Frank Fahrenkopf

  • Fall 2014

Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr. was president and CEO of the American Gaming Association (AGA) until he retired June 30, 2013. In his role as the chief executive of the AGA, Fahrenkopf was the national advocate for the commercial casino industry and was responsible for positioning the association to address regulatory, political and educational issues affecting the industry for the past 18 years.

A lawyer by profession, Fahrenkopf gained national prominence during the 1980s when he served as chairman of the Republican Party for six of President Ronald Reagan's eight years in the White House (1983 to 1989). When Fahrenkopf retired in January 1989, he had served as chairman of the Republican National Committee longer than any person in the 20th century (and second-longest in the history of the party) and led the party through two successful presidential campaigns in 1984 and 1988.

He has been a frequent commentator on political and gaming issues on such network television programs as Crossfire, Inside Politics, Meet The Press, Hardball, Face the Nation, The Today Show, This Week and Good Morning America

Fahrenkopf continues to serve in a variety of political capacities. He presently is co-chairman of the Commission on Presidential Debates, which conducts the general election presidential and vice presidential debates in presidential election years. He co-founded the commission in 1986 with Democratic National Committee chairman Paul Kirk. He also was a founder of the National Endowment for Democracy, where he served as vice chairman and a board member from 1983 to 1993. Additionally, he serves as a board member of the International Republican Institute (IRI), which he founded in 1984. He served for many years as chairman of the Pacific Democrat Union and vice chairman of the International Democrat Union, a worldwide association of conservative political parties from the United States, Great Britain, France, Germany, Canada, Japan, Australia and 20 other nations.

Prior to becoming the AGA's first chief executive on June 1, 1995, Fahrenkopf was a partner in the Washington, D.C., office of Hogan & Hartson, where he chaired the International Trade Practice Group. Fahrenkopf specialized in regulatory, legislative and corporate matters for multi-national, foreign and domestic clients. His early legal career included 17 years of practice as a trial and gaming lawyer in Nevada, his home state. In that capacity, he represented clients before Nevada gaming regulatory authorities. Fahrenkopf served as the first chairman of the American Bar Association (ABA) Committee on Gaming Law and was a founding trustee and president of the International Association of Gaming Attorneys, a worldwide organization of government gaming regulators and private attorneys acting on behalf of licensed gaming enterprises.

Fahrenkopf has held various positions relating to his legal background. For many years, he was a member of the board of trustees of the National Judicial College, the ABA-sponsored judicial education center for federal and state judges; chairman of the Coalition for Justice, a group coordinating the ABA's initiatives to improve the American justice system; and chairman of the Legal Policy Advisory Board of The Washington Legal Foundation. He was a member of the Nevada State Board of Bar Examiners, president of the Washoe County Bar Association and vice president of the Nevada Trial Lawyers Association.

Fahrenkopf also sits on the board of directors of six New York Stock Exchange public companies: First Republic Bank, Gabelli Equity Trust, Inc., Gabelli Utility Trust, Gabelli Global Multimedia Trust, Gabelli Dividend and Income Trust, and Gabelli Gold and Natural Resources.

His civic involvement includes service as chairman of the board of governors of the City Club of Washington, a member of the board of trustees of the E.L. Wiegand Foundation, The Economic Club of Washington and the Federal City Council. Fahrenkopf also served as a co-chairman of the Rivlin Commission, which investigated and reported on the government of the District of Columbia. He has been honored for his contributions, receiving the Junior Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Service Award in 1973, the Nevada Lung Association "Man of the Year" Award in 1983 and the National Humanitarian of the Year Award from the National Conference on Christians and Jews in 1985. He is a member of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. He also serves as a trustee of the Culinary Institute of America and is a member of the Advisory Board of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA).

Fahrenkopf is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno (1962) and the Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California at Berkeley (1965).

He and his wife, the former Mary Bandoni, have three daughters: Allison, a Washington, D.C., attorney; Leslie, former associate White House Counsel to President George W. Bush; and Amy, a pediatrician working at Mckinsey & Company, Inc on public health matters. He is an avid golfer, tennis player and sports enthusiast.  Fahrenkopf is a member of the Burning Tree Club, the Washington Golf and Country Club, the New York Athletic Club, the City Club of Washington and the Prospectors' Club in Reno, Nev.