Bill Burton and Trevor Potter are in discussion with James Bennet at the Washington Ideas Forum 2012.
James Bennet has been editor in chief of The Atlantic since 2006. Before joining the Atlantic staff, Bennet was the Jerusalem bureau chief for The New York Times. During his three years in Israel, his coverage of the Middle East conflict was widely acclaimed for its balance and sensitivity. His much-lauded long-form writing for The New York Times Magazine was responsible for catching the eye of Atlantic owner David Bradley during his year-long search for a new editor. Upon accepting the position, Bennet told a Times reporter that he saw the Atlantic job as “a chance to help, encourage and preserve the practice of serious, long-form journalism.” Prior to his work in Jerusalem, he served as the Times’ White House correspondent and was preparing to join its Beijing bureau when he was offered the Atlantic editorship. Bennet began his journalism career at the Washington Monthly.
Bill Burton is a senior strategist with Priorities USA Action and Priorities USA, political organizations focused on advancing policies and candidates that provide the strongest and most sound outcomes for middle class families.
Most recently, Burton served as deputy press secretary at the White House under President Barack Obama. He was among the first hires on the Obama for America campaign, where he was national press secretary.
In the 2006 electoral cycle, Burton worked as communications director at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee under the direction of Rep. Rahm Emanuel in a year when Democrats won a historic number of seats to retake the majority in the House.
Before that, Burton was Iowa communications director for the Gephardt presidential campaign and then the Midwestern communications director on the Kerry for President campaign.
Burton worked on Capitol Hill for Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa and former Minnesota Congressman Bill Luther.
Burton is from Buffalo, NY and a graduate of the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. He currently resides in Washington, D.C.
Trevor Potter is a member in Caplin & Drysdale's Washington, D.C. office, where he leads the firm's Political Activity Law Practice. He is one of the country's best-known and most experienced campaign and election lawyers, and a former Commissioner (1991-1995) and Chairman (1994) of the Federal Election Commission.
Mr. Potter advises clients on federal, state, and local campaign finance laws, the use of the Internet for political activity, government ethics requirements, lobbying registration, and related government affairs issues. His clients include trade associations, nonprofit organizations, think tanks, political committees, internet companies, and corporations and their PACs.
He currently serves as General Counsel to the John McCain 2008 campaign and held that position with the McCain 2000 campaign. He was also Deputy General Counsel of the Bush 1988 campaign. Mr. Potter is the founding President and General Counsel of the Campaign Legal Center, a Washington, D.C. based nonprofit which assisted in the legal defense of the McCain-Feingold law on behalf of the Congressional sponsors. He is currently on leave from that position.
Mr. Potter is also a non-resident Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He has published several books and articles in the field, including: Political Activity, Lobbying Laws and Gift Rules Guide (West Publishing, Third Edition 2008, Second Edition 1999); The New Campaign Finance Sourcebook, Brookings Institution, 2005; Federal Election Law and the Internet, Brookings Institution, 2000; and The Campaign Finance Sourcebook, Brookings Institution, 1997 ; and He is a frequent guest speaker at a variety of professional meetings, has testified before Congress on federal election proposals and campaign finance regulation, and has taught campaign finance law at the University of Virginia School of Law and Oxford University. He is Chair of the Election Law Committee of the American Bar Association's Administrative Law Section, and liaison to the Standing Committee on Election Law of the ABA.