Laura Murphy To Head ACLU Washington Legislative Office

January 19, 2010 12:00 am

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NEW YORK – The American Civil Liberties Union today announced the appointment of longtime civil liberties and human rights advocate Laura Murphy as Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office (WLO). Murphy previously headed the WLO from 1993-2005.

“Laura’s career epitomizes effective, dynamic leadership and advocacy and she is the perfect person to head our legislative office as the organization approaches its 90th anniversary and enters a new era,” said Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU. “I know she will have an enormous impact on advancing the cause of civil liberties on Capitol Hill. I am delighted to welcome Laura back into the ACLU family.”

Murphy has 30 years of policy-making and political experience at the national, state and local levels. She comes to the ACLU from her own firm, Laura Murphy & Associates, LLC, which has provided government relations and public policy services to corporate and nonprofit clients. Murphy is well known for her legislative advocacy on human rights and civil liberties, and has managed high-profile legislative and communications campaigns on criminal justice, First Amendment, equality and national security issues.

“I am very enthusiastic at the opportunity to head the ACLU’s legislative office during these exciting and transitional times in Washington,” said Murphy. “There is no other organization like the ACLU when it comes to protecting Americans’ fundamental rights, and I look forward to once again being part of that important mission and leading the WLO in non-partisan advocacy.”

Prior to the establishment of her firm and her first tenure as Director of the ACLU Legislative Office, Murphy worked with the ACLU in other capacities: as a lobbyist on women’s rights and civil rights for the ACLU Washington Legislative Office, as the Development Director of the ACLU Foundation of Southern California and as a board member for two ACLU affiliates in California and in Illinois. Murphy also served as chief of staff to a California Assembly Speaker, cabinet member for the Mayor of the District of Columbia, account executive for a public affairs firm and legislative assistant for two members of Congress. She was also a consultant with The Livingston Group, headed by the Hon. Bob Livingston, a former member of Congress and a Senior Advisor to PCT Government Relations.

Murphy has testified more than a dozen times before Congress and is an experienced national spokesperson. She has been a frequent guest on national public affairs programs on PBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, Fox News and National Public Radio. After the tragic events of September 11, 2001, Murphy’s advocacy on civil liberties issues (surrounding the USA Patriot Act, in particular) was the centerpiece of articles in the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun, and Rolling Stone and Ebony magazines. She has authored chapters in two books: “The McGraw Hill-Homeland Security Handbook” and “The Paradox of Loyalty: An African American Response to the War on Terrorism.”

Both major newspapers on Capitol Hill, Roll Call and The Hill, selected Murphy as one of the 50 most influential lobbyists and one of 17 top nonprofit lobbyists in 1997 and 2003, respectively. In 1997, and again in 2003, the Congressional Black Caucus honored her for her significant contributions to legislation that advances civil rights and civil liberties. She has been given awards for her work with Congress and the White House by the ACLU affiliates in Massachusetts, Mississippi and Maryland. In 2007, Murphy was given the President’s Award for Outstanding Service by the largest national civil rights coalition, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights.

Murphy replaces WLO Acting Director Michael Macleod-Ball, who was preceded by Director Caroline Fredrickson. Murphy is a graduate of Wellesley College.

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