A new name in the Peace Corps Director sweepstakes!

Another name is floating around PC/HQ in the “who will be the next Peace Corps Director” Sweepstakes. It is the current Peace Corps Country Director  in Swaziland, Steve Driehaus. Steve was, and this is important to us, a PCV in Senegal from 1988 to ’90.101026_steve_driehaus_smiling_ap_328

After his tour in Senegal he went to work on the Hill as the Legislative Aide for Congressman Charles Luken, then was the Chief Legislative Aide for Council Member, Todd Portrune. He left Washington and returned to the mid-west and became the Assistant Director, Center for International Education and Development Assistance, at Indiana University for a couple years. (The guy moves around a lot.) While in this job, he coordinated the South African Internship Program sponsored by USIA that became the largest professional exchange program between the United States and South Africa. And along the way he picked up a Master of Public Administration from Indiana University.

Key to his possible political appointment as the next director for the agency is the fact that in November 2008 he defeated seven-term incumbent Congressmen Steve Chabot in what was called a “a contentious battle that saw national Democrats and Republicans spend millions.” Driehaus attacked Chabot for the failing economy and linked him to President Bush while he linked himself to Obama and hope and change. He was helped in this Republican district by Obama’s big win nationally.

Chabot, however, would pay him back two years later and regain the Ohio’s 1st Congressional District seat in the off-year election.

Next, things got really interesting for Steve. He sued the Susan B. Anthony List, a group that supports pro-life candidates for Congress, and which has been one of the leading and most effective organizations involved in the fight to cut off federal funding to Planned Parenthood.

He claimed that the List activities contributed to his defeat and thus to his “loss of livelihood” for during the 2010 elections the Susan B. Anthony List engaged in a campaign to identify and call out a group of allegedly anti-abortion-rights members of Congress who provided the margin that allowed President Barack Obama’s reform of the nation’s healthcare system to get through the U.S. House of Representatives. The Susan B. Anthony List said his vote in favor of the law, which did not include any pro-life protections, amounted to a betrayal of their pro-life principles.

Driehaus alleged the SBA List cost him his livelihood by defaming him. He invoked the Ohio False Statement Law, which allows state officials to impose stiff fines on anyone who has issued false criticism of a political candidate. In this case, the “false” criticism in question was SBA List’s campaign to educate voters about Driehaus’ pro-abortion-funding vote for Obamacare.

The SBA List responded by filing a challenge to the Ohio False Statement Law, suggesting it chills speech. They were joined in this opinion by the ACLU of Ohio. Later Driehaus would dropped his complaint against the Susan B. Anthony List.

In March 2011, Driehaus was selected as the CD for Swaziland and went overseas with his wife and three kids that June.

I’m told he is a good guy, well liked, is doing a good job, and if the stars line up correctly for Stevey he might be buying a return ticket back to D.C. for himself and his wife and kids.


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  • John:

    What RPCV doesn’t move around a lot ( From your post- ‘The guy moves around a lot.’)

    I had five career paths and over 22 jobs…average length in a job a liitle more than two years , same as Peace Corps service…

  • Suppose there was a different personnel system at Peace Corps. Suppose there was a “ladder” of advancement that began with two year service as a Volunteer; then a third year as a Peace Corps Leader or an in-country trainer; then a staff appointment either as in-country staff or DC staff for two years; finally, five year one-time appointments in decision- making positions with preference to those who had moved up through the previously described positions. Such a system could create a staff with transcultural field experience and sufficient time to learn to use that experience in upper
    management. It might even create a ready pool of qualified candidates for the Director position.

    In real time, in the real world, I would like to suggest these pre-reqs for a Peace Corps Director:

    1) RPCV
    2) Recent experience, within the last ten years, as Peace Corps staff.
    3) Advanced degree in an area relevant to Peace Corps operations.
    4) Fifty years old or younger. (This would conflict with EEOC current regulations, but the military has “age in grade” stipulations and I would like to see Peace Corps have the same stipulations.)

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