Jamie S. Gorelick (/ɡəˈrɛlɪk/; born May 6, 1950) is an American lawyer who served as the Deputy Attorney General of the United States from 1994 to 1997, during the Clinton administration. She has been a partner at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr since July 2003. She is a director of Amazon.com.
Gorelick served on British Petroleum's Advisory Council, as their top legal counsel after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. She was appointed by former Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle to serve as a commissioner on the bipartisan National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, which sought to investigate the circumstances leading up to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and also served as Vice Chairman of Fannie Mae. Results of an internal audit showing improper accounting within Fannie Mae is given as the reason for her resignation. While at the U.S. Department of Justice, she authored a memo that clarified Reagan era rules for communications on terrorism within the FBI. Critics cite this action as one reason for lack of sharing intelligence prior to the September 11 attacks.
Gorelick was born in New York City and grew up in Great Neck, New York, in a Jewish family. She attended South High School. In high school she was the secretary of the student government. She obtained a B.A. magna cum laude from Radcliffe College of Harvard University in 1972, where she was designated Radcliffe Orator, and a J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1975.
Gorelick joined the Washington, D.C. law firm Miller, Cassidy, Larroca and Lewin in 1975 and worked for them as a litigator until 1993, except for 1979 to 1980 when she was an assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Energy. Gorelick was president of the District of Columbia Bar from 1992 to 1993.
Under the Clinton administration, Gorelick served as General Counsel of the Department of Defense from 1993 to 1994, when she was appointed Deputy Attorney General of the United States, the No. 2 position in the Department of Justice. Gorelick served as Vice Chairman of the Federal National Mortgage Association from 1997 to 2003.
She is a law partner in the Washington office of WilmerHale and a member of the boards of Amazon.com, United Technologies Corporation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless and Legal Affairs.
While serving as Deputy Attorney General under Bill Clinton, Gorelick spoke in favor of banning the use of strong encryption and called for a key escrow system to allow the Federal government access to encrypted communication.
Gorelick is a lobbyist for the lending industry fighting student loan reform
Even though she had no previous training nor experience in finance, Gorelick was appointed Vice Chairman of Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) from 1997 to 2003. She served alongside former Clinton Administration official Franklin Raines. During that period, Fannie Mae developed a $10 billion accounting scandal.
On March 25, 2002, Business Week interviewed Gorelick about the health of Fannie Mae. Gorelick is quoted as saying, "We believe we are managed safely. We are very pleased that Moody's gave us an A-minus in the area of bank financial strength – without a reference to the government in any way. Fannie Mae is among the handful of top-quality institutions." One year later, Government Regulators "accused Fannie Mae of improper accounting to the tune of $9 billion in unrecorded losses".
In an additional scandal concerning falsified financial transactions that helped the company meet earnings targets for 1998, a "manipulation" that triggered multimillion-dollar bonuses for top executives, Gorelick received $779,625.
A 2006 report of an investigation by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight into Fannie Mae's accounting practices and corporate governance revealed that from 1998 to 2002 Gorelick received a total of $26,466,834.00 in income.
According to Gorelick's op-ed letter in the Washington Post she states that: "At last week's hearing, Attorney General John Ashcroft, facing criticism, asserted that 'the single greatest structural cause for September 11 was the wall that segregated criminal investigators and intelligence agents' and that I built that wall through a March 1995 memo." However, the report from the 9/11 Commission, co-authored by Gorelick, asserts that the 'wall' limiting the ability of federal agencies to cooperate had existed since the 1980s and is in fact not one singular wall but a series of restrictions created over the course of over twenty years.
A 1995 Department of Justice memorandum states that the procedures her memorandum put in place for the investigation of the first WTC bombing "go beyond what is legally required...[to] prevent any risk of creating an unwarranted appearance that FISA is being used to avoid procedural safeguards which would apply in a criminal investigation." The wall intentionally exceeded the requirements of FISA (the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978) for the purposes of criminal investigations, as well as the then-existing federal case law. These rules were, shortly after their creation, expanded to regulate such communications in future counter-terrorism investigations.
Gorelick eventually recused herself from reviewing her own role in the regulation of information about terrorist activities. Attorney General Ashcroft was incensed before the 9/11 commission to learn that the commission had not investigated or been told of Gorelick's memo or her role regarding the "wall". This assertion was disputed by former senator Slade Gorton (R-WA), a member of the 9/11 Commission, who said, "nothing Jamie Gorelick wrote had the slightest impact on the Department of Defense or its willingness or ability to share intelligence information with other intelligence agencies." Gorton also asserted that "the wall" was a long-standing policy that had resulted from the Church committee in the 1970s, and that the policy only prohibits transfer of certain information from prosecutors to the intelligence services and never prohibited information flowing in the opposite direction.
Testifying before the commission, Attorney General John Ashcroft said, "Although you understand the debilitating impact of the wall, I cannot imagine that the commission knew about this memorandum, so I have declassified it for you and the public to review," he said. "Full disclosure compels me to inform you that its author is a member of this commission."
Gorelick was added in February 2006 to Duke University's defense team after the 2006 Duke University lacrosse case scandal. The University faces claims by unaccused members of the team that they "railroaded 47 Duke University students as either principals or accomplices." Gorelick and her law firm left the defense team in July 2011 after Judge Beatty denied Duke's Motions to Dismiss and let the lawsuits proceed in April.
Gorelick represented Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of Donald Trump, as he considered a possible role in the White House. She had advised Kushner, who has sprawling financial interests in a multi-billion-dollar global real estate empire, on how he might comply with federal ethics and anti-nepotism laws. She has argued that although officials leading federal agencies are barred from hiring relatives, the White House is not an agency and thus exempt. Gorelick argued that if Kushner forgoes a White House salary, he would not be bound by federal nepotism rules. Though Kushner has no experience in government or public policy, Trump directed that during his Presidential transition all foreign-policy matters be relayed through Kushner. Kushner participated in meetings between Trump and foreign heads of state while continuing to run the Kushner Companies.
Gorelick has served on the boards of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Urban Institute, the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. She was elected to The American Law Institute in 1987.
She is married to Richard Waldhorn, a pulmonologist, and has two children.
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