What’s Happening in DC? Ask a lobbyist.

What’s Happening in DC? Ask a lobbyist.

They seem to know as much as any covert operative what is going on in DC. They ought to since it’s their industry dollars that are greasing the wheels of the system.

From the Hill:

Advocates are on the front-lines of the capital’s policy battles, laboring to shape the decisions made by Congss and the administration.

The members of The Hill’s Top Lobbyists list are all names to know — people who are in the thick of the action from K Street to Capitol Hill. While some of those recognized here are registered to lobby, many are not; we used the term lobbyist broadly, encompassing anyone who works to influence federal policy.

(I am only listing the first five in each category. Each category has over 50 listings. Needless to say these categories cover every topic and industry. The listed names include retired military, lawyers, doctors, high tech industrial movers, powerful insurance interests, and I am not sure there aren’t a few Indian chiefs.)

Top Lobbyists 2017

Top Lobbyists 2017 – Associations

  1. Dana Atkins, Military Officers Association of America
    A retired Air Force lieutenant general and command pilot, Atkins took charge of the association in 2016, stepping into the fight to protect the pay and benefits of U.S. troops.
  2. Mitch Bainwol, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers
    Bainwol was a key player behind legislation that would pave the way for self-driving cars; that bill could become the first federal law to govern autonomous vehicles.
  3. Mark Baker, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
    Baker has put general aviation at the center of the debate over privatizing air traffic control, persuading a number of wavering lawmakers to oppose the plan.
  4. Meredith Attwell Baker, CTIA-The Wireless Association
    The one-time Texas lawyer rose to prominence in the Bush years and is now using her experience at the Federal Communications Commission to help the telecom industry fend off net neutrality rules.
  5. Michael Beckerman, Internet Association
    Beckerman is helping internet companies navigate the charged political fights that increasingly touch the industry from privacy battles to patent issues.

Top Lobbyists 2017 – Grass roots 

  1. Anna Aurilio, Environment America
    Aurilio is an active voice against President Trump’s environmental policy, harnessing the grass-roots organizing power that has been Environment America’s calling card.
  2. Matt Bennett, Third Way
    Channeling the spirit of President Clinton’s centrist politics, Bennett promotes problem solving and a bipartisan approach at the prominent think tank.
  3. Ken Cook, Environmental Working Group
    The Environmental Working Group is coordinating with allies to oppose President Trump’s policies, keeping its main focus on areas like toxic chemicals, agriculture and human health.
  4. Chris Cox, National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action
    Cox and the NRA have high hopes for action from Congress on their legislative priorities, including passage of a federal concealed carry law.
  5. Steve Ellis, Taxpayers for Common Sense
    With 18 years under his belt at Taxpayers for Common Sense, Ellis is one of the go-to experts when it comes to government waste, spending and debt.

Top Lobbyists 2017 – Hired Guns

  1. Josh Ackil and Matt Tanielian, Franklin Square Group
    Companies large and small rely on this tech-centric lobbying firm, which this year delved into big issues like broadband access and intellectual property enforcement.
  2. Andy Barbour, Smith-Free Group
    As a financial services pro, it’s no surprise that Barbour’s client list includes Bank of America and the electronic payments company Square.
  3. Haley Barbour, Lanny Griffith, Ed Rogers and Loren Monroe, BGR Group
    Long one of K Street’s elite shops, BGR Group is on pace for its highest revenue in years.
  4. Doyle Bartlett, Eris Group
    Bartlett’s firm, which specializes in financial services issues, is going strong as it heads into its 15th year.
  5. Jennifer Bell, Chamber Hill Strategies
    Chamber Hill Strategies honed its focus on health-care policy in 2017, growing new business in a fertile lobbying area.

Top Lobbyists 2017 – Corporate

  1. Cory Alexander, UnitedHealth Group Inc.
    Alexander oversees government and public affairs for the nation’s largest health insurance payer, which largely withdrew from Affordable Care Act markets this year but continues to lead in the world of managed care.
  2. Bryan Anderson, Southern Co.
    Anderson, in his seventh year in Southern’s Washington office, is working to influence the Trump administration’s actions on energy regulations.
  3. Sid Ashworth, Northrop Grumman Corp.
    Ashworth — who will retire from Northrop at the end of the year — transformed the defense firm’s approach on Capitol Hill, securing support for several lucrative yet secretive nuclear modernization efforts, including the new B-21 bomber.
  4. Bill Barloon, Sprint Nextel Corp.
    Barloon leads the Washington office for the fourth-largest wireless carrier, which is attempting a merger with T-Mobile.
  5. Wayne Berman, Blackstone Group LP
    The private equity firm counts on Berman, a long-time GOP insider, to stay in the mix on trade policy and tax reform.


Such an interesting list in some ways. I have to wonder though, just how much and what kind of bills will be affected by their special interest needs.  There is also the matter of how much each of the congress members will themselves benefit from the efforts. I also wonder if these people could put enough pressure on congress members to do their jobs and get bills passed rather than procrastinate and obstruct the process.


About Uriel

Retired educator and constitutionalist
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7 Responses to What’s Happening in DC? Ask a lobbyist.

  1. Shar says:

    You can see the effect the lobbyists have had on the tax bill. Started at 4 brackets now 7. Uncle Mitch’s plan puts a year wait on 20% rate. So I assume a smart business will wait out the year. This Congress is a joke.

  2. Shar says:

    True. It is still hard to fathom that we have it all and still Congress has done nothing.
    They are so stupid they think they will keep the House and Senate with their current behavior.

  3. Whitetop says:

    What!! Karl Rove never made any of the lists. Well just demonstrates he still is ineffective.

    Untied Healthcare is closely aligned w/AARP and supported Obamacare but now pulls out of parts of Ocare. Follow the money.

  4. Navyvet says:

    One of my big pet peeves is “politispeak”. In this case the term “lobbyist”. The naive dolts believe that a “lobbyist” meets with the politician and tells them about all the good qualities of their organization or the merits of a certain bill. Bullshit! Lobbyist are bag men. They carry the cash from their organization or special interest to the politician. Whoever brings in the most cash or kickbacks gets what they want.
    Second peeve. “Donations”. A donation is maybe a couple hundred bucks, not hundred of thousands and often many millions.
    Politispeak is simply a way to bullshit the naive fools that vote.

    • Uriel says:

      I agree NavyVet. Call them exactly that. To me they are nothing more than bad salesmen who have found a cushy job.