The Senate Judiciary Committee endorsed Deputy Attorney General nominee James Cole at its meeting Tuesday.
The panel voted, 12-7, along party lines to report his nomination out of committee. The committee initially scheduled a vote for Cole last Tuesday. But his nomination was held over at the request of panel Republicans. Committee members can request to hold over a nominee one time.
GOP members expressed concern with Cole’s support for trying terrorism suspects in civilian courts and his tenure as an independent monitor for insurance giant AIG, which the Federal Reserve bailed out during the economic crisis in 2008.
“I’m concerned about Mr. Cole’s ability because in his position as Deputy Attorney General, he would be in a position to influence future compliance monitors appointed under settlements between Justice Department, [Securities and Exchange Commission] and other corporations that have violated the law,” said Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa).
Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.) said the nominee did not have the authority under the terms of the deferred prosecution between AIG and the Justice Department to evaluate the economic strength of the company’s business decisions.
“I think we need to look at the entire record here,” Cardin said. “Obviously none of us are proud of what happened at AIG. But I don’t think we should have guilt by association because someone tried to take on the challenges and help the situation.”
Panel Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) urged his colleagues to move quickly on the nomination, noting the Senate’s consideration of George W. Bush administration Deputy Attorneys General Larry Thompson, James Comey, Paul McNulty and Mark Filip.
McNulty was the only Deputy Attorney General in the group who was not confirmed within three months of his nomination. He was confirmed after a little more than four months.
President Barack Obama nominated Cole in May to replace acting Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler, who has held the post since David Ogden stepped down in February.
This post has been updated from an earlier version.