Charles B. Holstein, 91, a former Capitol Hill staff aide who was a behind-the-scenes force on the major consumer-credit legislation of the 1960s and 1970s, died of lung cancer July 4 at his Silver Spring home.
Mr. Holstein worked for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Washington Post and the Associated Press before going to government work. He wrote or managed the Truth in Lending Act, the Consumer Credit Protection Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.
He worked for Congress for 30 years. Before retiring, he shepherded through the House legislation known as the Consumer Credit Protection Act of 1978.
Mr. Holstein was born in Pottsville, Pa., where he did freelance work for the Pottsville Journal. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh.
As a political writer for the Post-Gazette, he interviewed many of the principal speakers on the public-affairs circuit before and during World War II, including Eduard Benes, Czechoslovakia's president in exile, and first lady Eleanor Roosevelt.
In 1944, Mr. Holstein moved to Washington to work as an assistant city editor at The Post. Soon thereafter, he went to work at the Associated Press, where he covered Washington for the AP's 88 Pennsylvania member-newspapers.
In 1946, he became executive assistant to Sen. Francis J. Myers (D-Pa.), who later became the deputy majority leader. Mr. Holstein handled all Myers' legislative work and was the principal Senate staff member who drafted President Harry S. Truman's 1948 platform.
Mr. Holstein served for a year as research director of a House special investigating committee headed by Rep. Frank Buchanan (D-Pa.). For two years, Mr. Holstein served as a consultant to 10 House members on legislative issues.
As a staff member on the House Banking Committee's subcommittee on consumer affairs, he assisted Rep. Leonor K. Sullivan (D-Mo.) in winning passage of the Poultry Products Inspection Act of 1957, the first compulsory inspection of poultry moving across state lines. He also worked on the Delaney Clause of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1957, which prohibited the use of any chemical in food products that could cause cancer in consumers or animals.
It was in the area of consumer credit, however, that Mr. Holstein made his mark. In addition to the basic consumer-credit protections, he managed all coinage legislation. When he retired from the House Committee on Banking and Currency, he boasted that his one-man subcommittee staff had been replaced by two subcommittees with 13 staff members.
Mr. Holstein prided himself on being one in a small cadre of committee and staff experts in the Congress with deep institutional memory that went back as far as the enactment of the Congressional Reorganization Act of 1946, which consolidated many committees in the House and Senate.
His wife of nearly 60 years, Ruth Kline Holstein, died in 1995.
Survivors include two daughters, Martha M. Holstein of New York and Carolyn H. Asbury of Philadelphia.