Michael Herson in the News

Michael Herson and American Defense International (ADI) Featured in POLITICO’s Influence

POLITICO Influence
With Abby Phillip and William Bergstrom
07/17/12 2:31 PM EDT


Leadership: Michael Herson, president and CEO

Internal muscle: 12 full-time consultants, 12 to 15 part-time consultants and 39 lobbying clients, including Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and General Dynamics.

Biggest battle: Defense contractors continue to lobby heavily on the Pentagon’s budgeted $500 billion in cuts in addition to efforts to prevent $500 billion in additional cuts over the next decade as a result of the sequester.

In the hay day of earmarks, Herson said his firm helped clients see around the corner to a time when congressional appropriations would no longer be the cash cow it once was.

“We would argue with some of our clients saying, ‘Look, we’re happy to do this for you — it’s a big part of our business, and we think we’re pretty good at it, but we could still do everything right and you still don’t get anything at the end of the year,’ ” Herson said.

Over its 18 years, ADI has shifted its model from primarily lobbying to preserve clients’ existing contracts with the government to devoting a majority of its time to helping them expand their businesses.

Herson came to K-Street after stints as a White House intern and a special assistant in the Defense Department — and as a 28-year-old congressional candidate in New Jersey.

As a high school student, Herson trained in karate at the home of martial arts actor Chuck Norris, who later endorsed him in the New Jersey primary.

“It was an experience I’ll never forget,” Herson said. “People stopped me on the street, saying my kid wants me to vote for you because you know Chuck Norris. It was my most successful mail piece.”

Click here to read the full issue of Influence

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