About the Author

"Bob Carleson was one of this country's finest public servants—ever. A welfare reform pioneer, he enabled then-governor Ronald Reagan to salvage California from bankruptcy—and help the desperately needy to boot. His ideas, incorporated into the hugely successful 1996 federal welfare law, were also critical in elevating Reagan into the Oval Office. Teddy Kennedy may have been the Lion of the Senate; Bob was a Lion for America."
Allan H. Ryskind, former editor and owner of Human Events.
Robert B. Carleson

Robert B. Carleson (1931—2006) was the architect of modern welfare reform. After many years in city management, in 1968 Carleson joined the administration of Governor Ronald Reagan as Chief Deputy Director of the California State Department of Public Works. Not long after, the governor tapped him to find a solution to the state's runaway welfare costs. As Director of the State Department of Social Welfare, Carleson took a revolutionary approach and together with Gov. Reagan succeeded in saving the state from certain bankruptcy. For the first time since World War II, California's welfare rolls actually declined.

In 1973, Carleson was appointed U.S. Commissioner of Welfare and was tasked with bringing welfare reform to the other states. As a result of his efforts, for the first time since World War II welfare rolls declined nationally.

In 1981, Carleson joined Reagan's White House staff as Special Assistant to the President for Policy Development. He authored the 1981 Reagan welfare reforms and later was instrumental in the design of the historic welfare reform signed into law by President Clinton in 1996.

In 1998, Carleson founded the American Civil Rights Union (ACRU) to promote the civil rights of all Americans. Through its legal and public advocacy, the ACRU defends a constitutional understanding of civil rights.

Bob Carleson was an Eagle Scout who lived his life according to the principles of the Boy Scout Oath and Law. The Robert B. Carleson Eagle Fund has been established in his memory to provide financial help to disadvantaged Scouts and troops suffering the effects of political and philanthropic discrimination. For further information, go to www.RBCEagleFund.org.


For more information on Bob Carleson, visit www.theacru.org.