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Press Release

Attorney General Eric Holder Welcomes James Cole as Deputy Attorney General

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

WASHINGTON – Attorney General Eric Holder today welcomed James Cole as the Department of Justice’s new Deputy Attorney General. Cole was sworn in Monday by the Attorney General following President Obama’s recess appointment of Cole.

"I am pleased to welcome Jim back to the Department of Justice," said Attorney General Holder. "He will be critical in our work to keep the American people safe, ensure the fairness and integrity of our financial markets, and restore the traditional missions of the Department."

The Deputy Attorney General advises and assists the Attorney General in formulating and implementing departmental policies and programs and in providing overall supervision and direction to all organizational units of the Department. In the absence of the Attorney General, the Deputy Attorney General acts as the Attorney General.

Cole first joined the department in 1979 as part of Attorney General’s Honors Program and served there 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 both Democratic and Republican elected and appointed officials at all levels of government.

He entered private practice in 1992 and has been a partner with Bryan Cave LLP since 1995, specializing in white collar defense. He served as a court-appointed independent monitor to businesses to establish and oversee corporate compliance programs and ensure they adhere to laws and regulations. He also counseled businesses on securities, regulatory, and criminal law issues.

While in private practice in 1995, Cole was tapped to serve as Special Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Standards of Official Conduct. 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 required Speaker Gingrich to pay penalties.

In 2005, Cole was appointed to serve as an independent monitor at the insurance company AIG to review five years of transactions following a settlement with regulators involving allegations the company was setting up sham transactions to hide losses. His role there led to another appointment involving AIG in 2006, in which he was charged with developing financial reporting and regulatory compliance programs.

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 serves as the First Vice-Chair 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.

Updated September 15, 2014

Press Release Number: 11-001