"They do outreach with the American public and with different organizations," Penn explains. "They're basically the front door of the White House. They take out all of the red tape that falls between the general public and the White House."
Penn -- known for his role in the stoner comedy Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle -- says he had been "thinking" about moving into politics "for a while."
He took several political science courses in college and even participated in an online international studies program at Stanford in 2006.
"I love what I do as an actor. I couldn't love it more. But probably from the time I was a kid, I really enjoyed that balance between the arts and public service," he says. "I thought this might be the right time to go off and do something else."