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.

Have They Lost All Sense Of Shame?

On June 9, 1954, Republican Sen. Joe McCarthy of Wisconsin, chairman of a House subcommittee investigating communism in government, was confronted by attorney Joseph Welch during nationally televised hearings. McCarthy had carried on his anti-communism innuendo campaign through congressional investigations for several years. Now, before a national audience, he attacked a young legal associate of Welch as a member of a communist “front” organization when he was at law school.

Hillary Clinton: Then And Now

12:59 PM 06/18/2015

As I watched Hillary Clinton deliver her formal announcement speech last Saturday at Roosevelt Island in New York City, I went through kind of a time warp. What year is this?

Hillary Clinton And The Frenzy Of The Media

1:01 PM 06/04/2015

“Mobs of reporters and cameramen and other Big Timers were out there wearing bush jackets with leather straps running this way and that and knocking back their Pepsi-Colas and Nehis and yelling to each other and mainly just milling about, crazy with the excitement of being on the scene, bawling for news of the anguished soul of Louise Shepard. They wanted a moan, a tear, some twisted features, a few inside words from friends, any goddamned thing. They were getting desperate. Give us a sign! Give us anything! Give us the diaper-service man! The diaper-service man comes down the street with his big plastic bags, smoking a cigar to provide an aromatic screen for his daily task — and they’re all over him and his steamy bag. Maybe he knows the Shepards! Maybe he knows Louise! Maybe he’s been in there! Maybe he knows the layout of chez Shepard! He locks himself in the front seat, choking on cigar smoke, and they’re banging on his panel truck. ‘Let us in! We want to see!’ They’re on their knees. They’re slithering in the ooze. They’re interviewing the dog, the cat, the rhododendrons. …These incredible maniacs were all out there tearing up the lawn and yearning for their pieces of Louise’s emotional wreckage.”

Privacy Protection And Security: We Can Have Both

12:07 PM 05/21/2015

We are again facing the fallacy of the false choice. Those who are concerned about protecting the privacy rights of Americans (including this writer) should not have to choose between protection of those rights and avoiding another 9/11 terrorist attack.

The Great Purple Issue Of Criminal Justice Reform

12:06 PM 05/07/2015

What do Hillary Clinton, Rand Paul, Cory Booker, Tim Scott, Elijah Cummings, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Van Jones, John Kasich, Bob Goodlatte, Koch Industries and the Tea Party-aligned group FreedomWorks have in common?

The Big Idea Of The GOP Field For 2016

11:32 AM 04/16/2015

So what do the many current and pending Republican presidential candidates have to say to the country about why they should be president in these challenging times at home and abroad?

The Scandal Machine — When Will We Ever Learn?

3:13 PM 03/26/2015

In 1999, I published a book describing my experiences as White House special counsel in dealing mostly with the various campaign finance accusations against the 1996 Clinton presidential campaign during my tenure at the White House, from 1996-1998. I recalled all the bogus controversies revved up by Republican congressional committees and described as “scandals” by the media, from Travelgate to Filegate and even one involving the Clintons’ Christmas card list (I am not making that up).

The Clintons: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

9:46 PM 02/24/2015

Last week, The Washington Post devoted 1,676 words to a story about donations to the Clinton Foundation — i.e., “a vast global network that includes corporate titans, political donors, foreign governments and other wealthy interests.” Yet as far as I could tell, there was not a single word reporting on any of the good works or charitable causes of the foundation.

Brian Williams — Lie, Or Real Mistake?

11:16 PM 02/10/2015

The issue for me regarding the Brian Williams scandal is whether he made a mistake or intentionally misled people by making a claim he knew was false, i.e., lied. To conclude that a mistake is actually a lie requires a lot of proof. Otherwise, if there is a possible explanation of an honest memory mistake, I give the person the benefit of the doubt.

Bush 41 And The Credit He Is Due

7:52 PM 01/21/2015

Former President George W. Bush’s biography of his father, 41: A Portrait of My Father, reminds us of the many significant accomplishments of our 41st president, George H.W. Bush, during his one term, from 1989 to 1993. These were accomplishments that many of us missed at the time, such as the fact that economy grew in the last four quarters of 1992, including more than 5 percent in the last quarter during the election based on the famous line from Bill Clinton’s campaign, “It’s the economy, stupid.”

A Misuse Of The Courts — There Must Be A Better Way

9:00 AM 01/08/2015

Under current U.S. legal precedent, parties filing suit and their attorneys have virtually absolute immunity for any false charges made in court filings. And making matters worse, once the public court filings have been made, the media have virtual immunity to report them as “allegations” — a word often ignored when the headline is explosive and scandalous.

Clinton And Warren — Facts, Not Labels

11:59 AM 12/15/2014

As a supporter of Hillary Clinton for president if she runs, I don't mind the efforts of some Democrats to urge Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to change her mind and run for president. I admire Warren, especially her recent effort to strip the "cromnibus" budget bill of a rollback of Dodd-Frank. On the other hand, she is now being described in the Senate by some Republicans as the "Ted Cruz of the Democratic Party." A major progressive Democratic House member who supported Barack Obama in 2008 expressed the same concern over the weekend on a liberal-oriented cable network. Unfair, and not good.

Why I Am Ready For Hillary

8:00 PM 12/10/2014

Last week, on Dec. 4, I helped organize a Ready for Hillary fundraiser in Montgomery County, Md., in the immediate suburbs of Washington, D.C. The organization, an independent grassroots committee, has been at work for the past year gathering millions of names and small donations in support of Hillary Rodham Clinton for president — that is, just in case she decides to run in 2016.

Poor Communication in Ferguson Only Made Things Worse

5:24 PM 12/03/2014

No matter how effective the communications skills of the key players in the Michael Brown tragedy, bitterness and anger by the African-American community across the country (shared by many whites as well) would have resulted when the decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson was announced.

Should Rep. Gowdy Question Rep. Rogers On Benghazi?

2:16 PM 11/24/2014

Last Friday, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Intelligence committee, issued a unanimous report addressing all the major issues on Benghazi. Rep. Trey Gowdy (R.-S.C.) heads a special committee to investigate Benghazi. Naturally, the question arises: What is left to investigate?

‘No Labels’ Is Exactly What America Needs

10:31 AM 11/20/2014

An organization called No Labels, first established in 2010, has managed a political miracle: getting committed liberals and conservatives to come together to find common ground while maintaining their principles.