Newly elected Republican Rep. George Holding – the former North Carolina U.S. Attorney who pursued the controversial campaign finance prosecution of two-time Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards – has been awarded a seat on the House Judiciary Committee.
The panel overseas the Department of Justice.
Holding was appointed by President George W. Bush in 2006 to the top federal prosecuting job in North Carolina’s Raleigh-based Eastern District. He remained in the position for more than two years after Democrat Barack Obama was elected president, at the request of Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), so that he could finish his investigation of Edwards and another Democrat, former Gov. Mike Easley.
The Public Integrity Section at Justice Department headquarters took over the Edwards investigation after Holding resigned to run for Congress, despite heavy criticism of a case that Edwards said was politically motivated. Holding denied the allegation.
Edwards was criminally charged with campaign finance violations on the theory his solicitation of money from supporters to pay the living expenses of his pregnant mistress was a form of illegal campaign contribution. A North Carolina federal jury failed to convict, and the Justice Department later announced it would drop all charges and not retry Edwards.
“This is the way our system works and I respect the jury’s verdict,” Holding told Politico after the case ended, adding that “there were always going to be charges this is a political case. That just comes with the territory.”
Holding also joins the Foreign Affairs Committee.
Holder critic also joins panel
Also new to the House Judiciary Committee is Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) who says he “got under [Holder's] skin” during a House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee hearing last February on Operation Fast and Furious. Labrador pressed the Attorney General on the botched gun-walking operation, and he called for Holder to resign.
The Attorney General dressed him down for what he believed was disrespectful of himself and of the office of the Attorney General.
“Maybe this is how you do things in Idaho or wherever you’re from,” Holder said at the hearing.
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) is the new House Judiciary Committee chairman.