Practice Areas

President Biden picks The Charleston Group's Benjamin as Senior Advisor and Director of White House Office of Public Engagement

March 2, 2023
The Bond Buyer

Stephen Benjamin, a public finance veteran and municipal bond advocate, was tapped to serve as senior advisor and director of the White House Office of Public Engagement.

Benjamin, who was the mayor of Columbia, South Carolina, for more than 10 years, is a lawyer at The Charleston Group, one of the biggest minority-owned law firms in the Southeast.

In his new role, Benjamin will oversee the OPE, which works with national, state, and local leaders to make sure diverse perspectives have the opportunity to be heard at the White House.

"Steve has his finger on the pulse of America. He has a keen understanding of government's role in strengthening communities and businesses," said R. Jonathan Charleston, the firm's managing principal. "We are honored to have had Steve as a member of our firm and excited for his new opportunity to serve the American people."

Benjamin joined The Charleston Group in 2020 and co-chairs the firm's public finance and affordable housing practices. The firm noted his experience with the bonds and revenue-based obligations used by local governments has helped drive the growth of the company's public finance practice. 

He also currently serves as president & CEO of The Benjamin Firm LLC.

"I am honored to have President Biden's confidence and look forward to assisting him in executing his bold agenda for America," said Benjamin.

Benjamin was mayor of Columbia from 2010 to 2021, leading the city through a time of tremendous growth.

He served as the president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors from 2018 to 2019 and president of the African American Mayors Association from 2015 to 2016.

Benjamin has also been Executive Chairman of Municipal Bonds for America, a member of the Federal Communications Commission's Intergovernmental Advisory Committee and a member of the Accelerator for America Advisory Council.

Benjamin was a member of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta Affordable Housing Advisory Council and Co-Chair of the Sierra Club's Mayors for 100% Clean Energy.

In 2017, he was given the U.S. Small Business Administration's Phoenix Award for outstanding contributions to disaster recovery by a public official for his leadership during a flood in Columbia in 2015.

Prior to his terms as mayor, he was head of the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon in Gov. Jim Hodges' cabinet.

The Charleston Group is based in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and the firm's lawyers have extensive experience working with issuers as bond and disclosure counsel and as underwriters' counsel to investment banks.