Twitter Linked In

Top Lobbyists 2015: Hired Guns

October 29, 2015

There are well over 10,000 lobbyists in Washington, not to mention countless labor and business leaders, public relations specialists and advocates of all stripes vying to influence Congress and the federal government.

But when it comes to shaping federal policy, some have set themselves apart. These are the lobbyists who’ve mastered the art of working Capitol Hill’s hallways, whose Rolodexes are stocked with names of power brokers and who lead groups that simply cannot be ignored.

These are The Hill’s Top Lobbyists.

The 2015 list includes top dogs at some of Washington’s leading trade groups, and battle-tested advocates for public interest groups and grassroots organizations.

This installment features K Street’s top hired guns, the pros whom groups around the country enlist when they need to get something done.

It also includes corporate lobbyists who’ve helped firms make their mark on legislation before Congress or regulations moving through the federal rulemaking pipeline.

While everyone on this list has proven to be effective in advocating at the federal level, not all are formally registered as lobbyists. Rather, The Hill’s Top Lobbyists are a broad array of professionals who work day in and day out to shape the agenda in Washington.

Josh Ackil and Matt Tanielian, Franklin Square Group

This tech-centric firm is in the middle of major policy battles around patent reform, cybersecurity and emerging technologies.

Andy Barbour, Smith-Free Group

Barbour helps drive financial services advocacy for this multifaceted firm.

Haley Barbour, Lanny Griffith and Loren Monroe, BGR Group

In addition to its growing lobbying business, BGR Group also holds a stake in both the Democratic and Republican presidential races.

Doyle Bartlett, Eris Group

Bartlett, a former lobbyist for Freddie Mac, maintains a stable of mainly financial clients grappling with tax reform hopes and cybersecurity concerns.

Hunter Bates and Geoff Davis, Republic Consulting LLC

This dynamic GOP duo — a former aide to Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and former Kentucky congressman — has built a successful shop that caters

to clients in many different sectors, but its heart lies in Bluegrass State causes.

Kirk Blalock, Fierce Government Relations

Blalock helps run the all-Republican firm as it looks to post its highest lobbying revenue totals ever.

Dan Boston, Health Policy Source Inc.

Boston is keeping a close eye on Medicare reform and tweaks to the Affordable Care Act.

Chuck Brain, Capitol Hill Strategies LLC

This K Street veteran continues to run a successful business with a focus on companies and groups in healthcare and the financial services space.

Robert Chamberlin, McBee Strategic Consulting

McBee is holding its own after a major shake-up that included the departure of the K Street shop’s founder and its acquisition by a law firm.

Rob Collins and Mike Ference, S-3 Group.

This small Republican firm achieves mighty results for its clients, with a skilled bench of former leadership operatives.

Justin Daly, Daly Consulting Group

Daly runs a solo shop that caters to some of the biggest clients in the financial services industry.

Linda Daschle, LHD & Associates Inc.

Leaning on her experience as a former acting administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, Daschle helps the likes of American Airlines and

Lockheed Martin achieve their advocacy goals.

Licy Do Canto, The Do Canto Group

Among his other clients, Do Canto counsels AARP, one of the largest and most powerful interest groups.

Ken Duberstein and David Schiappa, The Duberstein Group Inc.

This bipartisan firm counts some of the largest companies in the world among its clients.

Missy Edwards, Missy Edwards Strategies

This GOP operative hustles for clients including Genentech, the Real Estate Roundtable and Southern Company.

Steve Eichenauer, Public Strategies Washington

Eichenauer, a former aide to Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), has clients in every sector and specializes in budget, trade and appropriations issues.

Steve Elmendorf and Jimmy Ryan, Subject Matter

The Democratic lobby shop is quickly growing and recently rebranded itself after merging with the public affairs firm Home Front.

Victor Fazio, Joel Jankowsky, Scott Parven and Bill Paxon, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

K Street’s No. 1 firm by revenue continues to grow its staff in addition to its client roster.

Holly Fechner and Bill Wichterman, Covington & Burling LLP

Fechner, a former aide to the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), and Wichterman, a former special assistant to former President George W. Bush,

service a slew of blue-chip clients.

John Feehery, QGA Public Affairs.

Feehery keeps his finger on the pulse of the Republican political landscape. He is also a columnist for The Hill.

Mitchell Feuer and John Anderson, Rich Feuer Anderson

Anderson has capitalized on the securities industry bona fides he brings to the firm co-founded by Feuer, a former Senate Banking Committee aide.

Jeff Forbes and Dan Tate Jr., Forbes-Tate.

Under Forbes and Tate, the firm has greatly expanded in recent years to become a bipartisan force that has grassroots advocacy and public policy

under the same roof as its lobbying services.

Elizabeth Frazee and Sharon Ringley, TwinLogic Strategies

The firm that Frazee and Ringley built is on pace to surpass last year’s record high, with Internet, tech and telecomm clients such as Sprint, Yahoo,

Pandora, DirecTV and Lyft signed up for their services.

Sam Geduldig and Steve Clark, CGCN Group

One of the last all-Republican shops on K Street, this firm keeps close ties to GOP leadership in the House and Senate.

Chris Giblin and Moses Mercado, Ogilvy Government Relations

No matter the policy issue, Giblin and Mercado ensure that clients’ problems are squashed before they begin.

Nick Giordano, Washington Council Ernst & Young

The possibility of moving the ball on tax reform is always on the horizon, and Giordano remains ready to pounce on any opportunity for his clients.

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

The firm was behind a successful push for legislation meant to speed approval of sunscreen products widely used overseas but still unavailable in the

U.S. market.

Ilisa Halpern Paul, District Policy Group

Paul runs the lobby shop for law firm Drinker Biddle & Reath and works to push for patient advocacy groups.

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

Hart and Hirschmann have helped keep Williams & Jensen among K Street’s top 10 shops by revenue.

Ralph Hellmann and David Lugar, Lugar Hellmann Group LLC

The high-powered firm saw its highest revenue ever last year and now is on pace to surpass that total in 2015.

Michael Herson, American Defense International Inc.

The largest defense contractors put their trust in Herson to fight for them in Washington.

Mike House, Hogan Lovells

With House at the helm, Hogan has proven able to navigate the constantly changing congressional landscape.

Joel Johnson, The Glover Park Group

Armed with an effective public relations operation, Johnson and the firm continue to score wins in a stagnant legislative environment.

Mark Kadesh, Kadesh & Associates LLC

Kadesh, a former aide to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), is still fighting for Golden State interests, including the state agency overseeing the

construction of a high-speed rail project

Matt Keelen, The Keelen Group LLC

A former Republican campaign operative, Keelen knows how to bring various interests together in order to achieve results.

Ken Kies, Federal Policy Group

Clients ranging from Caterpillar to Starwood Hotels & Resorts depend on Kies for his tax reform expertise.

Lisa Kountoupes, Kountoupes | Denham

When it comes to working the halls of Congress and executive agencies, Kountoupes is one of the best.

Blanche Lincoln, Lincoln Policy Group

The former Democratic senator has built a thriving practice to help build bridges between corporations and Congress.

Bob Livingston, The Livingston Group LLC

Although the firm tackles many issues for its diverse client roster, working to influence the federal budget process reigns supreme.

Trent Lott, John Breaux, Eugenia Pierson and Kevin O’Neill, Squire Patton Boggs

This longtime heavyweight is attracting some high-level lobbying talent as it eyes resurgence after a 2014 shake-up.

Sander Lurie, Dentons

Lurie, a former chief of staff for two senators, helps run the policy shop at the largest law firm in the world.

Bruce Mehlman and David Castagnetti, Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen & Thomas

A diverse set of clients including Wal-Mart, Hewlett-Packard, America’s Health Insurance Plans and the Edison Electric Institute rely on guidance from

the bipartisan team Mehlman and Castagnetti have assembled.

Al Mottur, Marc Lampkin and Manuel Ortiz, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck

This high-energy trio has helped lift their firm into the top three on K Street.

Larry O’Brien, The OB-C Group LLC

O’Brien, a well-known Democratic donor, also helps advocate for clients including the Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, SeaWorld, Kohl’s

department stores and Honeywell.

Tom O’Donnell, Gephardt Group Government Affairs

In addition to working with policymakers, O’Donnell also helps his clients connect with union leaders.

John O’Neill and Manny Rossman, Harbinger Strategies LLC

Formed earlier this year, Harbinger has exploded into a juggernaut, with clients including Facebook, Diageo, Viacom, Goldman Sachs and Pew

Charitable Trusts.

R. Scott Pastrick and Charlie Black, Prime Policy Group

The two men are veterans of the Democratic and Republican scenes, respectively, and could play a role in the 2016 presidential election.

Jeff Peck, Peck Madigan Jones

Peck is on the cutting edge of financial services issues for clients across the economic spectrum.

Steven Phillips, DLA Piper

Phillips stays on top of developments on tax reform and in the healthcare space for top-shelf clients such as Booz Allen Hamilton and Oracle.

Jim Pitts and Chris Cox, Navigators Global

These two Republican operatives bring to the table crucial experience both on Capitol Hill and within the executive branch.

Heather Podesta, Heather Podesta + Partners

Podesta has built a thriving business by embracing and advocating for emerging companies and technologies.

Tony Podesta, Podesta Group

Though fiercely bipartisan, the firm is still known best for its charismatic Democratic founder.

Thomas Quinn and Robert Smith, Venable LLP

Together, Quinn, a legend in Democratic circles, and Smith, the GOP leader of the firm’s lobby shop, seamlessly manage the global law firm’s roster of


Robert Raben, The Raben Group

In addition to major corporate clients, Raben and his firm wield influence for advocacy groups and up-and-coming businesses.

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

The powerhouse has continued its growth, adding to its ranks of highly skilled advocates.

Barry Rhoads and Kai Anderson, Cassidy & Associates

The firm, which just celebrated its 40th anniversary, is thriving under the leadership of Anderson and Rhoads.

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

One of the few lobby shops actually located on K Street, K&L Gates has established itself as a go-to firm for fixes on regulatory, tax and budget issues.

Tom Scully and Mark Rayder, Alston & Bird LLP

Rayder and Scully, a former administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, are experienced hands in health advocacy.

Scott Segal, Bracewell & Giuliani

Segal knows energy and environment issues inside and out.

Rhod Shaw, Alpine Group

Shaw, a Democrat who served as then-Rep. Sherrod Brown’s (D-Ohio) chief of staff, can reach across the aisle on tech and energy issues.

Tom Sheridan, The Sheridan Group

Sheridan mounts a full-court press on advocacy for some of the largest social issue campaigns.

Kraig Siracuse, Park Strategies LLC

As a Senate Appropriations Committee alum, Siracuse knows how to help clients get what they need from the budget.

Mike Smith and Jim Richards, Cornerstone Government Affairs

The firm covers a wide array of topics for clients, though its knowledge of the appropriations process is unparalleled.

Tracy Spicer, Avenue Solutions

Health policy is hot, and business at -Avenue Solutions is even hotter.

Alexander Sternhell, Sternhell Group

From government-sponsored enterprises to cryptocurrency, the former Senate Banking Committee staffer has it covered.

Linda Tarplin, Tarplin, Downs & Young LLC

A longtime lobbyist, Tarplin also brings experience from the Department of Health and Human Services and the White House to help score victories for

her healthcare clients.

Carl Thorsen and Alec French, ¬Thorsen French Advocacy

The bipartisan shop has an eclectic client list that always keeps them busy, no matter what the legislative landscape looks like.

David Urban and Manus Cooney, American Continental Group

Those embroiled in an intellectual property battle need look no further than Urban and his crew.

Robert Van Heuvelen, VH Strategies

Energy, taxes and trade were atop the agenda this year for Van Heuvelen, a former Senate aide and Environmental Protection Agency official.

Stu Van Scoyoc, Van Scoyoc Associates

A well-established name on K Street, Van Scoyoc is a major player in the budget and appropriations game.

Stewart Verdery, Monument Policy Group

The firm is in the mix across several industry sectors but really shines in the tech space.

Jack Victory and Rick Shelby, Capitol Hill Consulting Group

The firm’s energy clients are in good hands with lobbyists like Victory and Shelby on their side.

Vin Weber, Mercury

The former Republican congressman from Minnesota stays close with his former colleagues, including Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), likely the next Speaker

of the House.

Jonathan Yarowsky, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP

Yarowsky is a versatile player in the influence game who knows how to put his clients on the agenda.

Related News

Thumb Confidence

PSW Weekly Round-Up - 7/8

The Senate Appropriations Committee will begin work this week on FY 2025 spending measures while their counterparts on the House side will mark up their last six measures.

Read More
Capitol Pennsylvania Avenue Thumb Banner

PSW Weekly Round-Up - 6/24

The House is busy this week with FY 2025 appropriations bills.

Read More
Foggy Dc Morning Thumb Banner

PSW Weekly Round-Up - 6/10

This week the full House and the Senate Armed Services Committee will turn their attention to the National Defense Authorization Act.

Read More