- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Democratic operative whose hiring a month ago by the White House legal office raised conservative hackles is leaving to go back to work at the Democratic National Committee.

Shauna Daly, 29, will be the DNC’s research director, returning to the fast-paced realm of bare-knuckles politics that associates said suits her best.

The White House has not decided whether to replace her, a spokesman said.

Miss Daly could not be reached for comment.

Miss Daly’s hiring was met with concern by some conservative attorneys, because she did not have a legal degree and had been placed in the office of legal counsel. Some told The Washington Times on the record for an article last month that they had concerns over whether the White House might use her research skills and legal access to go after political enemies.

During the presidential campaign, Miss Daly helped then-candidate Barack Obama respond to and prepare for political and personal attacks. She was deputy research director at the DNC from October 2005 to January 2007, before joining the Obama campaign.

Conservative and liberal lawyers and operatives said it unusual for someone with Miss Daly’s background to be working in the White House counsel’s office, though several Clinton-era lawyers said that non-lawyers worked in the office during their administration.

The White House insisted at the time of her hiring that Miss Daly’s work would be limited to legal research, such as that of a paralegal, and wouldn’t stray into political muckraking.

David Axelrod, a senior White House adviser to President Obama, had a hand in bringing Miss Daly to the campaign, and is thought to have been instrumental in bringing her to the White House.