Cameron Forbes Kerry (born September 6, 1950) is an American politician who currently serves as the General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Commerce. He is the younger brother and political confidant of John Forbes Kerry, former Massachusetts Senator, 2004 presidential nominee, and former U.S. Secretary of State.
Kerry was appointed Acting United States Secretary of Commerce on June 1, 2013, and resumed his position as General Counsel on June 26, 2013, when Penny Pritzker was sworn in as the 38th Secretary of Commerce. As the General Counsel of the Department of Commerce, Kerry is the principal legal advisor to the Secretary of Commerce and third ranking secretarial officer.
Cameron Forbes Kerry was born on September 6, 1950 in Washington, D.C.. He is the fourth child of U.S. diplomat Richard John Kerry and Rosemary Isabel Forbes of the Forbes family and Dudley–Winthrop family. He graduated from Harvard College in 1972, and Boston College Law School in 1978.
After graduation from law school, Kerry was an associate with Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr in Washington, D.C. and served as law clerk to U.S. Senior Circuit Judge Elbert Tuttle, former Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (now the Eleventh Circuit). He has been an Adjunct Professor of Telecommunications Law at Suffolk University Law School and has written on First Amendment and cable television issues. From 1983 to 2008, he worked as a Partner at Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky, and Popeo, focusing on civil litigation, environmental issues, and communications regulation.
In 1983, Cameron Kerry converted from Roman Catholicism to Judaism before marrying Kathy Weinman. Cameron Kerry traveled across the country speaking to his brother's views on Israel, campaigning with Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz, writer-comedian Larry David, and Jewish elected officials.
In 2004, Cameron Kerry served as an influential advisor in his brother's presidential campaign. Kerry played a role in decisions behind the scenes and as a campaign surrogate.
In 2006, Cameron Kerry explored a run for Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth but decided not to run when the Democratic incumbent William F. Galvin announced that he would seek re-election.
During the 2008 Presidential campaign, he was the Vice-Chair of the National Jewish Democratic Council and defended Barack Obama in the Jewish press.
On April 20, 2009, President Obama nominated him, and on May 21, 2009, he was confirmed unanimously by the United States Senate as the General Counsel of the Department of Commerce. In this role, Kerry is the principal legal advisor to the Secretary of Commerce and third ranking secretarial officer. He serves as the department's chief legal officer and oversees the work of over 325 lawyers in 14 offices. Kerry also serves as the Department's chief ethics officer, and co-chairs the Secretary's Internet Policy Task Force, which brings together Commerce agencies with expertise on the internet in the 21st-century global economy. Kerry spoke at the Big Data Innovation Summit in Boston on September 9–10, 2015.
On September 18, 1972, the day before the primary election in which John Kerry was seeking his district's nomination in his race for the U.S. House of Representatives, Cameron Kerry and Thomas J. Vallely were caught in the basement of the building that housed both John Kerry and opponent Anthony R. DiFruscia's campaign headquarters. Cameron was charged with breaking and entering. One month later, the charges were dropped after the Kerry campaign explained that Cameron was in the building to investigate rumors that his brother's campaign telephone lines were being wiretapped.