Ambassador to Denmark: Who is Laurie Fulton?

Thursday, July 09, 2009

A major fundraiser for President Barack Obama, Laurie S. Fulton, the new U.S. Ambassador to Denmark, has spent most of her career in Washington, DC, first in the U.S. Senate, where she met her first husband, Tom Daschle, and later as a partner in the powerful legal firm of Williams & Connolly.

Fulton was born on July 2, 1949, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, as Laurie Klinkel. Her great- grandfather served in the Danish parliament from 1918 to 1940. Her maternal grandfather immigrated to the United States prior to World War I, and her mother, Norma Klinkel, served as vice-chairman of the South Dakota Democratic Party (1966-1967) and as the first female commissioner on the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission (1975 to 1981). Fulton became active in politics as a teenager, working for George McGovern’s campaigns in 1968 (Senate race) and 1972 (for president).
She received her Bachelor of Arts, magna cum laude, in 1971 from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Fulton then went to work for U.S. Senator James Abourezk (D-SD) from 1973-1977. During that time, she met her first husband, Tom Daschle, who also worked for Abourezk and who decided to run for Congress himself. Fulton helped with Daschle’s successful campaign in 1978 and worked for her husband until 1981. They divorced in 1983.
After that she went to work for Peace Links, a national anti-war organization founded by congressional wives, becoming its executive director. She also headed up a “security information exchange” known as Access (1986-1988). Fulton returned to the U.S. Senate in 1987, serving in support of the Committee on Environment and Public Works until 1989. She also went back to school at this time and earned her J.D., magna cum laude, in 1989 from Georgetown University, where she was managing editor of the American Criminal Law Review.
Fulton eventually joined the firm of Williams & Connolly LLP, a high-powered Washington, DC, operation that represented President Bill Clinton during his impeachment ordeal. Fulton became a partner and handled civil litigation, internal investigations and white collar criminal defense. Her cases included federal criminal antitrust, bank gratuities, fraud, false statements, theft of government property and trade-control matters, and her client list included heavyweights like Bechtel, General Electric, Archer Daniels Midland, Merck and Company, and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
In 2004, President George W. Bush appointed Fulton to serve on the board of directors of the United States Institute of Peace and she served until 2008.
Fulton has served on the boards of Peace Links (1989-2000) and Bright Beginnings, Inc., which provides pre-school services for homeless children in Washington, D.C. (2000-present), as well as on the Girl Scouts Women’s Advisory Board. Fulton was co-chair of the Criminal Litigation Committee of the Section of Litigation of the American Bar Association from 2007-2008.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, Fulton was one of Obama’s key bundlers, putting together contributions that totaled somewhere between $100,000 and $200,000, according to and the Associated Press. She reportedly has contributed at least $48,900 to Democrats since 1992, including $4,850 to Obama.
Fulton and Daschle have three adult children.
-Noel Brinkehoff
Biography (Williams & Connolly LLP)
From Canistota to Copenhagen, the Laurie Fulton Trail (by Kevin Woster, Rapid City Journal)
Denmark (AllGov)


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