Deputy Federal Policy Director

28 Aug, 2022


Deputy Federal Policy Director

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
Washington, D.C.


The ACLU seeks applicants for a full-time position of Deputy Federal Policy Director in the National Political Advocacy Department of the ACLU’s National office in Washington, DC.

The National Political Advocacy Department (NPAD) works to strengthen the efforts of the ACLU at the federal, state, and local levels of government. The department harnesses the political power that comes from having more than eleven million members and supporters, as well as affiliates in every state. Through grassroots organizing, lobbying and policy work, and issue campaigns, the ACLU seeks to achieve profound change in the legislative, administrative and electoral arenas. 

The position reports to the Federal Policy Director, and will be a manager and core member of a federal policy team that works to protect and advance civil liberties and civil rights at the federal policy level through policy development, direct advocacy with Congress and the Executive Branch, and collaboration with campaign-oriented issue divisions of NPAD.  The Deputy Federal Policy Director works with the Federal Policy Director in managing a small team and working with federal policy advocacy professionals to ensure a cohesive and effective federal policy advocacy program across the ACLU.  The Deputy will have significant federal policy experience and a strong record of success in effecting federal policy change, with deep knowledge of political, legislative, and regulatory systems, ability to provide strategic counsel and advocacy on federal policy issues that stretch across the civil liberties and civil rights space, and ability and experience to build and maintain relationships across both NPAD and ACLU departments and state affiliates. A core strength is the ability and commitment to engage in a collegial and effective approach to federal advocacy.  


  • Reporting to the Federal Policy Director, ensure that the ACLU’s presence in Congress and with the White House is coordinated and aligned by working with ACLU federal advocacy professionals and other national staff and ACLU state affiliate staff
  • Help lead and manage the ACLU’s federal policy development and direct policy advocacy with Congress and the Executive Branch by engaging NPAD federal policy unit, NPAD division, and Legal Department staff
  • Directly advocate with members of Congress, congressional staff, and Executive Branch officials on assigned federal policy issues
  • Advise and collaborate with NPAD division and Legal staff who are developing federal policy analysis or proposals, or are directly advocating on federal policy
  • Assist the Director with pro-active communication to department staff, the national office, and affiliates about federal policy work and available resources
  • Work with, or manage, consultants hired to advise on strategy or directly lobby on key issues, as well as with law firms providing pro bono assistance
  • Identify opportunities and challenges for key developments in federal policy, and develop and directly carry out direct advocacy strategies to meet those challenges, or collaborate with or advise other NPAD or Legal Department staff in their direct federal advocacy
  • Manage ACLU engagement on omnibus and other federal legislation and administrative action that implicates subject matter issues stretching across multiple NPAD divisions, through teams comprised of staff from relevant divisions as well as staff from federal policy unit, subject to availability
  • Identify issues that could develop into a campaign by an NPAD division, and provide any background or advice requested by the division
  • Help build and maintain an end-to-end system to track federal policy work, from initial development of a proposal or initial inquiry from a policymaker, until the issue is resolved either through a win or loss or through the ACLU ending its engagement
  • Use the end-to-end tracking system to provide regular reporting on federal policy development and advocacy, as needed
  • Resource NPAD and Legal staff working on federal policy development and direct federal policy advocacy, by serving as a key adviser, sounding board, and direct lobbying partner for NPAD division and Legal Department staff, as needed
  • Prepare ACLU leadership, NPAD, Legal Department, or affiliate staff to testify before congressional committees
  • Develop and maintain a close relationship with Communications Department leadership staff to advise on key developments in federal policy, including opportunities and challenges; serve as a spokesperson, as needed and when appropriate, on federal policy
  • Operate as a key decision maker on federal policy engagements, shaping budgeting decisions, advocacy priorities, policy development agendas, and political messaging frames within the federal policy unit
  • Develop relationships with ACLU affiliates, allies and other organizations to further political advocacy goals
  • Help develop staff capacity to work together collaboratively and grow issue expertise and advocacy skills 
  • Engage in special projects and other duties as assigned
  • Center principles of equity, inclusion, and belonging in all work, embedding the values in program development, policy application, and organizational practices and processes
  • Commitment to the mission of the ACLU
  • Demonstrate a commitment to diversity within the office using a personal approach that values all individuals and respects differences in regards to race, ethnicity, age, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, religion, disability and socio-economic circumstance
  • Commitment to work collaboratively and respectfully toward resolving obstacles and/or conflicts


  • Law degree is strongly preferred
  • Fluency, or the demonstrated capacity to attain fluency, in most or all of the broad substantive areas most directly impacting civil liberties and civil rights, which are also areas in which ACLU expertise is often most influential with Congress or the Executive Branch:  constitutional law (in particular, First Amendment, due process, equal protection, privacy, separation of powers/congressional authority), civil rights law and the overall architecture of civil rights protections, criminal law, and technology/science and the law 
  • Demonstrated people management experience
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment, simultaneously handle many tasks, work efficiently and quickly, and meet deadlines, while remaining composed under pressure
  • Prior federal lobbying experience, or work as policy staff in a congressional or Executive Branch office strongly preferred
  • Significant experience working in political, policy, legal, or government settings; high degree of familiarity with public policy and legislative, administrative, and electoral processes
  • Sophisticated judgment; experience giving advice and counsel to a principal  
  • High level, substantive, and extensive experience in federal policy development
  • Demonstrated expertise in one or more areas or fields of specialty covered by the ACLU
  • Ability to work independently as well as within a team
  • Experience with media, preferably having served as a spokesperson
  • Excellent interpersonal, relationship building and communication skills, including at the highest levels of government and politics  
  • Excellent research, writing, analytical, and communication skills
  • Ability to communicate complex legal and policy issues to government decision makers, and the general public; expertise in field of policy
  • Ability to work and communicate quickly and accurately, handling multiple projects and deliverables under pressure 


The annual salary for this position is $168,683 (Level D). This salary is reflective of a position based in Washington, DC. This salary will be subject to a locality adjustment (according to a specific city and state), if an authorization is granted to work outside of the location listed in this posting. Note that most of the salaries listed on our job postings reflect New York, NY salaries, where our National offices are headquartered.


The ACLU dares to create a more perfect union – beyond one person, party, or side. Our mission is to realize this promise of the United States Constitution for all and expand the reach of its guarantees.

For over 100 years, the ACLU has worked to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States. Whether it’s ending mass incarceration, achieving full equality for the LGBTQ+ community, establishing new privacy protections for our digital age, or preserving the right to vote or the right to have an abortion, the ACLU takes up the toughest civil liberties cases and issues to defend all people from government abuse and overreach.

Equity, diversity, and inclusion are core values of the ACLU and central to our work to advance liberty, equality, and justice for all. We are a community committed to learning and growth, humility and grace, transparency and accountability. We believe in a collective responsibility to create a culture of belonging for all people within our organization – one that respects and embraces difference; treats everyone equitably; and empowers our colleagues to do the best work possible. We are as committed to anti-oppression and anti-racism internally as we are externally. Because whether we’re in the courts or in the office, we believe ‘We the People’ means all of us.

The ACLU is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The ACLU encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status and record of arrest or conviction, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law. Black people, Indigenous people, people of color; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex people; women; people with disabilities, protected veterans, and formerly incarcerated individuals are all strongly encouraged to apply.

The ACLU makes every effort to assure that its recruitment and employment provide all qualified persons, including persons with disabilities, with full opportunities for employment in all positions.

The ACLU is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual with a disability and need assistance applying online, please email If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.

The Department of Education has determined that employment in this position at the ACLU does not qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.

 Learn more here

Job posted: 2022-08-28