It was reassuring to learn this week that the president has nominated distinguished attorney and respected policy sage Cole Finegan to be Colorado’s next U.S. attorney. His nomination now awaits confirmation by the U.S. Senate; if approved as is likely, he will succeed former U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn.
Finegan will give the federal justice system a steady hand on the tiller in our state. His reputation as a top-flight legal mind with unblemished integrity, professionally and personally, will serve him particularly well in the U.S. Attorney’s Office. It is one of those rare posts that is a political appointment — and yet is expected to rise above politics.
While Finegan is a devoted Democrat — the party that holds the levers of power in Colorado as in Washington these days — he has carried out his decades of public service in a way that has won unflagging respect from both sides of the aisle. His upcoming tenure promises to continue earning him that bipartisan respect.
Finegan has long-standing, strong ties to Colorado’s mainstream political establishment — a welcome antidote to the glib, shallow, radicalized politics that seems to be dominating center stage at the moment. He also is a nominee of exceptional substance with a lengthy, policy-rich resume.
He has been a go-to in Denver civic affairs since the 1980s, including work on the redevelopment of the Stapleton Airport site, the former Gates Rubber facility and Denver’s Union Station. He served as city attorney and chief of staff to then-Mayor John Hickenlooper from 2003 to 2006 and was chief legal officer and director of policy and initiatives for Democratic former Colorado Gov. Roy Romer. He has been the managing partner for Denver law firm Hogan Lovells since 2007.
Finegan also previously wrote a weekly column for The Gazette, offering informed and compelling insights into Denver politics, culture, history and policy.
Colorado’s Democratic U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper, who had recommended Finegan for the U.S. attorney’s post, had high praise for him, as reported this week in The Gazette.
“Throughout his career, Cole has displayed tremendous judgment and integrity,” Bennet said in a joint statement with Hickenlooper. “All of those who have worked with him know he is compassionate, decent, and committed to the rule of law.”
Bennet and Hickenlooper cited Finegan’s community involvement, including service on the board of the I Have a Dream Foundation. They also cited his work helping create Denver’s Family Justice Center to address domestic violence. Finegan has received numerous commendations listing him as a top lawyer, including “Lawyer of the Decade” in 2011 and “Lawyer of the Year” in 2013, both by Law Week Colorado.