Tracy Schmaler, the top spokeswoman for the Department of Justice, will depart next month for a job in the private sector.
As director of the Office of Public Affairs in Washington, D.C., Schmaler was a close adviser to Attorney General Eric Holder. In her four years at Justice, she helped steer communications strategy on some of the department’s most high-profile matters, including its successful defense of the Affordable Care Act, a $25 billion federal-state settlement with large mortgage servicers, and the criminal settlement of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
She also helped coordinate the department’s response to politically driven controversies, such as the Republican-led probe of the botched Fast and Furious gun investigation that resulted in the House voting to hold Holder in contempt of Congress last June.
“While I am sad to lose one of my closest and most trusted advisers, I am grateful to Tracy for her wise counsel, loyalty, good humor and unwavering support of me and the Justice Department over the last four years,” Holder said in a statement. ”Tracy has been a valued member of my senior staff and a good friend whose tireless spirit and keen judgment have served me and this department well.”
Schmaler succeeded Matthew A. Miller as head of public affairs, after Miller resigned in 2011 to join a consulting and communications company.
In her new job at ASGK Public Strategies, she will be a managing director leading a new practice group focused on crisis communications, litigation, regulatory, congressional matters and issues management. ASGK was co-founded by former White House senior adviser David Axelrod and Eric Sedler.
Schmaler is a former political reporter for newspapers in Vermont and Massachusetts. She covered passage of Vermont’s ground-breaking civil unions law in 2000 and the presidential campaign of then-Vermont Gov. Howard Dean. In 2003 she moved to Washington for a position on the Senate Judiciary Committee as Sen. Patrick Leahy’s communications director.
In between Capitol Hill and the DOJ, Schmaler oversaw Yahoo’s Inc.’s global public affairs office in Washington from 2007 to 2009.
Her last day at Justice is March 8.