Our People

Rudy Mehrbani

Senior Director, Governance

Rudy Mehrbani is the Senior Director for the Governance program at Democracy Fund, an independent foundation working to ensure that our political system is able to withstand new challenges and deliver on its promise to the American people. Rudy leads the Governance Program’s work to create more representative and effective governing institutions, which includes initiatives that aim to prevent and hold government accountable for abuses of power and explore ways to create a more representative political system. Rudy is also a senior practitioner fellow at the University of Chicago’s Center for Effective Government.

Rudy joined Democracy Fund following a distinguished career in law and government, including service as a senior official in President Barack Obama’s administration. He was previously a senior fellow and senior counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice, a nonpartisan law and policy center, where he worked to protect voting rights and was responsible for establishing and directing the National Task Force on Rule of Law and Democracy. From 2016 to 2021, he was a member of the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, where he served as the Board’s vice chair from 2019 to 2020. The Board was established by Congress to supervise the global Fulbright Program and select students, scholars, teachers, and others from the U.S. and abroad to participate in Fulbright exchanges.

He served as assistant to President Obama and director of the Presidential Personnel Office in the White House from 2016 to 2017. In that role, he advised the president, cabinet members, and other senior government officials on human capital issues arising across the executive branch and, in 2016, served as a member of the White House Transition Coordinating Council. He was the general counsel of the Peace Corps from 2014 to 2016, serving as the principal legal officer and a senior advisor to the Director of the Peace Corps. Before that, he served as an associate counsel and special assistant to the president in the White House Counsel’s Office, where he led the team responsible for vetting President Obama’s executive nominees and appointees. He worked in a variety of other roles in the executive branch, including as a special policy advisor to the secretary of housing and urban development. Earlier in his career, Rudy litigated a broad range of cases at Kirkland & Ellis LLP in Chicago.

He received a BA from Emory University and a JD from the University of Virginia School of Law. He completed an international comparative business law program at Bucerius Law School in Hamburg, Germany.