Associate Solicitor for General Law, US Department of the Interior
Scott de la Vega is a member of the federal government’s career Senior Executive Service (SES) and was appointed by President Biden to be his Acting Secretary of the Interior in January 2021. De la Vega served as Interior’s Director of Presidential Transition in 2020 and served on the Federal government’s Agency Transition Director’s Council.
De la Vega is a leading authority on political activity law, ethics and appropriations law, and federal administrative law and policy and is the Interior Secretary’s representative to the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS). He is on the senior management team of the Office of the Solicitor, U.S. Department of the Interior and currently serves as the Associate Solicitor for General Law, the Department’s highest-ranking career attorney. Prior to that position, he was the Director of Interior’s Departmental Ethics Office and DOI’s Designated Agency Ethics Official.
Previously, de la Vega served for several years in various non-partisan senior legal positions at the White House, including as Ethics Counsel to then Vice President Biden and in the Office of the White House Counsel as well as Managing Counsel for Operations in the Executive Office of the President. In these roles, he oversaw the financial disclosure clearance process for all White House officials; directly counseled senior White House staff, Cabinet officials, and nominees seeking Senate confirmation; and helped to formulate policy on issues ranging from acquisition and appropriations law to conflicts of interest and Presidential transition. He has worked directly with senior leadership across the Executive Branch and in Congress. He is respected at the highest levels in Washington by members of both parties and has been cited in national media from The Wall Street Journal to The Los Angeles Times, and was the subject of an Energy and Environment News (E&E) story detailing his efforts at reforming the Interior Department.
De la Vega has served in leadership positions at other federal agencies, as Vice President and Senior Counsel at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and as Vice President at Morgan Stanley, where he was in the investment bank’s Fixed Income Division and served as Chief Counsel for Morgan Stanley Credit Corporation. De la Vega was a commissioned officer and served as both a trial and appellate criminal litigator in the U.S. Army’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps, where his final active-duty assignment was as US Supreme Court Coordinator for the Defense Appellate Division. de la Vega is a guest lecturer in law and public policy at colleges, universities, and agencies across the Federal government.
De la Vega was raised in New York City and graduated from Brooklyn Tech. He earned a Diploma in International Relations in 1990 from the University of Wales (Swansea, UK), a B.A. in 1991 from the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy at the University at Albany, SUNY, and a J.D. in 1994 from the Syracuse University College of Law. (Without being a member of Moot Court, de la Vega came in 1st Place (with Karen Richards) in SU Law’s McKenzie Smith Appellate Advocacy moot court competition and 2nd place in the Trial Advocacy moot court competition; Certificate in International Law; Distinguished Guest Lecturer for SU Law’s Washington Programs since 2013).