Tim Rieser

Last updated
Tim Rieser
Personal details
Political party Democratic
Education Dartmouth College (BA)
Antioch School of Law (JD)

Tim Rieser is a senior foreign policy aid to Senator Patrick Leahy. He is one "of the most powerful staffers in Congress presiding over U.S. foreign policy and U.S. foreign assistance." [1]


In 2015 he was listed as number 22 of Politico 50 - a "guide to the thinkers, doers and visionaries transforming American politics". [2]


Rieser graduated from Dartmouth College in 1976 and from Antioch School of Law, now the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law, in 1979. [3]

Political career

Rieser is a former public defender from Vermont. He has worked for Leahy since 1985. Since 1989 he has served as the Democratic Clerk for the Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations. [1]

Rieser was one of the architects of the 1992 law that banned land mines. [4] [5]

Rieser also helped draft the 1998 Leahy Law which bans the United States from providing military assistance to foreign armies that violate human rights without being held to account. [4] In 2014, Guatemalan President Otto Pérez made international news by attacking Rieser publicly for aid restrictions. [6]

Rieser was influential in opening U.S. policy toward Cuba and played a "significant role" in getting USAID contractor Alan Gross released from prison in Cuba. [7] [8] [4] [9]

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  1. 1 2 What to do when cynicism becomes your political default, The Hill .
  2. Tim Rieser Senate aide, Politico .
  3. Tim Rieser, '79, Talks Cuba Deal On '60 Minutes', University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law.
  4. 1 2 3 Londoño, Ernest. How a Cuban Spy and His Wife Came to Be Expectant Parents, (December 22, 2014).
  5. Sigal, Leon V. Negotiating Minefields: The Landmines Ban in American Politics, Routledge, (May 13, 20130.
  6. Patricia Davis, Guatemala: Suppressing Dissent at Home and Abroad, (April 25, 2014).
  7. Rogers, David, The Senate's back-channel in Cuba deal, (December 18, 2014).
  8. Bender, Bryan. The congressional aide who became Alan Gross’s lifeline, Tim Rieser kept prisoner’s spirits and hope intact, Boston Globe, (December 19, 2014)
  9. Scott Pelley, The Last Prisoner of the Cold War, 60 Minutes, (November 29, 2015). Released after five years of captivity in Cuba, Alan Gross talks with Scott Pelley in his first interview about his ordeal and the activities leading up to his arrest