November 06, 2008
Two days after winning the election, the Obama team has quickly set to work putting together a transition team which wil coordinate the move to the White House in January. Yesterday, Obama appointed three of his HLS classmates and one former HLS professor and alumnus to top transition team posts.
Cassandra Butts ’91, a close friend of Obama’s, will serve as general counsel, a job that will include vetting possible Obama appointees for ethical conflicts. She served as Obama’s domestic policy advisor on the campaign. Prior to working on Obama’s 2008 Presidential campaign, Butts was senior vice president for domestic policy at the Center for American Progress and was a senior advisor to Rep. Richard Gephardt (D-MO).
Michael Froman ’91 and Julius Genachowski ’91 were named to the transition team’s 12-member advisory board. Formerly managing director at Citigroup, Froman was chief of staff to former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin. His work may begin soon—the Obama team is said to be considering candidates for the Treasury Secretary post and may announce their choice as early as this week.
A veteran of Internet business operations, Genachowski has been advising the Obama campaign on technology policy issues. He was an executive of IAC/InterActiveCorp and was chief counsel to FCC chairman Reed Hundt.
Former HLS professor Christopher Edley, Jr. ’78, who taught Obama during his student days, was also named to the advisory board. Edley is currently the dean of the University of California-Berkeley Law School and taught at HLS for 23 years, co-founding the Harvard Civil Rights Project. He is a veteran of Washington, having worked on the Carter administration’s domestic policy staff and as a senior advisor for economic policy on the Dukakis campaign. In the Clinton administration, Edley was associate director for economics and government at the White House Office of Management and Budget. And, from 1999-2005, he served as a congressional appointee on the bipartisan U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
The transition team has been working in downtown Chicago this week and is expected to remain there for a few more days before moving to Washington, D.C.