Ed O'Callaghan

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Ed O'Callaghan
Ed O'Callaghan official portrait.jpg
Acting United States Deputy Attorney General
In office
May 13, 2019 – May 22, 2019
PresidentDonald Trump
Attorney GeneralWilliam Barr
Preceded byRod Rosenstein
Succeeded byJeffrey A. Rosen
Personal details
Edward Casey O'Callaghan[1]

(1969-06-08) June 8, 1969 (age 51)[2]
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.[2]
Political partyRepublican
EducationGeorgetown University (BA)
New York University (JD)

Edward Casey O'Callaghan (born June 8, 1969) is an American attorney who served as the co-chief of the terrorism and national security unit of the U.S. Attorney's office for the Southern District of New York, who resigned in July 2008 to join John McCain's presidential campaign. One of three leaders of Sarah Palin's Alaska "truth squad," O'Callaghan became the public face of Palin's legal defense against ethics charges related to her former brother-in-law, the so-called "Troopergate." From 2009 to 2011, he worked at the law firm Nixon Peabody, then from 2011 to 2017 he was a partner at the New York office of law firm Clifford Chance. In 2017, he became the principal deputy assistant attorney general of the National Security Division at the U.S. Department of Justice.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

O'Callaghan was born in Brooklyn, New York. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Georgetown University and a Juris Doctor from the New York University School of Law. From 1995 to 1996, O'Callaghan served as a law clerk to Judge Kevin Duffy of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.[4]


Sarah Palin "truth squad"[edit]

In 2008, O'Callaghan co-led what the Anchorage Daily News called "a cadre of high-powered operatives" described by John McCain's campaign as a "truth squad" to field questions about and defend attacks against vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin.[5] His two co-leaders were Karl Rove protégée Brian Jones, and Washington lawyer Mark Paoletta.

Paoletta, Jones, and O'Callaghan were "tasked specifically with responding to the sort of viral attacks that have been popping up about Palin’s background and record in Alaska... The public face for this pushback, though, will be woman Republican politicians, a 'truth squad' team designed to highlight attacks on Palin and draw sympathy to her side."[6] Paoletta and Jones were volunteers while O'Callaghan was on staff.[7]

O'Callaghan was sent to Alaska to handle "legal issues that are affecting the political dynamic of the campaign," according to Taylor Griffin, a former Treasury Department official in the Bush administration.[8] Newsweek described O'Callaghan's role as "helping to direct an aggressive legal strategy aimed at shutting down a pre-election ethics investigation into Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin." Working with Palin's attorney Thomas Van Flein, O'Callaghan worked to block the investigation. "There was no Ethics Act violation and there is no need to go forward with this," O'Callaghan told reporters.[9]

The Alaska Personnel Board concluded that Palin did not violate the Alaska Executive Ethics Act by trying to get her brother-in-law fired. Alaska Personnel Board investigations are normally secret, but the three-member board chose to release its report one day before the Presidential election.[10]

Private practice[edit]

O'Callaghan moved into private practice in March 2009 when the law firm Nixon Peabody announced he had joined its Government Investigations and White Collar Defense Practice Group.[11] In 2011, he joined the international law firm Clifford Chance in New York as a Partner in its White Collar, Regulatory Enforcement and Government Investigations practice group.[12] O'Callaghan worked on several high-profile representations, including Achilles Macris, who was head of the London branch of JPMorgan Chase’s chief investment office, where the trader nicknamed the "London Whale,"[13] O'Callaghan also served on the defense of Jeffrey Webb, the former President of CONCACAF and member of the FIFA Council, in the criminal RICO indictment pending in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York.[14]

Government service[edit]

In 2017, O'Callaghan became the principal deputy assistant attorney general of the United States Department of Justice National Security Division.[3]

In April 2018, he became the Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General, replacing Robert K. Hur.[15][16] O'Callaghan left office in May 2019 and rejoined WilmerHale in April 2020.[17]


  1. ^ https://www.martindale.com/new-york/new-york/edward-casey-ocallaghan-496905-a/
  2. ^ a b Hubbell, Martindale (September 1998). Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory: New York (New York City, Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island) Volume 13-1999. Martindale-Hubbell. ISBN 9781561603244.
  3. ^ a b Anna Ward (November 13, 2017). "Clifford Chance Partner Joins US Department of Justice". Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  4. ^ "Former Acting Assistant Attorney General Edward O'Callaghan". www.justice.gov. January 30, 2018. Retrieved May 30, 2020.
  5. ^ Anchorage Daily News (September 18, 2008) "Campaign fields Palin questions" Archived February 14, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Palin team stocked with Bush veterans". POLITICO. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  7. ^ "Atlantic (September 9, 2008) "McCain Campaign Stands Up Palin Truth-Squadding Team"". Archived from the original on October 13, 2008. Retrieved October 7, 2008.
  8. ^ Fox News (September 17, 2008) "McCain operatives flock to Alaska, head off embarrassing disclosures about Palin"[dead link]
  9. ^ "McCain Lawyer Tries to Shut Down the Palin Ethics Probe". Newsweek. September 15, 2008. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  10. ^ "AP report in Chicago Sun Times (November 3, 2008) "Report clears Sarah Palin in Troopergate"". Archived from the original on February 13, 2009. Retrieved February 10, 2009.
  11. ^ "Former AUSA Edward O'Callaghan Joins Nixon Peabody in New York". www.securitiesdocket.com. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  12. ^ Protess, Ben. "Clifford Chance Hires 3 Ex-Prosecutors". DealBook. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  13. ^ "Top UK Court To Weigh Banker Rights In London Whale Case - Law360". www.law360.com. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  14. ^ "Banned FIFA Official Pleads Not Guilty To Racketeering". July 18, 2015. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  15. ^ Jarrett, Laura (April 3, 2018). "Rosenstein gets new top deputy for Russia probe". CNN. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  16. ^ Kutner, Max (April 7, 2018). "Rod Rosenstein's top deputy once worked to thwart a Sarah Palin investigation". Newsweek. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  17. ^ "Former Senior DOJ Official Edward C. O'Callaghan Joins WilmerHale". www.wilmerhale.com. Retrieved May 30, 2020.

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Rod Rosenstein
United States Deputy Attorney General

Succeeded by
Jeffrey A. Rosen