Eric Holder and Caroline Kennedy are heading the team of veepstakes vetters; they're putting all the pieces together and overseeing the process. But who does the actual vetting? Turns out that veepstakes vetting is kind of a specialty for a handful of prominent Washington lawyers who take time every four years to help out.

One is James Hamilton, a white collar criminal defense attorney at Bingham McCutchen in Washington. He was at the head of the team that vetted John Edwards in 2004; he helped Warren Christopher vet several vice presidential candidates in 2000. It's Hamilton and his associates who sit down with the prospective VP candidates and politely grill them; it's Hamilton who directs the candidates to send over health records, tax records, financial statements; it's Hamilton whose team pours over those records and prepares a detailed summary for the presidential nominee to peruse.

Is Hamilton playing a lead role this year? He did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

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