Mark Wallace

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This article is about the American businessman, former diplomat and lawyer. For other uses, see Mark Wallace (disambiguation).
Mark Wallace
Mark D. Wallace Headshot.jpg
Alma mater University of Miami (B.A./J.D.)
Occupation CEO of United Against Nuclear Iran and the Counter Extremism Project
Spouse(s) Nicolle Wallace (m. 2005)
Children 1

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 United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) and the Counter Extremism Project.

Political career[edit]

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.[1]

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.[2][3] Wallace was portrayed in the HBO movie Recount for his role in the disputed presidential contest.[4]

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.[5]

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.[5]

In February 2013, Wallace publicly supported legal recognition for same-sex marriage in an amicus brief submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court.[6]

UN Ambassadorship[edit]

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.[7]

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.[8] 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.[9] 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.[10] The Wall Street Journal wrote that the finding of the Cash for Kim investigation "vindicates" Wallace, "who led the charge for transparency at UNDP."[11]

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."[12][13] 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.[12]

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.[14]

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.[15] 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."[15]

2008 U.S. presidential campaign[edit]

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.[16][17] 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."[18] Wallace was portrayed in the HBO movie Game Change by actor Ron Livingston for his work on the McCain campaign.[19]

Private sector work[edit]

Wallace served 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. He went on to serve as Chief Operating Officer of an affiliate of the Tigris Group Inc., The Electrum Group, LLC, a private investment firm founded in 2012. Electrum invests primarily in the natural resources sector with an emphasis on precious metals. In his capacity of CEO of Tigris, 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."[20] 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.[21]

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.[22] 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.[23]

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.[24] 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."[25] 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."[26]

Also as part of his work with Electrum, Wallace serves on the board of directors of Niocan Inc., a Canadian company whose Quebec mining assets focus on niobium and iron ore.[27]

Current work[edit]

United Against Nuclear Iran[edit]

Wallace 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.[28] 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.[29] In August 2013, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif described UANI as "the biggest active lobby against Iran."[30] The following month, in his debut speech before the UN General Assembly, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was further critical of UANI, labeling it "extremist," and proposed a new group called "World Against Violence and Extremism" – in reference to United Against Nuclear Iran.[31]

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,[32] Huntsman,[33] Caterpillar,[34] Ingersoll Rand,[35] Porsche, Hyundai,[36] Fiat,[37] Royal Dutch Shell,[38] Terex[39] and Siemens[40] 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[41] and Reuters.[42] 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."[43]

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.[44] 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.[45] 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.[46] 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.[47]

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),[48] the Iran Transparency and Accountability Act (ITAA),[49] the Iran Financial Sanctions Improvement Act of 2012 (H.R. 4179 as introduced by Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Congressman Brad Sherman),[50] California's Iran Contracting Act of 2010 (AB1650) and New York's Iran Divestment Act of 2011 (A08668) among others.[51] 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."[52] 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.[50]

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."[53]

Wallace also serves on the Board of Advisors of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center.[54]

Counter Extremism Project[edit]

Wallace is the Chief Executive Officer of the Counter Extremism Project (CEP), launched in September 2014. CEP is a not-for-profit, non-partisan, international policy organization formed to combat the growing threat from extremist ideology. The organization is led by Wallace and a team of former world leaders and former diplomats, including Frances Townsend and Senator Joseph Lieberman.[55][56] CEP aims to combat extremism by pressuring financial support networks, countering the narrative of extremists and their online recruitment, and advocating for strong laws, policies and regulation.[57] The group produces research, having conducted a comprehensive survey on the public's attitudes and knowledge of extremism in order to ensure measurable results of its projects and campaigns. CEP also is building a clearinghouse and database of extremists groups and their supporters, mapping the social and financial networks, tools and methodologies.[58]

Wallace, Townsend and the group have engaged in a "Digital Disruption" campaign. In an attempt to curb extremist online-activity, ranging from incitement of violence to recruitment of youth, the group has petitioned Twitter to take down jihadist accounts.[59]

Wallace is a media contributor and op-ed author and has been featured in news outlets around the world including The Wall Street Journal,[60] The New York Times,[61] the Financial Times,[62] CNN,[63] Fox News,[64] The Huffington Post,[65] the New York Post,[66] and CNBC.[67]

Personal life[edit]

Wallace attended the University of Miami, where he received both his Bachelor's and law degrees.[1] 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.[68]


  1. ^ a b "President George W. Bush-Campaign Organization". Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action. Retrieved 18 August 2010. 
  2. ^ Steven Meyer (14 December 2000). "Florida Dispatch: 36 Days in the Life of a Recount Observer". The American Prospect. 
  3. ^ Thomas C. Tobin (29 November 2000). "Watchdogs do their own recount in Palm Beach". St. Petersburg Times. 
  4. ^ "Recount". IMDb. Retrieved 30 May 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "Mark Wallace". United Against Nuclear Iran. Retrieved 18 August 2010. 
  6. ^ Avlon, John. "The Pro-Freedom Republicans Are Coming: 131 Sign Gay-Marriage Brief". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  7. ^ "Presidential Nominations 109th Congress (2005–2006): PN1169-109". THOMAS. Library of Congress. 
  8. ^ Colum Lynch (31 July 2007). "U.S. Crusader Odd Man Out at the UN". The Washington Post. 
  9. ^ Warren Hoge (29 June 2007). "UN Development Agency Rebuts U.S. Charges of Wasteful Spending in North Korea". The New York Times. 
  10. ^ Bay Fang (11 March 2007). "Did UN agency serve as ATM for North Korea?". Chicago Tribune. 
  11. ^ "Hooray for the U.N.". The Wall Street Journal. 2 September 2010. Retrieved 2 September 2010. 
  12. ^ a b Mark Wallace (22 December 2007). "Explanation of vote by Ambassador Mark Wallace, United States Ambassador for management reform, on Agenda item 128". United States Mission to the UN. Retrieved 18 August 2010. 
  13. ^ Anne Bayefsky (27 December 2007). "Voting Against Hate". National Review Online. 
  14. ^ "U.N agencies' budgets eyed". The Washington Times. 1 November 2007. 
  15. ^ a b "UN Reformer (Really)". The Wall Street Journal. 1 April 2008. 
  16. ^ Philip Sherwell (27 September 2008). "Vice-presidential debate: Sarah Palin relies on Bush veterans for her big day". The Daily Telegraph. 
  17. ^ Anne E. Kornblut & Juliet Eilperin (22 September 2008). "Steering the McCain Campaign, a Lot of Old Bush Hands". The Washington Post. 
  18. ^ Patrick Healy (3 October 2008). "Cordial but Pointed, Palin and Biden Face Off". The New York Times. p. A1. 
  19. ^ "Game Change". IMDb. Retrieved 30 May 2012. 
  20. ^ Kelly, Jason (26 August 2010). "Gold's Evangelist". Bloomberg BusinessWeek. 
  21. ^ "Sunshine Silver Mines files for IPO of up to $250 mln". Reuters. 7 July 2011. Retrieved 29 May 2012. 
  22. ^ "SKKGM Announces Start of Drill Program in Poland". Business Wire. 30 November 2011. Retrieved 29 May 2012. 
  23. ^ "Golden boy reaches... for Polish copper". Bloomberg Businessweek Polska (in Polish). 30 November 2011. Retrieved 29 May 2012. 
  24. ^ "Cougar Gold says won't mine unless wilderness protection removed, county supervisors divided". Mammoth Times. 16 February 2011. 
  25. ^ "Gold fever stirs ghost town". The Wall Street Journal. 18 August 2011. Retrieved 29 May 2012. 
  26. ^ "As gold prices soar, Bodie is thrust from the past". Los Angeles Times. 1 October 2011. Retrieved 29 May 2012. 
  27. ^ "Niocan Announces Private Placement Financing with Nio-Metals Holdings LLC and Changes to Niocan's Board of Directors". Market Wire. 29 August 2011. Retrieved 29 May 2012. 
  28. ^ Perelman, Marc (11 September 2008). "Broad-Based Coalition Seeks To Prevent a Nuclear Iran". The Forward. 
  29. ^ "Leadership". United Against Nuclear Iran. Retrieved 30 May 2012. 
  30. ^ "Mohammad Javad Zarif transcript with Aseman Weekly". Aseman Weekly (in Persian) ( 9 August 2013. 
  31. ^ "Iran's Rouhani lashes out at sanctions". Christian Science Monitor. 24 September 2013. 
  32. ^ "General Electric Signs UANI's Iran Business Declaration". United Against Nuclear Iran. 18 September 2009. Retrieved 30 May 2012. 
  33. ^ "UANI Applauds Huntsman for Its Decision to Stop Doing Business in Iran". United Against Nuclear Iran. 27 January 2010. Retrieved 30 May 2012. 
  34. ^ "UANI Applauds Caterpillar's Commitment to End Sales into Iran". United Against Nuclear Iran. 1 March 2010. 
  35. ^ "Ingersoll Bars Units From Sales to Iran". The Wall Street Journal. 10 March 2010. Retrieved 29 May 2012. 
  36. ^ Jonathan Wachtel (16 April 2012). "Bowing to pressure, Porsche joins Hyundai in ending business with Iran". Fox News. Retrieved 29 May 2012. 
  37. ^ "Fiat Slams Brake On Sales To Iran". The Wall Street Journal. 25 May 2012. Retrieved 29 May 2012. 
  38. ^ "UANI Applauds Royal Dutch Shell for Its Decision to End its Sales of Gasoline Into Iran". United Against Nuclear Iran. 10 March 2010. Retrieved 30 May 2012. 
  39. ^ "UANI Applauds Terex For Ending its Business in Iran". United Against Nuclear Iran. 24 March 2011. Retrieved 30 May 2012. 
  40. ^ "UANI Calls on Nokia and Nokia Siemens to End Their Business in Iran". 1 October 2010. Retrieved 30 May 2012. 
  41. ^ "Huawei pledges not to pursue Iran business". Financial Times. 9 December 2011. Retrieved 31 May 2012. 
  42. ^ "China's Huawei to scale back Iran operations". Reuters. 9 December 2011. Retrieved 31 May 2012. 
  43. ^ "Huawei to Scale Back Business in Iran". The Wall Street Journal. 10 December 2011. Retrieved 31 May 2012. 
  44. ^ "UANI Launches SWIFT Campaign". United Against Nuclear Iran. 1 February 2012. Retrieved 1 June 2012. 
  45. ^ "Banking group faces pressure to cut Iran ties". The Hill. 18 March 2012. Retrieved 31 May 2012. 
  46. ^ "Auto Campaign". United Against Nuclear Iran. Retrieved 1 June 2012. 
  47. ^ "Hotels Campaign". United Against Nuclear Iran. Retrieved 1 June 2012. 
  48. ^ "UANI Applauds Congress for Passing Comprehensive Iran Sanctions Legislation". United Against Nuclear Iran. 24 June 2010. Retrieved 1 June 2012. 
  49. ^ "UANI Applauds Introduction of the Iran Transparency and Accountability Act of 2011". United Against Nuclear Iran. 16 February 2011. 
  50. ^ a b Mark Wallace (17 May 2012). "Iran Sanctions: Strategy, Implementation, and Enforcement" (PDF). U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 1 June 2012. 
  51. ^ "State Debarment – Iran Contracting Act". United Against Nuclear Iran. Retrieved 1 June 2012. 
  52. ^ Meir Dagan; August Hanning; R. James Woolsey; Charles Guthrie; Kristen Silverberg & Mark D. Wallace (16 May 2012). "Total Sanctions Might Stop Iran". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 31 May 2012. 
  53. ^ "US nonprofit 'names and shames' businesses to put bite into Iran sanctions". NBC News. 18 October 2012. Retrieved 5 February 2013. 
  54. ^ "Leadership". Nonproliferation Policy Education Center. Retrieved 1 June 2012. 
  55. ^ "New group plans to spotlight secret funding for Islamic State militants". The Washington Post. 20 September 2014. 
  56. ^ "Government Veterans to Take Fight to Extremists on Online Battleground". TIME. 22 September 2014. 
  57. ^ "About". Counter Extremism Project. 
  58. ^ "CEP Global Research: Comprehensive Survey Results U.S. and Europe". Counter Extremism Project. 
  59. ^ "Turns Out It's Pretty Hard To Shut Down Jihadi Twitter". BuzzFeed. 6 November 2014. 
  60. ^ Richard Holbrooke, R. James Woolsey, Dennis B. Ross and Mark D. Wallace (22 September 2008). "Everyone Needs to Worry About Iran". The Wall Street Journal. 
  61. ^ "Senate Panel Approves Potentially Toughest Penalty Yet Against Iran's Wallet". The New York Times. 2 February 2012. Retrieved 31 May 2012. 
  62. ^ "California tightens screw on trade with Iran". Financial Times. 27 June 2011. Retrieved 31 May 2012. 
  63. ^ "Walkout at U.N. as Ahmadinejad speaks". CNN. 23 September 2011. Retrieved 31 May 2012. 
  64. ^ "Shipping Firm Maersk Suspends Business With Iranian Ports in Wake of Sanctions". Fox News. 1 July 2011. Retrieved 31 May 2012. 
  65. ^ Mark D. Wallace & Frances Townsend (28 October 2011). "(Another) Act of War and What We Can Do About It". Huffington Post. Retrieved 31 May 2012. 
  66. ^ Mark D. Wallace (26 July 2011). "Trading with the enemy: As Iran helps kill our troops, multinationals do biz with both sides". New York Post. Retrieved 31 May 2012. 
  67. ^ Mark D. Wallace (20 December 2011). "Why a Chinese Company Finally Decided to Pull Back from Iran". CNBC. Retrieved 31 May 2012. 
  68. ^ Jonathan Martin (10 September 2008). "Palin team stocked with Bush veterans". Politico. 

External links[edit]