This year, National Journal‘s Women in Washington list focuses on women who exercise powerful influence in five policy areas: energy, health care, technology, defense, and education.
Edith Ramirez, Chairwoman, Federal Trade Commission
Just over a year into her tenure as FTC chief, Ramirez has given the agency a renewed focus on consumer-privacy protection. She led the FTC as it took action against Amazon and Snapchat — and she could have another major company to deal with in the near future, as some lawmakers are calling on the commission to target Facebook for manipulating its users’ news feeds.
Edith Ramirez (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-California
Eshoo, who represents parts of Silicon Valley, is the House Democrats’ leader on many technology issues. As the ranking member on the Communications and Technology Subcommittee, she successfully fought to ensure that valuable wireless frequencies would be set aside to boost Wi-Fi networks. She is also a champion of net neutrality. An ally of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Eshoo could become even more influential if she defeats Rep. Frank Pallone in the race for the top Democratic spot on the Energy and Commerce Committee.
Jessica Rosenworcel, Federal Communications Commissioner
Rosenworcel, a Democrat, has indicated a willingness to challenge her own party, and is therefore emerging as a crucial vote at the FCC as the agency heads into one of the busiest years in its history. She was appointed to the commission in 2012 and was approved unanimously by the Senate after spending many years on Capitol Hill. Before entering public service, she practiced communications law in New York.
Mignon Clyburn, FCC Commissioner
During the six months that Clyburn, a Democrat, served as interim chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission, she got a lot done. She opened up new airwaves to auction off to wireless companies, lowered the price of prison inmates’ phone calls, and saw through a big merger. Before joining the FCC in 2009, Clyburn served on the South Carolina Public Service Commission for 11 years. She is the daughter of Democratic Rep. James Clyburn.
Susan Molinari, Vice President for Public Policy, Google
A Republican former member of Congress, Molinari is helping Google buck its image as a company aligned only with Democrats. Since taking over as the Web giant’s top Washington lobbyist in 2012, she has helped to fend off an antitrust investigation and is often at the center of debates over online privacy. The company recently moved its D.C. operation to a lavish new office near Capitol Hill, complete with several dining areas and a video-game room.
What We're Following See More »
"American spies collected information last summer revealing that senior Russian intelligence and political officials were discussing how to exert influence over Donald J. Trump through his advisers." The conversations centered around Paul Manafort, who was campaign chairman at the time, and Michael Flynn, former national security adviser and then a close campaign surrogate. Both men have been tied heavily with Russia and Flynn is currently at the center of the FBI investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
"Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been cleared by U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts to oversee an investigation into possible collusion between then-candidate Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign and Russia." Some had speculated that the White House would use "an ethics rule limiting government attorneys from investigating people their former law firm represented" to trip up Mueller's appointment. Jared Kushner is a client of Mueller's firm, WilmerHale. "Although Mueller has now been cleared by the Justice Department, the White House may still use his former law firm's connection to Manafort and Kushner to undermine the findings of his investigation, according to two sources close to the White House."
Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and ranking member Mark Warner (D-VA) will subpoena two businesses owned by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Burr said, "We would like to hear from General Flynn. We'd like to see his documents. We'd like him to tell his story because he publicly said he had a story to tell."