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Name: Gutman, Howard
Current Position: Previous Ambassador

Yet another in the list of ambassadorial appointees who raised large sums of cash for President Barack Obama, Howard W. Gutman has a resume that is not without controversy. A high-octane lawyer and player in Democratic Party politics, Gutman is well-known around Washington, where his long career has included a stint as a registered lobbyist, and his legal work has involved representing former 1960s radicals and South American leaders. He also drew attention to himself during last year’s presidential campaign when he verbally blasted GOP running mate Sarah Palin for her parenting skills.

Born on July 8, 1956, in the Bronx, Gutman is the son of Max Gutman, who owned M&R Sportswear, a New York manufacturers of women’s clothing. Gutman completed his undergraduate studies, summa cum laude, at Columbia University in 1977, and then attended Harvard Law School, where he received his J.D., magna cum laude, in 1980.
He clerked for Judge Irving L. Goldberg on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (1980-1981) before briefly joining the New York law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore. He left the firm to clerk for Justice Potter Stewart on the U.S. Supreme Court (1981-1982).
Gutman then served as a special assistant to FBI Director William Webster, focusing on counter-terrorism and counter-intelligence, before joining the Washington, DC, firm of Williams & Connolly LLP in 1983.
During his more than 20 years with Williams & Connolly, Gutman focused on commercial litigation, including securities, contracts, antitrust, labor, banking, real estate, intellectual property, insurance coverage, international law and partnership disputes. His clients have included Fortune 500 companies, start-ups, financial services firms, labor unions, pension funds, law and accounting firms, government entities, real estate developers, sports teams, and political candidates.
In 1999 and 2000, Gutman was a registered federal lobbyist for Williams & Connolly.
In 2001, Gutman represented Susan Rosenberg, a former member of the Weather Underground who was pardoned by President Bill Clinton. He also helped former Bolivian President Gonzalo Sánchez De Lozada and former Defense Minister José Carlos Sánchez Berzain, who were sued in U.S. court by citizens of Bolivia for their ordering the military to squash political protests, which allegedly resulted in 67 deaths and hundreds injured.
While serving as a partner at Williams & Connolly, Gutman was also a litigation counsel for Friedman, Billings & Ramsey, a leading U.S. investment bank. In addition, Gutman made several appearances on the short-lived HBO series K Street as a Washington attorney, has been an editor of Litigation Magazine for more than 24 years, and an active participant in the American Bar Association’s Litigation Section. He is a board member of the Hebrew Home of Greater Washington in Rockville, Maryland.
Gutman has been a player in Democratic politics for many years, having advised a variety of Democratic candidates and helped raise money for races for president, governor, and Congress. He assisted the Gore campaign in Florida in 2000.
During the 2008 presidential contest, Gutman was part of the Obama National Finance Committee and later a trustee on the Presidential Inauguration Committee. According to, Gutman and his wife, Michelle Loewinger, have contributed at least $86,150 to Democratic candidates, parties and committees since 1989. Gutman bundled at least $500,000 for Obama’s campaign committee and another $275,000 for his inauguration committee.
In September 2008, he publicly criticized Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin on the Laura Ingraham radio show. In a discussion about Palin’s family and whether the media was being unfairly harsh on the Alaska governor because she was a woman, Gutman said, “This has nothing to do with gender, whether Todd Palin was the nominee or Sarah Palin was the nominee. If my daughter had just come home at 17 years old and said, ‘Mom, Dad, I’m pregnant, we have a family problem, ‘I wouldn’t say, ‘You know what we’re going to do? We’re going to take this private family problem...and you know what I’m going to do? I’m going to go on the international stage and broadcast this to the world.…This wasn’t a working mother issue, this was a parent issue”
Howard W. Gutman Biography (Williams & Connolly)
Howard Gutman (
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