Hillary Clinton’s Entire Candidacy Hinges On What One Woman Knows. Meet Margaret “Margie” Sullivan

Hillary Clinton’s Entire Candidacy Hinges On What One Woman Knows. Meet Margaret “Margie” Sullivan




By Susan Browning for Town Hall




She personally knew and worked with Monica Lewinsky. She was the operations head and the #2 for Tom Steyer, the man most targeted by the GOP. She ran the USAID and had intimate knowledge of the Clinton Foundation’s Haiti scandal. She can open any door in Silicon Valley with a phone call. She has had some of the most sensitive documents of the DNC in her hands. CIA officers know not to get on her bad side. She shows up throughout the Wikileaks archives. Sid Blumenthal calls her “an extraordinary asset that can do things nobody else can”. Political journalists are mining every detail on her and looking for any opportunity to get “The Big Interview” with her. She knows the secret of Bill Clinton’s “Energizer Bunny”. Sullivan is on the final-cut list of top ten people to serve as Secretary of State in the Clinton Presidency; putting her in competition with Huma Abedin, who carved out that role for herself . Who is Margaret Sullivan?



Margaret C. Sullivan (born 1962) served as the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Chief Operating Officer as well as Chief of Staff. Prior to joining the Obama Administration, she served as Director of Political Risk Management at Farallon Capital Management.,[1] a large investment firm based in San Francisco, California.


Sullivan began her federal career on Capitol Hill, where she served as a Professional Staff Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and as National Security Adviser to the House Majority Leader. In 1994, Sullivan joined the Clinton administration and served as The Special Assistant to Defense Secretary William Perry, helping to manage his relationship with the White House, Congress and national press corps. At the Department of Housing and Urban Development, she served as West Coast Regional Director and as Chief of Staff for Secretary Andrew Cuomo.[2][3][4] She has also served as Chief of Staff for the United States Trade Representative in the Executive Office of the President.


Originally from California, Sullivan graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in political science from Stanford University and was a two-year MacArthur Fellow at the University of Maryland where she earned a Master’s Degree in public management.[5]


Upon graduation, Sullivan worked as a legislative assistant for Senator Gary Hart from 1984 to 1987. After she served as Congressman Nicholas Mavroules‘ representative to the Armed Services Committee. She also worked on the staff of House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in 1991 and as a senior policy advisor to House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt from 1992 to 1994.[6]


Sullivan began working as the Special Assistant, the civilian equivalent to the Chief of Staff, to Defense Secretary William Perry in 1994 where she managed the Secretary’s relationship with the press corps, the White House and the United States Congress.[7]


The press debacle during the Somalia operations of the early 1990s,[8] the emergence of the 24-hour news cycle and the widespread adoption of the internet forced the military to alter its interaction with the press corps around military operations.[9] Sullivan and White House advisor David Gergen coordinated the Defense Department and the U.S. military’s interaction with the media during the invasion of Haiti.[10][11][12] To protect the lives of U.S. soldiers and ensure the military’s strategy was accurately understood by the media, Sullivan coordinated conference calls between the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the network bureau chiefs to brief the media on what the military expected to happen each day in Haiti.[13][14] According to the McCormick Tribune Foundation, this more open model of communication between the press and the military is now commonplace.[15]


Sullivan also helped manage the reorganization of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS), the agency that provides finance and accounting services for the civil and military members of the Department. In the mid-1990s, the agency allowed municipalities to bid on where the Department would operate DFAS centers. Today, the DFAS operates in 13 cities throughout the United States.[16]


Sullivan served as the Chief of Staff to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) Charlene Barshefsky from 1996 to 1997.[17] There she oversaw the day-to-day operations of the office and developed negotiation and lobbying strategies for granting China Permanent Normal Trade Relations status, the 1996 Telecommunications Agreement, and the enforcement measures for the Intellectual Trade Agreement of 1996.


Sullivan helped lead the White House’s effort to gain Congressional approval of Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) status, which had been a contentious issue in Congress for many years.[18] The passage of Congressional legislation granting China PNTR status cleared the final hurdle for China’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2000 and the opening of the country to the world.[19][20] According to the International Monetary Fund, China’s GDP has grown at an average rate of 9.9% since being accepted to the WTO.[21]


In her role as Chief of Staff, Sullivan helped manage the USTR office’s role in negotiating the 1996 WTO Telecommunications Agreement which opened worldwide telecommunication markets to competition and set the rules that governed the emerging wireless, cable and fixed-line communications market. The Institute for International Economic estimated the agreement would save consumers $1 trillion by 2010.[22][23][24]


Sullivan was appointed to Housing and Urban Development Chief of Staff by Secretary Andrew Cuomo in 1997.[25]


In 1997, Sullivan contributed to HUDs effort to stop bad landlords from taking advantage of federal assistance intended for low income housing.[26][27]


In 1998, she served as the Clinton Administration’s Housing & Urban Development west coast representative. There she managed HUD operational activities throughout the California.


Sullivan served as the Director of Political Risk Analysis for Farallon Capital Management, an investment firm with over $20 billion in aggregate capital, from 2000 to 2011. Farallon was founded by Tom Steyer in 1986.[28] Her role included identifying and tracking market opportunities created by regulatory and legislative changes within state and federal governments. She also managed Farallon’s communication strategy.[29]


In 2007, Sullivan was part of “The Lincoln Brigade”, a Democratic Party task force to kill the California Presidential Electoral College Reform Initiative, a proposed ballot measure that would have appeared on the June 2008 California ballot. The Republican sponsored measure, if passed, would have changed the way California allocates its presidential electoral votes in time for the 2008 presidential election.


She contributed and raised money for the Hillary Clinton for President campaign.[30]


Sullivan was also Co-Chair of the Steering Committee of “No on Proposition 23 Campaign”, an effort to save California’s clean energy and air pollution control standards, as well as Co-Chair of the Steering Committee of “Californians for Clean Energy Jobs.”


Sullivan helped found and then served on the board of an Oakland-based community development bank, OneCalifornia Bank. The Bank functions as a regulated financial institution, but provides commercial banking services to underserved small and medium-size businesses, nonprofits, affordable-housing developers, community facilities, as well as families and individuals in the Bay Area.[31]


Sullivan also served as a Development Advisory Board Member at Casa Teresa, a home for single pregnant women living on welfare.


Sullivan received the Secretary of Defense’s Distinguished Service Award in 1996.[32] She also received the League of Women Voters-Bay Area Chapter’s Women of the Year Award in 2011.


Sullivan lives in Washington, DC. And San Francisco. Journalists and researchers are keenly interested in exclusive, and revealing, interviews with her.







  • “Plum Book”. Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs and the House Committee on Government Reform. 1996. Retrieved 2010-08-23.




  • HUD News Release


  • Marinucci, p1











  • “Plum Book”. Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs and the House Committee on Government Reform. 1996. Retrieved 2010-08-23.








  • HUD News Release










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