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In Memoriam: Maiselle Shortley

Our dear friend and longtime conservative leader Mary Dolan “Maiselle” Shortley, McLean, Va., passed away on Friday, February 23, 2024, at Fairfax Hospital.


Maiselle was the beloved wife of the late Robert L. Shortley, mother of Robert Shortley, and sister of renowned White House speech writer Anthony R. “Tony” Dolan and the late John Terrence “Terry” Dolan, founder of the National Conservative Political Action Committee (NCPAC).


Maiselle was a fixture in DC conservative politics, among her many political activities were the Reagan for President 1976 campaign, director of volunteers for the Forbes for President Campaign, delegate coordinator for the Gingrich for President Committee, and a director at the Republican National Committee’s National Policy Forum. She also succeeded her brother Terry Dolan as the president of the National Conservative Political Action Committee and the National Conservative Foundation. In addition, she served as a consultant to the US Senate Republican Conference.


Well known for her acerbic wit, which was often applied with gusto to DC’s Republican establishment, Mrs. Shortley’s home in McLean, Virginia was a regular gathering place for conservatives in and out of power. During holiday parties the Irish penchant for storytelling and good cheer were indulged to their fullest and one never knew whether a high government official, an Irish surnamed cousin or the parish priest might wander in.


During a long career of public service Mrs. Shortley served in the Reagan-Bush Transition Office and then in the Reagan Administration’s White House of Public Liaison and the US Defense Department as a Director in Public Liaison, at ACTION as Deputy Associate Director and at the Commission on Executive, Legislative and Judicial Salaries as Pubic Liaison Director. In addition, she worked in the George W Bush Administration as Confidential Assistant and Project Manager to the Associate Director of Human Resources at the Office of Management and Budget.


Mrs. Shortley was a graduate of Notre Dame High School in Fairfield Connecticut and a competitive ice skater in those years. She then graduated from Dunbarton College in Washington DC where she majored in French studies. Due to her fluency in French Mrs. Shortley was hired by the Remington Rand Corporation in Paris, France and then by the American Embassy as a contract employee with the Central Intelligence Agency during the height of the Cold War. During her time in Paris she met her husband of 41 years, Robert Shortley, a US Marine veteran of WWII, FBI agent and US Senate investigator and at the time of their meeting a State Department official serving as director of investigations for the US foreign aid program.


Maiselle was a loyal and active member of St. John the Beloved parish in McLean and her volunteer work included many years working at the Christ Child Society in Washington DC.

Friends may call at the Money & King Funeral Home, 171 W. Maple Ave., Vienna, Va., on Friday, March 1st from 2-4 and 6-8 PM. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. John the Beloved Catholic Church, 6420 Linway Terrace, McLean, Va., on Saturday, March 2nd at 11:00 AM.


Interment will take place at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.



  • Maiselle Shortley

  • conservative movement

  • Anthony R. “Tony” Dolan

  • John Terrence “Terry” Dolan

  • National Conservative Political Action Committee (NCPAC)

  • Reagan administration

  • George W. Bush administration

  • Robert Shortley

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