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Matt McHugh represented the 27th and 28th Congressional Districts of New York in the U.S. Congress from 1975-1992. During his long tenure in the Congress, he came to be regarded as one of those "best and brightest" who came of age in the idealistic time of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. A lawyer by training and known by his colleagues as the "conscience of the House," one of his last Congressional duties was to preside over a special bipartisan panel set up to investigate the checkwriting scandal that gripped the House in the early 90's. A spokesman for former President Bush remarked that "President Bush remembers Congressman McHugh as a good man. He remembers him as a person who was able to work in a bipartisan spirit when the good of the country was at stake." Key Congressional Committee assignments included Appropriations [1978-92] (Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, Export Financing and Related Programs; Subcommittee on Rural Development, Agriculture and Related Agencies), Intelligence [1985-90] (Chairman, Subcommittee on Legislation), Standards of Official Conduct [1983-92] (Acting Chairman), Children, Youth and Families [1983-92], Veterans Affairs [1975-77], Agriculture [1973-78], and Interior [1977-78]. He chaired the Arms Control and Foreign Policy Caucus [1984-87] and the Democratic Study Group [1982-84].

 He started his post-House career as vice president and counsel at Cornell University. He worked there briefly before moving on to the World Bank, where he served as Counselor to the Bank's President until his retirement in 2005. As senior advisor to the President he worked, among other things, on communicating the Bank’s mission and importance to citizens, business people, and leaders in the institution’s 180 member nations. He has been a member of many national and international boards and commissions, among them the National Endowment for Democracy, Bread for the World, the New York State Regents Commission on Higher Education, and the American Bar Association's Central and East European Law Commission. He has also published opinion columns in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Christian Science Monitor.