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U.S. Office of Personnel Management - Ensuring the Federal Government has an effective civilian workforce

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About the Agency

Senior Staff Biographies

General Counsel

Picture of Elaine Kaplan
Elaine Kaplan

Elaine Kaplan was appointed General Counsel at the United States Office of Personnel Management on March 17, 2009.

Kaplan began her legal career in the Solicitor's Office of the U.S. Department of Labor, first in the Employee Benefits Division, and later in the Division of Special Appellate and Supreme Court litigation. Most recently, she served as Senior Deputy General Counsel for the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents the interests of more than 150,000 federal employees nationwide. In this position and during her initial tenure with NTEU from 1984 to 1998, she litigated and supervised the litigation of cases at all levels of the federal court system.

In 1998, Kaplan was appointed by President Bill Clinton and unanimously confirmed by the Senate to serve as the head of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, an independent agency whose mission is to protect the merit-based civil service by, among other things, investigating and prosecuting complaints alleging the commission of prohibited personnel practices, including whistleblower reprisal. After completing a successful five-year term at OSC in 2003, she became "of counsel" to Bernabei and Katz, a nationally recognized plaintiff's side employment law and civil rights firm. Kaplan re-joined NTEU in 2004.

Kaplan has appeared frequently at national and international conferences to speak on issues related to the merit-based civil service and on whistleblower protection; she has authored several articles on these and related subjects. Since 2004, she has been a member of the adjunct faculty of American University's School of Public Administration, teaching graduate-level classes covering legal issues that arise in the context of public administration, with an emphasis on constitutional law. She also served on President Barack Obama's transition team as an agency review team leader in the Government Operations Group.

A native of Brooklyn, New York, Kaplan earned a J.D., cum laude, from Georgetown University in 1979. She received a bachelor's degree in history from the State University of New York in Binghamton in 1976.