Kenneth Duberstein

Kenneth Duberstein
13th White House Chief of Staff
In office
July 1, 1988  January 20, 1989
President Ronald Reagan
Deputy M.B. Oglesby, Jr.
Preceded by Howard Baker
Succeeded by John H. Sununu
White House Deputy Chief of Staff
In office
February 27, 1987  July 1, 1988
President Ronald Reagan
Preceded by Michael Deaver
Succeeded by M. B. Oglesby, Jr.
Personal details
Born (1944-04-21) April 21, 1944
Brooklyn, New York, USA
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Jacqueline Fain
Religion Jewish

Kenneth M. Duberstein (born April 21, 1944) served as U.S. President Ronald Reagan's White House Chief of Staff from 1988 to 1989.

Life and career

Duberstein was born to a Jewish family,[1][2] in Brooklyn, New York. He graduated from Poly Prep Country Day School and Franklin and Marshall College (A.B. 1965) and American University (M.A. 1966). He received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Franklin and Marshall in 1989. While in college he was a member of Zeta Beta Tau. He is married to Jacqueline Duberstein and has four children.[3]

During President Reagan's two terms in office, he served as White House Chief of Staff (1988–1989), as well as both the Assistant and the Deputy Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs (1981–83). Duberstein is said to be the first Jewish-American appointed as White House Chief of Staff (although Hamilton Jordan's maternal grandmother was Jewish).

Prior to joining the Administration, he was Vice President and Director of Business-Government Relations of the Committee for Economic Development. He returned to the private sector between his various White House assignments as Vice President of Timmons & Company Inc, one of Washington's top lobbying firms.[4] Some of the firm's clients include the American Petroleum Institute, Anheuser-Busch, Chrysler, Teva Pharmaceuticals, the American Council of Life Insurers, the American Medical Association, and VISA.[5]

His earlier government service included Deputy Under Secretary of Labor during the Ford Administration and Director of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs at the U.S. General Services Administration. He began his public service on Capitol Hill as an assistant to Senator Jacob K. Javits.

Among the Board of Directors on which Mr. Duberstein serves are: The Boeing Company, ConocoPhillips, the Fleming Companies, Inc., and The St. Paul Companies, Inc.[6] He also is on the Board of Governors for the American Stock Exchange and NASD, and has served on the Board of Directors of Fannie Mae.[7] He serves on the advisory board for Washington, DC based non-profit America Abroad Media.[8][9]

Duberstein is a trustee of Franklin & Marshall College and Johns Hopkins University and serves as well on a wide range of commissions, task forces, and cultural, educational and volunteer boards, including: Vice Chairman of the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, Harvard University's Kennedy School Harvard's Institute of Politics Senior Advisory Committee, the board of directors of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Ronald Reagan Institute of Emergency medicine, the National Alliance to End Homelessness,[10] Ford's Theater and The American Council for Capital Formation.[11]

Prior to 1987, Duberstein served on the Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad. He was succeeded in that position by Betty Heitman, the co-chairwoman of the Republican National Committee from 1983 to 1987.[12]

In January 1989, Duberstein was awarded the President's Citizens Medal by President Reagan. [13] He is chairman of the Ethics Committee for the U.S. Olympic Committee and served as vice chairman of the independent Special Bid Oversight Reform Commission for the U.S. Olympics Committee. He also appeared on Bloomberg alongside John Podesta.

Duberstein has been a "political adviser" to former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, according to syndicated columnist Robert Novak, who says Duberstein was a source for David Corn's and Michael Isikoff's book about the Valerie Plame affair in which Armitage was found to be the one who leaked Plame's CIA status to Novak.[14]

In an interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria aired November 2, 2008, Duberstein announced his support of Democratic candidate Barack Obama for president. This came after he was rebuffed by Sen. John McCain, the GOP nominee, for the position of director of his presidential transition, according to ABC News.[15][16][17][18]

Duberstein was also a consultant on the West Wing episodes '2162 Votes' and 'Separation of Powers.'

Duberstein has been hired by Russian authorities, via Goldman Sachs (an international investment banking firm), to lobby against the Magnitsky Bill (as known as the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act), a bill in the U.S. Congress "to impose sanctions on persons responsible for the detention, abuse, or death of Sergei Magnitsky, and for other gross violations of human rights in the Russian Federation".[19][20]

In 2013, Duberstein was a signatory to an amicus curiae brief submitted to the Supreme Court in support of same-sex marriage during the Hollingsworth v. Perry case.[21] His position succeeded, as the court would go on to effectively legalize same-sex marriage in California.

Personal life

He is married to Jacqueline Fain; they have four children: Jennifer, Jeff, Andy, and Samantha.[22][23]


  1. Tablet Magazine: "Talking to W’s Chief of Staff - At the GOP convention, Josh Bolten reminisces about introducing President Bush to shmurah matzo" By Yair Rosenberg August 30, 2012
  2. Sorin, Gerald (March 11, 1997). Tradition Transformed: The Jewish Experience in America (The American Moment). p. 219. ISBN 9780801854460.
  3. "Kenneth M. Duberstein". The University of Arizona. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  4. "About Us". Timmons & Company.
  5. "Clients". Timmons & Company.
  6. "Corporate Governance - Board of Directors". The Travelers Companies Inc.
  7. "Kenneth M. Duberstein Chairman and CEO, The Duberstein Group, Inc.". Council on Foreign Relations.
  9. Three New Directors Join The St. Paul Companies Board, The Travelers Companies, Inc
  10. "Kenneth M. Duberstein". Retrieved 9 June 2014.
  11. American Council for Capital Formation
  12. "Appointment of Six Members of the Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad, and Designation of the Chairman, June 16, 1987". Retrieved October 24, 2013.
  13. "Ken Duberstein". Washington Speakers Bureau. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
  14. Novak, Robert D. (October 16, 2006). "Who Said What When: The rise and fall of the Valerie Plame 'scandal'". The Weekly Standard. 12 (5). Archived from the original on April 23, 2008. Retrieved October 8, 2008. I don't know precisely how Isikoff flushed out Armitage [as Novak's original source], but Hubris clearly points to two sources: Washington lobbyist Kenneth Duberstein, Armitage's political adviser, and William Taft IV, who was the State Department legal adviser when Armitage was deputy secretary.
  15. Levy, Adam (October 31, 2008). "Former Reagan adviser endorses Obama". CNN.
  16. Faler, Brian (October 31, 2008). "Duberstein, Panetta Say Obama Must Act Fast on Cabinet, Economy". Bloomberg.
  17. Sobczyk, Joe (November 1, 2008). "Democrats See Path to 60 in Senate: Campaign Notebook (Update1)". Bloomberg. Retrieved November 6, 2008.
  18. Gizzi, John (2008-10-20). "Why Did Powell Endorse Barack?".
  19. BANK OF PUTIN. Goldman Sachs lobbying against human rights legislation
  20. Unlawful Arrest by Vladimir Abarinov
  22. National Institute for Civil Discourse: "Kenneth M. Duberstein - Former White House Chief of Staff, Ronald Reagan" retrieved October 15, 2016
  23. Washington Life: "Friends by Design" by Jackie Duberstein June 2007
Political offices
Preceded by
Howard Baker
White House Chief of Staff
Served under: Ronald Reagan

Succeeded by
John H. Sununu
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