Cassandra Quin Butts (born August 10, 1965) is a United States lawyer, policy expert and former Deputy White House counsel. On December 23, 2008, Butts was selected by President-elect Obama to serve as Deputy White House Counsel, focusing on domestic policy and ethics. She was also on the advisory board for then-president-elect Barack Obama's presidential transition team. She stepped down as Deputy White Counsel in November 2009 and now serves as Senior Advisor in the Office of the Chief Executive Officer at the Millennium Challenge Corporation.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Butts moved to Durham, North Carolina at age 9. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and in 1991 from Harvard Law School where she was a classmate of Barack Obama and the two became close friends.
Butts' first job was as a counselor at the Y.M.C.A. in Durham, North Carolina. After college she worked for a year as a researcher with the African News Service in Durham. She was an election observer in the 2000 Zimbabwean parliamentary elections and a counsel to Senator Harris Wofford of Pennsylvania. Butts did litigation and policy work for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc, and spent seven years working a senior adviser to US Representative Dick Gephardt of Missouri. She became the Senior Vice President for Domestic Policy at the Center for American Progress.
Deputy White House Counsel
During her time as Deputy White House Counsel, Butts focused most on judicial nominations. Records later showed that in the days after Associate Justice David Souter announced his retirement from the U.S. Supreme Court, Butts was in frequent contact with President Obama's eventual nominee to replace Souter, Sonia Sotomayor.
Butts also had been rumored in February 2009 to be a candidate to lead the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She also previously had been rumored to be a candidate to serve as United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and as White House Staff Secretary.
On November 6, 2009, Obama named Butts to serve as a Senior Advisor in the Office of the Chief Executive Officer of the Millennium Challenge Corporation. Butts' departure was considered to be one of the highest-level departures up to that point from the office of the White House Counsel, and it was followed one week later by the announcement of the departure of Butts' then-boss, White House Counsel Gregory Craig. On February 7, 2014, Ms. Butts was nominated by President Obama to be United States Ambassador to the Bahamas.
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- Cassandra Q. Butts-Senior Advisor-Millennium Challenge Corporation
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