Chuck Rosenberg

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Chuck Rosenberg
Chuck Rosenberg.jpg
Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration
In office
May 18, 2015 – October 1, 2017
PresidentBarack Obama
Donald Trump
Preceded byMichele Leonhart
Succeeded byRobert W. Patterson (Acting)
United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia
In office
June 2006 – October 2008
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
Preceded byPaul McNulty
Succeeded byNeil MacBride
United States Attorney for the Southern District of Texas
In office
June 2005 – March 2006
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
Preceded byMichael T. Shelby
Succeeded byDonald DeGabrielle
Personal details
Charles Philip Rosenberg

(1960-09-10) September 10, 1960 (age 59)
EducationTufts University (BA)
Harvard University (MPP)
University of Virginia (JD)

Charles Philip "Chuck" Rosenberg (born September 10, 1960) is the former acting Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration. He was appointed in May 2015 following the resignation of Michele Leonhart.[1]


Rosenberg received his B.A. (1982) from Tufts University, his M.P.P. (1985) from Harvard University and his J.D. (1990) from the University of Virginia. He was hired out of law school through the Attorney General's Honors Program and has served in numerous positions throughout the Department of Justice, including as Trial Attorney for the Tax Division's Criminal Enforcement Section (1990–94), Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia (1994-2000), Counsel to the Director of the FBI (2002–03), Counselor to the Attorney General (2003–04) and Chief of Staff to the Deputy Attorney General (2004–05). Rosenberg has also spent time working in private practice as Counsel at Hunton & Williams (2000–02), and as a partner at Hogan Lovells (2008–13).[2]

Rosenberg was nominated by George W. Bush and unanimously confirmed by the Senate to serve as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia (2006-08); previously, he was appointed by Alberto Gonzales to serve as the acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas (2005-06).[2][3]

Rosenberg later served as Chief of Staff to the Director of the FBI (2013-15). In this role, he worked closely with James Comey and other senior FBI officials on counterterrorism, intelligence, cyber and criminal investigative issues, including with international, federal, state and local law enforcement partners.[2]

Notable cases[edit]

While serving as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Rosenberg initiated several noteworthy prosecutions. His office brought dogfighting charges against suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, who was sentenced to 23 months in prison after court hearings that drew protesters and animal rights activists.

Rosenberg was heavily involved in the government's death penalty case against convicted September 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui, who was sentenced to life in prison in 2006.

Other priorities during Rosenberg's term as U.S. Attorney included child pornography cases, which have been increasing, along with violent crime and mortgage fraud.[4]

During his years as a federal prosecutor, Rosenberg conducted grand jury investigations and has been the lead trial lawyer in many federal prosecutions involving espionage, kidnapping, murder, crimes against children and complex financial fraud cases.[2]

“Throughout his distinguished career in law enforcement and public service, Chuck has earned the trust and the praise of his colleagues at every level,” said former Attorney General Loretta Lynch. “He has proven himself as an exceptional leader, a skilled problem-solver, and a consummate public servant of unshakeable integrity. And he has demonstrated, time and again, his deep and unwavering commitment not only to the women and men who secure our nation, but to the fundamental values that animate their service.”[2]


Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) operations have not focused on heavy enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act against persons and organizations acting within state laws which allow medical cannabis cultivation and distribution.[5] However, as the DEA's Administrator, Chuck Rosenberg reaffirmed that marijuana is not medicine and remains an experimental substance which requires extensive testing before marijuana can be considered for medicinal application.[6]

In August 2017, Rosenberg found himself at odds with the Trump administration over the President's remarks encouraging the police "be rough" with suspects.[7] His internal memo to the DEA workforce gained public attention for Rosenberg's repudiation of Trump's remarks. In it, Rosenberg wrote: "The President, in remarks delivered yesterday in New York, condoned police misconduct regarding the treatment of individuals placed under arrest by law enforcement... I write to offer a strong reaffirmation of the operating principles to which we, as law enforcement professionals, adhere. I write because we have an obligation to speak out when something is wrong. That’s what law enforcement officers do. That’s what you do. We fix stuff. At least, we try."[8] The Washington Post editorial board, in a piece titled "A divided nation gets moral guidance - but not from Trump," wrote: "His letter was important not as a rebuke to the president but as a model of leadership and courage in reaffirming democratic values."[9]


On September 26, 2017, it was announced that Rosenberg, dismayed by the Trump administration, was stepping down.[10][11] His resignation became effective October 1, 2017.[12][13] It was announced on October 3, 2017 that Robert W. Patterson, who had been serving as the DEA's Principal Deputy Administrator since November 2016,[14] had succeeded Rosenberg as Acting Administrator for the DEA.[12]

MSNBC and return to private practice[edit]

On November 13, 2017, Rosenberg initiated his role as an MSNBC contributor with an interview on The Rachel Maddow Show.[15] He is currently a senior counsel and a member of the White Collar & Regulatory Enforcement Group at Crowell & Moring.[16]


  1. ^ "Rosenberg named to head troubled DEA, replacing Leonhart". USA TODAY. May 13, 2015. Retrieved April 8, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Department of Justice Announces New Acting Administrator of Drug Enforcement Administration". US Justice Department. May 13, 2015. Retrieved April 8, 2017. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  3. ^ Schmidt, Michael S. (May 13, 2015). "Obama Is Said to Choose Chuck Rosenberg as Next D.E.A. Director". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 8, 2017.
  4. ^ Markon, Jerry (October 8, 2008). "Rosenberg Stepping Down as U.S. Attorney". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved April 8, 2017.
  5. ^ "Feds Raid 11 Medical Marijuana Clinics, DEA Does Not Recognize California Law legalizing medical use of pot". CBS News. Retrieved August 31, 2011.
  6. ^ "Acting Administrator Rosenberg Response to Request Marijuana Rescheduling" (PDF).
  7. ^ Evan Perez; Dan Merica (August 1, 2017). "DEA rebukes Trump telling officers to be 'rough'". Retrieved September 30, 2017.
  8. ^ "At Last a Federal Law Enforcement Leader Engages Trump". Lawfare. August 1, 2017. Retrieved September 30, 2017.
  9. ^ "Opinion | A divided nation gets moral guidance — but not from Trump". Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-10-07.
  10. ^ "DEA chief resigns after criticizing Trump remarks on police conduct". NBC News. Retrieved September 26, 2017.
  11. ^ Schmidt, Michael S. (September 26, 2017). "Dismayed by Trump, Head of Drug Enforcement Administration to Leave". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 30, 2017.
  12. ^ a b
  13. ^ Barrett, Devlin; Zapotosky, Matt (September 26, 2017). "DEA administrator plans to step down". Retrieved September 30, 2017 – via
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-06-28. Retrieved 2017-10-04.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ "Comey notes could show up in Donald Trump obstruction case". MSNBC. Retrieved 14 November 2017.
  16. ^

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Michele Leonhart
Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration

Succeeded by
Robert W. Patterson