Trump Nominates DOT Gen. Counsel, TSA Head

June 9, 2017

President Trump announced on June 5 that he was going to nominate Steven G. Bradbury to be General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Transportation and David Pekoske to be Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security in charge of the Transportation Security Administration. The formal nomination paperwork was transmitted to Congress on June 6.

Bradbury is a partner at the law firm of Dechert LLP. His resume includes a number of representations of transportation clients in regulatory and antitrust fields, including being lead counsel on United Airlines in its ill-fated attempt to acquire US Airways in 2000 and much later representing US Airways in its merger with American Airlines.

Two of his more recent clients are bound to provoke discussion at his confirmation hearing: Takata airbags (the subject of several hearings and investigatory letters by the Senate Commerce Committee) and Turing Pharmaceuticals, the CEO of which was widely derided by the public (the BBC referred to him as “the most hated man in America”) and who is currently facing securities fraud charges.

During the George W. Bush Admi4istration, Bradbury held one of the highest legal positions in government from 2004-2009 – head of the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department, which is the federal government’s in-house legal policy shop charged with determining the legality and constitutionality of proposed federal actions.

In the legal community, going from head of OLC to being general counsel of a Cabinet department would normally be considered a step down, except that Bradbury’s nomination is inextricably bound up with his co-authorship of memos defining the legality of “enhanced interrogation” techniques such as waterboarding. This will doubtless be discussed at his conformation hearing as well.

Before joining DOJ, Bradbury was a partner at Kirkland & Ellis LLP for ten years. He clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court and for Judge James L. Buckley on the D.C. Circuit. Mr. Bradbury graduated magna cum laude from Michigan Law School and received his B.A. from Stanford University.

Pekoske is a career Coast Guardsman, graduating from the Coast Guard Academy in 1977 and serving as a commissioned officer for 33 years until retiring in 2010 as Vice Commandant.

Since retiring from the Coast Guard, he has been an executive in the government services industry leading business units that provided homeland security and intelligence related services. Additionally, he has been a member of the adjunct faculty at American University and been active in many organizations that advance military, veterans, and national security issues.

Pekoske has a Master of Business Administration degree from the Sloan School of Management at MIT and a Master of Public Administration degree from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University

(Photo: Getty Images) 

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