Top Lobbyists 2016: Hired Guns

By The Hill Staff | The Hill | October 26, 2016

Lobbying runs deep in Washington.

Every day, thousands of law firms, associations and advocacy groups seek to exert influence over policymaking away from the glare of presidential and congressional politics.

In such a crowded field, a select few have shown an ability to get things done — and it’s those movers and shakers who are among The Hill’s Top Lobbyists.

From the “hired guns” who populate K Street, to the lobbyists who derive strength from grassroots organizing, to the trade associations harnessing industry might, to the professionals representing America’s biggest companies, influence comes in many forms.

Many of the people on The Hill’s list are not formally registered to lobby. We use the term broadly here to encompass Washington’s influence arena and those who do battle within it.


Josh Ackil and Matt Tanielian, Franklin Square Group 

From Apple to Uber, the hottest names in the tech world trust this bipartisan firm with their advocacy efforts.


Andy Barbour, Smith-Free Group 

Barbour, a former Clinton administration official, is among the top Democrats on K Street when it comes to financial issues.


Haley Barbour, Lanny Griffith, Ed Rogers and Loren Monroe, BGR Group 

This GOP-run powerhouse has made strategic Democratic hires in recent years, giving it more range when representing its stacked client roster.


Doyle Bartlett, Eris Group 

The firm is well established in the financial services landscape, counting everyone from angel investors to hedge funds to payday lenders as clients.


Hunter Bates and Geoff Davis, Republic Consulting LLC 

Bates, a former top staffer for Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and Davis, a former congressman from Kentucky, have a small but mighty advocacy team.


Kirk Blalock, Fierce Government Relations

A veteran of the George W. Bush administration, Blalock helps keep business booming at this all-Republican firm.


Dan Boston, Health Policy Source Inc. 

Boston runs this health-centric shop, which has been busy working on Medicare-related issues for clients like the American Medical Group Association, the Alliance for America’s Hospitals and Centene Corporation.


Chuck Brain, Capitol Hill Strategies LLC 

Brain, a fixture of the lobbying business, has been representing top-flight clients like Altria Client Services, the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America and Ally Financial.


Robert Chamberlin and Sam Whitehorn, Signal Group

The pioneering lobbying and PR shop is reinventing itself for a new era after the departure of founder Steve McBee.


Rob Collins and Mike Ference, S-3 Group

The firm’s ties to GOP leadership and the appropriations committees are an asset when working for Fortune 500 companies on budget and regulatory issues.


Justin Daly, Daly Consulting Group 

After stints at the House and Senate banking panels and the Securities and Exchange Commission, Daly has built a firm that is trusted by heavyweights in the financial world.


Linda Daschle, LHD & Associates Inc. 

Daschle, a former acting administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, continues to dominate the aviation space at the firm she founded in 2008.


Licy Do Canto, The Do Canto Group

Do Canto brings two decades of Washington experience to the table when fighting for public health initiatives.


Ken Duberstein and David Schiappa,The Duberstein Group Inc. 

A former chief of staff to President Ronald Reagan, Duberstein commands one of K Street’s most enviable books of business.


Missy Edwards, Missy Edwards Strategies

As the former director of development and finance at the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Edwards has an insider’s perspective on process and politics.


Steve Eichenauer, Public Strategies Washington

Eichenauer, a former aide to Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), runs the lobby shop that juggles advocacy and coalition management for clients.


Steve Elmendorf and Jimmy Ryan, Subject Matter

The Democratic duo is as connected as they come, powering a lobbying and PR venture that has shown an ability to maneuver around the gridlock on Capitol Hill.


John Feehery, QGA Public Affairs

Feehery, the savvy leader of the firm’s communications and government affairs shops, formerly worked for former Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) and former Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Texas). He is a columnist for The Hill.


Mitchell Feuer and John Anderson, Rich Feuer Anderson

The firm nurtured by Feuer and Anderson specializes in financial policy, with success for 13 years and running.


Jeff Forbes and Dan Tate Jr., Forbes-Tate 

The bipartisan firm offers clients a spate of communications services, in addition to its federal and grassroots advocacy, and is on pace for its highest lobbying revenues ever.


Elizabeth Frazee and Sharon Ringley, TwinLogic Strategies 

It’s been a banner year for TwinLogic, with lobbying work for the music streaming service Pandora Media, the Competitive Carriers Association and the Consumer Technology Association.


Sam Geduldig and Steve Clark, CGCN Group

The trendsetting Republican firm continues to innovate, adding former reporter Patrick O’Connor to its ranks and opening up a strategic communications arm.


Chris Giblin and Moses Mercado, Ogilvy Government Relations

Lobbyists at Ogilvy had a hand in several legislative initiatives this year, including the successful overhaul of toxic chemical regulations.


Nick Giordano, Washington Council Ernst & Young 

The fiscal-focused shop is shifting into overdrive as corporate clients such as General Electric, American Express and Mars Inc. lay the groundwork for tax
reform; it’s also the sole lobbying firm for the Newman’s Own Foundation.


Rich Gold, Kathryn Lehman and Gerry Sikorski, Holland & Knight 

Bringing a collaborative approach to its municipal, industry, foreign and nonprofit clients, lobbyists at Holland & Knight have amassed a business sheet that speaks to results.


Micah Green and Jason Abel, Steptoe & Johnson LLP

The firm boasts a strong advocacy roster with Green, a longtime financial services policy expert, and Abel, a former aide to Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) who specializes in government ethics.


Ilisa Halpern Paul, District Policy Group

Serving as the advocacy offshoot of the law firm Drinker, Biddle & Reath, the firm made its mark in the world of healthcare policy.


J. Steven Hart and Susan Hirschmann, Williams & Jensen PLLC

Hart, a former Reagan administration official, and Hirschmann, who comes armed with House Republican leadership experience, run one of the oldest independent firms in Washington.


Ralph Hellmann and David Lugar, Lugar Hellmann Group LLC 

Republican operatives Hellmann and Lugar are the only lobbyists at the shop, but the pairing has attracted businesses from some of the nation’s largest companies.


Michael Herson, American Defense International Inc. 

Herson, a longtime lobbyist and former Defense Department official, is an institution in the intelligence and defense communities.


Mike House, Hogan Lovells

An industry veteran, House brings invaluable experience to the table for clients like the insurance company Aflac, the Grocery Manufacturers Association and Airbus.


Joel Jankowsky, Scott Parven, Arshi Siddiqui and Michael Drobac, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

Business is reaching stratospheric heights at K Street’s No. 1 firm, with action this year on everything from drones to Cuba to healthcare policy.


Joel Johnson, The Glover Park Group 

Clients have a trusted guide in Johnson, a former Clinton administration official who leads the advocacy efforts of the public relations powerhouse.


Matt Keelen, The Keelen Group LLC

Keelen’s boutique firm, which represents clients including Las Vegas Sands, the Humane Society of the United States and the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, has been taking its revenue numbers to new heights.


Ken Kies, Federal Policy Group 

The tax policy guru has been in the trenches during a more than three-decade career in Washington; he’s likely to be in high demand as Congress eyes action on tax reform.


Lisa Kountoupes, Kountoupes | Denham 

A Clinton administration veteran, Kountoupes has been working on everything from drug approval reform to cybersecurity and recently appeared on the first lobbying contract for the messaging app Slack Communications.


Jon Kyl, Howard Berman, Holly Fechner and Bill Wichterman, Covington & Burling LLP

The law and lobby firm has been boosting its revenues over the last year and a half since Kyl, a former GOP senator, became free to lobby.


Marc Lampkin and Al Mottur, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck 

Lampkin, a former aide to former Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), and Mottur, a top bundler on K Street for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, are riding high at what is now the second-highest-grossing lobby shop in Washington.


Blanche Lincoln, Lincoln Policy Group 

The former Democratic senator from Arkansas helped Monsanto tackle the labeling of genetically modified foods; she also manages policy advocacy for the environmental charity Ocean Conservancy.


Bob Livingston, The Livingston Group LLC

Livingston, a former congressman whose firm has long held sway on K Street, was among the first lobbyists to get behind GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump.


Trent Lott and John Breaux, Squire Patton Boggs

Former lawmakers Lott and Breaux are the engine of the firm’s lobbying machine, which represents clients like Amazon and Saudi Arabia.


Sander Lurie, Dentons

A former Senate aide, Lurie guides clients through thickets of legislative and regulatory issues at what is now the largest law firm in the world.


Bruce Mehlman and David Castagnetti, Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen & Thomas 

This bipartisan firm knows how to get things done in every political climate, a big selling point in an era of congressional gridlock.


Larry O’Brien, The OB-C Group LLC

Since forming the bipartisan firm in 1993, O’Brien, a prominent Democrat, has done policy work all across the spectrum.


Tom O’Donnell, Gephardt Group Government Affairs

O’Donnell has been a force in the lobbying world since he co-founded the firm with former House Democratic Leader Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.) almost a decade ago.


Kevin O’Neill and Eugenia Pierson, Arnold & Porter LLP

O’Neill and Pierson joined the firm from Squire Patton Boggs and are building out the law firm’s lobbying capabilities with gusto.


John O’Neill and Manny Rossman, Harbinger Strategies

With years of combined experience working in leadership and on influential committees, the GOP operatives of this four-person firm can reach Capitol Hill’s most powerful Republicans.


Manny Ortiz, VantageKnight, Inc.

Ortiz, a Democratic Party powerbroker, left Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck this year to form his own venture.


R. Scott Pastrick and Charlie Black, Prime Policy Group 

Pastrick, a former Democratic National Committee official, and Black, a former adviser to the White House runs of George W. Bush and John McCain, have spent time at the highest levels of political campaigns.


Jeff Peck, Peck Madigan Jones 

Peck has shown a knack for breaking through on tough financial services issues.


Steven Phillips, DLA Piper 

Whether it’s dealing with federal agencies or Capitol Hill, Phillips has it covered for his robust client sheet.


Jim Pitts and Chris Cox, Navigators Global 

Pitts, a George H.W. Bush alum, and Cox, a veteran of the George W. Bush White House, have wielded influence on several big-ticket issues, including a funding increase for the National Institutes of Health and the continuation of the wind energy tax credit.


Heather Podesta, Heather Podesta + Partners 

Podesta has been a trailblazer on the fundraising and advocacy scene; the Democrat has promised with her Republican colleagues to “Make Lobbying Great Again.”


Tony Podesta, Kimberley Fritts, Paul Brathwaite and Josh Holly,
Podesta Group 

The firm’s prowess in advocacy, digital campaigns and international lobbying has kept it at the front of the pack.


Thomas Quinn and Robert Smith, Venable LLP 

Quinn and Smith, a Democrat and Republican, respectively, made their reputations by winning big for clients.


Robert Raben, The Raben Group 

Raben, a former Justice Department official, has stayed true to his progressive values with his firm, showing there’s more than one way to make it on K Street.


John Raffaelli, Jim McCrery and Shannon Finley, Capitol Counsel LLC 

No policy battle is too challenging for this bipartisan firm, which is packed with Republican and Democratic power players.


Barry Rhoads and Kai Anderson, Cassidy & Associates

Cassidy has expanded aggressively in the defense, healthcare and energy spaces, building upon the budget and appropriations work that has long been its hallmark.


Emanuel Rouvelas, Bart Gordon and Jim Walsh, K&L Gates 

Whether it’s drones, space exploration or self-driving cars, the firm moves nimbly at the intersection of technology and regulatory policy.


Tom Scully and Mark Rayder, Alston & Bird LLP

Scully and Rayder are shaping healthcare policy for the American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association, the National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Humacyte, a biotechnology and regenerative medicine company.


Scott Segal, Bracewell & Giuliani 

Segal is one of the most sought-after names in environmental policy, with expertise few can match.


Rhod Shaw, Alpine Group 

Shaw has taken a leading role for the high-tech industry on spectrum policy, heading up a coalition that includes Cisco, Qualcomm and Intel.


Tom Sheridan, The Sheridan Group 

Sheridan, a longtime political operative, uses his influence to push for causes like the Children’s Aid Society and One Action, an international anti-poverty group.


Michaela Sims and Jennifer Bell, Chamber Hill Strategies

Sims and Bell took a risk to found their own firm and now are reaping the benefits of what is rapidly becoming one of the most successful healthcare-focused shops on K Street.


Mike Smith and Jim Richards, Cornerstone Government Affairs 

Smith and Richards help the firm leverage its expertise in policy, appropriations and state-level connections to get things done.


Tracy Spicer, Avenue Solutions

Spicer and her team stay at the center of healthcare policy, which is no small feat when debates are raging about drug policy, the Affordable Care Act and entitlement programs.


Alexander Sternhell, Sternhell Group

A former Senate Banking Committee aide, Sternhell is deeply versed in the complexities of financial services policy.


Linda Tarplin, Tarplin, Downs & Young LLC 

Tarplin co-founded the women-run firm a decade ago, and it has become a healthcare shop to be reckoned with.


Carl Thorsen and Alec French, Thorsen French Advocacy

Thorsen, a Republican, and French, a Democrat, are an effective one-two punch for their clients.


David Urban and Manus Cooney, American Continental Group 

Urban, a GOP chief of staff to the late Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.), and Cooney, a policy maven who once built out Napster’s Washington office, are on the front lines of several legislative and regulatory battles.


Robert Van Heuvelen, VH Strategies

As a chief of staff to former Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Van Heuvelen knows how to work the levers of the Senate.


Stu Van Scoyoc, Van Scoyoc Associates 

The budget and appropriations process is an intimidating landscape; Van Scoyoc knows his way around every inch of it.


Stewart Verdery, Monument Policy Group 

The bipartisan lobbying firm, founded by Bush administration alum Verdery, helped the U.S. Olympic Committee convince Congress to nix the tax on Olympic medals.


Jack Victory and Rick Shelby, Capitol Hill Consulting Group 

Victory, a former aide to former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas), brings budget and energy know-how to Capitol Hill battles.


Vin Weber, Mercury

The former Republican congressman from Minnesota remains close to GOP policymakers and operatives, giving him power behind the scenes.


Jonathan Yarowsky, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP 

He draws on decades of expertise to score for clients such as the American Association for Justice, Walgreen Co., the Beer Institute and Charter Communications.

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