The Harris Institute and Washington University School of Law mourn the death of Thomas “Tom” Schweich, who passed away on February 26, 2015. A fifth generation Missourian, Schweich was serving at Missouri State Auditor at his death, a position to which he was elected in 2010 and re-elected in 2014.
Schweich had a brilliant mind, and served in numerous legal capacities throughout his life. After graduating from Harvard University School of Law, he joined Bryan Cave LLP in St. Louis, where he became a partner. When then-U.S. Senator John Danforth (R-MO) led the federal special counsel investigation into the mass deaths at the Branch Davidian compound at Waco, Texas, Schweich was chosen as his chief of staff. Schweich then served as chief of staff to three U.S. Ambassadors to the United Nations from 2004-2005. In that capacity he helped uncover the Food for Oil scandal and root out corruption within the UN. He later served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and Acting Assistant Secretary of State at the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs in the State Department (INL). In this capacity he helped build and implement programs related to police training, justice sector building, counternarcotics, counterterrorism, anti-money laundering, border security, and anticorruption. At INL, Schweich led diplomatic missions to approximately 30 countries, including Pakistan, Nigeria, Botswana, Kenya, South Africa, Russia, Colombia, Guatemala, Poland, France, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Mexico, and Canada. From 2007-2008 he was the U.S. Coordinator for Counternarcotics and Justice Reform in Afghanistan, where he focused on curtailing drug production and rebuilding the country’s legal infrastructure and law enforcement capacity. In addition to his legal and political career, Schweich was the author of three books: Protect Yourself from Business Lawsuits, Crashproof Your Life, and Staying Power. His pieces on foreign policy, politics, and the economy were published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Canada’s The Globe and Mail, and other foreign publications.
From 2008-2010 Schweich served as a visiting professor and the law school’s Ambassador-in-Residence at the Harris Institute. The Ambassador-in-Residence Program brings distinguished Foreign Service professionals to campus to share their experiences and knowledge with the law school community. He was beloved by the students who had the good fortune to work with him. During this time he also served as special representative for Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Through this appointment, Schweich gave law students the unique opportunity to assist in preparation for meetings with senior diplomats, politicians, and law enforcement officers in the region. He also provided students the opportunity to attend the First Inter-American Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Public Security, hosted by the Organization of American States (OAS) in Mexico City, the UNODC headquarters in Vienna, and meetings at the U.S. State Department, the Justice Department, and the Department of Homeland Security in Washington, D.C.
Tom Schweich is survived by his wife Kathy and his two children.