Meet the Deputy Attorney General

Meet the Deputy Attorney General

Photo of Attorney General Holder and Deputy Attorney General Cole

Official Biography

Photo of James ColeJames Cole was sworn in as the Deputy Attorney General on Monday, January 3, 2011. Mr. Cole first joined the Department in 1979 as part of Attorney General’s Honors Program and served for 13 years - first as a trial attorney in the Criminal Division, and later as the Deputy Chief of the Division's Public Integrity Section, the office that handles investigation and prosecution of corruption cases against officials, and employees at all levels of government. At Public Integrity Mr. Cole tried a number of notable cases, including prosecution of a U.S. District Judge, a member of Congress, and a federal prosecutor.

He entered private practice in 1992 and was a partner at Bryan Cave LLP from 1995 to 2010, specializing in white collar defense. He served as a court-appointed independent monitor to a large insurance company to establish and oversee corporate compliance programs and ensure it adhered to laws and regulations. He also counseled businesses on securities, regulatory, and criminal law issues.

While in private practice in 1995, Mr. Cole was tapped to serve as Special Counsel to the House Ethics Committee. In that role, he led an investigation into allegations that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich had improperly used tax-exempt money for partisan purposes and misled the Committee in its inquiry. His investigation led to a bipartisan resolution that was approved by an overwhelming majority of the full House, and resulted in a formal reprimand of Speaker Gingrich and a requirement that he pay penalties.

Mr. Cole has been a member of the adjunct faculty at Georgetown University Law Center, teaching courses on public corruption law and legal ethics, and has lectured at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. He is a former chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) White Collar Crime Committee and served as the Chair Elect of the ABA Criminal Justice Section. He received his B.A. from the University of Colorado and his J.D. from the University of California-Hastings.