Kenneth M. Duberstein

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Kenneth M. Duberstein was "chief of staff to President Ronald Reagan (1988-89), and deputy chief of staff (1987). He served as the deputy assistant and then assistant to the president for legislative affairs (1981-83)".[1]

"Duberstein's government service also included positions as deputy undersecretary of Labor during the Ford Administration and director of congressional and intergovernmental affairs at the U.S. General Services Administration. Mr. Duberstein has also held leadership positions in the private sector, as vice president at the Committee for Economic Development and at the governmental relations firm Timmons & Company," a biographical note states.[2]

Duberstein is Trustee Emeritus at the Hudson Institute[3]; has been a board member at Fannie Mae since 1998 and also serves on the boards of also serves as a director of The Boeing Company, Collegiate Funding Services, Inc., ConocoPhillips, Inc., Fleming Companies, Inc., and St. Paul Companies, Inc.[4]

He is also a trustee of the Brookings Institute and a member of Continuity of Government Committee (American Enterprise Institute/Brookings Institute) and a director of the National Endowment for Democracy.

He "has been Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Duberstein Group, Inc., an independent strategic planning and consulting company, since July 1989, a biographical note states.

'Sherpa' for White House nominees

Duberstein is one of the top lobbyists who has been given the role of shepherding Administartion nominees through the Congressing hearings and approval process. (The Washington jargon they are referred to as 'sherpas' after the Tibetan assistants for mountaineers).

Duberstein has helped Clarence Thomas, George H.W. Bush's nominee for the Supreme Court as well as Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter, CIA Director Robert M. Gates and Secretary of State George P. Shultz. [5]

"There are several roles you play. You are the chief strategist for the ultimate goal of getting that person confirmed. You are also the traffic cop, because everybody wants to see the prospective nominee. You are a coach and you're also a confidant of the nominee. You are the chief liaison with the Hill, but also the chief liaison within the administration. You are an enforcer, but you are also a negotiator," he told Christopher Lee from the Washington Post.

Lee cited the 1994 book, Resurrection: The Confirmation of Clarence Thomas, of then-Sen. John C. Danforth (R-Mo.), who was also working with Duberstein on Thomas's nomination. Thomas's nomination was strongly contested after law professor Anita Hill accused Thomas of sexually harassing her when she worked for him in the 1980's.

"As Clarence walked past banks of cameras, Ken would say, 'Give them a thumbs up,' and Clarence would comply," Danforth wrote. "When advising Clarence not to respond to press questions, Ken suggested, 'Tell them, "I wish I could answer that." ' . . . He told Clarence that when he entered the Senate Caucus Room at the start of his first hearing, he should go up and shake hands with each member. He insisted that Clarence, against his will, conclude the first hearing by complimenting the committee for being fair." [6]

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  1. Directors, American Council for Capital Formation, accessed May 9, 2010.