Tom Malinowski

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Tom Malinowski
Tom Malinowski 2014.jpg
Member-elect of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Jersey's 7th district
Assuming office
January 3, 2019
SucceedingLeonard Lance
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 byVirginia L. Bennett (Acting)
Personal details
Born (1965-09-23) September 23, 1965 (age 53)
Słupsk, Poland
Political partyDemocratic
EducationUniversity of California, Berkeley (BA)
St Antony's College, Oxford (MPhil)

Tomasz P. Malinowski (born September 23, 1965)[1] is a Polish-born American diplomat who served as Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor from 2014 to 2017. He is the Democratic Congressman-elect in New Jersey's 7th congressional district, a rural and suburban district, having defeated Republican incumbent Leonard Lance in the November 2018 midterm election.[2][3]

Early life and education[edit]

Malinowski was born in Słupsk, Poland and lived in Brwinów until he left 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 the office of Senator Bill Bradley.[1] Malinowski received a bachelor of arts in political science from the University of California, Berkeley in 1987 and a master of philosophy from Oxford University in 1991, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.[1][4]

Early political career[edit]

Malinowski began his government career as a Special Assistant for Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan in 1988. After attending Oxford, Malinowski worked for the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna, Austria, and later as a research assistant for the Ford Foundation in 1993.[4] 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.[5] From 1998 to 2001, Malinowski served as Senior Director on the National Security Council at the White House, where he oversaw the drafting of President Bill Clinton's foreign policy speeches and strategic communications efforts around the world.[4][5]

Human Rights Watch[edit]

From 2001 to 2013, Malinowski was the Washington Director for Human Rights Watch.[4][5][6] In this position, he advocated for the end of torture techniques and black sites utilized by the U.S. Government during the course of the War on Terror.[7][8][9] He campaigned for democratic reforms in Myanmar and for financial sanctions on the country's leadership.[10][11] Malinowski argued for the recognition of women's rights as a precondition to any peace talks with the Taliban.[12] He also pushed for a no-fly zone in Syria during the ongoing civil war.[13]

Obama administration[edit]

Malinowski was seen by some[14][15] 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 President Obama's second term, Malinowski was nominated to serve as Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.[16][17] Malinowski testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on September 24, 2013[18] and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on April 2, 2014.[19][20][21] According to columnist Jennifer Rubin, Malinowski was praised in 2014 by leaders from both parties for his defense of human rights and his work toward ending torture.[22]

While working in the State Department, Malinowski spearheaded efforts to assist persecuted religious minorities targeted by ISIS in Iraq.[23][24] He also oversaw efforts to sanction North Korean officials for human rights abuses and increase the flow of uncensored information into the country.[25][26] He led State Department efforts to defend the LGBT community around the world and oversaw the appointment of the first Special Envoy for LGBT rights.[27][28] Malinowski backed United Nations' efforts to investigate possible war crimes committed during the Sri Lankan Civil War.[29] He also worked on decreasing civilian casualties from US military operations in the Middle East[30] and assisted with sanctioning Russian officials for human rights abuses.[31]

Malinowski at his campaign headquarters in Martinsville, New Jersey

In July 2014, Malinowski was expelled by Bahrain's government after meeting with members of an opposition group in the course of a scheduled visit.[32][33][34] The foreign ministry of Bahrain argued that Malinowski's meeting improperly intervened in the country's affairs but noted the incident would not affect Bahrain–United States relations.[32] 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.[32][35][36] Malinowski returned to the country in December 2014 with the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs.[37][38]

Following the end of his tenure at the State Department, Malinowski joined fellow former Obama officials to lobby Congress in an effort to prevent the Trump Administration from lifting the sanctions on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.[39] 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."[6]

2018 congressional campaign[edit]

On October 2, 2017, Malinowski announced his candidacy for U.S. Congress in New Jersey's 7th congressional district in the 2018 midterm elections.[40] He decided to run for Congress after the November 2016 election of Donald Trump, which he saw as an indication that America was in "deep trouble."[41] In the June 5, 2018, primary election, he faced Peter Jacob and Goutam Jois. Republican incumbent Leonard Lance is running for reelection.[42] Malinowski criticized Lance, saying he "shifted to the right when he was scared of the Tea Party and he's moving to the left when he's scared of his increasingly moderate and energized constituents."[43]

Malinowski supports the Affordable Care Act and criticized the Republican Party for "whittling away at the Affordable Care Act year after year."[44] He has been endorsed by the Communications Workers of America.[45] He supports raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour as well as enhanced collective bargaining rights and protections for workers.[45] His candidacy has been endorsed by the Hunterdon County Democratic Committee.[46] Malinowski said he decided to run for office because of what he called the Trump administration's "effort to take down the Affordable Care Act with no viable replacement. It was the Muslim ban, and attacks on immigrants, it was the tearing up of alliances and commitments internationally. It was the taking down of environmental protections, it was refusing to invest in infrastructure."[47]

Malinowski sees the Democratic Party, in contrast to the GOP, as promoting fiscal responsibility, law enforcement, family values, and patriotism.[48]

Personal life[edit]

Malinowski owns a home in Washington, D.C., and was registered to vote there as of March 2018.[49] He began renting a home in Rocky Hill, New Jersey, in September 2017.[50][51]

His step-aunt was Anne Martindell, a member of the New Jersey State Senate (1974-1977), U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand (1979-1981), and sister to Malinowski's stepfather Blair Clark.[52]


  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.
  2. ^ "Malinowski Declares". InsiderNJ. October 2, 2017. Retrieved October 5, 2017.
  3. ^ "New Jersey Primary Election Results". New York Times. June 11, 2018. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d "Tom Malinowski". U.S. Department of State. April 3, 2014. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c "Malinowski, Tom". Center for Responsive Politics. April 3, 2014. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  6. ^ 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...."
  7. ^ "President Relents, Backs Torture Ban". Washington Post. December 16, 2005.
  8. ^ "Rice says U.S. personnel avoid cruel practices". USA Today. December 7, 2005.
  9. ^ "Call Cruelty What It Is". Washington Post. March 18, 2006.
  10. ^ "Letting Burma Back In". Foreign Policy. March 30, 2012.
  11. ^ "No Longer the Generals' Burma". Washington Post. March 21, 2007.
  12. ^ "How settling with the Taliban puts women at risk". Washington Post. August 15, 2010.
  13. ^ "Highlights of the latest Clinton emails". CNN. February 13, 2016.
  14. ^ "Nonprofit Groups Seeking Exceptions to Lobby Rule". Washington Post. April 20, 2009.
  15. ^ "The Good Lobbyist". Washington Post. April 22, 2006.
  16. ^ "President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts". White House. July 8, 2013. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  17. ^ Heil, Emily (July 9, 2013). "White House hires lobbyist Malinowski". Washington Post. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  18. ^ "Statement for the Record by Tom Malinowski, Nominee for Assistant Secretary of State" (PDF). United States Senate. September 24, 2013. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  19. ^ "Senate confirms State Dept. nominee". Washington Blade. April 9, 2014. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  20. ^ "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.
  21. ^ "Malinowski confirmed at DRL". Democracy Digest. April 4, 2014. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  22. ^ 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....
  23. ^ "A/S Malinowski Briefs Congressional Leaders on ISIL's Persecution of Religious Minorities in Iraq and Syria=". United States of America Geneva Mission. September 10, 2014.
  24. ^ "Malinowski Testimony" (PDF). U.S. Senate. December 9, 2014.
  25. ^ "U.S. compiling list of North Korea human rights violators". UPI. April 27, 2016.
  26. ^ "Sanctions on N.K. leader 'just the start,' more blacklisting to come: senior U.S. diplomat". Yonhap. July 8, 2016.
  27. ^ "Support for Gay Rights in Africa". December 29, 2015.
  28. ^ "Welcome to the Special Envoy for LGBT Rights". Human Rights Campaign. February 27, 2015.
  29. ^ "U.S. to Support Sri Lanka Plan to Investigate War Crimes". NY Times. August 26, 2015.
  30. ^ "Obama's New Executive Order Increases Drone Transparency, Official Says". Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. August 2016.
  31. ^ "Five Russians blacklisted for alleged human rights abuses". Washington Post. January 9, 2017.
  32. ^ a b c "US diplomat Tom Malinowski expelled from Bahrain". BBC News. July 7, 2014. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  33. ^ "Bahrain: U.S. diplomat 'unwelcome and should immediately leave'". CNN. July 8, 2014. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  34. ^ "Bahrain expels top US diplomat after meeting with main opposition group". RT. July 7, 2014. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  35. ^ Schwartz, Felicia (July 14, 2014). "Tension Between Bahrain and U.S. Continues Over Diplomat's Expulsion". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  36. ^ "Statement on the Decision by the Government of Bahrain To Find Assistant Secretary Malinowski Persona Non Grata and To Expel Him From Bahrain". U.S. Department of State. July 7, 2014. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  37. ^ Gordon, Michael (December 3, 2014). "Expelled U.S. Official to Return to Bahrain". New York Times. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  38. ^ "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.
  39. ^ "Former Diplomats: Trump Team Sought to Lift Sanctions on Russia". NBC News. June 1, 2017.
  40. ^ Kamisar, Ben (October 2, 2017). "Obama State Department official to run for House in NJ". The Hill. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  41. ^ 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."..."
  42. ^ "New Jersey's 7th Congressional District election, 2018". Ballotpedia. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  43. ^ Jonathan D. Salant, May 14, 2018,, This N.J. Republican is in big trouble because of Trump. Here's what he's doing about it., Retrieved May 15, 2018
  44. ^ 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....."
  45. ^ a b David Wildstein, April 23, 2018, New Jersey Globe, CWA Endorses Malinowski, Retrieved May 15, 2018
  46. ^ April 27, 2018, New Jersey Hills, First Lady Tammy Murphy to speak at county Democratic brunch on Sunday, April 29, Retrieved May 15, 2018, "...Tom Malinowski ... endorsed by the HCDC ..."
  47. ^ 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, " was the effort to take down the Affordable Care Act with no viable replacement..."
  48. ^ E. J. Dionne, July 15, 2018, Washington Post, Does the blue wave start in Jersey?, Retrieved July 16, 2018
  49. ^ Pizarro, Max (March 6, 2018). "Residency Question Hounds Malinowski on Eve of Union County Vote". InsiderNJ. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  50. ^ Brodesser-Akner, Claude (July 16, 2018). "What's really going on with all these 'carpetbagger' political attacks in New Jersey?". Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  51. ^ Pathe, Simone (March 6, 2018). "Could Past DC Residency Be Liability for Some Democrats?". Roll Call. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  52. ^ Wildstein, David (March 6, 2018). "Malinowski and the residency thing". New Jersey Globe. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
Government offices
Preceded by
Michael Posner
Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
Succeeded by
Virginia L. Bennett