John Sopko

July 11, 2022

Topic: Afghanistan

John F. Sopko is the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. Appointed to the position by President Obama in 2012, Sopko has more than 30 years of experience in oversight and investigations as a prosecutor, congressional counsel, and senior federal government advisor.

Prior to his Special Inspector General role, Sopko worked at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, an international law firm headquartered in Washington, D.C., where he had been a partner since 2009.

Sopko’s government experience includes over 20 years on Capitol Hill, where he held key positions in both the Senate and House of Representatives. He served on the staffs of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, the Select Committee on Homeland Security and the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Sopko also served as General Counsel and Chief Oversight Counsel for the House Select Committee on Homeland Security, where he focused on homeland security and counter-terrorism investigations and issues.

After his work in the Senate, Sopko was recruited by the Commerce Secretary to manage the department’s response to multiple congressional, grand jury and press inquiries. While at the Commerce Department, Sopko was named Deputy Assistant Secretary for Enforcement for the Bureau of Export Administration, and Deputy Assistant Secretary for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

Previously, Sopko served as a state and federal prosecutor. As a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice Organized Crime and Racketeering Section, he conducted numerous long-term grand jury investigations and prosecutions against organized crime groups. He was the lead attorney in the first successful federal RICO prosecution of the entire leadership structure of an American La Cosa Nostra crime family. In 1982, he received the Justice Department’s Special Commendation Award for Outstanding Service to the Criminal Division and in 1980 he received the department’s Special Achievement Award for Sustained Superior Performance.

Sopko began his professional career as a state prosecutor in Dayton, Ohio, with the Montgomery County prosecutor’s office. He also served as an adjunct professor at American University’s School of Justice, where he received the Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Teaching Award in 1984 and the Professor of the Year Award in 1986. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1974, and his law degree from Case Western University School of Law in 1977. He is a member of the bars of Ohio and the District of Columbia.

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