International Counsel - Joseph Smallhoover - Democrats Abroad

Joe Smallhoover

Name:                                   Joseph Smallhoover

Gender:                                  Male

Candidate:                              International Legal Counsel

Member since:                        1985

Country/ Countries                 France


I have been a member of Democrats Abroad since I arrived in France in 1985. I was reared in Pittsburgh, PA in a union family that was very engaged in Democratic politics. My first campaign was in 1968 and I have been active ever since. Just prior to moving to France, I had worked on the Mondale Ferraro campaign in California where I was the assistant to the state campaign chair. I have served in many positions in Democrats Abroad and Democrats Abroad France, including having previously been the International Counsel.




Describe your volunteer work with DA and cite your greatest DA accomplishment.

I have previously served as the International Chair, International Vice Chair, International Counsel, and for a few months, the International Secretary. I have also been the Chair of Democrats Abroad France for several terms. My proudest accomplishment was drafting the 2008 Delegate Selection Plan with its very forward looking electronic voting system. My second proudest accomplishment was the creation of the first DA website. DA was the first state party to have a website and we did that in 1993. It was pretty lame, but it had the merit of existing and of being the first. 

Why are you running for this office?

Our Country Committees and Executive Committee need guidance on how to register voters and get out the vote, on how to counter voter misinformation and fight overt and covert voter suppression, on how to raise and spend funds, and how to steer through the complexities of the rules that govern all we do. I want to put my 40 years' experience as a lawyer and my previous experience on the Executive Committee of Democrats Abroad at your disposal to ensure our campaign methods are legal and the most advanced and successful they can be.

How will your skill sets and experience contribute to DA's success?

I've been practicing law for nearly 40 years -- in California and Pennsylvania, as well as in France, Germany, and England. And my legal experience extends beyond to every continent except Antarctica. I've taught American Constitutional Law, international dispute resolution and international business transactions. I have served on the Executive Committee of Democrats Abroad in the past, notably as International Counsel during the early Clinton presidency and during both Bush hegemonies, as well as serving as its Chair, Vice Chair and briefly as Secretary. I believe I know Democrats Abroad as well as just about anybody. And I've been a member not only of the Democratic National Committee and its credentials committee, but I was also a member of the platform committee of the National Convention.

Are there any DA organizational or practical issues  (not political goals) that you would like to address, should you be elected?

We need to be on top of every conceivable attempt at voter suppression and that will mean not simply building a top of the line  GOTV Voter Protection team, but also a team of lawyers in all our jurisdictions equipped to act quickly and accurately.

What are three pressing political issues that you would work to include in the DA 2020 Platform and why?

Very simply put, the reform of the taxation system as it affects overseas Americans, including a switch to Residency Based Taxation and a total reform of FATCA/FBAR rules to exempt overseas Americans. Secondarily is a reform of the rules that came out of the USA Patriot Act that make it difficult for overseas Americans to open financial accounts in the US unless they have a real US postal address.

How can Democrats Abroad best raise our profile among America voters abroad and better work to elect Democrats?

This question is better left to folks who understand social media and marketing issues.


Endorsement from Connie Borde

Joe Smallhoover has been my friend and partner (and sometimes even my foe!) for thirty years now. We have worked in tandem building the Democrats Abroad France Country Committee since 1988, a job that we are well proud of. Today DAF is a CC that can boast of having twelve active Chapters and a membership that continues to increase in an orderly fashion, thanks in part to his foresightedness and his sense of organization and the groundwork that he put into place in his terms as Chair.

At the same time, Joe was also active in the international work of the DPCA, having been International Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Counsel and a DNC member. I don't know that anyone has had more experience in all of Democrats Abroad than Joe. He worked on and even formulated many Delegate Selection Plans and one could even say that he invented the DSP to fit our overseas atypical identity.

Joe also has friends and contacts in Washington that have helped us advance in our own lobbying efforts for FATCA/FBAR and RBT. His work with Representatives Maloney, Pappas, Raskin and Titus, and Senators Kaine and Van Hollen and others have provided us the entries necessary to bring us closer to finding solutions to these important tax issues to protect overseas Americans.

I am convinced that Joe Smallhoover, a respected and experienced international attorney is the finest and most competent person to serve as Counsel of Democrats Abroad and I proudly stand by my nomination.

Connie Borde

Democrats Abroad France

DNC Member 2016-2020

Endorsement from Jody Quinnell

My name is Jody Quinnell, Regional Vice Chair of the Americas for Democrats Abroad and it is a great pleasure to endorse Joe Smallhoover for Democrats Abroad International Legal Counsel.

I first met Joe in 2013 at the Global Meeting in London and we have worked together on a variety of projects ever since. Working side by side with Joe has given me an excellent insight into not only his character, but also his drive and determination  to achieve the goals of Democrats Abroad. 

The next two years will be critical to the future of democracy in the United States. This is a time when our International Ex Com will need strong guidance from Counsel to ensure that Americans living abroad are enfranchised and their ability to cast a ballot is not impeded. Joe is an experienced attorney and in fact is a member of the Bar of the Supreme Court. His extensive legal expertise and his understanding of FEC regulations make him the right candidate at the right time to serve as Counsel. Joe is also a seasoned fundraiser and someone who is a creative problem solver, skills that will be essential moving into the complex 2020 campaign season.

Now is our time, as Americans, as Democrats. We need a strong team to build on our strengths and expand our reach. Joe Smallhoover is the one to make a difference. He knows our history and he has a vision for our future. We need Joe Smallhoover as International Counsel.

Endorsement from Ada Shen

My name is Ada Shen and it is my honor to endorse Joe Smallhoover for Democrats Abroad International Legal Counsel. 

I have known Joe since 2008 when he was International Legal Counsel when I first became involved with DA form China, and now from Paris where he is currently Chair and I serve on the DAF Executive Committee as GOTV Officer.

Since 2016, American democratic norms have come under assault; the fate of our nation still hangs in the balance. From all corners of the world, Democrats Abroad has risen to the challenge of this critical moment. Democrats and Democrats Abroad broke records in 2018, but 2020 is still in play. It is imperative that we draw upon the best of who we are and put them to greater purpose now.

We have this chance now with Joe. When Joe is on point, I don't think there is anyone better. He absolutely bleeds blue, gets the big picture, has vast experience yet is adaptable, does not get lost in the policy weeds, wants to see today's Democratic Party and Democrats Abroad thrive and win, and is an able and influential speaker to our issues and interests. I believe that Joe's service as Counsel to this ExCom under Chair Julia Bryan will lend great institutional perspective  and fighting strength to DA's important work  -- with the DNC, with Presidential campaigns, on the Hill, at the ballot box and every race where Americans overseas can be the margin of victory.