Washington, D.C. – Democracy Forward announced today that Joe Gaeta, a Department of Justice (DOJ) and Capitol Hill veteran, who most recently served as DOJ’s liaison to Congress, will serve as its Director of Oversight and Engagement. Gaeta joins Democracy Forward from his post as the Deputy Assistant Attorney General at DOJ’s Office of Legislative Affairs. He will lead Democracy Forward’s oversight work to scrutinize and expose the rise of anti-democratic extremism in states, courts, and communities across the country.  

Prior to being appointed by President Biden to his post at DOJ, Gaeta spent nearly a decade as a senior advisor to Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) where he played a critical part in exposing the role of special interests in influencing the federal judiciary. Earlier in his career, Gaeta served as Chief Counsel to the Senate Budget Committee, Trial Attorney in the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, and Special Assistant Attorney General in the Rhode Island Department of Attorney General. 

“We are thrilled to have Joe Gaeta join Democracy Forward,” said Democracy Forward President and CEO Skye Perryman. “Joe shares Democracy Forward’s vision of using the law to build collective power and advance a bold, vibrant democracy for all people and has an incredible track record of fighting for people and communities across the country.”  

“As the President stated in a primetime address just two weeks ago: American democracy is at an inflection point. Our democratic institutions are under attack,” said Joe Gaeta. “I am honored to be joining Democracy Forward and to be on the frontlines of this generational fight for democracy.”

Upon the hiring of Gaeta, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse said: “As a trusted adviser in my Senate office, Joe broke new ground in exposing the big-money scheme to capture and control the federal courts. I have worked with Joe for the better part of two decades, and I know he will be an asset to Democracy Forward in the effort to safeguard American democracy.”

Against the backdrop of the most concerning Supreme Court term in modern history, Gaeta is the latest in a series of strategic hires by Democracy Forward as it builds capacity to meet this moment. Last summer, Democracy Forward tapped legal advocate and former General Counsel of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (“ACOG”) Skye Perryman to be its President and CEO and lead the organization’s expansion. Democracy Forward has since grown its bench of top legal talent with the addition of Rachel Fried from the Civil Litigation Clinic at Georgetown University Law Center; Madeline Gitomer from Hogan Lovells; Will Bardwell from the Southern Poverty Law Center; Sarah Goetz from Americans United for the Separation of Church and State; JoAnn Kintz who was formerly with the Environment and Natural Resources Section of the U.S. Department of Justice; Brooke Menschel who previously served as Director of Civil Rights and Law Reform at Brooklyn Defender Services, and former Hennepin County Minnesota attorney Maher Mahmood. Earlier in the year, Democracy Forward also named Gwen Moore (D-WI) and ACOG alum, Tatiana Calderón, as its Director of Policy and Public Affairs.

Founded to address unprecedented threats to democracy and social progress, Democracy Forward is engaged in legal activity in 26 states throughout the country. From challenging unlawful activity of state and local officials and legislatures to amplifying the voices of people and communities with a stake in good government, Democracy Forward works across the full range of issues that matter to the American people. The organization has taken more than 650 actions – 100+ against the Trump administration – on behalf of more than 200 clients and partners. 

“As an extreme political movement continues to seek and wield its power to the detriment of our democracy, our team at Democracy Forward is determined to use the collective power and perspective of the American people to push back. Over the past year, we have added to our already exceptional bench of talent to do what must be done at this watershed moment for American democracy,” Perryman said. 


Press Contact: Jacob Weinberg, jweinberg@democracyforward.org