Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Patrick Gaspard Named as New Chief of Center for American Progress

Mr. Patrick Gaspard has been named as the new President and CEO of the think tank Center for American Progress (CAP), replacing Neera Tanden who has gone into the Biden Administration.  Gaspard will also be the CEO of the Center for American Progress Action Fund (CAPAF), the sister lobbying arm of CAP.

Here are some details from his biography:

Patrick Gaspard was a key figure in President Barack Obama’s administration and held a number of prominent positions during Obama’s two terms in office, including serving as U.S. ambassador to the Republic of South Africa in the second term.

From the fall 2011 until the spring 2013, Gaspard served as executive director of the Democratic National Committee, where he steered the national party’s role in reelecting the president and oversaw a $300 million budget and 500 staff.

From 2009 until 2011, he was assistant to the president and director of the White House Office of Political Affairs. He also served as the associate director of personnel for the Obama transition and the national political director for the historic 2008 campaign.

Gaspard most recently served as the president of the Open Society Foundations (OSF), one of the largest private philanthropies in the world.

Gaspard was born in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, to Haitian parents. He grew up in New York City and had a long career there and nationally in organized labor, electoral politics, and public service. He started as a union organizer and rose to become executive vice president for politics and legislation of the Local 1199 branch of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), one of the largest unions in the United States.


According to the latest tax records, Tanden had been making close to $400,000 annually working at the think tank.  She is now making around $180,000 working for the US government.

Here is a story on the announcement from Politico, which calls CAP "the most influential think tank" of the Biden era.  It cites some of CAP's "wins," including "shifting the tide of opinion against the Iraq War, helping lay the foundations for health care reform in the leadup to Obamacare's passage, innovating in the world of advocacy media, and feeding personnel to institutions throughout DC."

It notes that CAP along with CAPAF currently have a staff of 287 and an operating budget of $64 million for 2021.

According to Politico, CAP founder and board member John Podesta will remain at the think tank to help with the transition to a new leader, but he may leave in "a year or so."