Born and raised in Chicago, Podesta was the eldest child to a Greek-American mother and first-generation Italian immigrant father. He attended the University of Illinois in Chicago. He also studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Georgetown University and received his J.D. at the latter.
Podesta is one of the best-connected influence peddlers in Washington. His brother John Podesta served as President Clinton’s chief of staff before heading Obama’s 2008 transition team. John currently runs the liberal think-tank Center for American Progress, which has served as a farm team for Obama administration aides and gives both Podesta brothers easy access to the president. Tony himself has worked closely with democratic leadership for many years; serving as a member of President Clinton's transition team in 1992. He now serves on several committees and boards in Washington, D.C., and has been named one of the capital's top 20 lobbyists by Washingtonian magazine.
“I have my own political views, but that doesn't mean I can't work for everyone”
“The irony of it is that every time the president says we lobbyists have all this influence, people who don’t have a lobbyist want one, he exaggerates our power, but he increases demand for our services.”
“Whatever they’re gonna do, they’ll do, they can ban lobbyists from having drivers licenses. We’ll all get cars and drivers.”
Another notable client is the greenwash and front group American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.
After the BP oil spill in 2010, Podesta was hired as part of the oil giant's team to launch a public-relations offensive.
He was recently named the most powerful person in Washington by GQ magazine.