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Posted at 12:00 AM ET, 07/11/2011

New power couple: Mark Walsh, partner of VIP wedding planner Bryan Rafanelli, joins Hillary Clinton at State Department


Mark Walsh in 2010. (Courtesy of AIDS Action Committee)

Another Hillary Clinton loyalist has joined her State Department team: Mark Walsh, the longtime partner of event planner Bryan Rafanelli.


Bryan Rafanelli adjusting a table setting last year. (Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Rafanelli is the better-known half of the power couple: He made headlines last year for planning every detail of Chelsea Clinton’s wedding a year ago — and keeping it all under wraps until the big day. He also did Huma Abedin’s wedding to Anthony Weiner (a year ago Sunday), several Obama inaugural events, and helped design January’s state dinner for Chinese president Hu Jintao.

Hard to tell which part of the duo came to Hillaryland first: The Boston-based couple, who co-founded Rafanelli Events in 1996, go way back with the Clintons. They organized several parties and fundraisers for the family, as well as most of the 2004 Democratic National Convention events. The company has now expanded to West Palm Beach, New York and — no surprise — D.C.

Rafanelli may get the press, but it’s Walsh who appears to have worked more closely with the Secretary of State. The lawyer and political consultant, 50, helped on her Senate campaign and spent two years as national director of gay, lesbian and transgender outreach for her presidential campaign. After the election, he worked on Obama’s inauguration committee, then returned to Boston to work for for an AIDS advocacy group.

But he wanted to join the administration and in April became one of two deputies in State’s Office of Protocol, where he’ll work with Capricia Marshall on state visits, foreign trips and other diplomatic matters.

Walsh couldn’t be reached for comment about the new job Friday: He accompanied the United States delegation to South Sudan this weekend for the new country’s Independence ceremony.

By  |  12:00 AM ET, 07/11/2011

Categories:  Politics

 
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