Kenneth L. Wainstein 

Partner – Washington
T.+1 202 862 2474
700 Sixth Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20001 V-CARD

Kenneth Wainstein completes independent investigation into academic irregularities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Media inquiries related to Ken’s investigation at UNC Chapel Hill should be directed to Kimberly Brooks at / +1 212 504 5652.

Ken Wainstein is Co-Chair of the firm’s Global Litigation Group, Chair of the White Collar Defense and Investigations Group and a member of the firm’s Management Committee. He focuses his practice on corporate internal investigations and civil and criminal enforcement proceedings. With experience in significant positions in the U.S. government in the areas of criminal enforcement and national security, he brings clients a deep understanding of the substantive and procedural issues involved in white collar defense. His 20 years of public service have garnered him an intimate knowledge of Justice Department policy, extensive crisis management skills, credibility among prosecutors and regulators, and strong relationships with Congress, the District of Columbia bench and bar and U.S. Attorneys around the country.

In 2008, after 19 years at the Justice Department, Ken was named Homeland Security Advisor by President George W. Bush. In this capacity, he coordinated the nation's counterterrorism, homeland security, infrastructure protection, and disaster response and recovery efforts. He advised the President, convened and chaired meetings of the Cabinet Officers on the Homeland Security Council, and oversaw the inter-agency coordination process for homeland security and counterterrorism programs.

Prior to his White House service, Ken was twice nominated and confirmed for leadership positions in the Justice Department. In 2006, the U.S. Senate confirmed Ken as the first Assistant Attorney General for National Security. In that position, Ken established and led the new National Security Division, which consolidated DOJ's law enforcement and intelligence activities on counterterrorism and counterintelligence matters, and also oversaw the Department's role in regulatory mechanisms such as the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS). Ken led several national security initiatives, including the launch of the national, inter-agency Export Control Enforcement Initiative targeting illegal exports of sensitive technology and weapons components.

In 2004, he was appointed, and later confirmed as, the United States Attorney in Washington, DC, where he managed the largest U.S. Attorney's Office in the country and oversaw a number of high-profile white-collar and public corruption cases.  Prior to that, Ken served as General Counsel of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and then as Chief of Staff to Director Robert Mueller. At the FBI, Ken was involved in myriad sensitive national security and criminal enforcement matters, as well as a variety of civil litigation, managerial, and Congressional oversight issues. In 2001, Ken was appointed Director of the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, where he provided oversight and support to the 94 U.S. Attorneys' Offices.

From 1989 to 2001, Ken served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in both the Southern District of New York and the District of Columbia, where he handled numerous criminal trials and appellate arguments.

Ken's work has been recognized with the Edmund J. Randolph Award for Outstanding Service to the Department of Justice, the Department of Justice Director's Award for Superior Performance, and the Lawyer of the Year Award from the Bar Association of the District of Columbia, and he was recently named as a top national security lawyer by Washingtonian magazine and as a Washington, D.C., Litigation Star by Benchmark Litigation.

Ken has served as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center since 2009, teaching National Security Investigations and Litigation. He is a Panel Member of the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense; a member of the Director’s Advisory Board of the National Counterterrorism Center; a member of the Public Interest Declassification Board; a member of the CIA General Counsel's External Advisory Board; chairman of the Legal Panel of the National Security Agency Advisory Board; a member of the Webster Commission on the FBI, Counterterrorism Intelligence, and the Fort Hood Shootings; co-chair of the Committee on National Security Law, Policy & Practice of the District of Columbia Bar Association; a member of the Council on Foreign Relations; a member of the Board of Directors for the Center for Cyber and Homeland Security at the George Washington University; a member of the Security Advisory Board of Alclear, LLC (d.b.a. CLEAR); and a member of the Board of Directors of Burke & Herbert Bank in Alexandria, Virginia.

Ken earned his B.A. from the University of Virginia, with high distinction and Phi Beta Kappa. He earned his J.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, where he was a moot court board member and the Note and Comment Editor of the California Law Review. Following law school, Ken served as law clerk to the Honorable Thomas Penfield Jackson of the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia.

Representative matters:

Independent/Internal Investigations

    • Conducted the independent investigation into allegations of academic irregularities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
    • Conducted the investigation into allegations of improper conduct by investigators in the National Collegiate Athletic Association's (NCAA) Enforcement Staff and a broader review and assessment of the policies and procedures of the NCAA's enforcement operations.
    • Conducted an internal investigation of alleged violations of the Anti-Kickback Statute by employees of a health insurance company.
    • Conducted an independent investigation for a parochial secondary school into allegations of sexual abuse of students by a former teacher.
    • Overseeing an internal investigation for a major bank into allegations that its accounts were used for money-laundering and corruption.

Compliance Reviews/Investigations 

    • Oversaw comprehensive Federal Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) compliance review for an international real estate company.
    • Oversaw internal investigations for two corporations regarding their compliance with municipal, state, and federal laws and regulations governing campaign finance restrictions, lobbying registration requirements, and pay-to-play limitations.
    • Oversaw compliance reviews of two major mortgage processing companies.

Corporate Representations

    • Represented a financial institution in a FINRA investigation involving alleged violations concerning the client's prime brokerage operation.
    • Representing a defense contractor in a federal export control and FCPA investigation.
    • Advised a corporation regarding its response to a major cyber intrusion.
    • Representing a bank in a Justice Department investigation into allegations of energy trading manipulation.
    • Represented a government contractor in a Justice Department antitrust bid-rigging investigation.
    • Represented a bank in litigation over its role in the securitization of mortgages.
    • Representing a gaming manufacturer before the SEC and OSHA regarding allegations of accounting irregularities and whistleblower retaliation.

Individual Representations

    • Represented the CEO of a manufacturing company in an honest services fraud prosecution by the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department.
    • Represented a senior executive of a pharmaceutical company in a Justice Department investigation into alleged sanctions violations.
    • Represented a professional basketball player charged with firearms offenses.
    • Represented a dealer in law enforcement equipment who was indicted for FCPA violations.
    • Represented an insurance executive in an SEC investigation into insider trading.
    • Represented an Assistant United States Attorney in connection with the special prosecutor's investigation of potential contempt charges arising out of the Justice Department's prosecution of Senator Ted Stevens.
    • Represented a family member of a political candidate in a Justice Department investigation into alleged violations of federal campaign finance laws.
    • Representing a Swiss bank official charged with conspiring to help U.S. taxpayers hide their assets from the I.R.S.
    • Represented a foreign bank executive in a Justice Department investigation into alleged sanctions violations.
    • Represented a car manufacturer executive in a criminal investigation of the company’s handling of a manufacturing defect that led to car crashes.
    • Pool counsel for executives of a car company in a corruption investigation by U.S. and foreign authorities.
    • Representing a corporate CFO in a Federal Election Commission investigation into alleged campaign finance violations.

Congressional Matters

    • Represented a hedge fund owner and board member of a pharmaceutical company in a Congressional investigation and hearing about that company’s drug pricing practices.
    • Representing a United States Congressman and his wife in two ethics proceedings.
    • Represented the co-head of Commodities of a major financial institution in a Congressional investigation and hearing into the role of financial institutions in the commodities markets.
    • Represented a District of Columbia city official in a Congressional investigation into allegations of misconduct during the mayoral election.
    • Represented and testified on behalf of a client in the Congressional investigation into the Ted Stevens prosecution.
    • Testified at approximately 25-30 hearings over the course of government and private practice career.


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