want in a citizen public servant. He understands both sides of the street and is smart and tenacious, and is a person of unquestioned honor and integrity.

   Well, I agree with Fred Fielding. This is the type of person we need to be Deputy Attorney General of the United States.

   I am pleased we are going to have this vote later on today. I encourage my colleagues to vote for his confirmation. It is important that we have individuals in these key positions who enjoy the full confirmation from the Senate, and I hope my colleagues will join me in supporting this nominee.