3 minute read

Jimmy Gurulé: 1951—: Prosecutor, Law Professor

Worked High-profile Jobs In Washington

In 1990 Gurulé was nominated to become assistant attorney general of the Department of Justice by then-President George Herbert Walker Bush. Gurulé became the first Hispanic to serve in that position, and his grandmother was so proud that she flew to Washington, D.C., for his swearing-in ceremony. Not only was Pancha proud that her grandson had become the first Hispanic to serve in that capacity, she was aware of the broader consequences his success had for the Hispanic community as a whole.

Gurulé stayed in Washington for two years, returning to Notre Dame in 1992 when President Bill Clinton took over and made his own appointments. In 2000 Gurulé joined a criminal advisory committee for then-presidential candidate George W. Bush. Gurulé helped the Bush campaign by developing position papers and giving Bush advice on criminal justice issues. Later, after Bush won the presidency, he nominated Gurulé to become undersecretary for enforcement in the Department of the Treasury. Gurulé was sworn in on August 7, 2001, and became the highest-ranking Hispanic in U.S. law enforcement. As undersecretary for enforcement, Gurulé oversaw about 30,000 employees within the Secret Service, the U.S. Customs Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, and the Office of Foreign Assets Control, and worked with a budget of around $5 billion.

Following the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, Gurulé was called in to help fight the war on terrorism. His job was to figure out where the terrorists got their money and use the information to develop a strategy to cut off terrorist financing to deter future attacks. Gurulé worked tirelessly to get U.S. allies to freeze accounts in foreign banks worldwide. In the 12 months following 9/11, Gurulé visited 15 countries, some multiple times. After 18 months on the job, Gurulé resigned as undersecretary and returned to Notre Dame in 2003. Part of the reason he left was because Congress created the new Department of Homeland Security, which took away some of his responsibilities and gave them to department director Tom Ridge. When he left, Gurulé was awarded the Treasury Medal, one of the department's highest honors, for his role in helping the government implement new policies to choke off terrorist funding.

At Notre Dame, Gurulé serves as the faculty advisor to the Hispanic Law Students Association. He urges Hispanics to set for themselves the objective of accomplishing something great in their lifetimes. He told CHB that he urges his students to do as he has, "Set high expectations for yourself—If you set high expectations for yourself and come up short, you will still come up with something significant, rather than settling for the middle of the road."

Selected works


"The Ancient Roots of Modern Forfeiture Law," Notre Dame Journal of Legislation, 1995.

"The Money Laundering Control Act of 1986: Creating a New Federal Offense or Merely Affording Federal Prosecutors an Alternative Means of Punishing Specified Unlawful Activity?" American Criminal Law Review, 1995.

"Terrorism, Territorial Sovereignty, and the Forcible Apprehension of International Criminals Abroad," Hastings International and Comparative Law Review, 1994.


(with S. Guerra) The Law of Asset Forfeiture, Lexis Law Publishing, 1998.

(with M. C. Bassiouni, J. Paust, M. Scharf, S. A. Williams, and B. Zagaris) International Criminal Law: Cases and Materials, Carolina Academic, 1996.

Complex Criminal Litigation: Prosecuting Drug Enterprises and Organized Crime, Michie, 1996.

(with R. J. Goodwin) Criminal and Scientific Evidence: Cases, Materials and Problems, Michie, 1997.



Newsweek, October 29, 2001, p. 30.

U.S. News & World Report, December 31, 2001, p. 57.


"Jimmy Gurulé," Notre Dame Faculty, www.nd.edu/~ndlaw/faculty/facultypages/gurule.html (June 10, 2003).

"Dollar Signs: Jimmy Gurulé heads the hunt for Al Qaeda's paper trail," Notre Dame Magazine, www.nd.edu/~ndmag/au2002/gurule.html (June 10, 2003).


Additional information for this profile was obtained through a personal interview with Contemporary Hispanic Biography on May 23, 2003.

—Lisa Frick

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: Bob Graham (1942-) Biography - Awards to Francis Hendy Biography - Born to SewJimmy Gurulé: 1951—: Prosecutor, Law Professor Biography - Heavily Influenced By Maternal Role Models, Developed An Interest In Criminal Law, Worked High-profile Jobs In Washington