Assistant Attorney General for Justice Programs: Who is Karol Mason?
The Office of Justice Programs (OJP), an agency in the Department of Justice that provides economic, technological, and research assistance to state and local governments, law enforcement, and criminal justice agencies, is set for new leadership. President Barack Obama on February 13, 2013, nominated attorney Karol Mason to run OJP, which administers the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the Bureau of Justice Statistics. If confirmed by the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mason will succeed Laurie Robinson, who had served since November 2009.
Born in Amityville, New York, on August 20, 1957, Karol Virginia Mason was one of four children born to Dennis Edward Mason, a public health administrator who worked for New York City’s Health and Hospital Corporation, and Hattie Vertelle (née Vincent) Mason. Karol Mason earned an A.B. in Mathematics in 1979 at the University of North Carolina. She earned a J.D. at the University of Michigan Law School in 1982, where she was notes editor for the University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform. From 1982 to 1983, she served as a judicial law clerk for Judge John F. Grady of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
Admitted to the Georgia Bar in 1983, Mason practiced law in Atlanta at the law firm of Alston & Bird from 1983 to 2009, becoming the firm’s first black woman partner in 1990. At Alston, Mason concentrated on public and project finance, chaired the firm’s public finance group, and served on its management committee.
Mason, who worked on President Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign as a member of its national finance committee and raised funds in Georgia, left private practice to serve as a deputy associate attorney general from April 2009 to February 2012, after which she returned to Alston. In addition to her other specialties, she provided “guidance in government investigations.”
Mason was a member of the board of trustees at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 2001 to 2009, serving as vice-chair, as chair of the Audit and Finance Committee and as a member of the Endowment and Investment Committees. She is currently a member of the National Association of Bond Lawyers and the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys.
A lifelong Democrat, since 1994 Mason has donated $32,072 to Democratic candidates and causes, including $4,530 to Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign and $5,000 to his 2012 run; $1,000 to John Kerry’s presidential effort in 2004; $1,220 to the Democratic National Committee; $1,000 to Sen. Max Cleland (D-Georgia) in 2003; and $2,000 to Erskine Bowles’ unsuccessful runs for Senate from North Carolina in 2002 and 2004. She has also donated $1,000 to Republicans over the years: $500 to Elizabeth Dole in 2003 (just months after she defeated Bowles) and $500 to Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia) in 2004.
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