Benczkowski’s role is seen as an indication that Sessions, his former boss, might have a more powerful voice in the transition than New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who was once leading the effort but was replaced last week by Vice President-elect Mike Pence.
Benczkowski now works as a white-collar criminal defense lawyer at Kirkland & Ellis. He had previously worked as chief of staff for the attorney general and deputy attorney general, chief of staff to the director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and principal deputy assistant attorney general for legislative affairs. That role had him managing the Justice Department’s relationship with Congress.
Benczkowski is a well-regarded lawyer, especially in conservative circles. Politico once dubbed him the “GOP’s go-to guy for hearings.” He declined to comment on transition-related matters, referring questions to the transition media team. O’Connor did not return messages seeking comment.