R. James Nicholson

R. James Nicholson

Senior Counsel


Former RNC Chairman, Ambassador to the Vatican and Department of Veterans Affairs Cabinet Secretary. Applies sound business and political judgment and strong relationships to advance good public policy. Honest broker trusted by policymakers and clients alike.

Jim Nicholson served as Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, as U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican and as Chairman of the Republican National Committee. Now, he counsels clients on policy matters related to veterans affairs, information technology, infrastructure, health care and complex international relations issues. Sec. Nicholson is profoundly respected by policymakers on both sides of the aisle in Washington, D.C. for his competence, candor and integrity. His personal relationships and friendships extend from the highest ranking officials in leadership to working level staff people throughout the government in Washington.

In the 1980’s, Secretary Nicholson was appointed by President Reagan to serve as a director of the New Community Development Corporation, and as a Commissioner on the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services.

While serving as U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican, Sec. Nicholson was knighted by Pope John Paul II for his work on human rights’ issues in Europe, especially in the area of human trafficking. As Secretary of the VA, Nicholson also chaired the Federal Interagency Council on Homelessness. Prior to his heavy involvement in governmental service, Nicholson had a successful career in law and business. He established a nationally recognized land development and homebuilding company and was inducted into the National Housing Hall of Fame.

In 2019, Jim was appointed by President Trump to the Board of Visitors at his alma matter West Point, and he was subsequently elected vice chair. He also currently serves as a Fellow at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.


Insights & Publications



  • J.D., 1972, University of Denver Sturm College of Law
  • M.A., 1969, Columbia University
  • B.S., 1961, United States Military Academy at West Point


  • Colorado


Congressional Country Club, University Club of Washington D.C.

Metropolitan Club of Washington, D.C.

Community Involvement


Vice Chairman, Board of Visitors, U.S. Military Academy

Director, The American Red Cross

Chairman, Board of Trustees, Open World Leadership Center

Director, Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc.

Co-Chairman, Board of Advisors, Catholic Leadership Institute

Chairman, The Daniels Fund



2023 Medal of Honor, Ellis Island Honor Society

Distinguished Graduate Award, U.S. Military Academy at West Point

Champion of Veterans Award, Paralyzed Veterans of America

2013 Adam Smith Award, Colorado Council for Economic Education

Lifetime Public Service Award, Colorado Nonprofit Association

Hall of Fame, National Association of Housing and Building

Saint Pio Award, Saint Pio Foundation

InterFaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington's InterFaith Leadership Award 

Colonel, U.S. Army Reserve (retired)

Who's Who in American Politics