15:14, March 07 539 0 abajournal.com

2017-03-07 15:14:07
White House counsel’s office is staffing up team of lawyers, with 26 total so far

The Office of the White House Counsel so far has hired 26 lawyers as ethics and policy issues grow, the Associated Press reports.

The list of lawyers who work for White House Counsel Don McGahn includes four who have followed him from the Jones Day law firm.

The office oversees judicial and executive branch appointments and gives the president legal advice on policymaking, which includes executive orders, and on ethical issues.

In a profile of McGahn in December, the New York Times described him as the “Atlantic City-born lawyer, a guitarist in a rock band who has a personality to match Mr. Trump’s,” and who “will be the legal arbiter for the complicated thicket of ethical issues awaiting a president-elect who has built a vast business empire.”

Considering President Donald Trump’s global business empire and a Cabinet with more wealthy business leaders than in the past, there will be “a bounty of ethics questions for McGahn’s team,” the AP reports.

The AP recently reviewed a staffing memo for the White House counsel’s office, which details a number of the hires. McGahn has them organized under four deputy counsel:

• Stefan Passantino as special ethics counsel, with three other senior lawyers. He was chairman of the Dentons political law team.

• Greg Katsas, a partner from Jones Day who wrote briefs for and argued a key constitutional challenge to the Affordable Care Act and previously held senior positions in the Department of Justice.

• Makan Delrahim, a partner at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck. A former staff lawyer with the Senate Judiciary Committee, Delrahim oversaw strategy and outreach with the Senate for the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court, the Washington Post reports.

• John Eisenberg, a partner at Kirkland & Ellis, formerly a senior national security official in the DOJ and now is the legal adviser for the National Security Council.

Eisenberg’s national security team includes Michael Ellis, former general counsel to the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in the House of Representatives; John Walk, former general counsel at the Department of Homeland Security; and Schuyler Schouten, an associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell and former policy aide to former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who wrote him a letter of recommendation.

McGahn named a former Jones Day colleague, Annie Donaldson, as chief of staff for the counsel’s office.