Person

Julianna Smoot

Julianna Smoot is a Democratic Party fundraiser and consultant. She was the national finance director for President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign and the deputy campaign manager for the Obama 2012 campaign. She also held several positions in the Obama administration, including chief of staff to the United States Trade Representative, White House social secretary, and co-chair of the 2009 and 2013 presidential inaugural committees. At the end of President Obama’s second term, Smoot joined the board of the Barack Obama Foundation, which was created to promote left-of-center causes and oversee the construction of the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago, Illinois. [1]

Smoot is the senior advisor to WaterWorks, an investment firm which invests in clean water and sanitation infrastructure projects. [2] She also co-founded the Smoot Tewes Group, a political consulting firm. She works as an operating advisor with Pilot Growth Equity, an investment firm. [3]

Early Career

Prior to the Obama 2008 campaign, Julianna Smoot was a senior advisor to former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD). She also worked for Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL), Chris Dodd (D-CT), and John Edwards (D-NC), and worked as national finance director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee under Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY). [4]

Obama Campaigns and Presidency

In 2007, then-Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) appointed Julianna Smoot as national finance director for his presidential campaign. Under her leadership, the campaign raised more money than any presidential campaign in United States history. When President Obama ran for re-election in 2012, he selected Smoot for deputy campaign manager. The campaign broke the 2008 fundraising record, bringing in more than $1 billion. Smoot co-chaired the 2009 and 2013 presidential inaugural committees. Smoot joined the Obama administration as the chief of staff to United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk. [5]

Smoot became White House social secretary following a security breach at the White House. In November 2009, reality television personalities Tareq and Michaele Salahi arrived at a state dinner uninvited and entered the event with a film crew. [6] Following the incident, Congress launched an investigation into the actions of White House social secretary Desiree Rogers, whose office was responsible for planning the event. In February 2010, Rogers announced that she would step down, though she denied that the incident was related to her departure. [7][8]

Other Campaign Work

In 2013, Julianna Smoot joined the Senate Majority Political Action Committee, which supported Democratic Senate candidates, and the advocacy group Organizing for America, which promoted Obama administration policies such as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In 2019, she worked as an advisor to the “dark money” group Future Majority, which supported Democratic candidates in Midwestern states. That year, she also joined the leadership team of Unite the Country, a political action committee supporting former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign. [9]

Private Sector Work

Julianna Smoot is the senior advisor to WaterWorks, an investment firm which funds clean water and sanitation infrastructure, as well as left-of-center environmentalist initiatives. Smoot co-founded the firm with her husband Lon Johnson. [10] She is also an operating advisor to the technology investment firm Pilot Growth Equity. In 2013, she co-founded Smoot Tewes Group, a political strategy firm now known as STG Results, with former Obama campaign staffer Paul Tewes. [11]

In February 2021, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms (D) announced that her campaign would bring on Smoot as national fundraising consultant. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Bottoms was reaching out to well-connected Democratic Party operatives to boost fundraising. [12]

Personal Life

Julianna Smoot is married to Lon Johnson, an investor and Democratic Party operative. Johnson worked as a civilian in Iraq in 2005. He unsuccessfully ran for the Michigan House of Representatives in 2012 and the United States House of Representatives in 2016. [13]

References

  1.              Julianna Smoot. Pilot Growth. Accessed May 13, 2021. https://www.pilotgrowth.com/julianna-smoot/ ^
  2.    “A water investment community on a mission to advance potential water solutions.” WaterWorks. Accessed May 13, 2021. https://www.wtrwrx.com/about-us ^
  3.             Julianna Smoot. Pilot Growth. Accessed May 13, 2021.

    Julianna Smoot

    ^

  4.    “Idealism and Compromise in Politics and Life.” Smith College. November 5, 2009. Accessed May 13, 2021. https://www.smith.edu/narratives/IdealismAndCompromise.php ^
  5.        Julianna Smoot. Pilot Growth. Accessed May 13, 2021. https://www.pilotgrowth.com/julianna-smoot/ ^
  6.            Jason Horowitz et al. “The party crashers: Turmoil in the White House.” The Washington Post. December 21, 2009. Accessed May 13, 2021. https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/20/AR2009122002668.html ^
  7.             “White House social secretary to step down.” CNN. February 26, 2010. Accessed May 13, 2021. https://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/02/26/white.house.social.secretary/index.html ^
  8.        Julianna Smoot. Pilot Growth. Accessed May 13, 2021.https://www.pilotgrowth.com/julianna-smoot/ ^
  9.             Donald Shaw and Alex Kotch. “Super PAC Backing ‘Middle-Class Joe’ Is Led by Lobbyists, Corporate Consultants, and Democratic Fundraisers.” The American Prospect. November 1, 2019. Accessed May 13, 2021. https://prospect.org/power/super-pac-backing-joe-biden-is-led-by-lobbyists-corporate-consultants-fundraisers/ ^
  10.     “A water investment community on a mission to advance potential water solutions.” WaterWorks. Accessed May 13, 2021. https://www.wtrwrx.com/about-us ^
  11.        Julianna Smoot. Pilot Growth. Accessed May 13, 2021. https://www.pilotgrowth.com/julianna-smoot/ ^
  12.       J.D. Capelouto. “Fundraising off to a slow start in Atlanta mayor’s race.” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. February 15, 2021. Accessed May 13, 2021. https://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta-news/fundraising-off-to-slow-start-in-atlanta-mayors-race/WCIDEMAWKVG3BHG42CAYMTI25E/ ^
  13.        Lon Johnson. Ballotpedia. Accessed May 13, 2021. https://ballotpedia.org/Lon_Johnson ^
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