Susanne Sachsman Grooms
Susanne Sachsman Grooms is a partner at Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP, resident in the DC office.
As a former federal prosecutor and one of the nation’s leading experts in congressional investigations, Susanne’s practice focuses on helping clients navigate high stakes, complex investigations that potentially involve multiple federal and state agencies, Congress, and regulatory authorities, as well as significant reputational concerns. Susanne has assisted clients in matters before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Government Affairs, the Senate Committee on Finance, the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, and the Office of Congressional Ethics, among others.
Whether it is in the development of a strategic response to an inquiry, negotiating over a document production, or preparing an executive for a hearing, briefing, or interview, Susanne’s extensive record of leading hundreds of these investigations from inside the government gives her a leading edge in assisting clients with congressional investigations, other government and regulatory investigations, internal investigations, and crisis management.
Susanne’s current and recent representations include:
- Representing an international bank in connection with a request for documents and information from the Senate Committee on Finance
- Representing a global technology company in connection with a request for documents and information from the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis
- Representing a global aerospace and defense company in connection with a request for documents and information from the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
- Representing an author of a scientific study on wearing masks in schools in connection with a minority request from the Senate Permanent Select Committee on Investigations
- Preparing a multinational Fortune 500 company’s executives to testify in hearings before parliamentary committees in Australia, the United Kingdom and Canada
- Representing a subcontractor in connection with request for information from the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations related to two federal government contracts
- Represented a media company in connection with responding to a document request from the Office of Congressional Ethics
- Assisting Presidential nominees with preparation for confirmation hearings
- Conducted a comprehensive external review of gender equity issues at the NCAA, focusing on NCAA championships and resulting in two publicly available reports
Susanne joined Kaplan Hecker after serving for more than a decade in the senior leadership of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, the principal investigative committee of the U.S. House of Representatives. Most recently, Susanne served as the deputy staff director and chief counsel for Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney and her predecessor Chairman Elijah E. Cummings, overseeing a team of more than 70 attorneys, investigators, and communications and support staff on fast-paced, high-volume, and high-profile investigations involving the government, private industry, and individuals. Chairwoman Maloney has described Susanne as “a superb attorney with exceptional political judgment.”
Susanne served as a key advisor to the Committee chair and members, House leadership, and other House Committees regarding oversight strategy, investigative actions, and messaging for the House of Representatives. She also provided ongoing strategic counsel to House leadership and multiple House and Senate Committees as a leading subject matter expert on subpoena enforcement, parallel civil and criminal investigations, interviews and depositions, and privilege issues.
Leading the investigative staff of the Committee from 2011 to 2021, Susanne supervised and conducted hundreds of investigations and congressional hearings on a wide variety of matters, including topics related to the financial sector, health care, technology, energy, environment, education, national security, government and corporate management, federal contracting, cyber security, privacy, the coronavirus pandemic, executive misconduct, personnel practices, ethics, civil rights, and voting. Susanne has worked extensively with whistleblowers, inspectors general, and state attorneys general. Susanne first joined the Oversight Committee as a counsel under Chairman Henry A. Waxman, from 2007 to 2008.
Susanne has been a critical part of the Congressional oversight of national crises. Most recently, she served on the investigatory and Senate trial teams for both of the impeachments of Donald J. Trump, and she helped establish and provided strategic counsel to the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis. Susanne also served for more than two years as the staff director and general counsel for Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings on the Select Committee on Benghazi, and in that role managed and directed all aspects of a high-profile investigation that culminated in an 11-hour public hearing with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Susanne began her career as a trial attorney in the Tax Division of the Department of Justice, where she was a member of the Attorney General’s Honors Program and was awarded a 2005 Tax Division Outstanding Attorney Award and a 2006 Tax Division Special Act or Service Award. Susanne also served as a Special Assistant United States Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, where she prosecuted numerous bench trials related to sex and domestic violence offenses. From 2008 to 2010, Susanne served in a number of roles at the Internal Revenue Service, including as attorney advisor to the deputy commissioner for services and enforcement, and as senior counsel to the chief of criminal investigation. She also helped design and implement the IRS Office of International Operations’ Criminal Investigation unit, an organization established to identify and address threats to the global financial system, and briefly served as the unit’s first director of strategy, policy, and training.
In 2010, Susanne was detailed to the White House, where she served as deputy associate counsel in the Office of Presidential Personnel, vetting presidential appointments and nominations and providing advice on tax compliance and other legal matters.
Susanne is a frequent speaker on matters related to congressional oversight and investigations, and she has been an invited speaker at events organized by the American Bar Association, the New York City Bar Association, and the University of Pittsburgh Institute of Politics and the Dick Thornburgh Forum for Law and Public Policy, among others. She also served for five years as a guest lecturer at the Georgetown University Law Center for a course on Congressional Investigations. Recent speaking engagements include:
- Ethical Issues in Internal Investigations, 37th Annual ABA National Institute on White Collar Crime, March 2, 2022
- How to Prevent & Survive Cancellation: Responding to a PR Crisis, Women, Influence & Power in Law, October 6, 2021
- How Congress Intersects with the False Claims Act, Federal Bar Association’s Qui Tam Section, July 28, 2021
- Governing in Crisis: The Role of Oversight in Our Democracy, Interview, University of Pittsburgh Institute of Politics and the Dick Thornburgh Forum for Law and Public Policy, October 14, 2020.
- Congressional Investigations & Ethical Rules: White Collar Professionals Need to Know, Panel, ABA 2020 Virtual Institute on White Collar Crime: Congressional Investigations & Ethical Rules White Collar Professionals Need to Know, June 24, 2020.
- Reinvigorating Congress’s Oversight Role of the Federal Bureaucracy, Panel, ABA Administrative Law Conference, October 19, 2017.
- Congressional Investigations, Panel, 6th Annual White Collar Crime Institute, New York City Bar CLE Program, May 11, 2017.
Susanne was named to Washingtonian Magazine’s List of Most Influential People in Washington in 2022. She has also been named a Leading Plaintiff Employment & Civil Rights Lawyers by Lawdragon 500.
Susanne received her J.D. from Harvard Law School, where she was awarded the Heyman and Irving R. Kaufman Public Interest Fellowships. She received her B.A., cum laude, from Yale University.