Pedro R. Pierluisi

Former Congressman Pedro R. Pierluisi, Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner in Washington, D.C. (2009-2016), rejoined O’Neill & Borges as a member on January 9, 2017.  He first joined the firm in 1997 after serving as the Attorney General (Secretary of Justice) of Puerto Rico (1993-1996). Pierluisi’s practice focuses on corporate, litigation and government & regulatory affairs.  He provides strategic counseling and representation to the firm’s clients on public policy, commercial, project development, tax and dispute resolution matters.

Pierluisi began his professional career in Washington, D.C., where he practiced law from 1984 until 1990.  After his four-year tenure as the Attorney General of Puerto Rico, Pierluisi became a partner in the Litigation Department of O’Neill & Borges and led the establishment of the firm’s government & regulatory affairs practice group. As a litigator, Pierluisi handled complex commercial and construction litigation and arbitration cases.  He also served as an arbitrator for the International Centre for Dispute Resolution of the American Arbitration Association and the New York Stock Exchange.

In 2007 Pierluisi decided to run for public office and was elected in 2008 and reelected in 2012 as Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner.  During his tenure as Resident Commissioner, Pierluisi was the sole elected representative in Congress for the 3.4 million U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico.  In the U.S. House of Representatives, he served as a member of the Committee on the Judiciary (2009-2016); the Committee on Natural Resources (2009-2016); the Committee on Education and Labor (2009-2010); the Committee on Ethics (2011-2014); and the Congressional Task Force on Economic Growth in Puerto Rico (2016).

Pierluisi’s achievements as a Member of Congress include:

  • Acted as Lead House Democrat in the approval of the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act of 2016 (PROMESA; P.L. 114-187), which authorized Puerto Rico to restructure its public debt, established an oversight board to temporarily supervise fiscal policymaking on the island and provided guidelines for economic development initiatives.
  • Secured virtually state-like treatment for Puerto Rico under the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA; P.L. 111-5).  As a result, Puerto Rico received over $7 billion in additional federal funding to stimulate its economy and improve quality of life.
  • Obtained $6.4 billion for Puerto Rico’s Medicaid program, the largest increase in federal funding for health care in the island’s history, as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-48).  Led successful efforts to secure enactment of legislation or promulgation of regulations to treat Puerto Rico hospitals the same as stateside hospitals under Medicare Part A, to increase payments to Puerto Rico physicians under Medicare Part B, and to improve the treatment of Puerto Rico Medicare Advantage plans under Medicare Part C.
  • Persuaded HHS to take administrative action to substantially increase the amount of funding it allocates to help Puerto Rico families pay their electricity bills.  Puerto Rico went from receiving less than $4 million per year to over $15 million per year under the federal LIHEAP program.
  • Secured enactment of a law (P.L. 113-121) that facilitates U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects in Puerto Rico by eliminating or reducing the amount that local project sponsors in Puerto Rico must pay for a project to proceed.
  • Authored law (P.L. 113-120) awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to the U.S. Army’s 65th Infantry Regiment, composed mostly of soldiers from Puerto Rico.  This marked only the second time in American history that Congress has conferred its highest honor upon a Latino individual or group.
  • Achieved enactment of a law authorizing the first federally-sponsored status vote in Puerto Rico’s history (P.L. 113-76).

As Attorney General, Pierluisi served as the chief legal officer of the Government of Puerto Rico, managing over 2,000 employees, including 500 attorneys. Under his leadership, prosecutors obtained convictions in a record-high 96% of cases and doubled the number of high-profile corruption cases investigated and referred to the Office of the Special Independent Prosecutor.  Pierluisi personally argued two landmark constitutional law cases before the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico. He also served as Chairman of the Eastern Region of the National Association of Attorneys General (1996).

Education

Tulane University, B.A., 1981
George Washington University Law School, J.D., 1984

Bar Admissions

Puerto Rico
District of Columbia (inactive)
U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit
U.S. District Court, District of D.C.
U.S. District Court, District of Puerto Rico