Melanie Sloan (born 16 December 1965) is an attorney, former counsel for the House Judiciary Committee, and the former Executive Director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a nonprofit government ethics and accountability watchdog group.
Early life and education
Sloan was born in Washington, D.C. to parents Leonard S. Togman, who then worked at the U.S. Department of Justice, and Barbara A. Togman. She grew up in Wilmington, Delaware, where she attended Wilmington Friends School. Her father, who still resides in Delaware, is a lawyer "of counsel" (retired) with the law firm Potter Anderson & Corroon LLP.
Before founding Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) in 2003, Sloan served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Columbia from 1998 to 2003. Before becoming a prosecutor, Sloan served as Minority Counsel for the House Judiciary Committee, working on criminal justice issues for then-Ranking Member John Conyers (D-MI). Sloan also served as Counsel for the Crime Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by then-Representative Charles Schumer (D-NY). There, she drafted portions of the 1994 Crime Bill, including the Violence Against Women Act. In 1993, Sloan served as Nominations Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, under then-Chairman Joseph Biden (D-DE).
In November 2017 Sloan publicly accused Conyers of harassment and verbal abuse during her tenure working for the House Judiciary Committee.
Sloan frequently appears on national media to provide analysis and commentary. She has appeared on shows including Pacifica Radio's Democracy Now! show, Air America's Al Franken Show, NPR's All Things Considered and Morning Edition, CNN's The Situation Room, Larry King Live and Lou Dobbs Tonight, MSNBC's Hardball, Countdown with Keith Olbermann and The Rachel Maddow Show, NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News, and ABC World News Tonight. Sloan has been profiled in a number of publications including Ms. Magazine, Time Magazine and Mother Jones. In 2009, Sloan was featured in O Magazine's first-ever "O Power List" and was declared one of the "100 People Who Are Changing America" in Rolling Stone. She also appeared in the documentary Casino Jack and the United States of Money.
Plame Wilson leak case
Sloan serves as legal counsel for former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson and his wife, retired CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson, whose then-classified covert identity was disclosed, leading to the CIA leak grand jury investigation and the trial of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby in United States v. Libby (see Plame affair). Sloan is one of the attorneys representing the Wilsons in their civil lawsuit against former and current officials of the George W. Bush administration (Plame v. Cheney).
Agreeing with the Bush administration, the Obama Justice Department has argued the Wilsons have no legitimate grounds to sue. On the current Justice Department position, Sloan, stated: "We are deeply disappointed that the Obama administration has failed to recognize the grievous harm top Bush White House officials inflicted on Joe and Valerie Wilson. The government’s position cannot be reconciled with President Obama’s oft-stated commitment to once again make government officials accountable for their actions."
When Sloan was a guest on Hardball with Chris Matthews in December 2006, she spoke openly about many details in the Libby trial. Following her appearance on the show, she drew a strong warning from Judge Reggie Walton. Walton admonished Sloan and stated that "the Court would not tolerate this case being tried in the media."
Student lending reform controversy
In October 2010, The American Prospect reporter Mike Elk raised allegations that Sloan was working in conjunction with for-profit college lobbyists to attack the credibility of student lending reform advocates. Elk alleged that while Sloan was criticizing the student lending reforms advocates, she was also talking about potential jobs with lobbyists who worked for the for-profit college industry. In the summer of 2010, Sloan and CREW were highly critical of famed short-seller Steve Eisman, writing letters to the congressional subcommittee, denouncing the fact that he had an adverse financial interest. CREW published a rebuttal of the article's claims, noting the ethics concern about individuals manipulating the regulatory process for personal benefit.
Departure from CREW
In the fall of 2010, Sloan announced she would be leaving CREW and joining with Lanny Davis in a legal practice. Sloan subsequently decided against joining Davis' firm and remained as the Executive Director of CREW. She left CREW in 2014 when David Brock became the chairman of CREW's board of directors.
- Cohen, Rick (August 18, 2014). "Big Leadership Change at CREW: Melanie Sloan Out, David Brock In". Nonprofit Quarterly. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
- "Interview with Brian Lamb May 13, 2009". Delaware News Journal. 2010-06-10.
- Potter Anderson & Corroon LLP, Leonard Togman Archived 2011-01-04 at the Wayback Machine
- Burstyn, Linda. "The Most Feared Woman on Capital Hill?". Ms. Magazine, Winter 2007 Issue.
- "Q&A with Melanie Sloan", C-SPAN, May 13, 2009
- Senate Democratic Policy Committee Hearing, "Contracting Abuses in Iraq" 562 Dirksen Senate Office Building, November 3, 2003.
- Kindy, Kimberly; Hendrix, Steve; Lee, Michelle Ye Hee (November 22, 2017). "Ethics lawyer says Conyers mistreated her during her years on Capitol Hill".
- "Gonzales Misrepresented Role in Shielding Bush's Drunk Driving Record". 2005-01-28.
- Duchschere, Kevin (30 October 2008). "Coleman sues Franken campaign over ads". Star Tribune. Retrieved 14 June 2011.
- "Law Firm Linked to McCain PAC, Campaign Loan". NPR, March 21, 2008
- "Millions of Bush-Era E-Mails Discovered". NPR, December 15, 2009
- Transcript from "The Situation Room". CNN, January 13, 2009
- Transcript from "Larry King Live". CNN, October 3, 2009
- Transcript from "Lou Dobbs Tonight". CNN, September 8, 2008
- Transcript from "Hardball with Chris Matthews". MSNBC, July 5, 2007
- Transcript from "Countdown with Keith Olbermann". MSNBC, September 21, 2006.
- Transcript from "The Rachel Maddow Show". MSNBC, December 7, 2009
- "South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford says he will stay Archived 2009-12-03 at Archive.today". NBC Nightly News, June 19, 2009
- "Dubious Accounting Shadows Top Democrat". CBS Evening News, September 22, 2009.
- World News Tonight with Charles Gibson Archived 2007-10-03 at the Wayback Machine. ABC, December 8, 2006
- Tumulty, Karen. "The Hill Monitor" Time Magazine, October 23, 2006
- Schulman, Daniel. "House Wrecker" Mother Jones Magazine, January/February 2007 Issue.
- "The O Power List". O: The Oprah Magazine, September 2009 Issue
- "The RS 100 Agents of Change". Rolling Stone, April 2, 2009
- The Joe and Valerie Wilson Legal Support Trust
- Conery, Ben. "Administration opposed Plame appeal". Washington Times, May 21, 2009.
- Joel Seidman, "Attorney Admonished for Statements on Libby: Wilson Lawyer Predicted Jury Could Find V.P.'s Former Chief of Staff Guilty", MSNBC, December 21, 2006. Retrieved July 27, 2007.
- Elk, Mike (October 5, 2010). "Why Are Progressives Fighting Student-Loan Reform?". The American Prospect. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
- "CREW's Melanie Sloan departing"; Ed Okeefe; "Washington Post", November 19, 2010.
- Ethics Watchdog Sloan Decides Not to Leave; Roll Call; January 21, 2011