Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Hagan: Keep U.S. attorney on Easley probe

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., deserves credit for making the right call on U.S. Attorney George E.B. Holding. She's a Democrat, and with a Democrat in the White House, she gets to recommend candidates for federal judges and prosecutors. It's traditional for incoming parties to change such officials, and Holding, a Republican, is in a job whose term ends in 2010 unless replaced sooner.

But he's also the head prosecutor in the state's eastern district, which has handled a number of corruption cases involving Democratic public officials. He's now looking into the circumstances involving former Gov. Mike Easley and the free airplane rides he took, his close relationship and appointments he gave those who flew him, a good deal on coastal property he got with the help of one of those fliers, and a $170,000 job his wife got at N.C. State University, where one of the pilots was chair of the board of trustees until he resigned the other day. He's also looking into allegations involving former Sen. John Edwards and whether campaign contributions were funneled to a woman with whom he had an affair.

Hagan had begun the process of searching for candidates to replace Holding and other U.S. attorneys, but she has wisely put that process on hold to give the U.S. attorney's office time to complete the investigation. She has asked the White House not to replace Holding "until the conclusion of federal investigations into former Governor Mike Easley and former Senator John Edwards," her office announced.

She said, "Back in March, I announced the formation of a statewide review panel to help screen federal nominees of whom all North Carolinians, regardless of their political affiliation, will be proud. To uphold that promise, I called the White House yesterday to inform them of my recommendation that President Obama not replace Mr. Holding until the ongoing investigations into John Edwards and Mike Easley are completed. It is of the utmost importance to me, as well as to the people of North Carolina, that we ensure this process is carried out as transparently and honestly as possible.”

Several organizations, including the state Republican Party, the GOP legislative leadership and the Observer's editorial department, have called on the White House to leave Holding in charge while this investigation is going on. Hagan's request to the White House was the right move at the right time.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

It is easy to allow an investigation into characters that are no longer holding a position in office. They should look into Bev to determine as LT Governer if she was aware of these shady deals. Of course, CO endorsed Easley (and Edwards), which maybe why they waited until he was out of office before they began running daily articles about his behavior. Also, I believe it is hilarious that CO praises a Democrat for doing the right thing.

Anonymous said...
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Jack Betts said...
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Jack Betts said...

Correction: The Observer did not endorse John Edwards for U.S. Senate in either the primary or general elections in 1998, but I had forgotten that the Observer did endorse Edwards as part of the John Kerry/John Edwards ticket in the 2004 presidential election.

The Observer endorsed Richard Vinroot over Mike Easley in the 2000 election for governor, and in 2004 endorsed Easley over Patrick Ballantine.

Anonymous said...

Best I can remember Mike Easley and Bev Perdue did not have a close relationship during their years as Gov./Lt.Gov. I think Bev is clean on the corruption issue and she is trying to do the right thing and make state government more accountable. I could be wrong though. It's happened before, but not very often.

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