WASHINGTON -- As Congress continues its inquiry into the Whitewater affair, Senate Banking Committee Republicans appointed Michael Chertoff, a former U.S. attorney for New Jersey, as a special counsel for the committee's upcoming hearings.

While a U.S. attorney, Mr. Chertoff directed major investigations of political corruption and prosecuted executives at several New Jersey thrifts.

Successful Prosecutions

In addition, Mr. Chertoff successfully prosecuted Jersey City Mayor Gerald McCann for bank fraud and tax evasion in 1991. In 1986, he led the "mafia commission" trial in New York.

Last year, Mr. Chertoff negotiated guilty pleas with three mortgage company executives who admitted to defrauding banks, including UJB Financial Corp., Princeton, and Midlantic Corp., Edison Township, of millions of dollars.

In May, Mr. Chertoff joined the New York office of Lathan & Watkins, where he heads the firm's white-collar enforcement and internal investigations practice.

"I am extremely pleased to have someone of Michael Chertoff's stature and accomplishments directing the committee's investigative efforts," said Sen. Alfonse M. D'Amato, the banking committee's senior Republican.

'Demanding Responsibility'

"He only recently left public service, and I appreciate his decision to assume this important and demanding responsibility," the New York Republican said.

The Senate has voted to hold hearings before July 29, but has yet to set a date for the session.

Sen. D'Amato has been holding up the nomination of Rick, Tiggert to be chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in an effort to hold full-scale hearings.

A spokesman for the senator said Wednesday that "nothing has changed" that would prompt him to let the nomination go forward.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.