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Stephen John Morello, general counsel of the Army, is just the type of Washington outsider President George W. Bush promised to involve in his new administration. The oldest of six children, Morello, 48, was born in Saginaw, Mich. His father worked on the assembly line at General Motors for more than 40 years; his mother was a telephone operator for the Communications Workers of America. Not surprisingly, Morello grew up supporting Democratic candidates. But while Morello may be new to the Pentagon, he knows politics. From 1991 until his appointment in May, Morello served as business lawyer and adviser to Heinz Prechter, a legendary business mogul and powerful Republican fund-raiser. A German immigrant who came to San Francisco as an exchange student in 1963, Prechter made his fortune manufacturing auto sunroofs. He was an early supporter of President George W. Bush and one of his largest financial backers, helping to raise approximately $1.6 million. Over the years, Prechter raised approximately $50 million for Republican candidates. Prechter committed suicide July 6 at age 59. Two weeks earlier, he had attended Morello’s Senate confirmation hearing. “I miss him deeply. He was a friend and mentor,” Morello says, adding, “He taught me that it is very possible to find a way to do something. As a lawyer, don’t be too ready to say no.” As vice president and general counsel of Prechter Holdings, Morello was called upon for legal advice relating to the conglomerate’s automobile, publishing, hotel, real estate, and cattle ranch holdings. The diversity of experience, Morello says, has prepared him for his new role, which includes advising Army leadership, running the Army’s legal division, overseeing litigation and investigations, and counseling acquisition officials. “I think of myself as having experience a mile wide and an inch deep,” he says. “The most important job of the general counsel is to provide inspiration and leadership.” Morello was always drawn to politics. He arrived in Washington for the first time in 1970 on an ROTC scholarship to Georgetown University and worked for two years as a staff assistant to former Sen. Philip Hart, D-Mich., while attending classes. “I’d done a lot of grassroots politicking at the local level, helping people get elected,” Morello says. “I figured if I ever wanted a larger role then I had to go where the action was.” However, over the years, Morello drifted from the Democratic Party. “The values I was so attracted to earlier in the Democratic Party are now more easily found in the Republican Party,” he says. “I don’t think I changed as much as the Democratic Party has changed from those years when I was associated with it back in the early ’70s.” After graduating from Georgetown, Morello attended law school at the University of Detroit and spent three years as an Army judge advocate, fulfilling his ROTC obligation. Morello refers to his time in the JAG Corps as “a great adventure.” He was first stationed in Karlsruhe, Germany, and later moved to Berlin. While living in Germany, Morello became a father for the first time and earned an MBA from Boston University through correspondence courses. After leaving active duty, Morello took a job as a government contracts attorney for the Chicago-based Northrop Corp. He then served as managing attorney at the Digital Equipment Corp. In 1991, with his third child on the way, Morello decided to move back to Detroit to be closer to his family. On a whim, he wrote a letter to Prechter and was brought in for an interview. When Prechter scanned Morello’s r�sum� and noticed the lawyer he was interviewing spoke German, Prechter immediately switched into his native tongue. “It was sink or swim,” Morello recalls. Though he had not spoken German regularly in several years, Morello landed a job as general counsel of ASC Inc., Prechter’s flagship company. “For the last 10 years, he was a trusted adviser of both Heinz and his wife, in business matters, legal matters, and personal matters,” says Stephan Koller, a spokesman for Prechter Holdings. Morello is a Roman Catholic deacon and served as a campus minister at the University of Detroit’s Mercy School of Law. He says he hopes to continue working with young people at Georgetown University.

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