Shannon Flaherty McGahn is a GOP congressional aide who is married to White House Counsel Donald McGahn. Shannon McGahn, 38, and Don McGahn, 50, have been married since 2010 and have two children. She has worked for several years as a top aide to Republicans in the House of Representatives and also spent time as a counselor to Secretary Steven Mnuchin at the Treasury Department before returning to Capitol Hill.
Don McGahn has served as the White House counsel since 2017 after serving as President Donald Trump’s campaign counsel during the 2016 election. The New York Times reported in August 2018 that McGahn has “cooperated extensively” with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Here’s what you need to know about Don McGahn’s wife Shannon McGahn:
1. Shannon & Don McGahn Were Married on New Year’s Eve in 2010 at St. Peter’s Catholic CHurch on Capitol Hill & His 80s Metal Cover Band Played at Their Reception
Shannon Flaherty and Don McGahn were married on December 31, 2010, at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Washington, D.C., according to Politico Playbook.
At the time, she was working as deputy chief of staff for communications for the House Financial Services Committee and was about to move to become the communications director for the House Republican Conference, according to Politco. Don McGahn was at the time the commissioner on the Federal Election Commission and a former NRCC general counsel.
“Don’s ’80s metal cover band, Toxic Mouse, will play at the reception. Look for him to sit in for a few songs. And, yes, Shannon plans keep her Ronald Reagan portraits,” Mike Allen wrote for the Playbook. Allen added in a followup story:
Tom DeLay shed a tear as the bride walked down the aisle. A host of family, friends and not-very-famous-even-by-D.C.-standards cohorts cheered the couple as they were introduced by Father Gallagher. (Forgive Father Gallagher for the initial mishap of stumbling over Don’s name at the start of the Mass. “I’m new,” the priest said, sheepishly.) The crowd, dominated by Flahertys from Ohio and McGahns from the Atlantic City area, then assembled at the Phoenix Park Hotel for the reception, where Washington’s newest power couple were introduced to Van Halen’s “Love Walks In.” McGahn, in addition to being a veteran GOP lawyer, is a guitarist for rock bands that focus heavily on ’80s metal. Toxic Mouse performed in the ballroom as Shannon’s nephew Mikey, 2, and niece, Kenedy, 4, led the troops on the dance floor. After midnight, Don’s other band — Scott’s New Band — performed, with Don on guitar.
Attending: Doug Heye, directly from DCA, via Heathrow; Ron and Sara Bonjean; Jackie Kucinich; Jared Allen; Brad Dayspring; Erika Masonhall; Paul Kane; Kyle Downey; Ryan Loskarn; Tom Curran; and many more. D.C. photog Tom Williams captured the long evening. Midnight was celebrated with champagne clinking. The groom’s band took the stage, and Don played Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child o’ Mine” to start 2011.
2. She Is an Ohio Native Who Knew She Wanted to Get Into Politics in High School & Now Lives With Her Husband & Their 2 Sons in Virginia
Shannon and Don McGahn have two sons and live together in Alexandria, Virginia, in a home they have owned since 2010, public records show. She previously lived for several years in Washington, D.C. after growing up in Ohio.
Shannon Flaherty McGahn told the National Journal in 2015 that she knew she wanted to get into politics in high school. She grew up in Westerville, Ohio, in the Columbus area, where she worked at her father’s pizza restaurant. Her congressman at the time was now-Ohio Governor John Kasich.
“I grew up down the street from him, and at one point early in high school I ran into him at the pharmacy down the street and introduced myself,” she told the National Journal “He asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up and I said something like, ‘Well, sir, I’d like to work for you.'” She later interned for Kasich.
Jeremy Deutsch, the chief of staff for the House Republican Conference, met her when she was in high school and was a young GOP supporter. Deutsch told The Atlantic, “She is one of the few folks in this town who can kind of take both the public policy and communications and bring it together. She has this ability to frame and message things in a way that emotionally connects with people.”
3. Shannon Flaherty McGahn Graduated From George Washington University Before Beginning Her Capitol Hill Career in Communications
Shannon Flaherty McGahn graduated from George Washington University in 2002 with a degree in history, according to the school’s website and her Linkedin profile. She told The Atlantic she was the first in her family to graduate from college, thanks to her father’s hard work running a pizza shop.
“It was his dream to have his own business, and while he wasn’t always successful at it, he did a great job of managing and training all of his children to enjoy and take pride in their work,” McGahn told the magazine.
She began her career on Capitol Hill in public relations and communications. She worked for the House Financial Services Committee as a staff director and for the late former Rep. Jennifer Dunn until 2003. She said working for Dunn taught her that female voters wanted to hear about issues other than those that fall into the “women’s issues” category.
“She would go and meet with Republican leaders, men and women alike, and explain to them that women were more and more likely to manage their family finances, deal with taxes, and make health care choices,” McGahn said of Dunn in an interview with The Atlantic.
From 2003 to 2005, she was the deputy press secretary and then press secretary for then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and as communications director for his re-election campaign. After DeLay was indicted on criminal charges and stepped down, she moved to the private sector, working as vice president for First Principles, LLC, an information technology and services company, from 2006 to 2009.
From 2009 to 2010, she was the vice president of The Herald Group, a public relations and communications firm in D.C. “Most PR firms are a dime a dozen and just interested in writing headlines,” Flaherty told Politico’s Suite Talk in 2009. “What I like about The Herald Group is that they treat each project as a full-fledged campaign.”
4. Shannon McGahn Worked in the Treasury Department From 2017 to 2018, When She Returned to Her Role as an Aide to Congressman Jeb Hensarling
In 2017, shortly after President Trump was sworn in, Shannon McGahn left Capitol Hill and joined his administration as an aide to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. She worked as counselor to Mnuchin in the Treasury Department, a position that did not require Congressional approval. “As Counselor, she will advise the Secretary on matters relating to both legislative and public affairs,” the Treasury Department said in a press release announcing her new role in March 2017.
In January 2018, she left her job as a senior adviser to Mnuchin and returned to work for the House Financial Services Committee as an aide to Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, according to The Hill.
“Her leadership will be invaluable this year as we work to put forth bold solutions to reform our broken housing finance system and continue our efforts to pass legislation that promotes a healthy economy that is working for all working Americans,” Hensarling said in a statement. Hensarling will not be seeking re-election in November.
5. Shannon McGahn, Who Marie Claire Named Among the ’50 Most Influential Women in America,’ Has Been Credited With Leading the House GOP’s Financial-Services Strategy
Shannon Flaherty McGahn has earned high praise during her years working for Republicans in the House of Representatives. She was named one of “The 20 Most Powerful Women Staffers on Capitol Hill” by the National Journal in 2015 and as one of the “50 Most Influential Women in America” by Marie Claire that same year.
“She runs the powerful office that oversees the financial services industry, from Wall Street to the housing sector,” Marie Claire wrote. “Insiders say she has a gift for distilling complex financial issues for the press and, more important, mom-and-pop voters.”
She has worked with Hensarling and the House Financial Services Committee to push back on President Obama’s Wall Street reform and financial regulations and to try to weaken the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Her work on the committee has drawn praise from the GOP, who say she is essential in crafting the House Republicans’ financial-services strategy.
“What impresses me most is her commitment to serving the cause of freedom through the important work we do that touches the lives of anyone who operates in our economy,” Hensarling told the National Journal
She worked for the Financial Services Committee while the Dodd-Frank bill was being put together bu Democrats, helping lead the Republicans’ response. “They were in search of a new press lead to help communicate our policy proposals surrounding the financial crisis. I tried to bring that values-based messaging approach to help boil down these very complex financial policies into real solutions that members could discuss back home,” she told the National Journal.