March 8, 1937 |
|Alma mater||Florida State University
|Occupation||Federal Trade Commission|
Orson Swindle (born March 8, 1937 in Thomasville, Georgia), a decorated Vietnam War prisoner of war, was a Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission of the United States from December 18, 1997 to June 30, 2005. He had previously served as Assistant Secretary of Commerce during the Reagan Administration.
Swindle previously served as State Director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In 1994 and in 1996 he was a Republican candidate for Congress in Hawaii's 1st Congressional District. In 1996 he held the incumbent, Democrat Neil Abercrombie, to 50% of the vote. Swindle served over twenty years as a Naval Aviator in the U.S. Marine Corps, and he retired as a lieutenant colonel.
Marine Corps career
After graduating from Georgia Tech, Swindle reported to Marine Corps Base Quantico for The Basic School (TBS). He then reported to NAS Pensacola, Florida for initial flight training followed by follow-on training at other naval air stations. After earning his wings in May 1964, he was stationed at MCAS Beaufort, South Carolina. On February 1, 1966, he deployed with VMF(AW)-235 ("The Death Angels") to DaNang Air Base and flew more than 200 sorties in the Vought F-8E Crusader during the Vietnam War.
On November 11, 1966, Capt Swindle's Crusader was shot down while on a mission over the Quảng Bình Province, North Vietnam. It was his last scheduled flight. Captured by the North Vietnamese near the city of Vinh Linh, Capt Swindle spent the next seven years being shuffled around various prison camps, including the notorious Hanoi Hilton complex. While in captivity, he shared a cell with future senator and presidential candidate, then-Lieutenant Commander (later Captain) John McCain, USN.
Promoted to the rank of major while in captivity, he was released on March 4, 1973. Restored to flying status, he then flew the A-4M Skyhawk II and TA-4F Skyhawk II at MCAS Cherry Point, North Carolina. He subsequently attended Florida State University under a Marine Corps-funded postgraduate program, earning a Master of Business Administration degree in 1975. He then returned to the Fleet Marine Force. His 20 military decorations for valor in combat include two Silver Stars, the Legion of Merit with Combat "V", two Bronze Stars with Combat "V", two Purple Hearts, two personal and eleven Strike/Flight awards of the Air Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat "V", the Combat Action Ribbon, the Prisoner of War Medal and numerous other unit, campaign and service awards. His non-combat decorations include a Gold Star in lieu of a second Legion of Merit and the Meritorious Service Medal.
Swindle retired from the U.S. Marine Corps in 1979 with the rank of lieutenant colonel.
Politics and professional relationships
From late 2005 until August 2009, Swindle served as a Senior Policy Advisor at the law firm of Hunton & Williams LLP in Washington, D.C. His specific charge was within the firm's Center for Information Policy Leadership, which was founded to "develop innovative, pragmatic approaches to privacy and information security issues from a business-process perspective while respecting the privacy interests of individuals." The Center has approximately 40 corporate members including American Express, Eli Lilly, GE, Microsoft, IBM, Procter & Gamble, and Wal-Mart.
Swindle serves on the board of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), an independent political advocacy group that seeks to eliminate waste, mismanagement, and inefficiency in the federal government. Throughout its history, CAGW has been accused of fronting lobbying efforts of corporations to give them the appearance of "grassroots" support. In part, this is because CAGW has accepted donations from Phillip Morris, the Olin Foundation, the Bradley Foundation, Microsoft, Merrill-Lynch, and Exxon-Mobil. CAGW also has ties to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff. While CAGW describes itself as non-partisan, it has endorsed John McCain for president and donated $11,000 to his campaign or groups controlled by him.
On September 2, 2008, he gave the opening speech on the second day of the Republican National Convention in Saint Paul, Minnesota, during which he introduced veterans and fellow prisoners of war in the crowd. He also introduced President George H. W. Bush, who ran against Swindle's candidate Perot in the 1992 presidential election.
- "Federal Trade Commission – Speeches by Former Commissioners". Retrieved 2009-05-12.
- The 1992 Campaign The New York Times, October 11, 1992
- Hunton & Williams, Orson Swindle Bio
- "Staff". Citizens Against Government Waste. Retrieved September 2, 2012.
- For price, watchdog will be an advocate, St. Petersburg Times, April 2, 2006
- Grimaldi, James V.; Schmidt, Susan (October 12, 2006). "Senate Report: Five Nonprofit Groups Sold Clout to Abramoff". Washington Post. Retrieved May 20, 2010.
- McCain Campaign Calls; A Nonprofit Steps In Washington Post, May 31, 2008
- FoxNews Convention Coverage, Hannity & Colmes, 2 SEP 2008