Richard W. Painter, a chief White House ethics lawyer under President George W. Bush, will deliver the Northeastern University School of Law Commencement address on Thursday at Matthews Arena.
Painter is a leading advocate for the rigorous enforcement of federal anti-corruption laws and regulations. From February 2005 to July 2007, Painter was associate counsel to the president in the White House counsel’s office, a role in which his responsibilities included leading the White House ethics office and ethics screening of Supreme Court nominees.
For more than a decade, Painter has served as a faculty member at the University of Minnesota Law School, where he is the S. Walter Richey Professor of Corporate Law. He teaches courses on topics such as government ethics, securities regulation, and professional responsibility. Previously, he has served as a tenured faculty member at the University of Illinois College of Law and the University of Oregon School of Law.
Painter is a board member and vice chair of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a non-partisan organization that seeks to fight the corrupting influence of big money in government and hold public officials accountable for unethical and illegal behavior. He is also a member of the American Law Institute and the American Bar Association and a founding board member of Take Back our Republic, a campaign finance reform organization.
Painter appears frequently on MSNBC, CNN, NPR, and other national networks, and regularly writes op-eds for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times. He recently authored his third book, Taxation Only with Representation: The Conservative Conscience and Campaign Finance Reform and he has also co-written two casebooks—Securities Litigation and Enforcement Professional and Personal Responsibilities of the Lawyer.
“Preserving the rule of law and promoting ethical government are among the paramount challenges facing our profession and our country,” said Jeremy Paul, dean of the School of Law. “Professor Painter’s sterling academic and professional career, including his service as a reporter for the American Law Institute’s Principles of Government Ethics, demonstrate his capacity for and commitment to combatting corruption. Northeastern is proud to welcome him to address the class of 2018.”
Prior to his career in academia, Painter practiced at law firms in New York City and Connecticut and clerked for Judge John T. Noonan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.
Painter received his juris doctor from Yale Law School and his bachelor’s degree in history from Harvard College.