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Donald Fowler

Donald Fowler

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Donald L. Fowler served as National Chairman of the Democratic National Committee
Democratic National Committee
The Democratic National Committee is the principal organization governing the United States Democratic Party on a day to day basis. While it is responsible for overseeing the process of writing a platform every four years, the DNC's central focus is on campaign and political activity in support...

 from 1995 to 1997. (Christopher J. Dodd served as "General Chairman" during this same period.) Fowler is a political science professor and businessman from South Carolina who has spent most of his adult life in various Democratic Party roles, including state party executive director, state party chair, and CEO of the 1988 Democratic National Convention in Atlanta.

Fowler earned a degree in psychology from Wofford College
Wofford College
Established in 1854 and related to the United Methodist Church, Wofford College is an independent, Phi Beta Kappa liberal arts college of 1,525 students located in downtown Spartanburg, South Carolina, United States. The historic campus is recognized as a national arboretum and features “The...

 in Spartanburg, South Carolina
Spartanburg, South Carolina
thgSpartanburg is the largest city in and the county seat of Spartanburg County, South Carolina, United States. It is the second-largest city of the three primary cities in the Upstate region of South Carolina, and is located northwest of Columbia, west of Charlotte, and about northeast of...

, in 1957 where he had his basketball jersey retired, was president of the student body, and became a member of the Kappa Alpha Order
Kappa Alpha Order
Kappa Alpha Order is a social fraternity and fraternal order. Kappa Alpha Order has 124 active chapters, 3 provisional chapters, and 2 commissions...

. For his master’s and doctoral degrees, he attended the University of Kentucky
University of Kentucky
The University of Kentucky, also known as UK, is a public co-educational university and is one of the state's two land-grant universities, located in Lexington, Kentucky...

, a pioneering institution in the disciplines of political science and public administration. He has taught public administration and American politics at the University of South Carolina
University of South Carolina
The University of South Carolina is a public, co-educational research university located in Columbia, South Carolina, United States, with 7 surrounding satellite campuses. Its historic campus covers over in downtown Columbia not far from the South Carolina State House...

 since 1964, and has taught at Wofford from time to time. He is also a retired colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve and a graduate of the U.S. Army War College
U.S. Army War College
The United States Army War College is a United States Army school located in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, on the 500 acre campus of the historic Carlisle Barracks...

.

Prior to the 1984 Democratic National Convention, he was appointed by party chairman Paul G. Kirk to chair the "Fairness Commission," one of many Democratic commissions created to reform the presidential nomination process. Fowler's Fairness Commission banned winner-take-all districts in primaries and caucuses, expanded the reach of the 15% threshold rule, and increased the number of convention superdelegates from 568 in 1980 to 650 in 1988.

Fowler's term as National Chairman included the 1996 presidential election between Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

 and Bob Dole
Bob Dole
Robert Joseph "Bob" Dole is an American attorney and politician. Dole represented Kansas in the United States Senate from 1969 to 1996, was Gerald Ford's Vice Presidential running mate in the 1976 presidential election, and was Senate Majority Leader from 1985 to 1987 and in 1995 and 1996...

. As national chairman, Fowler ran the party's day-to-day operations while Christopher Dodd
Christopher Dodd
Christopher John "Chris" Dodd is an American lawyer, lobbyist, and Democratic Party politician who served as a United States Senator from Connecticut for a thirty-year period ending with the 111th United States Congress....

, the general chairman, served with Fowler as the party's public faces. The two co-chair positions were established several times by President Clinton from 1995-2001, although the roles are usually combined. In 1996, Fowler made a determination that Lyndon LaRouche
Lyndon LaRouche
Lyndon Hermyle LaRouche, Jr. is an American political activist and founder of a network of political committees, parties, and publications known collectively as the LaRouche movement...

, who was seeking the Democratic Presidential nomination for the fifth time, was not a "bona fide Democrat" because of his "expressed political beliefs... which are explicitly racist and anti-Semitic" and due to his "past activities including exploitation of and defrauding contributors and voters", and instructed state parties to disregard votes for him. LaRouche lost his suit and his appeal, in a case known as LaRouche v. Fowler.

After Clinton's re-election, Fowler was accused of contacting the CIA about a businessman, Roger Tamraz
Roger Tamraz
Roger Tamraz is an international banker and venture capital investor who has had an active business career in oil and gas in the Middle East, Europe, Asia and the United States since the early 1960s. Born in 1940 in Cairo, Egypt to Lebanese parents, Tamraz grew up speaking fluent English, French...

, who had donated money to the Democratic party. His answer to questions from the US Senate about this was, "I have in the middle of the night--high noon--late in the afternoon--early in the morning, every hour of the day, for months now searched my memory about conversations with the CIA. And I have no memory, no memory of any conversation with the CIA." Fowler never faced formal charges and the investigation of his role ended without controversy.

Fowler remains active in Democratic politics as a member of the DNC. Following the 2006 midterm elections, in response to James Carville
James Carville
Chester James Carville, Jr. is an American political consultant, commentator, educator, actor, attorney, media personality, and prominent liberal pundit. Carville gained national attention for his work as the lead strategist of the successful presidential campaign of then-Arkansas governor Bill...

's call to remove Howard Dean
Howard Dean
Howard Brush Dean III is an American politician and physician from Vermont. He served six terms as the 79th Governor of Vermont and ran unsuccessfully for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination. He was chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2005 to 2009. Although his U.S...

 as chair, Fowler e-mailed his fellow DNC members, saying, "Some ill-advised voices have suggested that, because of his 50-state strategy, Governor Dean should be replaced as Chair of the DNC. This is nonsense. The 50-state strategy is exactly what the Democratic Party needed and continues to need.... Democrats won a great victory on November 7—control of the United States House of Representatives, control of the United States Senate, majority of Governors, and majority of state legislative bodies. Why should anyone want to mess with the team that won these remarkable results? Governor Dean deserves to continue as DNC Chair."

Fowler and his communications agency have handled state and federal government relations projects for a diverse group of clients. He also has carried out marketing studies, advertising, public relations and marketing programs for national and international clients.

Fowler's son, Donnie Fowler
Donnie Fowler
Donnie Fowler is an American political activist from Columbia, South Carolina, who now lives in San Francisco. He has worked in the technology, telecommunications, and political world for more than 20 years....

, ran unsuccessfully for DNC chair in 2005.

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