Catherine Read: 40 Under 40

The young lobbyists with the most influence in Washington

By: Marisa M. Kashino

Name: Catherine Read
Firm: Center for Victims of Torture
Age: 33


The Center for Victims of Torture works with refugees and asylum seekers to provide psychological and other rehabilitative services to those who need them. Of the United States’ more than 35 torture treatment centers, it’s the only one with a lobbyist. That means Read is advocating not only for her organization but for the dozens of others with similar missions.

She helped push the Obama administration to issue an executive order banning interrogation techniques used under George W. Bush. Working with former national-security officials, Read wrote a draft order and sent it to then White House counsel Greg Craig. Most of the principles in her draft were incorporated into the final order. Read is now working to turn the executive order into a statute. She’s also attempting to get the one-year filing deadline for asylum seekers repealed because many aren’t aware of the rule and unknowingly miss the deadline for seeking asylum.

This article appears in the June 2011 issue of The Washingtonian.

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