Robert S. Eitel

Robert S. Eitel

Co-Founder and President, Defense of Freedom Institute

Bob is a co-founder and president of Defense of Freedom Institute for Policy Studies (DFI), a non-profit, non-partisan organization that promotes freedom, choice, and opportunity for America’s families, students, entrepreneurs, and workers. DFI fights to expand education and work opportunities for all Americans; to reduce the power of the federal government and the influence of government sector unions in education and workforce policy; and to defend the civil and constitutional rights of all Americans in the classroom and the workplace.  

He previously served as Senior Counselor to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos from 2017 through 2020 and Deputy General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Education from 2005 until 2009.  

During his most recent tenure at the Department, Bob served on the Secretary’s Leadership Team as a strategic and legal adviser on higher education, civil rights, and congressional oversight matters. As the Department’s Regulatory Reform Officer, he also supervised the implementation of the Secretary’s regulatory agenda and was an architect of the Secretary’s reforms concerning Title IX and the Higher Education Act. As Deputy General Counsel, Bob advised on a wide variety of regulatory, legislative, and oversight matters. 

Prior to joining the Department in 2017, Bob was vice president for regulatory compliance matters for several postsecondary institutions and practiced education and employment law in Washington, D.C. Before coming to the Department in 2005, he practiced law in New Orleans, litigating commercial, employment, and bankruptcy cases in Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi.  

Bob earned his A.B. in History from Georgetown University, studied British government and international politics at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and received his law degree from Tulane University Law School. He is a member of the District of Columbia and Louisiana Bars. 


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