Michael Herson in the News

The Hill’s 2012 Top Lobbyists

Michael Herson of American Defense International, Inc. (ADI) named one of The Hill’s 2012 Top Lobbyists
The Hill Staff – 10/31/12 05:00 AM ET

2012 hasn’t been the best year for K Street, but it’s too soon to call it a bust.

A divided government and the demands of campaigning have kept Congress in low gear, depressing revenue at lobby shops and leaving trade associations and grassroots groups in planning mode.

But Election Day is nearly here, bringing with it a lame-duck session that many in Washington believe will be among the busiest and most consequential of modern times.

Washington’s corps of lobbyists and advocates will be in the thick of the post-election action, and the best of them — represented here on The Hill’s annual Top Lobbyists list — will be working with gusto to shape the policy choices made on taxes, spending and the budget.

The advocates who have earned a Top Lobbyists slot have different roles: some are guns for hire on K Street, while others lead grassroots groups that draw influence from their members.

But not everyone on the list is a lobbyist — at least, not in the technical sense of the term.

Since The Hill began publishing its Top Lobbyists list more than a decade ago, the word “lobbyist” has become a pejorative that many strive to avoid. President Obama, meanwhile, has restricted the roles that registered lobbyists can have in the government.

That has led some advocates to limit their interactions with lawmakers and the administration to avoid having to register under the Lobbying Disclosure Act and receive what some have dubbed the “Scarlet L.”

The Hill uses the term “lobbyist” broadly here to encompass the people who are working day in and day out to influence federal policy. Not all of the honorees are registered to lobby — but all are names to know…


Hired Guns


Josh Ackil and Matt Tanielian, Franklin Square Group. With combined experience in the White House and on Capitol Hill, these two Democratic lobbyists are among tech’s most successful advocates.

Andy Barbour, Smith-Free Group. Barbour is one of the financial sector’s go-to lobbyists, advocating for several banks and insurance companies as well as his old employer, the Financial Services Roundtable.

Haley Barbour, Lanny Griffith and Loren Monroe, BGR Group. Barbour’s back at his namesake firm after a stint as Mississippi governor, adding cachet to a GOP lobby shop that already had top-tier talent in Griffith and Monroe.

Doyle Bartlett, Eris Group. An experienced Washington hand, Bartlett represents several brand-name companies in the insurance and financial world.

Jeff Berman and David Russell, Bryan Cave. Berman, a senior 2008 Obama campaign adviser, and Russell, once with the late Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), anchor the prominent law firm’s lobbying team.

James Blanchard and Ilia Rodriguez, DLA Piper. DLA Piper’s accomplished lobby team has two of the best in former Michigan Gov. Blanchard (D) and Rodriguez, a jack of many policy trades.

Thomas Hale Boggs Jr., Micah Green, Edward Newberry and Jonathan Yarowsky, Patton Boggs. The K Street powerhouse remains No. 1 in lobbying revenue thanks in no small part to this stable of veteran lobbyists at the top of their games.

Dan Boston, Health Policy Source. A veteran of healthcare policy on K Street and in Congress, Boston’s boutique practice has a robust client sheet.

Chuck Brain, Capitol Hill Strategies Inc. Brain is an alumnus of the Clinton White House and the House Ways and Means Committee, and he is easily among the elite Democratic lobbyists in town.

John Breaux and Trent Lott, Breaux Lott Leadership Group. Now part of Patton Boggs, the two ex-senators aren’t slowing down at their flourishing lobby practice, with Lott often spotted outside the Senate chamber’s doors.

Gerald Cassidy and Gregg Hartley, Cassidy & Associates. Cassidy’s trailblazing firm has continued to innovate with Hartley at the helm and boasts a client-retention rate befitting its reputation.

David Castagnetti and Alex Vogel, Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti. There’s a downturn sweeping K Street, but don’t tell that to the team at Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti, which has logged steady growth even as competitors have faltered.

Al D’Amato, Park Strategies. D’Amato, the former Republican senator for New York, runs an active lobby firm that represents several sought-after clients, including the Poker Players Alliance.

Linda Daschle, LHD & Associates. The former administrator for the Federal Aviation Administration has a top-notch transportation portfolio that includes American Airlines and Norfolk Southern Corp.

Licy DoCanto, The DoCanto Group. DoCanto’s expertise in healthcare was honed as an aide to Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.).

Julie Domenick, Multiple Strategies LLC. Domenick is a connected Democratic lobbyist who has built her own practice from the ground up.

Ken Duberstein and Marti Thomas, The Duberstein Group. Duberstein, the former Reagan White House chief of staff, and Thomas, a Clinton Treasury Department alumnus, are K Street stars through and through.

Steve Elmendorf and Jimmy Ryan, Elmendorf | Ryan. Connected to several in party leadership, Elmendorf and Ryan set the standard for Democratic lobby shops in town.

Victor Fazio, Joel Jankowsky, Scott Parven and Bill Paxon, Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld. Few firms can match the breadth of expertise at Akin Gump, a law and lobby giant that remains within striking distance of the K Street earnings crown.

Mitch Feuer, Rich Feuer Anderson. Feuer, a former Senate Banking Committee counsel, is a top financial services lobbyist and a trusted name among banks and insurers.

Sam Geduldig, Clark Lytle Geduldig & Cranford. Geduldig, a former GOP leadership aide, has seen his firm’s revenues soar since the Republican takeover of the House.

Chris Giblin and Moses Mercado, Ogilvy Government Relations. Ogilvy experienced turnover but remains plugged into both parties, giving Giblin and Mercado a chance to shine.

Nick Giordano, Washington Council Ernst & Young. The former counsel to the Senate Finance Committee will be in high demand once Congress gets down to business on tax reform.

Rich Gold, Kathryn Lehman and Gerry Sikorski, Holland & Knight. Gold, Lehman and Sikorski are the pillars of a bipartisan lobbying team at one of K Street’s top earners.

Slade Gorton, Slade Gorton LLC. The former GOP senator from Washington state opened his own shop this year and is working with his old employer, K&L Gates, as it gets off the ground.

Fred Graefe, Law Offices of Frederick H. Graefe. Graefe is a legend among Democratic healthcare lobbyists and remains in the prime of his career.

J. Steven Hart, Williams & Jensen. With solid earnings each quarter, Williams & Jensen has done well under Hart, a prominent GOP lobbyist and fundraiser.

Ralph Hellmann and David Lugar, Lugar Hellmann Group. The new venture is off to a strong start with choice clients like Google and Boeing.

*Michael Herson, American Defense International. A former Pentagon and White House official, Herson and his firm have been a valuable asset for defense contractors navigating a new era of downsized Pentagon budgets.*

Mike House, Hogan & Lovells. House calls the shots at the firm’s lobbying practice and has a track record of strong quarterly earnings that speaks for itself.

Mark Isakowitz, Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock. Isakowitz’s firm has done well since the GOP’s midterm election gains and carries a reputation as a substantive, capable lobby shop.

Chris Jennings, Jennings Policy Strategies.  A veteran of Washington’s healthcare reform battles, Jennings is a respected authority on President Obama’s healthcare law.

Joel Johnson, The Glover Park Group. Johnson worked in the Clinton White House and ex-Sen. Tom Daschle’s (D-S.D.) office and helps run Glover Park, a Democratic-leaning firm that’s home to strategists, media gurus and lobbyists.

Thomas Jolly, Williams Mullen.  Jolly is a fixture of Democratic Party politics and founded the Washington Caucus, a group that has been meeting for shoptalk dinners with lawmakers for more than three decades.

Mark Kadesh, Kadesh & Associates. An ex-chief of staff to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Kadesh has a roster of blue-chip clients from California and corporate America.

Matt Keelen, The Keelen Group. Keelen breaks from his lobbying work for regular forays onto the campaign trail, lending a hand to several GOP lawmakers.

Rick Kessler and Steve Sayle, DowLohnes Government Strategies. Kessler and Sayle’s shared background on the House Energy and Commerce Committee gives their firm a broad range of expertise.

Ken Kies, Federal Policy Group. The considerable influence of Kies, a former chief of staff for the Joint Committee on Taxation, will be evident once Congress delves into tax reform.

Lisa Kountoupes, Kountoupes Consulting. The former Clinton White House and Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) aide delivers for clients, many of which come from the tech sector.

Marc Lampkin, Al Mottur and Manuel Ortiz, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck.  Brownstein Hyatt has become a top earner on K Street and has talent like Lampkin, Mottur and Ortiz on call.

Bob Livingston, The Livingston Group. The former GOP House Appropriations Committee chairman built a lobbying practice that has stood the test of time.

Sander Lurie and Todd Weiss, SNR Denton. Lurie, once chief of staff to Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), and Weiss, a former GOP senior Senate aide, bring bipartisan firepower to SNR Denton’s lobbying team.

Steve McBee, McBee Strategic Consulting. McBee’s expertise in clean energy is a hot commodity and has made his firm one of the most successful around.

Dan Mica, DMA Group. The former head of the Credit Union National Association and ex-Democratic congressman from Florida is signing up clients at his new lobby firm.

Larry O’Brien, OB-C Group. Known for his fundraising prowess, O’Brien is a mover and shaker in Democratic Party politics.

Tom O’Donnell, Gephardt Group. O’Donnell and his former boss, ex-House Democratic Leader Richard Gephardt (Mo.), have a steady stream of clients coming through the door at their growing practice.

Marty Paone, Prime Policy Group. Paone is considered an authority on Senate parliamentary rules after spending decades with Senate Democratic leadership.

Jeff Peck, Peck, Madigan, Jones & Stewart. Peck’s background as a former aide to Joe Biden on the Senate Judiciary Committee has added luster to a firm that was already an industry star.

Steve Perry, Dutko Grayling. Perry is a veteran presence at Dutko and has helped the firm become the established name it is today.

Jim Pitts and Chris Cox, Navigators Global. Navigators is one of the city’s sharpest GOP-leaning firms, and both Pitts and Cox have been inside Republican administrations.

Heather Podesta, Heather Podesta + Partners. Podesta has come into her own with a respected lobbying practice that attracts top talent.

Tony Podesta, Podesta Group. One of the Democratic Party’s best fundraisers, Podesta has taken his namesake firm to new heights.

Jack Quinn, Quinn  Gillespie & Associates. Quinn, a White House counsel during the Clinton years, has reached the rarified air of Washington’s name-brand superlobbyists.

Thomas Quinn, Venable. Quinn is active on the fundraising circuit and fluent in finance, having served as counsel to the comptroller of the currency at the Treasury Department.

Robert Raben, The Raben Group. Representing both corporate and nonprofit clients, Raben’s firm has broken the mold.

John Raffaelli, Capitol Counsel. Raffaelli is a marquee Democratic lobbyist who has seen his firm grow this year with several new additions.

Emanuel Rouvelas, K&L Gates. Rouvelas has been a prime player for years at K&L Gates, a firm that never seems to miss a step.

Melissa Schulman, The Bockorny Group. Schulman, a former senior aide to Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), is a Democratic lobbying veteran with valuable ties to centrist lawmakers.

Scott Segal, Bracewell & Giuliani. Segal’s skill set in energy is a big asset at a time when battles over production and regulation are raging on Capitol Hill.

Rhod Shaw, The Alpine Group. Shaw has channeled his expertise in energy, environmental and telecommunications policy into a thriving enterprise.

Tom Sheridan, The Sheridan Group. Sheridan’s firm has been a bulwark against proposed budget cuts that could hurt several social service nonprofits.

Tracy Spicer, Avenue Solutions. Spicer’s stable of healthcare clients benefit from her experience as an aide to the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.).

Charles Stenholm, Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Bode Matz PC. The former Democratic congressman from Texas is steeped in the details of agricultural policy.

Alexander Sternhell, Sternhell Group. Sternhell has built a formidable financial services lobby shop with the Travelers Companies and PricewaterhouseCoopers among his clients.

Sandi Stuart, Stuart Murray Group. Stuart, who’s affiliated with Arent Fox, is a longtime Democratic lobbyist with experience at the Defense Department.

Linda Tarplin, Tarplin, Downs & Young. Healthcare lobbying is a hyper-competitive field, but Tarplin, a veteran of two GOP administrations, has always stood out.

Rich Tarplin, Tarplin Strategies. Tarplin exemplifies what a small lobby shop should be.

Dan Tate, Jr., Forbes-Tate. The former Clinton White House aide’s new firm has gotten off to a running start, registering a slew of clients.

Billy Tauzin and Mark Rayder, Alston & Bird. Tauzin, now a special legislative counsel to the firm, and Rayder are among the big names on Alston’s blue-chip lobbying team.

Robert Van Heuvelen, Van Heuvelen Strategies. The ex-chief of staff to Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) is expanding his firm with a strong roster of energy and healthcare clients.

Stu Van Scoyoc, Van Scoyoc Associates. Van Scoyoc has built one of the most successful lobby firms in Washington on the bread-and-butter issues of appropriations and taxes.

Vin Weber, Mercury/Clark & Weinstock. Weber, a former Republican House member from Minnesota, is a true insider and currently serves as adviser for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.


To read the entire list: http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/264987-2012-top-lobbyists