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Dick Thornburgh

Former Attorney General

Dick Thornburgh served as Attorney General of the United States from 1988-1991, leading an unprecedented attack on white-collar crime and establishing strong ties with law enforcement agencies around the world to help combat drug trafficking, money laundering and terrorism. As Attorney General, Mr. Thornburgh “built a reputation as one of the most effective champions that prosecutors have ever had,” according to The Legal Times. During a public service career that spanned more than 25 years, Dick Thornburgh also served as Governor of Pennsylvania (1978-1986) and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations (1992–1993). After leaving public life, he continued to work on high-profile cases, including serving as examiner in the WorldCom bankruptcy proceedings in 2002. He was also chosen in 2004 by CBS to conduct an investigation into the 60 Minutes segment on President Bush’s service in the Texas Air National Guard.

As governor of Pennsylvania, Thornburgh lowered both personal and business tax rates, cut the state’s record-high indebtedness and left a surplus of $350 million. Following the unprecedented Three Mile Island nuclear accident in Pennsylvania in 1979, he was described by observers as “one of the few authentic heroes of that episode as a calm voice against panic.”

Also as Attorney General in the cabinets of both Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, he played a leading role in the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act. He also took vigorous action against racial, religious and ethnic “hate crimes,” and his office mounted a renewed effort to enforce the nation’s anti-trust and environmental laws.

All told, Mr. Thornburgh served in the Justice Department under five Presidents, beginning as United States Attorney in Pittsburgh (1969-1975) and Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division (1975-1977), where he emphasized efforts against major drug traffickers, organized crime and corrupt public officials. In 2006, Thornburgh received a “Lifetime Achievement Award” from American Lawyer magazine for “important contributions to public life while building an outstanding private practice,” and he has regularly been selected by his peers to be included in the “Best Lawyers in America.” Mr. Thornburgh is currently counsel to the international law firm of K&L Gates, LLP, working from its Washington, D.C., office, and chairs the legal advisory Board of the Washington Legal Foundation.

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