Barbara Mulvaney was raised in the 33rd District (Playa del Rey), the daughter of Ed Mulvaney, WWII veteran and Hughes Aircraft & Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) engineer, and the late Julie Mulvaney, political activist and close aide to former Congresswoman Yvonne Brathwaite Burke, the first African American woman to serve in the U.S. Congress from the West Coast. Barbara’s mother introduced her to politics at a young age. Together they walked through neighborhoods circulating petitions and discussing the issues of the day. As a teenager, Barbara worked on political campaigns for Brathwaite Burke and former Los Angeles City Council President Pat Russell, who has endorsed Barbara’s candidacy, among others.
Barbara graduated from the Universidad de Las Americas in Puebla, Mexico with a degree in Latin American History and a minor in International Relations. She subsequently returned to Los Angeles where she earned her J.D. from Southwestern Law School. After law school Barbara served as Assistant District Attorney for Malibu, Santa Monica and West Los Angeles, where she handled a variety of criminal matters.
Barbara is a protégé of former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, having served as an Assistant State Attorney under her in the 1980s when Reno was the State Attorney of Florida. Together they created one of the first Domestic Violence Units in the U.S. Establishing the task force was a progressive first, and highlighted domestic abuse as a serious societal concern. In the 1990s, Barbara served as Assistant Attorney General and Director of the Investigations and Prosecutions Division under current U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) when he was New Mexico Attorney General.
From 2002-07, Barbara served the international community as the Lead Prosecutor at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (UNICTR) in Arusha, Tanzania. In that capacity, she successfully prosecuted the five most prominent military leaders deemed responsible for the genocide, in the face of their direct threats on her life. The guilty verdicts were amongst the first ever for the crime of genocide. Under her direction, the prosecutorial strategy included the precedent setting, first-ever, expert testimony on sexual violence against women and children presented before an international war crimes tribunal.
In 2009, Barbara became a Senior Advisor to the Iraqi government and Deputy Director of Constitutional and Legislative Affairs for the U.S. Department of State at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq. She trained and advised well-respected judges (who had previously worked on the trial of Saddam Hussein), as well as Iraqi Senators/Congresspersons and Rule of Law advocates on best legislative practices. During this time, Barbara continued her fight for women’s rights, even while being forced to return and beat breast cancer. Barbara resides in Santa Monica and is running for Congress full time.