James Cole was confirmed by the Senate today to the post of Deputy Attorney General at the Department of Justice (DOJ). With this, the long battle to hold him accountable for his part in what happened at AIG during the financial meltdown of 2008 comes to an ignominious end.
With the help of numerous AIG whistleblowers, GAP fought to prevent Cole from assuming his new role, where he will now help to decide who is prosecuted and who is not.
The Obama administration has picked the wrong guy. Beginning in 2005, Cole served as the Independent Consultant (IC) at AIG for five years, as a result of two deferred prosecution agreements between the corporation, the SEC and the DOJ. The US government decided that AIG needed independent monitoring as a result of an earlier corporate fraud that forced then-CEO, Hank Greenberg, to resign as part of a deal that allowed him to escape prosecution.
As the IC, Cole was supposed to review the adequacy of AIG's internal controls over financial reporting, and recommend best practices for strengthening legal compliance. For his trouble, he and Bryan Cave (the law firm where Cole is a partner) were reportedly paid over $20 million by AIG.