Beth Nolan

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Beth Nolan
White House Counsel
In office
September 1999 – January 20, 2001
PresidentBill Clinton
Preceded byChuck Ruff
Succeeded byAlberto Gonzales
Personal details
Born (1951-08-21) August 21, 1951 (age 68)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
EducationScripps College (BA)
Georgetown University (JD)

Beth Nolan (born August 21, 1951 in New York City) is a vice president and general counsel of the George Washington University. She was Bill Clinton's final White House Counsel. Prior to serving as White House Counicil, Nolan worked in other White House and Department of Justice positions, taught law, and worked in private practice. [2][3]


Nolan was born in New York City, and received her Bachelor of Arts degree at Scripps College in 1973. Nolan earned her Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center, graduating magna cum laude in 1980. While studying at Georgetown, she was Editor in Chief of the Georgetown Law Journal. She was admitted to the District of Columbia Bar in 1981.[1][4]


Nolan began her career in 1980, where she clerked for Collins J. Seitz, a judge on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, until 1981. From 1981 to 1985, Nolan served as a staff attorney under then Assistant Attorney General of the United States, Theodore Olsen. From 1985 to 1993, Nolan taught at George Washington University Law School, earning tenure in 1992. At Georgetown, she taught constitutional law, government ethics, and professional responsibility. Nolan was also a professor at George Washington University Law School during the 1995-1996 school year.

Nolan began working in the White house as Associate White House Counsel, serving from 1993 to 1995. From 1996 to 1999, she served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel.

In 1997, Nolan became the nominee to serve as Assistant Attorney General of the United States for Office of Legal Counsel, although the Senate never voted on the nomination.[5]

From 1999 to 2001, Nolan served as White House Counsel, serving until Bill Clinton left office in January 2001.

After leaving the White House, Nolan became a fellow at the Kennedy School of Government Institute of Politics.

In 2002, Nolan became a partner at Crowell & Moring. Nolan left the firm in 2007.

Since 2007, Nolan has served as Vice President and General Counsel of George Washington University.


She testified on March 5, 2001 before the House Government Reform Committee that Bill Clinton's pardon of Marc Rich did not advance President Clinton's financial interests, but that she had personally opposed it.[6][7]

President Clinton nominated her in 1997 to be Assistant Attorney General of the United States for the Office of Legal Counsel, but the United States Senate did not confirm her. Along with Webster Hubbell and Vince Foster, she had helped Ira Magaziner prepare an affidavit explaining why he was not required to reveal who had participated in the formulation of the failed 1993 Clinton health care plan. United States District Court judge Royce Lamberth called the affidavit a lie, although an appellate court held Magaziner had acted in good faith - after her nomination had failed.[8]

Her appointment on August 10, 1999 as White House Counsel did not require Senate confirmation, and she began in September.

During its investigations of the 1996 United States campaign finance controversy, Monica Lewinsky scandal, White House FBI files controversy, and White House travel office controversy the United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform subpoenaed White House email traffic. In March 2000 White House contractors testified that the email previously produced in response to these subpoenas had omitted probably thousands of responsive emails. Technical employees had discovered in June 1998 that the automated records management system had incorrectly scanned and logged the emails, possibly since 1994. The testified further that White House staff had cautioned them against disclosing this problem to anyone, on pain of dismissal or even prosecution. White House Counsel Nolan testified (March 2000) before the committee and a skeptical chairman Dan Burton that it would take Northrop Grumman contract personal 6 months to restore the data. She also said that to the best of her knowledge she knew of no evidence that anyone in the White House had attempted to conceal this noncompliance, nor that she or her office had been told of allegations of threats.[9]

After working in the White House, Nolan became a partner with the law firm Crowell & Moring in the firm's white collar and securities litigation group. She had a broad-based federal and international practice focuses on strategic counseling, congressional investigations, internal investigations and compliance, government and legal ethics, federal election law, constitutional and public policy issues, international claims, and other matters.[3]

In February 2006 she published a letter to members of the United States Congress, signed jointly with several legal scholars former government officials arguing that an NSA electronic surveillance program was unlawful.[10]

Nolan argued in March 2007 that the Bush administration's assertions of executive privilege were excessive in the matter of the Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy, both in a Washington Post op-ed piece and before Linda Sánchez and the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law during their Hearing on “Ensuring Executive Branch Accountability”. She said the administration might lose such a claim.[11][12][13] At the GWU law school she had taught constitutional law.[4]

In 2007 she represented, along with a great many others, Blackwater Worldwide a private military company. Following the Blackwater Baghdad shootings, Henry Waxman's House Oversight Committee subpoenaed its Chief Executive Officer Erik Prince to testify. The climate of opinion among politicians and the public at large jeopardized its contracts to provide security for State Department personnel in Iraq.[14]

During the 2008 presidential election she contributed the maximum allowed to the Hillary Clinton campaign. She has also been a contributor to Wesley Clark, Emily's List and John Kerry.[15][16]

Memberships and recognition[edit]


  • Nolan, Beth. Removing Conflicts from the Administration of Justice: Conflicts of Interest and Independent Counsels under the Ethics in Government Act, 79 GEO. L.J. 1 (1990). K7 .E645
  • Nolan, Beth. The Role of Judicial Ethics in the Discipline and Removal of Federal Judges.
  • Nolan, Beth (1999-02-11). "Attorney's Fees for Legal Service Performed Prior to Federal Employment". United States Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel. Archived from the original on 2008-10-15. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 18 U.S.C. § 205 prohibits a Civil Division attorney from receiving attorney's fees for work in a case against the United States performed prior to federal employment when the right to payment depends on a finding of liability and award against the United States that takes place after the attorney's entry into federal employment. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)


  1. ^ a b "Beth Nolan." Biography Resource Center Online. Gale Group, 2000. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 2008. Document Number: K1650000722
    Fee. Updated: 2000-06-01 Retrieved: 2008-10-24.
  2. ^ a b Bialecki, Marissa (2007-10-18). "Clinton aide named counsel". GW Hatchet. Washington, D.C.: George Washington University. Archived from the original on 2008-02-20. Retrieved 2008-02-24. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  3. ^ a b Schario, Tracy (2007-10-16). "Former White House Counsel Beth Nolan Named GW Vice President and General Counsel". Retrieved 2010-07-14.
  4. ^ a b "Office of the Senior Vice President and General Counsel". George Washington University. Retrieved 2008-10-24.
  5. ^ "Nolan to Become 1st Female White House Counsel". Los Angeles Times. August 20, 1999. Retrieved August 2, 2009.
  6. ^ Reaves, Jessica (2001-03-01). "Pardongate Play-by-Play - THE BURTON AND WAXMAN SHOW". Time magazine. Retrieved 2008-10-24. insist there was no quid pro quo between Marc Rich's sponsors and President Clinton — or the President's financial interests. ...[They] underscore their personal opposition to the Rich pardon, insisting they never thought the President would grant it.
  7. ^ eMediaMillWorks (2001-03-01). "Text: House Hearing on Clinton's Pardons". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-10-24. Transcript.
  8. ^ Van Atta, Jr., Don (1997-12-31). "Clinton Defense of Aide May Hurt Nominee". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-01-16.
  9. ^ Paulson, Amy (2000-03-30). "White House e-mail problem may be resolved by September". CNN. Archived from the original on 2007-09-14. Retrieved 2008-10-24. Nolan said that 'to the best of (her) knowledge' she has found 'no evidence' that anyone in the Executive Office of the President 'attempted to withhold or hide responsive e-mail records,' and that no one in either her office nor the White House Office 'was advised of allegations of threats surrounding this matter.'
    The president was informed of the problem 'only in the last month,' Nolan said. His response was that he 'wanted to make sure that we had produced everything we could produce and that we were looking into what to do.'
    Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  10. ^ Nolan, Beth; Curtis Bradley; David D. Cole; Walter Dellinger; Ronald Dworkin; Richard Epstein; Philip B. Heymann; Harold Hongju Koh; Martin Lederman; William S. Sessions; Geoffrey Stone; Kathleen Sullivan; Laurence H. Tribe; William Van Alstyne (2006-02-09). "On NSA Spying: A Letter to Congress". New York Review of Books. (Volume 53, Number 2). Retrieved 2008-10-24.
  11. ^ Weiss, Debra Cassens (2007-06-17). "Subpoena Response Poses Dilemma". ABA Journal. Retrieved 2008-10-24. Beth Nolan ... told Legal Times that the administration could lose an executive privilege claim. 'There is no blanket protection for all information about the White House'...
  12. ^ Nolan, Beth (2007-03-29). "Statement of Beth Nolan" (PDF). United States House of Representatives. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-10-31. Retrieved 2008-10-24. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  13. ^ Nolan, Beth (2007-03-23). "Executive Overreach: The White House Is Taking Privilege Too Far". The Washington Post. p. Page A17. Retrieved 2008-10-24.
  14. ^ Broder, John M.; James Risen (2007-11-01). "Blackwater Mounts a Defense With Top Talent". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-10-24.
  15. ^ "Individual Contributions Arranged By Type, Giver, Then Recipient". Federal Election Commission. Retrieved 2008-10-24. (You must enter Beth Nolan in the query boxes.)
  16. ^ "Washington, DC Political Contributions by Individuals". Retrieved 2008-10-24.


Legal offices
Preceded by
Chuck Ruff
White House Counsel
Succeeded by
Alberto Gonzales