Lanny Davis | All Articles

Lanny Davis
Lanny Davis
Former Special Counsel to President Clinton
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      Lanny Davis

      Lanny J. Davis counsels individuals, corporations and government contractors, and those under congressional scrutiny, on crisis management and legal issues by developing legal, media and legislative strategies that are designed to best produce a successful result for the client. He has experience in securities fraud and SEC investigations as well, and has found that utilizing such an integrated legal/media/lobbying approach can lead to quicker and less expensive settlements or even successfully litigated outcomes. Senior officials of public companies have also hired Lanny and his crisis group to defend themselves successfully against "short and distort" attacks and other market manipulations. For 25 years prior to 1996, before his tenure as special counsel to President Clinton, Lanny was a commercial, antitrust, government contracts and False Claims Act litigator (both in defense as well as plaintiff). He has argued numerous appellate cases in the U.S. courts of appeals.

      In June 2005, President Bush appointed Lanny to serve on the five-member Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, created by the U.S. Congress as part of the 2005 Intelligence Reform Act. In that capacity, he received the highest level security clearances so that he could be fully briefed and "read in" to the various anti-terrorist surveillance and financial tracking programs at the highest classified level. From 1996 to 1998, Lanny served as special counsel to the president in the White House and was a spokesperson for the president and the White House on matters concerning campaign finance investigations and other legal issues. Lanny has participated in national, state and local politics for almost 30 years. He has served three terms (1980 to 1992) on the Democratic National Committee representing the state of Maryland, and during that period he served on the DNC Executive Committee and as chairman of the Eastern Region Caucus. In Montgomery County, Maryland, he served as chairman of the Washington Suburban Transit Commission.

      Lanny has authored several books and lectured throughout the United States and Europe on various political issues. Between 1990 and 1996, Lanny was a bimonthly commentator on Maryland politics for WAMU-88.5/FM, a Washington, D.C. local affiliate of National Public Radio. He has been a regular television commentator and has been a political and legal analyst for MSNBC, CNN, Fox Cable, CNBC and network TV news programs. He has published numerous op-ed/analysis pieces in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, he Washington Post and other national publications.

      Lanny graduated from Yale Law School, where he won the prestigious Thurman Arnold Moot Court prize and served on the Yale Law Journal. A graduate of Yale University, Lanny served as chairman of the Yale Daily News.

      Lanny is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia and Connecticut and before the Supreme Court of the United States and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Ron Klain As Ebola Czar: The Right Person For The Right Job At The Right Time

U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) (R) talks to Ron Klain (L), then-Chief of Staff for U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, outside of the senate Democrats' weekly policy lunch at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, in this December 8, 2009 file photo.REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/Files

So does anyone doubt that if President Obama had appointed a medical expert to become the Ebola "czar" to manage the Ebola virus crisis, many Republicans would have criticized him for not appointing someone with experience in crisis management, media and political communications? Or if the president had appointed someone with those media/political skills, they would have criticized him for not appointing a medical expert?

Is Obama Too Much Of A Hawk For Democrats?

8:42 PM 09/17/2014

The day before President Obama’s Sept. 10 speech on the threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to American security — in my judgment, one of the best speeches of his two-term presidency — a pundit I like and respect, Chuck Todd, the new moderator of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” was interviewed on PBS’s “Charlie Rose Show.” He told Rose: “If [Hillary Clinton] were running to be the second woman president, I think she would not even be considered a front-runner. She’d be just considered another candidate.”

War And Peace At Camp Equinunk — Lessons For Congress?

9:35 PM 08/05/2014

As public approval of the U.S. Congress continues to dip to ever-lower levels, it is worth examining the cultural phenomenon of something called the Color War at traditional sleep-away summer camps, and what it can teach members of Congress in today’s polarized environment.

Gaza — Facts Vs. False Equivalence

8:30 PM 07/23/2014

I am writing this column on Monday night. I am sick to my stomach after seeing a network TV newscast of a young Palestinian girl lying paralyzed in a hospital in Gaza, the victim of Israeli bombs. I see other children in the hospital. My eyes are tearful. I feel pain in my chest. I finally have to turn away from watching.

DC’s College Bound Program Is Worth Repeating

8:41 PM 06/25/2014

If there is any issue that stumps liberals and conservatives alike, it is what to do about the crisis in public education in our high schools, especially in urban neighborhoods. If the now-famous campaign theme “It’s the economy, stupid” worked in 1992, then in 2016, the related slogan could be “it’s about education, stupid.”

Jeb Bush, A Formidable Candidate For President

11:16 PM 06/18/2014

OK, OK. To the Bush family, and particularly to former two-term Florida Gov. Jeb Bush: don’t worry. Let me start, up front, by saying: I would never vote for Jeb Bush for president. He is way too conservative for me.

Hillary’s Sense Of Humor

3:08 PM 06/10/2014

I can remember the first time I heard Hillary Rodham (her name back then, in 1969, when we first met at Yale Law School) laugh. A bunch of guys and Hillary in the law school lounge. I forget the joke, but all of a sudden we heard this great laugh -- you only describe it by using the expression "belly laugh" -- and we all started laughing harder, realizing that we were egged on by Hillary's deep and utterly joyful laughter.

Facts Vs. Innuendo On Benghazi

8:03 PM 05/07/2014

So now the House Republican leadership has announced still another investigation of the tragedy of Benghazi. My crisis management mantra about the truth is: “tell it early, tell it all, tell it yourself.” But the Republicans’ mantra seems to be, “tell innuendo early, often, and over and over again,” as if by repetition you can convert fact-free innuendo into the truth. You can't.

Why Obamacare Could Be A Plus For Democrats In 2014

8:34 PM 04/30/2014

If I were a Democrat running for Congress in 2014 who supported the Affordable Care Act, known as “Obamacare,” I would be running a campaign explaining why I am proud of my vote. And I would challenge my GOP opponent to answer five questions:

Life with my 16 year-old son

10:44 AM 04/03/2014

I have been writing this column called "Purple Nation" since the summer of 2008. My purpose was to write about issues and politics that focused on facts, not ideology, and that offered opportunities for mixed "red state-blue state" or "purple" analysis and solutions.

Lessons from a legend: Mike McCurry

8:41 PM 02/26/2014

Mike McCurry, who served as press secretary to former President Clinton, was featured in a news profile over the weekend, about him becoming a teacher in religion and politics at Wesley Theological Seminary in Northwest Washington as he earns his degree there.

What is a liberal?

12:07 PM 02/13/2014

“It was once said that the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.”