Will Norman Eisen be the Next Ambassador to Czech Republic?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Although President Barack Obama has not officially nominated an ambassador to the Czech Republic, rumors are heavy in Prague that the post will go to White House ethics lawyer Norman Eisen. Eisen has no diplomatic experience to speak of, but he does have other qualities going for him—including knowing Barack Obama since law school, and raising substantial sums of money for the president’s 2008 campaign.

The son of Eastern European Jewish refugees who survived the Holocaust, Eisen is a first-generation American who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from Hollywood High School. He went on to Brown University and graduated in 1985. Then he became a civil-rights organizer for the Anti-Defamation League, which focuses on combating anti-Semitism. He later attended Harvard Law School, where he first met Obama.
After graduating from law school in 1991, Eisen took a job in Washington with the law firm of Zuckerman Spaeder. During his 17 years with the firm, he handled white-collar criminal cases and congressional investigations. He eventually made partner. In 1998, he co-founded the Kids Computer Workshop to teach computer skills to children in disadvantaged neighborhoods of Washington, DC.
In 2003, Eisen co-founded Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a government watchdog organization that targets corrupt officials.
During the 2008 presidential race, Eisen bundled between $200,000 and $500,000 for Obama. He also personally donated more than $40,000 to political campaigns, including $4,600 to Obama, $2,300 to Joseph Biden, and $27,350 to the Democratic National Committee.
Aside from fundraising, Eisen worked on education policy for the Obama campaign, before turning his attention to ethics reform. He crafted a broad ethics reform plan during the transition and submitted it to Obama for his approval the day after the inauguration. The plan became best known for provisions banning registered lobbyists from taking positions in the administration. It also earned him the nickname “Mr. No.”
Eisen’s first official post in the Obama administration was Special Counsel to the President for Ethics and Government Reform.
Eisen is married and has one daughter.
The U.S. embassy in Prague is currently being led by Chargé d’Affaires John Ordway, who previously served as U.S. ambassador to Armenia (2001-2004) and Kazakhstan (2004-2008).
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Norman Eisen (WhoRunsGov)


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