Gene Sperling

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Eugene Sperling
Gene Sperling (National Economic Council).jpg
Director of the National Economic Council
In office
January 20, 2011 – March 5, 2014
President Barack Obama
Preceded by Lawrence Summers
Succeeded by Jeffrey Zients
In office
December 12, 1996 – January 20, 2001
President Bill Clinton
Preceded by Laura Tyson
Succeeded by Lawrence Lindsey
Personal details
Born (1958-12-24) December 24, 1958 (age 55)
Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Allison Abner
Children 2
Alma mater University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
Yale University
University of Pennsylvania

Eugene "Gene" B. Sperling (born December 24, 1958) was Director of the National Economic Council and Assistant to the President for Economic Policy under Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Sperling was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he attended the alternative Community High School. He received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Minnesota in 1982 and a J.D. from Yale Law School in 1985, where he served as a Senior Editor of the Yale Law Journal.[2] After graduating from Yale Law School, he attended business school at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.[3]

During Bill Clinton's first term as President, from 1993–1996, Sperling served as deputy director of the National Economic Council while the Council was directed by Robert Rubin, who was promoted to Treasury Secretary. Sperling became National Economic Adviser to Clinton and director of the National Economic Council from 1996 to 2000.

Sperling is the author of The Pro-Growth Progressive, a book arguing that liberals should seek to harness market forces in pursuing progressive goals, and co-author of What Works In Girls' Education?. He was also a consultant for the television series The West Wing.

As director of the NEC, Sperling, who had played a key role in the 1993 Deficit Reduction Act, was a key negotiator of the 1997 bipartisan Balanced Budget Act.[4] Sperling was also a principal negotiator with then-Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers of the Financial Modernization Act of 1999, also known as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. Gramm-Leach-Bliley repealed large portions of the depression-era Glass-Steagall Act allowing banks, securities firms and insurance companies to merge.[5]

Also in 1999, together with United States Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky, Sperling successfully negotiated and concluded the China-World Trade Organization agreement in Beijing, paving the way for China to enter the WTO in 2001.[5]

Sperling was the chief economic advisor for Hillary Clinton during her presidential campaign.[6][7]

Sperling was also on the staff of the Council on Foreign Relations, where he founded and served as director of the Center for Universal Education—an organization focused on ensuring quality, universal education for the world’s poorest children.[8]

Prior to joining the Obama administration as an unconfirmed counselor, Sperling earned $887,727 from Goldman Sachs in 2008 and $158,000 for speeches mostly to financial companies. Sperling has asserted that he was compensated by Goldman Sachs for his role in 10,000 Women, which promotes entrepreneurial opportunities for women in poor countries. Sperling received $2.2 million in total compensation in 2008 from a variety of consulting jobs, board seats, speaking fees and fellowships.[9]

Obama Administration[edit]

From 2009 to 2011, Sperling served as a counselor to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, advising on fiscal, budget, tax, job creation and small business issues.[10]

In January 2011, President Barack Obama appointed Sperling as the director of the National Economic Council.

On February 27, 2013, Sperling was identified as the writer of an e-mail informing Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward "that he would regret" publishing a story critical of Obama's sequester.[11]

Personal life[edit]

Sperling is married to television writer Allison Abner, whom he met when he was a consultant on NBC’s The West Wing. They have a five-year-old daughter together and 16-year-old son from Abner’s previous marriage.[12]



  1. ^ Montgomery, Lori; Dennis, Brady (January 7, 2011). "Obama names Sperling to head National Economic Council". Washington Post. "Sperling is not an economist by training, he is valued as a savvy political strategist with proven ability to extract victories on fiscal issues from a hostile Congress." 
  2. ^ The Yale Law Journal, Volume 94 Masthead, [1], January 1985.
  3. ^ White House Profile: Gene Sperling, [2]
  4. ^ The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, [3], January 7, 2011.
  5. ^ a b National Economic Council, Profile of Gene Sperling
  6. ^ A look at the Clinton economic plan , Kai Ryssdal interviews Gene Sperling, Marketplace, January 31, 2008
  7. ^ The Advisers Are Writing Our Future David Leonhardt, The New York Times, April 18, 2007.
  8. ^ Council on Foreign Relations, [4].
  9. ^ Schmidt, Robert (October 14, 2009). "Geithner Aides Reaped Millions Working for Banks, Hedge Funds". Bloomberg. Retrieved 8 August 2013. 
  10. ^ National Economic Council,[5].
  11. ^; for a different take on the supposed "threat" see 1600 penned
  12. ^ The Daily Beast: "Democrats' Negotiator in Chief" by Lloyd Grove May 19, 2011

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Laura Tyson
Director of the National Economic Council
Succeeded by
Lawrence Lindsey
Preceded by
Lawrence Summers
Director of the National Economic Council
Succeeded by
Jeffrey Zients