Acting Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration: Who Is Chuck Rosenberg?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

On May 13, 2015, Chuck Rosenberg, a longtime federal prosecutor, was named by Attorney General Loretta Lynch as acting chief of the Drug Enforcement Administration, taking over from Michele Leonhart, who was pushed out because of a sex scandal within the agency.

 

Rosenberg was born in Brooklyn and grew up in Long Island’s Nassau County. He attended Tufts University, graduating in 1982 with a B.A., and Harvard, earning a Master’s in public policy. He initially went to work in Washington for then-Rep. Matt McHugh (D-New York), but left there after two years to attend law school. He earned his J.D. from the University of Virginia in 1990.

 

He joined the Justice Department right out of law school as part of the Attorney General’s Honors Program, which has been the starting point for many high Justice officials. Rosenberg began as a prosecutor in the tax division and in 1994 was an assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. In 2000, he left federal service to work for the law firm of Hunton and Williams. He also served occasionally as a legal analyst for NBC News.

 

Rosenberg was called back to the government in 2002 to serve as counsel to Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Robert Mueller. His job was initially in doubt because it was found by Bush administration officials that Rosenberg had made a donation to the congressional campaign of Chris Van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat and Harvard classmate of Rosenberg’s. Administration officials were convinced that the donation came more from friendship than partisanship and Rosenberg was allowed to take his post. The following year, he was made counselor to Attorney General John Ashcroft and in 2004 he became chief of staff to then-Deputy Attorney General James Comey.

 

In 2005, Rosenberg was made the interim U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of Texas, where he focused on immigration and drug prosecutions. The next year, he was confirmed as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. He supervised the prosecution of many high-profile cases there, including that of 9/11 plotter Zacarias Moussaoui; the dog-fighting case against NFL quarterback Michael Vick; the corruption case against Rep. William Jefferson, the Democratic Louisiana congressman who was found to have kept bribe money in his home freezer; software piracy cases and incidents of fraud among contractors in Afghanistan.

 

Beginning in 2007, he served as chief of staff to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Rosenberg left again for the private sector in 2008, defending white-collar criminals as a partner at Hogan Lovells.

 

Rosenberg returned in 2013 to work for James Comey again, this time as chief of staff and counselor to the FBI director.

 

Unlike his predecessor, as leader of the DEA, Rosenberg is expected to focus more on heroin and harder drugs and less on enforcement of marijuana laws. He is also expected to be in charge of the DEA for the remainder of President Obama’s term.

 

Rosenberg and his wife, Mary, have two children. He loves baseball and has often served as his son’s Little League coach.

-Steve Straehley

 

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Comments

Jerry 1 year ago
Nik - Don't know where you get the notion that we are being inundated with SWA heroin, but you're out in left field with a catcher's mitt on this. East of the Mississippi, 85-95% of the heroin comes from Andean states in South America (primarily Columbia) - highly pure "white" heroin. West of the Mississippi, it's almost all Mexican heroin (brown & black "tar"). The MX cartels are trying to break into the lucrative & well-established eastern US market by introducing "Mexican White", a somewhat inferior, but less expensive, substitute for SA heroin. However, you're at least partly correct: tighter controls on Rx opiates, and their relatively high cost, make it economically favorable for an opiate-dependent abuser to switch to heroin. Nevertheless, those same controls may aid in new opiate abusers from initiating. And how in God's name do you figure "uncle sam" [sic] is benefiting from the sale of either heroin or Rx opiates?? Corporate income taxes?? Companies find ways around most of their tax liability. Finally, any doctor who is "hamstrung", "scared" or otherwise unable to "effectively treat patients" because of the re-scheduling of hydrocodone products isn't worth a damn anyway; a responsible practitioner won't be hampered, but those controls will put a crimp in the multi-billion dollar industry that "pain management" has become.
Nik 1 year ago
"Brian" you are on the right path in your thinking. It's no coincidence that in the years since we have been in Afghanistan, the amount of incredibly high quality heroin has flooded our country and costs a fraction per milligram what pharmaceutical opiates cost. At the same time, the DEA has tightened the reins on medical doctors' ability to effectively treat patients through raising the scheduling of once commonly and generally responsibly prescribed medications like Vicodin, Tylenol 3, and even Tramadol (which has about as much abuse potential as over the counter cough-syrup). Docs have been hamstrung to the point where they are *scared* to prescribe these medications. When a days worth of Vicodin costs between $40 and $90 per day on the street for a therapeutic dose, and heroin can be had (before your tolerance rapidly increases) for as little as $15-$20 per day, it comes down to a matter of economics for many people. Of course...that skyrockets to $100 a day and carries the risk of death after a short amount of time, but when you're in pain and think you know better...the point is, it's alluring and obviously addictive. Once that money gets to the top, guess where it's going? Ultimately, to uncle sam goes the lion share. It's disgusting.
Brian 1 year ago
THE SOLDIERS IN AFGHANISTAN HELPED THE AFGHANIS TO GROW THEIR POPPY. WHEN WE ENTERED AFGHANISTAN THE POPPY CROP WAS ALMOST DESTROYED. THE GOVERNMENT GAVE MONEY AND MANPOWER TO THE AFGNANIS AND WITHIN 4 YEARS THE POPPY CROP WAS BACK TO 100%. NOW HOW IS THIS A WAR ON DRUGS WHEN THE AMERICAN GOVERNMENT GIVES MONEY AND MANPOWER TO BRING THE POPPY CROP BACK INTO FULL FORCE.
Jody 1 year ago
Okay Charles we get it. You like marijuana. But we need a complete overhaul of the DEA and the laws concerning drugs in this country. They are not working. Our prisons are filled with non violent offenders. Because of the crackdown on pain meds thousands of legitimate patients are having difficulty getting the medications they need. Fine, legalize marijuana, but stop trying to divert attention from marijuana by having the DEA overreact to other drug issues leaving those that are truly in need of medications out in the cold.
Charles Carbone 1 year ago
We must stop wasting money and time with marijuana as a scheduled one drug and focus on getting heroin and drugs like this off the streets and out of the American people's hands.
charles Carbone 1 year ago
we as Americans must get heroin off the streets and closed down pill mills.

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