Ambassador (ret.) Norman Eisen and Professor Richard Painter are joining the board of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) as Chair and Vice Chair respectively. Widely recognized as the leading Democratic and Republican experts on presidential ethics, they will help lead a bipartisan effort to ensure an ethical Washington in the face of a new administration with potentially unprecedented conflict of interest and transparency issues. Eisen, a co-founder of CREW, served as the chief ethics lawyer for President Obama. Painter was the chief ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush.
“Now more than ever, it is imperative to fight for open and ethical government,” Eisen said. “When I co-founded CREW, it was to serve just this purpose. I am rejoining CREW to help lead its work in the battle against corruption—and for accountability–in Washington.”
Dubbed “Mr. No” and “the Ethics Czar,” for the tough compliance program he helped implement, Eisen served in the White House from 2009-11. As Ambassador to the Czech Republic from 2011-14, he was active in working with Czech civil society on innovative anti-corruption initiatives there as well. Since 2014, he has been a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution.
“CREW has a critical role to play in promoting government ethics and reducing the influence of money in politics,” Painter said. “Joining CREW’s board as vice-chair is an important way to promote ethics and checks and balances on the executive branch in line with what the founders enshrined in the Constitution.”
In addition to his time in the Bush White House, Painter, now a professor at the University of Minnesota Law School, has been active in law reform efforts aimed at deterring securities fraud and improving ethics of corporate managers and lawyers including serving as one of the three reporters for the American Law Institute Principles of Government Ethics, and he was a founding board member of conservative campaign finance organization Take Back Our Republic.
“When it comes to White House and government ethics, there are no bigger names than Norman Eisen and Richard Painter,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said. “We are incredibly excited to have them lead our board as we step up our efforts to ensure an ethical government that acts in the interest of the American people.”
Current Vice Chair David Brock will be stepping down from CREW’s board.
“Due to my stepped up political activities in the American Bridge opposition research super PAC, I decided to step off CREW’s board to ensure its public reputation for non-partisanship,” Brock said. “I’m very proud of the work CREW has accomplished during my two years on board, and its work is more relevant now than ever.”
Since its founding in 2003, CREW has used legal action, research and aggressive public outreach to ensure accountability for ethics abuses by Tom DeLay, Jack Abramoff, Rob Andrews, John Murtha, Aaron Schock, and many others in both parties. In the past year, CREW discovered the illegal Trump Foundation contribution to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, convinced a federal judge to order the intractable Federal Election Commission to act in a dark money case and obtained the largest FEC fine since the Citizens United case against three dark money organizations.