Chief Investigative Counsel of House Energy and Commerce Committee Joins Akin Gump

(Washington, D.C.) – John F. Sopko, a veteran of decades of congressional investigations and most recently the chief counsel for oversight and investigations at the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has joined Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP as a partner in Washington, D.C., the firm announced today. Mr. Sopko will focus on congressional and federal investigations as a senior member of the public law and policy practice.

As senior advisor to Chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.), Mr. Sopko supervised an oversight strategy that involved hundreds of investigations into virtually every subject area within the Committee’s jurisdiction. During his tenure, the Committee held over 40 investigative hearings on matters including the safety of the nation’s drug and food supplies, energy pricing and speculation, consumer product safety, post-Katrina health care financing and recovery, predatory sales practices in the Medicare Advantage program, nursing home safeguards, Medicare and Medicaid fraud, scientific integrity at the EPA, pipeline and refinery safety, and biological and nuclear security.

Mr. Sopko’s experience as a senior congressional investigative counsel includes his 15-year tenure as the deputy chief counsel to the U.S. Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations as well as service as the Democratic general counsel and chief of investigations for the U.S. House Select Committee on Homeland Security.

Mr. Sopko was recruited in 1997 by the secretary of Commerce to manage the department’s response to multiple congressional and grand jury inquiries; in that capacity he represented the institution and numerous public officials in connection with a number of high-profile investigations. While at Commerce, he also served as deputy assistant secretary for export enforcement and as deputy assistant secretary of NTIA. Mr. Sopko also worked for two years as deputy director of the Homeland Security Institute, a private-sector think tank focused on matters relating to homeland security.

Mr. Sopko began his career as a county prosecutor in Ohio before joining the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime & Racketeering Section as a trial attorney in its Cleveland office, where he was the lead attorney in the first successful federal RICO prosecution of the entire leadership of an American mafia crime family. He received his B.A. cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania and his J.D. from the Case Western University School of Law.

Steven R. Ross, head of Akin Gump’s congressional investigations practice and a former general counsel of the U.S. House of Representatives, stated, “As congressional investigations of the private sector continue to increase in number and intensity, the targets of these probes will need expert advisors who understand the special challenges presented by these unique inquiries. Few – if any – individuals have the depth and breadth of bipartisan and bicameral investigative experience that John has. He is a great addition to our team and will be a tremendous asset to our clients. We are very pleased to welcome him to the firm.”

Mr. Sopko added, “I look forward to working with the first-rate team at Akin Gump – including the firm’s former members of Congress and congressional staff – to help clients successfully navigate what will likely be a period of aggressive investigative activity in the years ahead. Akin Gump understands the uniqueness of these types of investigations, whether they be congressional, regulatory or media-driven, and has the depth and breadth of expertise that bridges white collar, lobbying, regulatory, oversight and crisis management to successfully serve client needs.”

Akin Gump’s congressional investigations practice has represented clients from virtually every sector of the economy, as well as government and congressional officials, before a broad range of House and Senate committees. The firm’s most recent representations include a major rating agency in a series of hearings regarding the role of rating agencies in the markets; a number of hedge funds with regard to hearings conducted on swap instruments and the hedge fund industry; a major mortgage lender, its chief executive and its board during the widely publicized subprime/mortgage crisis; and the former chief executive officer of a major insurance and financial services company regarding the credit crisis and current federal intervention, as well as a number of major defense contractors, health care companies and a well-known sports franchise.

Founded in 1945, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, a leading international law firm, numbers more than 900 lawyers in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

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