Ken Ackerman is an Of Counsel attorney at OFW Law and concentrates his practice on Federal crop insurance, agriculture programs, cases before the National Appeals Division, related litigation, and legislative affairs. He has spoken and written extensively on these issues over a long career of senior positions on Capitol Hill and in the Executive Branch. Ken’s crop insurance practice has included assisting participating insurance companies, farm producers, grower organizations, and developers of new insurance products.
Before joining OFW Law, Ken was Administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Risk Management Agency (RMA) and Manager of its Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC). He also served as Counsel to two U.S. Senate Committees: the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry (1988-1993) under then Chairman Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, and the Committee on Governmental Affairs (1975-1981) under Senator Charles H. Percy of Illinois, and held senior legal positions at the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (1981-1988). Ken is a prolific writer of historical biographies; his writing websites can be found at http://www.kennethackerman.com/, www.ViralHistory.com, and www.ViralHistoryPress.com.
Ken was born in Albany, New York and received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Brown University in 1973 and his Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center in 1976. He teaches workshops and seminars on both writing and legal matters at the Bethesda Writers Center and TheCapitol.net. Ken serves on the Board of both the Bethesda Writers Center and the Washington Independent Review of Books and is Managing Editor of a small publishing house he created called Viral History Press LLC. He was profiled in Government Executive magazine in 1997 and included by National Journal that year in its “Washington 100” list of top Federal decision-makers.
Bar and Court Admissions
- District of Columbia, 1976
- Brown University, B.A. (Psychology & Political Science), 1973
- Georgetown University Law Center, Juris Doctor, 1976
- Farm Service Agency
- Federal Crop Insurance Corporation
- Risk Management Agency
- National Appeals Division
- Young J. Edgar: Hoover and the Red Scare 1919-1920s
- Boss Tweed: The Corrupt Pol Who Conceived the Soul of Modern New York
- Dark Horse: The Surprise Election and Political Murder of President James A. Garfield
- The Gold Ring: Jim Fisk, Jay Gould, and Black Friday
- Abraham Lincoln's Convention: Chicago 1860
Articles and Presentations
- "Review Essay: The Celebrity Son," Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association, Summer 2013.
- "First Son: The Biography of Richard M. Daley," Washington Independent Review of Books, May 13, 2013.
- "Is John Boehner, 2013, the New Joe Cannon, 1910?" Huffington Post, January 11, 2013.
- "History Suggests Grand Bargain to Avoid Fiscal Cliff," Bloomberg Echoes, November 14, 2012.
- "Is It Time to Scrap the National Political Conventions," Huffington Post, August 27, 2012.
- "How an Act of Congress Killed the U.S. Gold Market in 1864," Bloomberg Echoes, August 2, 2012.
- "In 1868, a Wild Fraud to Dwarf Today's Political Sleaze," Bloomberg Echoes, June 14, 2012.
- "The New York GOLD ROOM: Wall Street's Big Gamble on the Civil War," by Kinahan Cornwallis (1879). Viral History Press, May 2012.
- "Boss Tweed's Bondholder Revolt," Bloomberg Echoes, May 9, 2012.
- "5 Myths about J. Edgar Hoover," Washington Post, November 13, 2011.
- "1861: The Civil War Awakening." Darmarva Review, Fall 2011.
- "Clarence Darrow Twice." Washington Independent Review of Books, June 2011.
- "Advanced Legislative Strategy," including "Strategies and Tactics in the Legislative Arena" and "The Appropriations-Money Process: How to Get an Earmark," presentations for TheCapitol.Net, August 2007.
- "Another J. Edgar Hoover?" Los Angeles Times, June 14, 2007.
- “The Federal Regulatory Process Poster." TheCapitol.Net, 2007.
- "Mandated Research Database would Impair Copyrights and Health." Washington Legal Foundation, January 12, 2007. Co-authored with my legal colleague Richard L. Frank.
- "If He Wanted a Stadium There Would Be One." New York Times, March 2005. Article on Boss Tweed.
- "Generals as Candidates: Not Always Such a Winning Combination." Roll Call, October 27, 2003.
- "California in Context: Recall Opens Door to New Voters." Roll Call, September 23, 2003.
- "War Makes Political Havoc for Presidents and Challengers Alike." Roll Call, April 7, 2003.
- "Gephardt Could Buck History with Longer Primary Season." Roll Call, February 7, 2003.
- "History Shows That This Year's Senate Flip Isn't Really Unprecedented." Roll Call, June 21, 2001.
- "Looking to the Future." Professional Agent, April 1996. An update on then-pending agriculture insurance legislation.
- "Virginia's MONROE." Skin Diver, December 1993. Shipwreck story.
- "Incident on the Oregon." American Heritage of Invention & Technology (Division of American Heritage Intention and Technology, Spring 1994.) Tale of deep sea diving in the 1880s.
- "1991 Futures Legislation: The Case For a Compromise on Jurisdiction." Commodities Law Letter, February 1991.
- "How to Help Farmers Help Themselves." Farm Futures, July/August 1986. (Assisted CFTC Commissioner West).
- "CFTC Faces the World." Futures and Options World, July 1986. (Assisted CFTC Commissioner West).
- "One Gold Corner that Failed." Futures, February 1986. Story of the Gould/Fisk 1869 panic.
- "Takeovers, the Old-Fashioned Way." Legal Times, February 1986. Jay Gould battles Cornelius Vanderbilt over the 1868 Erie Railway.
- "Ten Cautionary Rules for Institutional Investors." Intermarket, January 1986. (Assisted Andrea Corcoran, CFTC Director of Trading and Markets).
- "Federal Regulation of Futures: Responses to Changing Times." Journal of Commerce, March 1985. Co-authored with CFTC Chairman Susan Phillips.
- "Success in the Long Run." Washington Post, November 1, 1984. (Assisted Dr. Sheldon Konecke). Advice for marathon runners.
- "An Innocent's Journey through Sports Medicine." Washington Weekly, July 1984. Real reason why I no longer run marathons.
- "Ten Tips for Avoiding a Commodities Scam." AMTRAK Express, July 1984. (Assisted CFTC Commissioner West).
- "International Links: A Regulator's View." The Journal of Commerce, October 1983. (Assisted CFTC Chairman Phillips).
- "Banks Trading in Futures Confront New Regulator." The American Banker, October 1983. (Assisted CFTC Chairman Phillips).
- "Viable and Safe Markets- The Role of the CFTC." The National Journal, September 1983. (Assisted CFTC Chairman Phillips).
- "Tax on Futures Trading/YES." Barrons, August 1982. (Assisted CFTC Chairman Phillip Johnson).
- "SEC, CFTC Set Stage for Transformation of Markets." Legal Times of Washington, February 1982.
- "Civil Service Reform: A Test of Congress' Responsibility." Chicago Tribune, September 1978. (Assisted Senator Percy).
- "Advise and Consent: A Reevaluation." Southern Illinois University Law Review, 1978. (Assisted Senator Percy).
Browse Ken Ackerman's posts on the Ag/FDA Blog