Labor Solicitor Pick Represented Private Equity Giant Blackstone

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By Ben Penn

President Donald Trump’s selection for the Labor Department’s top attorney would need to disentangle herself from more than 80 business clients, including Blackstone Group, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Bain Capital, and other behemoth investment firms, according to newly published documents.

Kate O’Scannlain, who was nominated in September as DOL solicitor, is currently a partner at Kirkland & Ellis in Washington, where her labor and employment practice is mostly focused on mergers and acquisitions. The Office of Government Ethics has now released her financial disclosures and ethics letter, in which she vows that if confirmed by the Senate, she wouldn’t participate in government matters in which any of her former clients is a party.

The recusal pledge would expire one year after her last contact with a client.

The documents, which she filed as part of the requirements for Senate-confirmed nominees, come as the DOL awaits a new leader for a legal shop with immense authority over workplace regulations and enforcement policy. O’Scannlain would have her own litigation authority atop an office with more than 500 attorneys nationwide.

Salary of $623,000 Per Year

O’Scannlain also disclosed an annual base salary of $623,333 at Kirkland, which is among the world’s largest management-side firms. She is slated to receive a performance bonus of between $100,000 and $250,000 for her work over the past year.

Her other clients include Accenture, GrubHub, and Tribune Publishing.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hasn’t scheduled O’Scannlain’s confirmation hearing. Solicitor is the DOL’s No. 3 overall position.

O’Scannlain would also be tasked with reviewing a handful of major regulations finalized under President Barack Obama’s DOL that are now subject to potential revision or reversal.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Penn in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at

For More Information

The ethics letter is available at, and the disclosure report is at

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