Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Sessions, and Members of the Judiciary Committee, I would also like to make a brief statement in support of Mr. Cole, who is a veteran of the Department of Justice, having spent the first 13 years of a stellar legal career at the Department handling high-profile corruption investigations, managing attorneys in the Criminal Division, and serving as Chief of Staff to the Special Counsel to the Attorney General.
I first met Mr. Cole in connection with his 1995 appointment by the House of Representatives to be Special Counsel for its investigation into allegations that then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich had misused tax exempt organizations for political purposes. I was a member of the Subcommittee that conducted the investigation, and I can tell you from personal experience, that despite the intense partisan atmosphere that surrounded the investigation, Mr. Cole earned bipartisan praise for the thoroughness and fairness of his work on the investigation.
But you don’t have to only take my word for Mr. Cole’s extraordinary service. When Mr. Cole completed his work, and the House was considering Mr. Cole’s Report, the Republican Chairman of the Investigative Subcommittee, Porter Goss, said that Mr. Cole was a “brilliant prosecutor” and “extraordinarily talented.” Mr. Goss then went on to state that Mr. Cole and the members of the Subcommittee worked in a “spirit of bipartisan cooperation” that grew as the investigation proceeded.
Mr. Cole not only has the proven ability to step into difficult partisan situations and to handle them with great professionalism and judgment, he also has the ability to provide wise counsel on the management challenges faced by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and other large organizations, as demonstrated by time he spent in the Department in the Office of the Attorney General, his 1992 appointment by then President-elect Clinton to the President-elect’s DOJ transition team, his work as an Independent Consultant in connection with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) lawsuit against the American International Group, and his advice and guidance to the Arthur Anderson accounting firm and the Washington Teacher’s Union, on the important management and fiscal-related issues that these large organizations faced.
Mr. Chairman, as part of my preparation for this hearing, I met with Mr. Cole and had the opportunity to discuss a number of issues with him. We are at a critical time in our nation’s history, and our country faces numerous challenges, including some of the most vexing national security and budgetary challenges of our time. Some of these issues ignite passionate debate, and it would be easy for any potential nominee, particularly someone in Mr. Cole’s position at this point in his life, to say “thanks, but no thanks.”
But not Mr. Cole. He is here, and is ready, willing, and more than capable, of returning to the Department of Justice where he began his career, to assist the Attorney General and the President, in managing the day-to-day operations of the Department. I look forward to this nomination hearing, and the Committee’s and the Senate’s swift confirmation of Mr. Cole.