Experts

Chris Lu

Fast Facts

  • Deputy secretary of labor in the Obama Administration
  • White House cabinet secretary and assistant to President Obama
  • Executive director, Obama-Biden Transition Project
  • Deputy chief counsel, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee

Areas Of Expertise

  • Domestic Affairs
  • Jobs and Economy
  • Governance
  • Congress
  • Politics
  • The Presidency

Over the course of a 20-year career in public service, Chris Lu worked in all three branches of the federal government, including seven years in the Obama Administration. From 2014 to 2017, Lu was the deputy secretary of labor, having been confirmed unanimously by the U.S. Senate. In this role, he served as the chief operating officer of a department with 17,000 employees and a $12 billion budget.

From 2009 to 2013, Lu was the White House cabinet secretary and assistant to the president, serving as the president’s primary liaison to the federal agencies. At the end of the first term, Obama said: “Through his dedication and tireless efforts, Chris has overseen one of the most stable and effective Cabinets in history – a Cabinet that has produced extraordinary accomplishments over the past four years.” 

The son of immigrants, Lu was only the second Asian American in history to become a deputy secretary of any cabinet department. During the first term of the Obama Administration, he also co-chaired the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Prior to his service in the executive branch, Lu worked for then-Senator Obama, first as the legislative director, and then as the acting chief of staff. During the 2008 presidential primaries, Lu was tasked by Senator Obama to begin planning for a possible presidential transition. The day after Election Day 2008, Lu became the executive director of the Obama-Biden transition planning efforts.

His government experience includes eight years working for Rep. Henry Waxman as the deputy chief counsel of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and serving as a law clerk for Judge Robert E. Cowen on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Lu began his legal career as a litigation attorney at Sidley Austin in Washington, D.C.

Lu is a magna cum laude graduate of Princeton University and cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School. He is the recipient of an honorary doctorate from MacMurray College and the Department of Navy Distinguished Public Service Award. In addition to his role at the Miller Center, Lu is a senior strategy advisor at FiscalNote, a D.C.-based technology company. In 2017, he was appointed to be an at-large member of the Democratic National Committee, where he sits on the Rules and Bylaws Committee. Lu also serves on the boards of the American Sustainable Business Council and AAPI Progressive Action.

Lu is a contributor for TIME and a frequent political commentator on television and radio. He is the co-editor of the book Triumphs and Tragedies of the Modern Congress (2014).

Chris Lu News Feed

The 10 most important modern presidential speeches selected by scholars at the Miller Center—a nonpartisan affiliate of the University of Virginia that specializes in presidential scholarship—and professors from other universities, as well.
Chris Lu History.com
Chris Lu talks with Chris Matthews about the issue of White House security clearances
Chris Lu MSNBC
“Pruitt’s explanation is absurd and assumes that it’s easier to protect someone in first class than in economy,” said Chris Lu, who served as White House Cabinet secretary during Barack Obama’s first term. “Members of Congress who routinely fly coach should be offended by his lavish travel habits.”
Chris Lu Washington Post
Chris Lu is interviewed on MSNBC about the Rob Porter security clearance story
Chris Lu MSNBC
Anderson Cooper interviews Chris Lu on the Rob Porter scandal and White House security clearances
Chris Lu CNN
“If the FBI had found credible evidence that an Obama White House staffer had engaged in domestic violence, that staffer would have been shown the door immediately,” said Miller Center senior fellow Chris Lu.
Chris Lu Huffington Post