William H. Taft
Key Player

Chair, Board of Trustees, Freedom HouseWilliam H. Taft IV

is the chairman of Freedom House’s Board of Trustees. Taft took over for former chairman Peter Ackerman in January 2009. (He served since 2005.)

Taft served in various positions during the Nixon and Ford administrations. During the Reagan Administration, he was General Counsel at the Department of Defense, as well as the Deputy Secretary and Acting Secretary.

He served as the U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO during the Gulf War, and as the chief legal advisor to Colin Powell at the Department of State. During this time, Taft emerged as a dissenter to controversial interrogation methods for military detainees. He also opposed the Department of Justice’s position on interrogations under Alberto Gonzalez.

Taft resigned his post after President Bush’s re-election and returned to private practice, continuing to voice his support of the Geneva Convention. He attended Yale University and earned his law degree from Harvard Law School.