Susan Bonzon Ralston (born October 15, 1967), is the President of SBR Enterprises, LLC, a government affairs, public relations and business consulting firm, which assists businesses with strategic partnership development, public affairs and public relations activities. Ralston was formerly Special Assistant to President George W. Bush and a deputy to Karl Rove, the Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor at the White House, from 2001 until her resignation in 2006.
Early life and education
Ralston was born in Pennsylvania to Filipino-American parents, Teotimo D. Bonzon and Purificacion Lagman Bonzon. She graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a bachelor's degree with honors, and from Keller Graduate School of Management with a Masters of Business Administration.
Before moving to Washington, D.C., Ralston was an office administrator for M&J Wilkow, Ltd., a commercial real estate firm in Chicago, Illinois. In Washington, she worked for Jack Abramoff, at the legal and lobbying firm of Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds, LLP. In 2001, when Abramoff left Preston Gates to work at Greenberg Traurig, she also changed firms, continuing to work for Abramoff, with the title of Assistant Director of Governmental Affairs.
Ralston was hired in 2001 as the most senior assistant to Karl Rove. Ralston was the Special Assistant to the President and a deputy to Rove, the Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor at the White House for almost six years. She was responsible for managing the activities that comprised the Office of the Senior Advisor, including the development of policy, strategic planning, political affairs, public liaison, and intergovernmental affairs efforts of the White House. She was also responsible for the development and production of presidential and major surrogate events.
As a Filipino-American, Ralston was a member of the Presidential Delegation to attend the Inauguration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of the Philippines in June 2004. She took part in a bi-partisan exchange to Vietnam in August 2003 that was organized by the American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL).
Investigations and questioning
On July 29, 2005, Ralston testified before federal grand jury prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald, investigating whether government officials illegally disclosed the identity of CIA officer Valerie Wilson. Matthew Cooper made a call sometime in July 2003 to Karl Rove but there were no records of the call. Ralston claimed there were no records because they had transferred his call.
On January 3, 2006, Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty to conspiracy, and related charges, and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in a corruption probe in Washington. In September 2006, the House Government Reform Committee released a report on Abramoff's dealings with the White House. Ralston resigned on October 6, 2006, after it became known that she had accepted gifts and passed information to Abramoff.
In May 2007, Ralston sought immunity before testifying in front of Representative Henry Waxman's House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. She was deposed in private before asking for immunity. On May 10, 2007, she testified to the United States Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that Rove used an Republican National Committee (RNC) email account daily for most of his official communications as Deputy White House Chief of Staff for Strategic Planning and Senior Advisor to the President, a possible violation of the Presidential Records Act of 1978.
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- Asian Social Network - Your Portal to America's Asian Community
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- United States House of Representatives, Committee on Government Oversight and Reform, Majority Staff, Investigation of Possible Presidential Records Act Violations, Interim Report, June 2007