Under the Dome

Hagan talks to Holder about Holding

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan re-emphasized to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in a phone call this week that she wants current federal investigations into public corruption in North Carolina completed.

Hagan, a Greensboro Democrat, has told the White House that she wants U.S. Attorney George Holding, who represents North Carolina’s eastern district, to complete his probes of former Gov. Mike Easley and two-time presidential candidate John Edwards, reports Barb Barrett. Easley and Edwards are Democrats.

Holding is a Bush appointee, and now is up for replacement with President Barack Obama’s nomination last week of Charlotte lawyer Thomas Walker.

Although Hagan recommended Walker, she also has said she wants Holding to finish his work. She reiterated that Monday in a brief phone call with Holder, who oversees U.S. attorneys.

Department of Justice spokeswoman Melissa Schwartz said Holder offered his assurances to Hagan.

"The attorney general assured the senator that the Justice Department handles investigations based solely on their merit and without regard to the political affiliation of the U.S. attorney," Schwartz said.

Hagan has not decided yet how to handle the “blue slip” that home-state senators receive from the Senate Judiciary Committee on U.S. attorney nominees, according to her office. She could decide to either delay returning the blue slip or not return it at all.

U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, a Winston-Salem Republican, plans to return the blue slip and move ahead with the nomination process.

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