News and events revolving around the ousting of CIA agent Valerie Plame.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Philippine News Online: Is Ralston still at the White House?

SUSAN BONZON RALSTON, presumably the most influential Filipino American in the Bush Administration has reportedly left the White House.

The former Special Assistant to President Bush and deputy to presidential adviser Karl Rove has reportedly moved to the Department of Commerce, Philippine News learned from a source close to Ralston.

Asked for the reason for the transfer, the source quoted Ralston as saying, “Too much pressure (on the job).”

The media office of the Commerce department said they are not making any statement. A White House operator says Ralston remains in the White House roster.

As Rove’s deputy, Ralston is responsible for managing the activities of the Office of the Senior Adviser, including areas related to policy, strategic planning, political affairs, public liaison, and intergovernmental efforts of the White House. Her bio says she is also responsible for the development and production of presidential and major surrogate events.

One of her biggest tasks was providing coordination between the White House and the Bush-Cheney campaign in 2004.

As the highest-ranking FilAm close to Bush, Ralston was able to provide access to American officialdom for certain segments of the community, especially those of Filipino veterans and community affairs. She also paved the way for a presentation at the White House on the issue of the Balangiga Bells.

“Susan is an asset to the Filipino American community, and I am so proud to have opportunities to work with her on some occasions. She is dedicated, hardworking, efficient, an exemplary professional to follow, admire and be proud of,” said Vellie Dietrich Hall, one of two FilAms appointed by Bush to the White House Commission for Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs.

The Valerie Plame case has put Ralston in the spotlight only because of her position as Rove’s assistant. Rove’s role is believed to be critical to the investigation on the outing of the CIA agent, a criminal offense. Ralston had patched a call from a reporter to Rove prior to the media leak.

Prior to her current public service position, Ralston was the Assistant Director of Governmental Affairs at Greenberg Traurig and has also worked for the lobbying firm of Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds, LLP.

Before moving to Washington, DC, she was an office administrator for M&J Wilkow, Ltd., a commercial real estate firm in Chicago, Illinois.

Ralston received a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from the University of Loyola at Chicago and has an M.B.A. from Keller Graduate School of Management.

She and her husband Troy currently reside in Woodbridge, VA.


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