Eggleston chosen as White House counsel

Veteran corporate lawyer and longtime Democratic campaign contributor W. Neil Eggleston was picked by President Barack Obama to succeed Kathryn Ruemmler as White House counsel.

“Neil brings extraordinary expertise, credentials, and experience to our team,” Obama said in a statement released by the White House Monday. “He has a passion for public service, is renowned for his conscientiousness and foresight, and I look forward to working with him in the coming years.”

Eggleston, 60, served as an associate counsel in President Bill Clinton’s White House and has experience representing people and companies in congressional and regulatory investigations, according to his biography on the website of Kirkland & Ellis, where he is a partner.

Eggleston told the Legal Times in an interview when he joined Kirkland & Ellis in 2012 that Obama’s presidency meant more work for lawyers with expertise in defending clients involved with government regulatory actions.

“Increasingly, large companies are going to be beset with these problems,” Eggleston said, according to the publication.

Ruemmler had previously said she planned to step down in May. She was deputy White House counsel before taking over the top job in the office from Bob Bauer in 2011.

Ruemmler, 43, is a former federal prosecutor and was a litigation partner in the Washington office of Latham & Watkins before joining the White House at the start of Obama’s presidency. She also worked in the counsel’s office during the end of the Clinton administration.

Eggleston, a longtime contributor to Democratic candidates and causes, gave Obama the maximum $4,600 for his 2008 presidential run after contributing $2,300 to Hillary Clinton earlier during the primaries.

Eggleston represented Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel during the corruption investigation into former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. While Emanuel, who served as Obama’s chief of staff, testified in the case, he was never charged with any crime. Blagojevich was found guilty of corruption in 2011 on charges he tried to trade Obama’s U.S. Senate seat in 2008 for personal favors and campaign cash.

He’s represented clients ranging from the former political director in President George W. Bush’s administration to former Enron Corp. board members.

The appointment doesn’t require Senate confirmation.

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