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Tom Malinowski

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Tom Malinowski
Official portrait, 2019
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Jersey's 7th district
In office
January 3, 2019 – January 3, 2023
Preceded byLeonard Lance
Succeeded byThomas Kean Jr.
Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
In office
April 3, 2014 – January 20, 2017
PresidentBarack Obama
DeputyVirginia L. Bennett
Preceded byMichael Posner
Succeeded byRobert Destro
Personal details
Born (1965-09-23) September 23, 1965 (age 58)
Słupsk, Poland
Political partyDemocratic
RelativesBlair Clark (stepfather)
EducationUniversity of California, Berkeley (BA)
St Antony's College, Oxford (MPhil)

Tomasz "Tom" P. Malinowski (/ˌmælɪˈnsk/; born September 23, 1965)[1] is an American politician and diplomat who was the U.S. representative from New Jersey's 7th congressional district from 2019 to 2023. A Democrat, he served as Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor in the Obama administration.

A vocal opponent of Donald Trump, Malinowski was first elected in 2018, defeating Republican incumbent Leonard Lance by five points.[2][3] He was reelected in 2020 by a narrower margin against New Jersey State Senate's Minority Leader, Thomas Kean Jr.[4] In a 2022 rematch, Kean defeated Malinowski.

On April 26, 2024, Malinowski announced that he would run for the Hunterdon County Democratic Chair post.[5]

Early life and education[edit]

Malinowski was born in Słupsk, Poland, and lived in Brwinów until leaving the country at the age of six with his mother, Joanna, who married Blair Clark. He was raised in Princeton, New Jersey, and graduated from Princeton High School in 1983, where he wrote for the school newspaper The Tower and was an intern in Senator Bill Bradley's office.[1] Malinowski received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1987, where he won a Harry S. Truman Scholarship in 1985,[6] and a Master of Philosophy from St Antony's College, Oxford, in 1991, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.[1][7]


Early career[edit]

Malinowski worked as a special assistant to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan in 1988. He worked for the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna, Austria, and later as a research assistant for the Ford Foundation in 1993.[7] From 1994 to 1998, Malinowski was a speechwriter for Secretaries of State Warren Christopher and Madeleine Albright as well as a member of the Policy Planning Staff at the Department of State.[8] From 1998 to 2001, Malinowski served as senior director on the National Security Council at the White House.[7][8]

Human Rights Watch[edit]

From 2001 to 2013, Malinowski was the Washington director for Human Rights Watch.[7][8][9] In this position, he advocated for the end of torture techniques and black sites used by the U.S. government during the War on Terror.[10][11][12] He campaigned for democratic reforms in Myanmar and financial sanctions on its leadership.[13][14] Malinowski argued for the recognition of women's rights as a precondition to any peace talks with the Taliban.[15] He also pushed for a no-fly zone in Syria during the ongoing civil war.[16]

Assistant Secretary of State[edit]

Some saw Malinowski[17][18] as a likely nominee for Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, but his previous registration as a lobbyist while at Human Rights Watch necessitated a waiver from the President. On July 8, 2013, during Obama's second term, Malinowski was nominated to serve as Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.[19][20] He testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on September 24, 2013,[21] and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on April 2, 2014.[22][23][24] According to columnist Jennifer Rubin, leaders from both parties praised Malinowski in 2014 for his defense of human rights and his work toward ending torture.[25]

In 2016, Malinowski said the State Department planned to release a list of North Korean human rights abusers.[26] He backed the United Nations' efforts to investigate possible war crimes committed during the Sri Lankan Civil War.[27] He assisted with sanctioning Russian officials under the Magnitsky Act for human rights abuses.[28]

In July 2014, Bahrain's government expelled Malinowski after he met with members of a Bahraini opposition group during a scheduled visit.[29][30] The foreign ministry of Bahrain asserted that his meeting was an improper intervention in the country's affairs but said the incident would not affect Bahrain–U.S. relations.[29] The U.S. State Department released a statement of concern about the actions while Secretary of State John Kerry called Bahrain's actions unacceptable and contrary to diplomatic protocol.[29][31][32] Malinowski returned to Bahrain in December 2014 with the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs.[33][34]

Following the end of his tenure at the State Department, Malinowski joined fellow former Obama officials to lobby Congress to prevent the Trump administration from lifting the sanctions on Russia following its annexation of Crimea.[35] He criticized Donald Trump for having an "obscene fondness" for the world's tyrants and for instituting a "complete departure from decades of American tradition."[9]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]



Malinowski at his campaign headquarters in Martinsville, New Jersey

On October 2, 2017, Malinowski announced his candidacy for New Jersey's 7th congressional district in the 2018 midterm elections.[36] He decided to run for Congress after the 2016 election of Donald Trump, which he saw as an indication that America was in "deep trouble".[37] Malinowski cited health care, immigration, diplomacy, environmental policy, and infrastructure as areas of focus.[38]

Malinowski supports the Affordable Care Act and criticized the Republican Party's attempts to dismantle it.[39] He supports a public health insurance option, but opposes Medicare for all.[40] He supports raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour as well as stronger collective bargaining rights and protections for workers.[41]

In the June 5 Democratic primary election, Malinowski defeated social worker Peter Jacob and lawyer Goutam Jois with 66.8% of the vote, winning all counties in the district.[42][43][44]

Malinowski won the November 6 general election with 51.7% of the vote. He and Lance each carried three of the district's six counties; Malinowski won Essex, Somerset and Union, while Lance carried Morris, Warren and his native Hunterdon. But Malinowski won the district's shares of Somerset and Union counties, the two most populous counties in the district, by 22,300 votes, which exceeded the overall margin of 16,200 votes.[45][46]


Malinowski with former Summit mayor Jordan Glatt at the Memorial Day remembrance in Summit, New Jersey, in May 2021

During his reelection campaign, Malinowski faced death threats after introducing a bill condemning the conspiratorial group QAnon.[47] The National Republican Congressional Committee then aired ads falsely accusing him of lobbying to protect sexual predators when he worked for Human Rights Watch.[48]

Malinowski was reelected, defeating New Jersey Senate Republican leader Tom Kean Jr. by 1.2%. Due to the very close margin, the election remained unresolved for weeks. In terms of both absolute numbers and vote percentage, Malinowski's race was the closest House race in the country to be won by a Democrat.[49]


Malinowski unsuccessfully[50] ran for reelection in the district for the 2022 elections[51] in a rematch against Tom Kean Jr. He announced on May 23, 2023 that he would not run against Kean in 2024.[52]


When he took office in January 2019, Malinowski became the first Democrat to represent the 7th since 1956.[53]

Malinowski was the first member of the New Jersey House delegation to call to begin the impeachment inquiry against Trump in May 2019.[54] He endorsed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in January 2020.[55]

During his first term, Malinowski advocated for efforts[56] to prohibit weapons sales to Saudi Arabia for use in the Yemen conflict. He also advocated for accountability[57] related to Saudi Arabia's role in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. His work contributed to the release of the Khashoggi Report and the subsequent Khashoggi ban.

American video game company Activision Blizzard punished a Hong Kong-based professional gamer for supporting pro-democracy Hong Kong protests. Malinowski accused Blizzard and Apple of censorship.[58] He co-signed a letter to Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick that read, "As China amplifies its campaign of intimidation, you and your company must decide whether to look beyond the bottom line and promote American values—like freedom of speech and thought—or to give in to Beijing's demands in order to preserve market access."[59]

The America COMPETES Act legislation, passed by the House in February 2022, included provisions Malinowski wrote.[60] He was subsequently appointed to the conference committee that finalized the bill.[citation needed]


In April 2021, the Associated Press reported that Malinowski had traded approximately $1 million of stock in medical and tech companies involved in the COVID-19 pandemic response.[61][62] Malinowski failed to disclose the trades within the period of time required by federal law; he said the failure to disclose the trades was an error.[63][64] Two complaints were filed against him with the Office of Congressional Ethics, which announced in October 2021 that it found "substantial reason to believe" that Malinowski had violated federal laws designed to defend against conflicts of interest. The Office of Congressional Ethics formally referred its Malinowski investigation to the House Committee on Ethics, which continued its own investigation.[65] The House Ethics Committee's investigation into Malinowski's stock trading is ongoing.[66]

Voting record[edit]

As of June 2022, Malinowski had voted in line with Joe Biden's stated position 98.2% of the time.[67]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

Electoral history[edit]

New Jersey's 7th congressional district: Results 2018–2020
Year Democratic Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
2018 Tom Malinowski 166,985 51.7% Leonard Lance (incumbent) 150,785 46.7% Diane Moxley Green 2,676 0.8% Gregg Mele Independent 2,296 0.7%
2020 219,629 50.6% Thomas Kean Jr. 214,318 49.4%
2022 150,701 48.6% 159,392 51.4%

Personal life[edit]

Malinowski moved to Rocky Hill, New Jersey, close to where he grew up, in September 2017.[73] In 2020, he moved to the Ringoes section of East Amwell Township, New Jersey.[74]

Malinowski's stepfather Blair Clark was a journalist. Clark's sister was Anne Martindell, a member of the New Jersey State Senate (1974–1977) and a United States ambassador to New Zealand (1979–1981).[75]

Malinowski has faced charges related to driving on a suspended license.[76]

Malinowski has one daughter.[77]

On March 28, 2023, Malinowski joined the McCain Institute.[78] On April 13, 2023, he joined the board of directors of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.[79]

On April 26, 2024, Malinowski announced he would be running for Hunterdon County Democratic Chairman.[80]


  1. ^ a b c "Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor: Who Is Tom Malinowski?". AllGov. July 21, 2013. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
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  5. ^ Wildstein, David (April 26, 2024). "Malinowski will run for Hunterdon Democratic county chairman". New Jersey Globe. Retrieved April 26, 2024.
  6. ^ "Press Release: 2024 Truman Scholars". Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation (Press release). Washington, D.C. April 12, 2024. Retrieved June 4, 2024.
  7. ^ a b c d "Tom Malinowski". U.S. Department of State. April 3, 2014. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  8. ^ a b c "Malinowski, Tom". OpenSecrets. April 3, 2014. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  9. ^ a b Politico magazine, Susan B. Glasser, June 19, 2017, The Man Who Argued With Dictators: Tom Malinowski spent years trying to get President Obama to care more about human rights. Now, he's figuring out what to do with a president who doesn't seem to care at all., Retrieved May 24, 2018, "...Malinowski spent the past few years pushing Obama from the inside on human rights ... former Washington director of Human Rights Watch ... leading the resistance from the outside to Trump and what he calls his “obscene” fondness for the world's tyrants...."
  10. ^ Josh, White (December 16, 2005). "President Relents, Backs Torture Ban". The Washington Post.
  11. ^ Syndeyev, Vladimir (December 7, 2005). "Rice says U.S. personnel avoid cruel practices". USA Today.
  12. ^ Malinowski, Tom (September 18, 2006). "Call Cruelty What It Is". The Washington Post.
  13. ^ Malinowski, Tom (March 30, 2012). "Letting Burma Back In". Foreign Policy.
  14. ^ Malinowski, Tom (October 21, 2007). "No Longer the Generals' Burma". The Washington Post.
  15. ^ Malinowski, Tom (August 15, 2010). "How settling with the Taliban puts women at risk". The Washington Post.
  16. ^ Koran, Laura (February 13, 2016). "Highlights of the latest Clinton emails". CNN.
  17. ^ "Nonprofit Groups Seeking Exceptions to Lobby Rule". The Washington Post. April 20, 2009.
  18. ^ "The Good Lobbyist". The Washington Post. April 22, 2006.
  19. ^ "President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts". whitehouse.gov. July 8, 2013. Retrieved April 1, 2016 – via National Archives.
  20. ^ Heil, Emily (July 9, 2013). "White House hires lobbyist Malinowski". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  21. ^ "Statement for the Record by Tom Malinowski, Nominee for Assistant Secretary of State" (PDF). United States Senate. September 24, 2013. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  22. ^ "Senate confirms State Dept. nominee". Washington Blade. April 9, 2014. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  23. ^ "Senate Confirms Tom Malinowski as New Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor". Human Rights First. April 2, 2014. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  24. ^ "Malinowski confirmed at DRL". Democracy Digest. April 4, 2014. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  25. ^ Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin, February 21, 2014, Free Tom Malinowski, Retrieved May 23, 2018, "...Tom is widely respected for the indispensable role he has played in defense of human rights and fundamental freedoms, from ending torture to advancing democracy ... He received wide support from Democrats and Republicans who have been united in their criticism of the administration's ... attitude toward human rights....
  26. ^ "U.S. compiling list of North Korea human rights violators". UPI. April 27, 2016.
  27. ^ "U.S. to Support Sri Lanka Plan to Investigate War Crimes". The New York Times. August 26, 2015.
  28. ^ Carol Morello (January 9, 2017). "Five Russians blacklisted for alleged human rights abuses". The Washington Post.
  29. ^ a b c "US diplomat Tom Malinowski expelled from Bahrain". BBC News. July 7, 2014. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  30. ^ "Bahrain: U.S. diplomat 'unwelcome and should immediately leave'". CNN. July 8, 2014. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  31. ^ Schwartz, Felicia (July 14, 2014). "Tension Between Bahrain and U.S. Continues Over Diplomat's Expulsion". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  32. ^ "Statement on the Decision by the Government of Bahrain To Find Assistant Secretary Malinowski Persona Non Grata and To Expel Him From Bahrain" (Press release). U.S. Department of State. July 7, 2014. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  33. ^ Gordon, Michael (December 3, 2014). "Expelled U.S. Official to Return to Bahrain". The New York Times. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  34. ^ "Press Availability with A/S Tom Malinowski and A/S Anne Patterson". U.S. Department of State. December 4, 2014. Archived from the original on April 14, 2016. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  35. ^ "Former Diplomats: Trump Team Sought to Lift Sanctions on Russia". NBC News. June 1, 2017.
  36. ^ Kamisar, Ben (October 2, 2017). "Obama State Department official to run for House in NJ". The Hill. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  37. ^ Albert R. Hunt, May 2, 2018, Bloomberg News, Some Democratic Candidates Look Mighty Familiar, Retrieved May 15, 2018, "... Malinowski, an assistant secretary of State for President Obama and a State Department official under Clinton ... America, he believes, "is in deep trouble."..."
  38. ^ May 27, 2018, NBC News Washington (Channel 4), Fired Up by Trump, Dozens of Former Obama Staffers Run for Office: The surge of Democratic candidates with ties to Obama has the potential to fill state and federal legislatures with like-minded allies, Retrieved May 30, 2018, "...it was the effort to take down the Affordable Care Act with no viable replacement..."
  39. ^ Insider New Jersey, May 12, 2018, Staff writer, CD7 Democratic Challenger Malinowski Formally Opens his Main Headquarters with Pallone, Retrieved May 14, 2018, "... He'll fight to protect the Affordable Care Act....."
  40. ^ Friedman, Matt (16 April 2019). "Tom Kean Jr. targets socialism in congressional campaign kickoff". Politico PRO. Retrieved 2020-08-02.
  41. ^ David Wildstein, April 23, 2018, New Jersey Globe, CWA Endorses Malinowski, Retrieved May 15, 2018
  42. ^ "New Jersey's 7th Congressional District election, 2018". Ballotpedia. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  43. ^ "New Jersey Primary Election Results: Seventh House District". The New York Times. 11 June 2018. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-03-08.
  44. ^ "Candidates for House of Representatives For PRIMARY ELECTION 06/05/2018 Election" (PDF). July 20, 2018.
  45. ^ "New Jersey's Seventh House District Election Results: Tom Malinowski vs. Leonard Lance". The New York Times. 28 January 2019. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-03-08.
  46. ^ "Official List: Candidates for House of Representatives: For GENERAL ELECTION 11/06/2018" (PDF). New Jersey Division of Elections. December 3, 2018.
  47. ^ Mimms, Sarah (September 30, 2020). "A Member Of Congress Is Facing Death Threats After QAnon Went After Him". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved November 2, 2022.
  48. ^ Edmondson, Catie (30 September 2020). "False G.O.P. Ad Prompts QAnon Death Threats Against a Democratic Congressman". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-10-01.
  49. ^ "Will New Jersey see a Kean vs. Malinowski rematch, and other redistricting issues". New Jersey Globe. November 18, 2020.
  50. ^ NJ.com, Jonathan D. Salant | NJ Advance Media for; NJ.com, Brent Johnson | NJ Advance Media for (2022-11-09). "Kean ousts Malinowski in N.J.'s hottest congressional race". nj. Retrieved 2022-11-09.
  51. ^ "2022 Election Information". New Jersey Division of Elections. Retrieved April 14, 2022.
  52. ^ Wildstein, David (23 May 2023). "Malinowski won't seek rematch with Kean". New Jersey Globe. Retrieved 24 May 2023.
  53. ^ Wildstein, David (2020-11-23). "The history of Malinowski's congressional seat". New Jersey Globe. Retrieved 2022-07-02.
  54. ^ Moran, Tom (May 29, 2019). "Malinowski, the first Jersey House member to favor impeachment hearings, explains why". NJ.com. Retrieved 27 January 2020.
  55. ^ Wildstein, David (January 14, 2020). "Malinowski Endorses Biden for President". New Jersey Globe. Retrieved January 17, 2020.
  56. ^ "The Weekly | How the Promise of American Jobs Became Entangled in a Faraway War". The New York Times. 2020-03-20. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-12-06.
  57. ^ "Opinion | Congress should show Trump that the Saudi crown prince is no 'friend' of America". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2022-12-06.
  58. ^ "AOC and Ted Cruz call out Apple for dropping Hong Kong app in joint letter". The Verge. October 18, 2019.
  59. ^ "Lawmakers condemn Apple, Activision Blizzard over censorship of Hong Kong protester". The Hill. October 18, 2020.
  60. ^ Hickey, James (2022-02-08). "House Passes Malinowski-Authored America COMPETES Act to Address Supply Chain Issues". North-JerseyNews.com. Retrieved 2022-12-06.
  61. ^ "As pandemic spread pain and panic, congressman chased profit". AP News. 2021-05-21. Retrieved 2021-05-22.
  62. ^ Castronuovo, Celine (2021-05-21). "Rep. Malinowski traded as much as $1M in medical, tech stocks with stake in COVID-19 response". The Hill. Retrieved 15 June 2021.
  63. ^ Sutton, Sam (May 21, 2021). "After bruising 2020 campaign, Malinowski's trading activity could spell doom in 2022". Politico. Retrieved 15 June 2021.
  64. ^ Salant, Jonathan (2021-05-22). "N.J. congressman's pandemic stock trades could cost him in 2022". NJ.com. Retrieved 15 June 2021.
  65. ^ Levinthal, Dave (October 21, 2021). "Congressional ethics investigators find 'substantial reason to believe' Democratic Rep. Tom Malinowski violated federal conflict-of-interest rules". Business Insider. Retrieved 22 November 2021.
  66. ^ "As pandemic spread pain and panic, congressman chased profit". Associated Press. 21 May 2021.
  67. ^ Bycoffe, Anna Wiederkehr and Aaron (2021-04-22). "Does Your Member Of Congress Vote With Or Against Biden?". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved 1 June 2022.
  68. ^ "Leadership | New Democrat Coalition". newdemocratcoalition.house.gov. Retrieved 2021-03-29.
  69. ^ "Representative Malinowski Leads Fight To End Corruption in Washington". Tom Malinowski Congressional Web Site. 21 January 2020. Retrieved 27 January 2020.
  70. ^ "10 Years After Disastrous Citizens United Decision, Rose, Porter, Freshmen Dems Launch New 'End Corruption' Caucus". Max Rose Congressional Web Site. 16 January 2020. Retrieved 27 January 2020.
  71. ^ "Featured Members". Problem Solvers Caucus. Retrieved 2021-03-28.
  72. ^ "Members". House Pro Choice Caucus. 2021-08-19. Retrieved 2022-11-14.
  73. ^ Pathe, Simone (March 6, 2018). "Could Past DC Residency Be Liability for Some Democrats?". Roll Call. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  74. ^ "Kean pushing local Republicans to hit Malinowski over federal aid". New Jersey Globe. 2020-05-04. Retrieved 2020-05-18.
  75. ^ Wildstein, David (March 6, 2018). "Malinowski and the residency thing". New Jersey Globe. Retrieved August 8, 2018.
  76. ^ Friedman, Matt. "Malinowski pleads down charge of driving with a suspended license, pays fine". Politico. Retrieved 2022-11-14.
  77. ^ Muscavage, Nick (November 7, 2018). "NJ elections: Democrat Tom Malinowski unseats Republican Leonard Lance in NJ's 7th Congressional District". Courier News and Home News Tribune. Retrieved March 3, 2020.
  78. ^ "Former U.S. Congressman Tom Malinowski Joins McCain Institute as John S. McCain Senior Fellow". McCain Institute. 28 March 2023. Retrieved 21 May 2023.
  79. ^ "Scott Carpenter, Tom Malinowski Join RFE/RL's Board of Directors". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 13 April 2023. Retrieved 21 May 2023.
  80. ^ "Malinowski Will Run For Hunterdon Democratic County Chairman". David Wildstein. 26 April 2024. Retrieved 26 April 2024.

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
Succeeded by
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Jersey's 7th congressional district

Succeeded by
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded byas Former US Representative Order of precedence of the United States
as Former US Representative
Succeeded byas Former US Representative