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Bio for Rafael DeGennaro, Founder & President

(Photo by Tricia Bohan — other versions [1])

Rafael DeGennaro has 18 years of experience in Washington, DC as congressional staff, public interest advocate and policy entrepreneur. One of his specialities is building odd-bedfellow coalitions to win reform victories. He has appeared on national television shows such as CNN Crossfire and ABC Your Money, and has testified before Congress numerous times. He has been a registered political independent since 1995.

During 1995-2001, he was co-founder and President of Taxpayers for Common Sense [2], a politically-independent 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to reducing wasteful government spending and subsidies and promoting a government that lives within its means. Under his leadership, TCS played a leading role in efforts that prevented billions of dollars in federal government waste. Upon his departure [3] from TCS in 2001, TCS had 14 full-time staff and an annual budget of $1.2 million that was generating more than 1,000 media mentions per year of the organization and its work.

During 1990-95, DeGennaro was a project director for the national environmental organization Friends of the Earth [4], where he led efforts to create the Green Scissors coalition [5] that united conservative taxpayer groups and environmentalists to cut wasteful government programs that also harm the environment.

From 1987-89, he was Defense Legislative Assistant to then-Rep. Charles E. Bennett (D-FL), a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee. In this position, DeGennaro wrote Bennett’s legislation that forced declassification of the costs of the B-2 Stealth Bomber. He also helped staff the bipartisan Congressional Military Reform Caucus.

During 1986, he was Professional Staff at the House Small Business Committee.

During 1984-86, he was Legislative Assistant to then-Rep. Berkley Bedell (D-IA). DeGennaro wrote Bedell’s legislation to reform irrigation subsidies, and handled budget and tax issues during enactment of the Gramm-Rudman budget law and the 1986 tax reform act.

In 1983, he was an intern to then-Rep. Robert W. Edgar (D-PA).

DeGennaro left TCS in March 2001 for a mid-life travel break. During August 2001-April 2003, he traveled around the world, visiting 16 countries in 20 months in Asia, Australasia and Europe. Among other adventures, he trekked to Everest Base Camp, crewed on the Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race, and helped skipper a sailboat from Australia to New Zealand.

Raised in the Philadelphia suburbs, DeGennaro received a B.A. in History from the University of Pennsylvania (1982).

Research note: In June 2001, DeGennaro changed his first name from Ralph to Rafael, after his Italian grandfather. To research his activities before June 2001, search “ralph degennaro” in Google or Nexis.

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