Top Justice Department official Rachel Brand set to depart for retail giant

Associate U.S. Attorney General Rachel Brand is leaving the Justice Department for a “position in the private sector,” officials announced Friday following a report by the New York Times.

An immediate subordinate of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Brand has served at Justice for less than nine months.

Brand, the third-ranking official at Justice is expected to assume a top position with multinational retail giant Walmart Inc. in the coming weeks according to multiple media sources.

Commenting on Brand’s departure, Attorney General Jeff Sessions called her a “lawyer’s lawyer” and said:  “I know the entire Department of Justice will miss her, but we join together in congratulating her on this new opportunity in the private sector.”

Walmart announced Friday Brand will join the company as “Executive Vice President, Global Governance and Corporate Secretary.”  Along with her new role at the company, Brand will assume responsibility for Walmart’s “Legal, Global Ethics and Compliance and Global Investigation, Security, Aviation and Travel departments.”

statement from Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon announcing Brand’s hire read:

“We are fortunate to have a leader of Rachel Brand’s stature join the company,  We have strengthened our governance capabilities and Rachel will help us continue on that journey. Her strong character, capabilities and experience will enable her to contribute broadly as we shape the future of Walmart and strive to serve our customers even more effectively.”

A veteran attorney serving her third presidential administration, recent speculation suggested Brand would be elevated to the role of deputy attorney general should current Deputy Rod Rosenstein face dismissal.

In this position, Brand would have overseen Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, which included the targeting of 21 states and the actual penetration of Illinois’ voter registration system.

During her tenure as associate attorney general, Brand worked to reauthorize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act’s section 702, which allows U.S. spy agencies to collect American communications data on foreign nationals.

A graduate of the University of Minnesota, Morris, Brand earned a law degree from Harvard and worked in private practice before joining the legal team representing President Bush during the 2000 election re-count in Florida.

Brand later served in the Bush Justice Department as assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Policy.  Following her tenure at Justice, Brand was appointed by President Obama to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, a position she held for five years.

The first woman to serve as associate attorney general, Brand managed government attorneys and professionals across the department’s civil law divisions, specializing in antitrust, tax and environment and natural resources matters.


[CNN] [Washington Examiner] [ABC News] [National Association of Secretaries of State] [Photo courtesy Getty Images/Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via Vox]