Chris Sautter, President of Sautter Communications/Sautter Films, is an award winning political media consultant, attorney, and filmmaker who has won notoriety for his expertise in election recounts as well as his skill in crafting campaign spots.
Sautter literally wrote the book on recounts. The Recount Primer (1994), which he co-authored with Washington lawyers Tim Downs and Jack Young, is considered the definitive guide to election recounts. Sautter played a prominent role in the Florida Presidential Recount, and his work on behalf of Al Gore was profiled in the New Republic and singled out by syndicated columnist Robert Novak. Sautter's recount manual has been prominently mentioned in various books published about the Florida Recount, including Deadlock, Too Close to Call, Down and Dirty, and in Unprecedented, the award-winning documentary about the Florida Recount.
Sautter's first full-length documentary film The King of Steeltown (2001) is an off-beat and humorous look at Chicago-style machine politics in the rust-belt city of East Chicago, Indiana struggling with the decline of the steel industry. It won "Best Political Documentary" at the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival 2001.
Sautter's second feature length documentary, So Glad I Made It, about the struggles of a singer songwriter living on the margins of the music business, has won six top film festival awards and was on the 2005-06 GRAMMY Ballot for "Best Music Film" and "Best Soundtrack for a Motion Picture." Sautter has also directed and produced a series of short documentaries on political figures, including one on former Indiana Congressman and 9/11 Commission Co-Chair Lee Hamilton.
For over fifteen years, Sautter has advised and produced media for dozens of Democratic candidates from coast-to-coast. Sautter has also produced spots for The First American Education Project, a coaltion of West Coast Native American tribes, which helped defeat U.S. Senator Slade Gorton (R-WA) in 2000, and for EMILY's List, an organization dedicated to electing pro-choice women. Sautter won a Pollie Award for a radio spot he produced for EMILY's List on behalf of Jane Harman's election to a Los Angeles area congressional district in 2000. He won another Pollie for a radio spot for an Illinois state senate candidate in 2002.
Sautter also served as political director in the 1992 presidential campaign of Senator Bob Kerrey and on the national staff of Paul Simon's 1988 presidential campaign. He served as former Congressman Frank McCloskey's (D-IN) top political aide and his campaign manager in 1986 when McCloskey's race was the number one congressional race in the country. He formerly served as special counsel to the Democratic National Committee on campaign finance reform issues and to Democratic members of the House Oversight Committee on contested elections.
As a Legal Services Organization of Indiana lawyer in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Sautter successfully brought landmark cases in the areas of housing, prison, and civil rights law. He is a graduate of Indiana University and a member of the Indiana Bar. Sautter has taught at American University's Campaign Management Institute for over five years.