Mark D. Wallace is an American businessman, former diplomat and lawyer who has served in a variety of government, political and private sector posts. He served in several positions during the administration of President George W. Bush, including as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Representative for UN Management and Reform.
He is currently the CEO of Tigris Financial and CEO of United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI).
Prior to government service, Wallace was a practicing commercial litigation attorney in Miami, Florida. He began his political career under Florida Governor Jeb Bush and was active in his election campaigns in 1994, 1998 and 2002.
In 2000 Wallace played a key role working for then Governor George W. Bush’s legal team in the decisive Florida recount in 2000 where he served as counsel to the campaign in Florida and was a spokesman for the legal team in various national media outlets. Wallace was portrayed in the HBO movie Recount for his role in the disputed presidential contest.
During President Bush's administration from 1999 to 2003 Wallace served in a variety of federal government general counsel positions. At the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), he oversaw and managed all aspects of the FEMA Office of General Counsel, and acted as counsel to the FEMA-led New York and World Trade Center recovery effort in the wake of the 2001 September 11 attacks. He also served as the general counsel of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), during the INS’ transition from the DOJ into the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as part of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 reorganization. After the reorganization Wallace served as the first principal legal advisor to the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and to the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services for the Department of Homeland Security.
In 2003, Wallace joined President George W. Bush’s reelection campaign as the deputy campaign manager. In addition to his day-to-day responsibilities of assisting in the management of the national campaign, Wallace was the campaign’s lead liaison to the Republican National Convention, the campaign’s representative in debate negotiations, and led the campaign’s debate team at each of the Presidential and Vice-Presidential debates.
In February 2013, Wallace publicly supported legal recognition for same-sex marriage in an amicus brief submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court.
In 2005 President Bush nominated Wallace to serve in the United States Department of State, United States Mission to the United Nations as Ambassador, U.S. Representative for UN Management and Reform and Alternative Representative of the United States to Sessions of the General Assembly of the United Nations. The Senate confirmed his appointment in 2006.
During his tenure as Ambassador to the United Nations, Wallace most notably sought to uncover corruption in UN programs in such places as North Korea and Burma. He exposed the "Cash for Kim" corruption scandal in North Korea, revealing, among other issues, that the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) had funneled millions of dollars in hard currency to North Korea without assurance that North Korea’s dictatorship would use the money to help the North Korean people instead of diverting it to illicit activities including the country’s illegal nuclear program. Wallace accused the program of being "systematically perverted for the benefit of the Kim Jong Il regime" and the media drew parallels between UNDP’s corruption in North Korea and the Oil-for-Food scandal in Iraq several years earlier. The Wall Street Journal wrote that the finding of the Cash for Kim investigation "vindicates" Wallace, "who led the charge for transparency at UNDP."
In addition he led the U.S. delegation’s "no" vote against using UN money to pay for the 2009 "Durban II" conference, describing it as "noxious to my country and a disgrace in the International Community." He further opposed the 2008-2009 UN Biennium Budget for its "ad hoc" and "piecemeal" approach that ensured spending increases in the UN general budget that far outpaced the general budget increases of member states.
While at the UN, Wallace also launched the UN Transparency and Accountability Initiative that focused on eight areas of reform related to member states’ access to UN financial documents, ethics, financial disclosure, oversight mechanisms, IPSAS accounting standards and administrative overhead.
Upon his departure from the U.S. State Department, The Wall Street Journal editorial board compared Wallace to a list of "distinguished" Americans who tried to make the United Nations live up to its original ideals including Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Jeane Kirkpatrick and John Bolton. The opinion piece noted that although Wallace was unpopular with some officials who didn’t want to risk their engagement with North Korea over corruption, "he’s the one who had it right."
2008 U.S. presidential campaign
During the 2008 presidential campaign Wallace was a senior advisor to Senator John S. McCain. In that role, he led the debate preparation team for Senator McCain’s running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. After the debate, The New York Times commented that Governor Palin's debate performance against Democrat Joe Biden "exceeded expectations in this highly anticipated face-off, though those expectations were low after she had stumbled in recent television interviews." Wallace was portrayed in the HBO movie Game Change by actor Ron Livingston for his work on the McCain campaign.
Wallace currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Tigris Financial Group, a New York City-based investment, advisory and asset management firm that focuses on natural resources and the natural resources sector through its Electrum Group of Companies. In that capacity, he headed the transaction team for Silver Opportunity Partners in its acquisition of Idaho's historic Sunshine Mine. Regarding that acquisition, Wallace told Bloomberg Businessweek, "It was no doubt a complicated and risky transaction. Through our expertise, we were able to minimize the risk involved, resolve litigation, and reunite the patchwork and fractured ownership interests that inhibited the mine and limited its value over the last decade." In 2011, Sunshine Silver Mines filed its S1 with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission describing its intention to go public on the NYSE and TSX.
Wallace’s work with Electrum has included leading its investment and operational entry into the Polish mineral sector through Śląsko Krakowska Kompania Górnictwa Metali Sp. z o.o. (SKKGM) and Amarante Investments S.p. z.o.o. (Amarante). In 2011, SKKGM commenced a drilling program at its Bolesławiec-Iłowa and Osiecznica-Nowiny concessions in Lower Silesia and at its concession near Myskow. Also in 2011, Amarante announced its application to the Polish government for nine concessions for mineral exploration in and near Wroclaw and Kobierzyce. In relation to their work in Poland, Wallace was quoted as saying that the Group’s team hopes “to make discoveries of copper, tungsten and silver in Poland.” In the same article, Wallace stated that gold, due to the uncertain business environment, has “practically become a currency again,” and that the Group’s belief that supply and demand fundamentals would continue to be the key economic driver for copper, silver and other metals.
Wallace has also attempted to secure the necessary regulatory approvals and community support for Electrum’s efforts to explore its Paramount mine claims in eastern California’s Bodie Wilderness Study Area. Wallace spoke for Electrum’s Cougar Gold subsidiary at a February 2011 meeting in California. There, he explained that additional exploratory drilling in the area cannot occur until the Wilderness Study Area designation is removed. In an August 2011 Wall Street Journal article, Wallace described the Bodie dispute as "'the tip of the spear' in a growing national debate over balancing conservation and resource extraction." In the Los Angeles Times he described the great potential of Paramount. "A lot of us are quite fond of the people there. This could be a real success story."
Also as part of his work with Electrum, Wallace serves on the board of directors of Niocan Inc., a Canadian TSX listed company whose Quebec mining assets focus on niobium and iron ore.
United Against Nuclear Iran
Wallace also serves as Chief Executive Officer of United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), a bipartisan non-profit dedicated to prevent Iran from producing nuclear weapons. Wallace founded UANI in 2008 alongside former CIA Director R. James Woolsey, the late Richard Holbrooke and Dennis Ross. Under Wallace, UANI and its Advisory Board has grown to include prominent foreign policy experts such as Graham Allison, Les Gelb and Fouad Ajami, and former government officials including former U.S. Homeland Security Advisor Fran Townsend, former Mossad Chief Meir Dagan, former head of the German Intelligence Service Dr. August Hanning, and former head of the British MI6 Chief Sir Richard Dearlove, among others.
Since its founding, Wallace has led UANI in dozens of successful business and corporate campaigns that have called on such multinational firms as General Electric, Huntsman, Caterpillar, Ingersoll Rand, Porsche, Hyundai, Fiat, Royal Dutch Shell, Terex and Siemens to end their business dealings in Iran. Wallace and UANI led the first successful campaign to convince a Chinese company to end its work in Iran. After various discussions between Wallace, UANI and Huawei, the company announced that it was scaling back its business in Iran. The decision by Huawei and the role of UANI was prominently featured in the news media including The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times and Reuters. In The Wall Street Journal piece, Wallace was quoted saying of the decision: "This is a significant milestone. For the first time a major Chinese business is pulling back from Iran in the face of mounting international scorn for Iran’s brutal regime."
Wallace and UANI launched a campaign calling on SWIFT to terminate its relationships with Iran’s banks and financial institutions, arguing that SWIFT was in violation of U.S. and EU sanctions by affording Iranian banks BICs and access to SWIFT and, therefore, access to the international financial system. Subsequently, SWIFT announced that it would comply with new EU sanctions and cease providing messaging services to sanction designated Iranian banks. “It’s a good positive step forward and it will cause real difficulties for the regime,” said Wallace. SWIFT’s decision and UANI’s campaign were extensively covered in media outlets around the world.
UANI and Wallace have pursued a successful “Auto Campaign” that has focused on the lucrative Iranian automobile industry. UANI has called on international automobile manufactures to leave Iran including, among others, Nissan, Fiat, Peugeot, GM and Hyundai. Every year, UANI launches its annual Hotels Campaign, calling on all New York area hotels and venues to refuse to host President Ahmadinejad and the Iranian delegation during the United Nations’ annual meeting in New York City.
Wallace and UANI have authored and/or supported a variety of federal and state legislative and regulatory initiatives designed to enhance Iran’s economic isolation. Their model legislation has been incorporated into both federal bills and state bills, including the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (CISADA), the Iran Transparency and Accountability Act (ITAA), the Iran Financial Sanctions Improvement Act of 2012 (H.R. 4179 as introduced by Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Congressman Brad Sherman), California’s Iran Contracting Act of 2010 (AB1650) and New York’s Iran Divestment Act of 2011 (A08668) among others. In May 2012, Wallace along with Meir Dagan, August Hanning, R. James Woolsey, Lord Charles Guthrie and Kristen Silverberg co-authored an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal calling for “the most robust sanctions against Iran in history” as a means “for the international community to truly isolate the regime.” Wallace described a proposed strategy to implement such sanctions during testimony before the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs on 17 May 2012 by proposing legislation focused on four areas, namely Banking, Insurance and Reinsurance, Disclosure and Debarment and Shipping (UANI BIDS) in order to achieve an “economic blockade” of Iran.
Wallace is a frequent media contributor and op-ed author and has been featured in news outlets around the world including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, the Financial Times, CNN, Fox News, Huffington Post, the New York Post, and CNBC. In an October 2012 profile on UANI in NBC News by chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel and Robert Windrem, Wallace stated, "Our message is clear: You have to choose between doing business with our checkbook or their checkbook -- with the reality being we're the biggest checkbook in the world. Notwithstanding the purported demise of the United States, we're still the biggest checkbook in the world."
Wallace attended the University of Miami, where he received both his Bachelor's and law degrees. He is married to Nicolle Wallace, a New York Times best-selling novelist and political commentator who served as President George W. Bush’s communications director and senior advisor to Senator John McCain’s 2008 presidential bid.
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