At a Glance
- Career History:
Penn. Campaign Director,
'96 General Cmte (1996); Co-Founder, Podesta Associates (1988 to 1998); California Campaign Director, Michael Dukakis Presidential Campaign (1988)
- Hometown: Chicago, Ill.
- Alma Mater: University of Illinois, B.A., 1967; Georgetown, J.D., 1976
- Spouse: Heather
- DC Office: 1001 G Street, NW, Suite 900 EastWashington, DC 20001; (202) 393-1010
- Web site
Path to Power
Born and raised in Chicago, Podesta was the eldest child to a Greek-American mother and first-generation Italian immigrant father. He attended the University of Illinois in Chicago, where he participated in student government with classmate and future Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun (D-Ill.).
Podesta also studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Georgetown University, and received his J.D. at the latter. In 1968, while studying at M.I.T., he signed on as a scheduler for Eugene McCarthy's presidential run -- starting a long personal trend of backing the Democratic loser.
The Podesta Group lists its areas of expertise as including health care, financial services and technology. The firm boasts a large and somewhat diverse clientele list, and as a result Podesta is sometimes seen as having one foot in each camp.
The Podesta Group is the face of BP, Sunoco, and Marathon Oil, but it also represents America's Future Energy Alliance and other "green" businesses.
Podesta's most powerful network may be his own kin.
His brother, John, currently runs the liberal think-tank Center for American Progress, which has served as a farm team for Obama administration aides. John himself is a top informal adviser to President Obama.
Podesta is known for his ability to bring in large "bundled" donations, contributing $394,000 total in the 2008 campaign cycle. He personally donated $84,750 to Democratic campaigns and committees in 2010, with $50,000 going to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Commitee. Podesta also bundled $78,400 for Sens. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and $41,000 for Patty Murray (D-Wash.).