WH Counsel’s Office: Hillary, Reform, Chicago heavy

Amidst the confirmation of Eric Holder and the president’s first dis of the Sidwell Friends School–he mocked the institution, not by name, but for cancelling school today in contrast to hardy Chicago where the coating of ice that closed D.C. schools, public and private, would be all but ignored–there was some interesting news.

The counsel’s office had some interesting appointments. One is the highly regarded Karen Dunn, a longtime Hillary aide and Yale Law grad, whose presence further solidifies the number of former Clinton aides in the Obama White House. (Like her friend, Howard Wolfson, she’s a Nita Lowey alumnus, too.) Susan Sher, the former corporation counsel for the City of Chicago also joins the counsel’s office strengthening the Chicago contingent. Maybe most interesting is Norm Eisen, one of the founders of CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) and a special counsel for ethics issues helps carry through Obama’s commitment to ethics reform. Friends of General Counsel Greg Craig will note that he’s brought his assistant, Catherine Whitney, over from Williams & Connolly, too. Neal Wolin, a veteran of the CIA and the National Security Council, will be there, too suggesting a return to a traditional legal view of those agencies. This will be an interesting office to watch.

The counsel’s office is important in and of itself but it’s also a springboard to many other jobs. Lisa Brown, who holds the important position of Staff Secretary in the White House–the person in charge of paper flow–was Al Gore’ s counsel. From John Dean to Fred Fielding to Lloyd Cutler, it’s always at the center of things. Putting a Hillary alum and a special ethics counselor in there makes the mix that much more intriguing.