Person

Anita Dunn

Born:

1958

Nationality:

American

Spouse:

Robert Bauer

Occupation:

Senior Advisor to the Biden Administration

Political Party:

Democratic Party

Lives:

Washington, D.C.

Anita Dunn is a managing director of SKDKnickerbocker, senior advisor to the Biden Administration, and former senior advisor and White House Communications Director for the Obama Administration.

She has worked with multiple clients including pro-abortion groups such as Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and Emily’s List, and was an informal consultant to Harvey Weinstein. [1][2]

Dunn has personally donated substantial amounts of money to Democratic Party candidates, campaigns, and political action committees including EMILY’s List, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and Hillary Clinton. [3]

Political Consulting

Early Career

Anita Dunn is a senior advisor to the Biden Administration, and managing director of SKDKnickerbocker, a left-of-center media and communications consultancy that has made connections with major figures within the Democratic Party, including Presidents Barack Obama and Joe Biden, as well as pro-abortion groups such as Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and Emily’s List. [4]

Dunn began her career in politics when she became a junior aide in the Carter administration, before joining the failed presidential campaign of Sen. John Glenn (D-OH) in 1984. She also worked for then-Senator Bill Bradley (D-NJ) and temporarily left SKDKnickerbocker, then known as Squier Knapp Dunn, to focus on assisting Bradley in his 2000 Democratic presidential primary run against then-Vice President Al Gore. During the George W. Bush administration, Dunn worked with then-Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) and Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN). [5]

Dunn was then hired by Blair Hull in 2002 during his Democratic campaign for U.S. Senate. Hull told Dunn potentially damaging details of his divorce four years prior. Dunn advised the potential senator to avoid making anything public. She then met privately with Hull’s ex-wife to create an “appropriate response” if a police report stating Hull had been verbally and physically abusive to his ex-wife became public. [6]

Obama Administration

Dunn moved on to work with then-Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) in 2006 when she became a consultant for his political action committee (PAC), Hopefund. She also continued to work with Obama during his 2008 presidential campaign, and SKDKnickerbocker also signed to work with him during the election. [7]

Dunn initially returned to work at SKDKnickerbocker after President Obama won the general election, but she began working as White House Communications Director for the Obama administration in April 2009. Before her return, Dunn continued to advise the administration and often joined strategy sessions. [8]

Dunn resigned from her position in the Obama administration in November 2009 after she was recorded praising the communist dictator of China, Mao Zedong. During a speech, Dunn noted that two of her “favorite political philosophers” were Mother Theresa and Mao Zedong. She added that they were the “two people I turn to most” to deliver her point of “you’re going to make choices; you’re going to challenge; you’re going to say why not; you’re going to figure out how to do things that have never been done before.” [9]

Biden Administration

Dunn began working as a senior advisor to Joe Biden’s presidential campaign in 2019 before she assumed command of the entire operation in 2020 after the Iowa caucus. Dunn then moved into the position of co-chair of the transition team after Biden’s victory in November 2020. [10]

Political Contributions

Anita Dunn has personally contributed a substantial amount of money to Democratic Party candidates, campaigns, and political action committees.

She made four contributions of a total of $15,000 to EMILY’s List, a federal PAC that bundles and gives contributions to pro-abortion, female Democratic candidates for office. In total, EMILY’s list has given or bundled over $45 million to Democratic candidates or PACs. [11][12][13]

She has also contributed a total of $10,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, $5,000 to the Schumer Committee for the Majority, $5,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and $2,500 to the Democratic State Central Committee of Maryland, among others. Dunn also donated to campaigns of Democratic Party candidates including a total of $13,300 to Chris Van Hollen, $5,000 to Barack Obama, and $2,700 to Hillary Clinton as well as many others. [14]

Dunn, alongside White House deputy coronavirus response coordinator Andy Slavitt and coronavirus vaccine coordinator Bechara Choucair, are exempt from filing public financial disclosure reports despite the federal ethics law stating that appointees that play a significant role in a White House administration should file the documents for the sake of transparency and public trust. [15]

The reports in question would reveal past employment, personal assets and liabilities, and source of income. According to a White House official who spoke with ABC News, Dunn and the other exempt individuals are not required to file the reports either due to the “temporary nature” of their positions or since they do not earn above the reporting threshold which is approximately $132,500 a year. [16]

Controversies

Harvey Weinstein

Anita Dunn was part of a group of lawyers and public relations professionals who consulted for Harvey Weinstein, an avid donor of organizations and candidates linked to the Democratic Party who since 2017 has been embroiled in legal troubles relating to sexual assault and harassment allegations against him. In 2020, Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison in 2020 after being found guilty of rape and sexual assault. [17]

Dunn allegedly provided Weinstein with a “damage control” strategy after the New York Times published an investigation into the accusations against him in 2017. SKDKnickerbocker released a statement claiming that Dunn was “asked to speak with [Weinstein] by a friend” and claiming that Weinstein was not an official client. [18]

Statements about COVID-19

Dunn has also been reported saying that “Covid is the best thing that ever happened” to President Joe Biden. In the book Lucky: How Joe Biden Barely Won the Presidency, Dunn is described as having made this remark to “an associate,” but it was something “campaign officials believed but would never say in public.” [19]

Hedge Fund Public Relations “Protection Racket”

As White House Communications Director for the Obama administrations, Dunn assisted President Obama in criticizing hedge funds, labeling them as one of the major factors of the financial collapse during his tenure. After resigning from the Obama Administration for her comments on Mao Zedong, Dunn worked on a pro-hedge fund campaign promoted by the public relations firm McLean/Clark LLC, which called Dunn a director of “paid media” for the campaign. [20]

According to the Washington Free Beacon, an individual familiar with the campaign was surprised to see Dunn involved. The individual described her involvement as “a protection racket” as Dunn attacked hedge funds publicly, but then told those involved with the campaign to “hire her to head off the exact attacks that she herself is hurling.” [21]

References

  1. Alex Nester, “Forced from Obama Admin for Praising Mao, Anita Dunn to Return to White House,” Washington Free Beacon, January 15, 2021, https://freebeacon.com/politics/forced-from-obama-admin-for-praising-mao-anita-dunn-to-return-to-white-house/. ^
  2. Steven Perlberg, “Former Obama Adviser Anita Dunn Helped Harvey Weinstein Strategize Before New York Times Story,” BuzzFeed News (BuzzFeed News, October 6, 2017), https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/stevenperlberg/former-obama-adviser-anita-dunn-helped-harvey-weinstein. ^
  3. “Anita Dunn,” LittleSis, accessed May 24, 2021, https://littlesis.org/person/98651-Anita_Dunn?relationships=donation_recipients. ^
  4. Alex Nester, “Forced from Obama Admin for Praising Mao, Anita Dunn to Return to White House,” Washington Free Beacon, January 15, 2021, https://freebeacon.com/politics/forced-from-obama-admin-for-praising-mao-anita-dunn-to-return-to-white-house/. ^
  5. “Profile of Anita Dunn, White House Communications Director,” The Washington Post (WP Company, October 14, 2009), https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/14/AR2009101403850.html?hpid=moreheadlines. ^
  6. “Profile of Anita Dunn, White House Communications Director,” The Washington Post (WP Company, October 14, 2009), https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/14/AR2009101403850.html?hpid=moreheadlines. ^
  7. “Profile of Anita Dunn, White House Communications Director,” The Washington Post (WP Company, October 14, 2009), https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/14/AR2009101403850.html?hpid=moreheadlines. ^
  8. Jonathan Martin, “Anita Dunn Heads to the White House,” POLITICO, April 30, 2009, https://www.politico.com/story/2009/04/anita-dunn-heads-to-the-white-house-021959. ^
  9. Suzanne Malveaux, “Obama Aide Fires Back at Beck over Mao Remarks,” CNN (Cable News Network), accessed May 24, 2021, http://edition.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/10/16/beck.dunn/index.html. ^
  10. Alex Nester, “Forced from Obama Admin for Praising Mao, Anita Dunn to Return to White House,” Washington Free Beacon, January 15, 2021, https://freebeacon.com/politics/forced-from-obama-admin-for-praising-mao-anita-dunn-to-return-to-white-house/. ^
  11. “Anita Dunn,” LittleSis, accessed May 24, 2021, https://littlesis.org/person/98651-Anita_Dunn?relationships=donation_recipients. ^
  12. “Gender and Women’s Leadership,” Google Books (Google), accessed May 24, 2021, https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=-3J_3pDNZlkC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=%22emily’s%20list%22&f=true. ^
  13. “EMILY’s List Profile: Totals,” OpenSecrets, accessed May 24, 2021, https://www.opensecrets.org/orgs//totals?id=d000000113&cycle=2016. ^
  14. “Anita Dunn,” LittleSis, accessed May 24, 2021, https://littlesis.org/person/98651-Anita_Dunn?relationships=donation_recipients. ^
  15. Kim Soo Rin and Libby Cathey, “Several of Biden’s Top White House Aides Aren’t Required to Disclose Personal Finances,” ABC News (ABC News Network, March 24, 2021), https://abcnews.go.com/US/bidens-top-white-house-aides-required-disclose-personal/story?id=76641167. ^
  16. Kim Soo Rin and Libby Cathey, “Several of Biden’s Top White House Aides Aren’t Required to Disclose Personal Finances,” ABC News (ABC News Network, March 24, 2021), https://abcnews.go.com/US/bidens-top-white-house-aides-required-disclose-personal/story?id=76641167. ^
  17. “Harvey Weinstein Jailed for 23 Years in Rape Trial,” BBC News (BBC, March 12, 2020), https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-51840532. ^
  18. Steven Perlberg, “Former Obama Adviser Anita Dunn Helped Harvey Weinstein Strategize Before New York Times Story,” BuzzFeed News (BuzzFeed News, October 6, 2017), https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/stevenperlberg/former-obama-adviser-anita-dunn-helped-harvey-weinstein. ^
  19. “Key Biden Aide Said Pandemic Was ‘Best Thing That Ever Happened to Him’, Book Says,” The Guardian (Guardian News and Media, February 24, 2021), https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/feb/24/covid-best-thing-biden-anita-dunn-lucky-book-jonathan-allen-annie-parnes. ^
  20. Patrick Howley, “The Democrats’ Hedge Fund Shakedown,” Washington Free Beacon, February 15, 2012, https://freebeacon.com/issues/anita-dunns-hedge-fund-shake-down/. ^
  21. Patrick Howley, “The Democrats’ Hedge Fund Shakedown,” Washington Free Beacon, February 15, 2012, https://freebeacon.com/issues/anita-dunns-hedge-fund-shake-down/. ^

Connected Organizations

  1. Biden Administration (Government Agency)
    Senior Advisor to the President
  See an error? Let us know!