Top Lobbyists 2016: Hired Guns

By The Hill staff - 10/26/16

 

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 andMatt 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 andLoren 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 andGeoff 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 andSam 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 andDavid 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 andJimmy 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 andJohn 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 andSharon 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 andSteve 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 andMoses 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 andGerry 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 andJason 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 andSusan 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 andDavid 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 andBill 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 andAl 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 andDavid 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 andEugenia 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 andManny 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 andCharlie 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 andChris 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 andJosh 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 andRobert 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 andShannon 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 andJim 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 andMark 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 andJennifer 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 andJim 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 andAlec French, Thorsen French Advocacy

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

 

David Urban andManus 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 andRick 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.

 

To view the original article, click here.

Health care boosted K Street last year

By  and ERIN MERSHO

 

Health care groups spent more than $500 million last year on lobbying Washington — more than any other industry and the highest total since the year after Obamacare passed, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Those impressive 2015 totals may not be matched again this year, lobbyists at top firms said. That's partly because Congress and federal agencies typically slow down during election years — but also because Congress last year finally eliminated the much-maligned Medicare physician payment system that had been a consistent lobbying bonanza.

More than 20 lobbying shops booked at least $2 million in health care contracts last year, according to a POLITICO analysis of disclosure reports.



Almost every K Street firm at least dips a toe in health care. There's too much money sloshing around to escape it. | POLITICO/Graphic by Sandhya Raman


At the top of the heap: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, which pulled in more than $9 million in health care revenues from 37 clients. The firm had a pair of seven-figure contracts from two coalitions established to lobby on issues related to Medicare’s Disproportionate Share Hospital payments, which support facilities with high rates of uncompensated care.

Alston & Bird nabbed $6 million worth of contracts last year, while Tarplin Downs and Young and BGR Government Affairs each brought in more than $5 million. Seven more firms, including Peck Madigan Jones and the McManus Group, received more than $4 million.

Many of the firms with the most lucrative health care practices are K Street powerhouses with clients covering practically every policy area. But there are also boutique shops, including Tarplin Downs & Young and Avenue Solutions, focusing primarily on health care clients.

Solving the Medicare "doc fix" last year put an end to the regular deliberations that had created peril for health care interests because legislators always needed to find new revenue sources to stave off deep cuts in Medicare provider payments. The last thing lobbyists wanted to tell clients was that they’d be bankrolling the next patch for Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate.

“There was a lot of defense played on the SGR fix every time it came around,” said Raissa Downs, a founding partner at Tarplin Downs and Young.

Now, freed from that annual exercise, lobbyists say they have the time and energy to work onpolicy-focused proposals. They pointed to ongoing work on the 21st Century Cures package, the Senate Finance Committee's chronic care efforts and ongoing work on mental health reform.

"In the absence of a couple huge packages, that's really created an environment where stakeholders can work on more discrete, arguably issues of more substantive depth," said Dave Boyer, head of the health care practice at BGR Group, which netted $5.8 million from 28 health care clients last year.

Still, the path forward for those initiatives is murky. One positive about the doc fix: it was pretty much guaranteed to clear Congress. Lawmakers fearful of disturbing seniors' Medicare benefits always found time in the calendar to pass it, and lobbyists spent much of their efforts working to convince lawmakers to tack on one priority or another.

Lobby shops are also turning to regulatory issues — like forthcoming rules on the new Medicare physician payment system that will replace the SGR or on rate-setting regulations for the Medicare Advantage program.

Regulatory issues have “filled the vacuum,” said Tracy Spicer, a founding partner of Avenue Solutions, which received $4.2 million from lobbying on health care last year. “This year has been anything but quiet.”

Lobbyists are also spending this year building momentum for 2017, when big-tickets items will be on Congress’ agenda. That likely includes extension of the Children's Health Insurance Program, reauthorization of FDA user fees and several other expiring programs for steady business. Smaller priorities can usually get added to these larger legislative packages.

Exactly what priorities make it to the top of the list next year, however, will depend heavily on who wins the White House. There may be more appetite for Congress to consider changes to Obamacare with its namesake out of office. That could prove a windfall for K Street's health care lobbyists.

The Hill: Lobbyists mobilize for ObamaCare ruling

By Megan R. Wilson - 06/24/15

 

Lobbyists in Washington are scrambling to prepare their clients for the chaos that would likely result from a Supreme Court striking down federal insurance subsidies under ObamaCare.

With a ruling expected as early as Thursday in the case of King v. Burwell, anxiety is running high in parts of the business community about the potential impact of a ruling against the administration, which could invalidate subsidies for an estimated 6.4 million people who bought insurance through HealthCare.gov.

The threat from the case is particularly acute for insurance companies, which could see massive losses in revenue if people are forced to drop coverage. But the ruling could also affect hospitals, doctors and others in the healthcare system.

The case’s significance has sent industry executives into the arms of K Street, where lobbyists specializing in the field of healthcare have been working around the clock to prepare for whatever comes next.

“It’s a huge issue [for lobbyists],” said Yvette Fontenot, a partner at the boutique Democratic healthcare lobbying firm Avenue Solutions.

“Anytime there’s this level of uncertainty with these kinds of stakes — what we’re talking about is the collapse of the individual market — it’s everyone’s job to make sure that we’re prepared for every iteration.”

The healthcare sector is spending millions of dollars to keep abreast of developments in Washington, and shelled out $130.7 million on lobbying services in the first three months of the year, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics — surpassing even the financial services sector.

Law and lobby firms have bolstered their healthcare practices to meet the growing demand, and have been sending out a flurry of briefing materials to help clients prepare for the court’s big decision.

Robert Bradner, a partner in Holland & Knight’s Washington office, and other lobbyists told The Hill that a ruling against the subsidies would start a mad dash for a legislative fix.

“You have to be in the right mindset, in terms of understanding what’s going on and what the implications are,” Bradner said about preparation for the ruling. “Whatever elected officials are saying today will change very quickly if the decision is in favor of the plaintiffs.”

Holland & Knight has many healthcare clients but also works for a number of municipalities, some of which are in states that utilize the federal marketplace.

Congressional Republicans have put forward several proposals for a ruling against the administration, including temporary extensions of subsidies for people affected.

But they have also said a loss for ObamaCare would present a chance to change the Affordable Care Act (ACA), by repealing its mandates for individuals and employers — a non-starter for the White House.

“Secretly, some Republicans are hoping the government wins the case because throwing rocks at the ACA is a lot more fun than is sweeping up the shattered glass if they prevail,” said John Jonas, a partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld who specializes in health work. “However, others may be opening champagne if the administration fails.”

A ruling against the government would almost certainly unleash a tidal wave of lobbying, Jonas said, as interest groups seek to shape the federal response to the case.

“If the subsidies are struck down, everybody who is subject to ACA taxes ... will jump in the ring to roll them back or get rid of them,” he added. “It’ll just open the flood gates to not just how the ACA money is spent but where the ACA money comes from — the tax on plans, the tax on pharma, the Cadillac tax, the medical device tax.”

Both Democrats and Republicans argue the language at issue in the Supreme Court case is the result of a “drafting error” when House and Senate versions of the legislation were combined.

They say the phrase “established by the state” was not written into the law to bar the use of subsidies on the federal exchange — one of the central arguments of the plaintiffs in the case.

“All of us who have worked on it are surprised it has gone this far, and we would be surprised if the court rules against the administration — given all the evidence of the intent,” said Fontenot, the lobbyist who previously served as the deputy director of the Office of Health Reform at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Leavitt Partners, a consulting firm led by former George W. Bush Health Department secretary and former Utah Gov. Michael Leavitt, released a paper earlier this month with a group of former Bush administration health officials urging states to become involved in the bargaining that will likely occur between Congress and the administration if federal subsides are ruled invalid. 

“Doing nothing has both political and humanitarian consequences that should be unacceptable to public officials,” they wrote.

“While Congress is interested in a policy solution that resonates with state leadership, it is not their top-of-mind priority,” the paper reads. “These changes will only occur if states forcefully make the case by developing and coalescing around a unified message seeking the flexibility that would be required to build state-specific solutions that maintain control of insurance markets.”

Some states could face an uphill climb in keeping federal subsidies alive; of the roughly 34 states using HealthCare.gov, 11 have also enacted barriers to creating their own state exchanges.

Lobbyists expect the fight over ObamaCare’s future would be drawn out and bloody.

“We’re all prepared to spend a lot of the time tracking legislation that will be vetoed by the president because he’s not going to sign a bill that will send millions back into ranks of the uninsured,” Fontenot said.

“I don’t think we’ve heard much that’s descriptive of a compromise.”

 

To view the original article, click here.

Top Lobbyists 2015: Hired Guns

By  The Hill staff - 10/29/15

 

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.

Yesterday: Top lobbyists from associations and grassroots groups.

Today: Top corporate lobbyists and hired guns.

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 tax 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 clients.

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.

 

To view the original article, click here.

Kennedy’s power lives on through former staff members

By Matt Viser | Globe Staff   November 16, 2014


Drew Angerer for The Boston Globe

Tracy Spicer pointed out mementos from her time working for Senator Edward Kennedy in her Washington office. Spicer now works at Avenue Solutions, a lobbying firm where she is a founding partner.

WASHINGTON — William J. Lynn III is the embodiment of a Washington power broker, with a hand in hundreds of billions of dollars in defense spending throughout a decades-long career.

He has been a Senate staffer who recommended how Pentagon money was spent. He’s been the chief lobbyist for Waltham-based Raytheon, helping to secure many contracts, including a Navy destroyer the Pentagon didn’t want. The Pentagon didn’t hold it against him: Two years later, he oversaw the military budget as deputy defense secretary.

As he sat on a recent day inside an office with a sweeping view of the nation’s capital, one clue revealed a key to his extraordinary career: an inscribed photo of him with his mentor, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, at the Hyannis Port compound, commemorating their friendship.

Similar portraits and paintings from Kennedy decorate offices throughout Washington, from President Obama’s private dining room to the lobbyist corridor on K Street, potent symbols of the ongoing influence of the longtime senior senator from Massachusetts who died five years ago.

A Boston Globe review of thousands of lobbying records and interviews with two dozen former aides reveals an informal network that is almost unrivaled in the nation’s capital, both in size and quiet clout. Some among them, who have gathered regularly over a good meal to kibitz, recall, and strategize, call themselves the T-birds — T for Teddy.

Senator Edward M. Kennedy had more than 1,100 aides during his 47 years in the US Senate. Many of them have become important power brokers who have remained, risen, and currently occupy positions of great influence, five years after their former boss died.

More coverage

A look at former Kennedy staffers

It is a remarkable flock. Kennedy molded some 1,100 staffers over the course of nearly five decades, a list that includes Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer, superlawyers such as Kenneth R. Feinberg and Gregory B. Craig, and US Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez.

More staffers who worked for Kennedy went on to become lobbyists and other influencers than the staffers of anyone aside from Hillary Clinton, according to a list compiled and maintained by the Center for Responsive Politics.

The stories of many of them are little known but, taken together, provide a revealing portrait of Kennedy power that continues to reach deep into Washington and Massachusetts. It is a corps of well-placed Washington players who say they still hear the echo of the late senator’s booming baritone in their ears and are still moved by his priorities, even as they have followed the well-worn track of many former Congressional staffers, parlaying inside connections into lucrative lobbying careers.

Many of the former Kennedy aides are highly influential, working for firms that pull in millions of dollars annually in lobbying and other fees. A Kennedy deputy chief of staff now lobbies on behalf of some of the country’s biggest health insurance companies. Others continue to pull down a government salary but have out-sized influence. The 22-year-old who used to answer the phones at the front desk in Kennedy’s office is now President Obama’s head speechwriter.

“It is this kind of gold standard for lobbying,” said Scott M. Ferson, a Kennedy press secretary in the 1990s who founded Liberty Square Group, a Boston-based lobbying and communications firm flush with former Kennedy aides.

“A lot of business development is done amongst the network,” he said.

Bringing funding to Massachusetts

Massachusetts was once a powerhouse on Capitol Hill. Tip O’Neill became the second-longest-serving House speaker in history. South Boston’s Joe Moakley led the delegation and ensured that committee posts were doled out for maximum influence in all sectors of government.

Those positions of power mattered.

Defense spending in Massachusetts nearly tripled, from $5.7 billion in 1996 to $16.6 billion in 2009, a rate that was higher than the national average. Grants awarded to Massachusetts by the National Institute of Health went from $818 million in 1992 to $2.5 billion in 2010, then down to $2.3 billion in 2014.

O’Neill was so successful securing the billions in federal funding required for the Big Dig that a major piece of the project was named after him. Kennedy, who played an instrumental role, got a greenway, named after his mother, where the rusty elevated roadway used to be.

It’s hard to imagine such things now. The Massachusetts congressional delegation has approached a low-water mark in its power and seniority in Washington.

When the new Congress starts in January, the state will have lost nearly 200 years in seniority since Kennedy died in 2009. The delegation will have a combined 93 years in office, the lowest level since at least 1963, when Kennedy began his first term in the US Senate. It’s a striking turnabout.

Getting things done for regional interests now increasingly requires tapping a different sort of power grid, one that relies on deft and well-situated insiders who know how the city works — and how to combine forces in a common cause. They are lessons many in the Kennedy legion took in and took to heart from the man himself.

Finding the middle ground in health care

It was 1994 when a recent college graduate named Tracy Spicer was among those who helped save Kennedy’s career. She moved to Massachusetts, where Kennedy faced a strong challenge from Republican Mitt Romney, and became a trusted aide who remained on his staff for a decade.

By 2005, Spicer had left Kennedy’s office and soon would become a symbol of how former staffers can become some of this city’s most influential lobbyists.

She opened a company called Avenue Solutions, an all-female, all-Democratic lobbying shop. In 2009, just as Congress took up Kennedy’s dream of a health care bill, her three-person lobbying shop was paid a total of $1 million by AETNA, Blue Cross Blue Shield, UnitedHealth Group, and the Health Care Leadership Council.

It might have seemed that she was going against the Kennedy grain, pulling in big money from health care companies who were initially skeptical of the Affordable Care Act. But that’s not the way she saw it. What she saw whenever she conducted a strategy meeting or conference call in her office was literally this: the large painting that Kennedy had given her of his sailboat, Maya.

It was a reminder: Stay the course.

“It was very clear to all my clients that I was all in,” Spicer said. “At the end of the day, I cared deeply about passing the Affordable Care Act. Not at the expense of my clients . . . but I tried to get my clients to a place where it could work.”



Drew Angerer for The Boston Globe

A newspaper advertisement with a personalized message from Ted Kennedy hangs in Tracy Spicer’s office.

Her Kennedy connections, and experience, proved a benefit to her clients: She could credibly allay some industry concerns about the big new bureaucracy that the law would create, pointing to the influx of new insurance enrollees who would come their way. And she would continue to prove useful in the years ahead.

Earlier this year, her clients faced a new crisis when the Obama administration proposed cuts to Medicaid Advantage reimbursement rates that stood to cost the insurance industry billions of dollars.
Spicer had six weeks to try to offset the cuts.

She placed a flurry of calls to her contacts on Capitol Hill. She spoke with congressional aides, and set up meetings with senators and representatives, stressing how many seniors in their home states rely on Medicare Advantage. The goal was to get members of Congress to put pressure on the Obama administration.

RELATED: Where some of Kennedy’s former staffers are now

It worked. She helped get nearly half of Congress — 40 senators and 203 representatives — to sign letters supporting her side. In the end, the Obama administration’s proposed 6 percent cut was reduced by about half.

It had the hallmarks, she said, of the way Kennedy had waged his own battles, finding middle ground where at first there seemed none, turning rivals into allies.
“In the office, we used to call them mini-campaigns,” she said. “We’re certainly not as big and legendary as the man himself. But each of us took away lessons learned.”
Earmarks and lobbying

If Spicer’s career had a linear path — from Kennedy to the K Street lobbying corridor — Bill Lynn’s took him through the revolving door, time and again. In and out of government, in and out of consulting.

It all started when he arrived in Kennedy’s office as a 33-year-old graduate of Dartmouth College, Cornell Law School, and Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School.

It was 1987, and Democrats had just won the Senate majority. Kennedy took over an Armed Services subcommittee that had oversight of shipbuilding.

Even though Kennedy opposed most wars, he was one of the Senate’s biggest cheerleaders for the defense industry — especially if the spending was going to take place in Massachusetts. He helped stave off base closures, and he fought for big contracts that defense companies wanted, even if the Pentagon itself advised against it. Working by Kennedy’s side for six years, Lynn saw, time and again, how the senator built on and deployed his influence.

“I think Ted Kennedy may well have invented the earmark,” Greg Craig, the Kennedy aide who offered Lynn a job with the senator, said of a budgetary tool used to secure federal money for home-state projects. “So we were alert to the various interests Massachusetts had in the defense budget. We certainly were aware of Raytheon and GE engines.”

RELATED: A look at the Kennedy network

Lynn left Kennedy’s office in 1993 to work in the Defense Department, where he eventually became comptroller and had oversight of a budget bigger than the GDP of some countries.

By 2002, he had accumulated a perfect resume for a defense industry giant like Raytheon, where he would become the chief lobbyist during a period when military spending increased as the Iraq War escalated.

Then, in July 2008, Lynn and Kennedy confronted a shared crisis.

The Navy alerted Congress that it was going to scrap a $20 billion DDG-1000 Zumwalt class destroyer program — which involved huge contracts for Raytheon — once two ships already paid for were completed.

Kennedy, the champion of regional interests, led a counteroffensive, organizing other senators and threatening to cut off funds for shipbuilding projects the Pentagon badly wanted. Raytheon executives began publicly touting the program’s importance, with Lynn playing a crucial role, personally lobbying members of Congress and their aides.

Within about a month, the Pentagon reversed course and stuck to its original plan of purchasing another ship in 2009. That year, the project was the largest of Raytheon’s 15,000 contracts, according to the company’s annual report. Some called funding the Zumwalt a boondoggle, a waste of taxpayer funds, but for Raytheon, Lynn, and Kennedy, it was a sweet victory.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt that Raytheon has benefited from its close relationship with Senator Kennedy and the ability to tap his former defense staffers,” said Loren B. Thompson, a defense industry consultant at the Lexington Institute who advises some of Raytheon’s competitors.

In early January 2009, Lynn went through the revolving door once again. Obama announced Lynn’s nomination as deputy Secretary of Defense. But there was a problem: Obama had pledged not to hire anyone who had lobbied within the previous two years. Lynn would need a waiver.

The Kennedy connection helped smooth the way. Craig, who was Lynn’s former boss in Kennedy’s office, was now the White House counsel, in charge of vetting candidates and helping decide whether a waiver “is necessary and appropriate.”

Craig said he personally did not grant the waiver — “It was the president’s decision. It was not something I had to sign off on” — but he did co-sign a lengthy letter defending the waiver to Senator Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican.

After two and a half years overseeing day-to-day operations at the Pentagon and controlling major budgetary decisions, Lynn retired from his job in the Obama administration.

Once again, he swung back through the revolving door and is now chief executive of DRS Technologies, a large defense contractor.

Throughout it all, the Kennedy network has been an ever-present factor.

“I’ve often been in a room at the White House where I’ve looked around the table and there’s three or four others who at different times worked for Kennedy,” Lynn added. “ . . . He was such a force in the Senate, that will I think continue for a while. At some point, it will become history, I guess. But that’s not soon, I don’t think.”

Channeling Kennedy’s words

He is the ultimate inside player, ensconced within the White House and, as President Obama’s chief speechwriter, putting words Kennedy might have said in the addresses delivered by a very different politician and orator.

Cody Keenan, unlike many other former Kennedy aides, doesn’t lobby. He did not join a lucrative business. Instead, he represents the steady path to power and influence that takes years to accomplish and pays off in more subtle, yet important, ways.

His rise was swift — and, in some ways, unlikely.

He path to power began when he was a 22-year-old college graduate sleeping on a friend’s couch at a Washington apartment. Late one Friday afternoon, he cold-called Kennedy’s Senate office and asked for chief of staff Mary Beth Cahill. He thought he knew how the system worked because he’d watched every episode of “The West Wing.”

Soon enough, he found himself in the actual West Wing.

RELATED: A look at the Kennedy network

One recent day, he sat at his computer keyboard and turned his chair to the left and faced his “Kennedy Wall,” where a painting of the Maya hangs prominently. Occasionally, when frustrated, he’s been known to hit “reply all” to the news clippings that are e-mailed to 200 White House aides with a link to a speech that a red-faced Kennedy gave on the Senate floor in 2007 ridiculing his colleagues for not raising the minimum wage and shouting, “When does the greed stop?!?”

Keenan sometimes tries to inject that passion into Obama’s speeches.

“The president is a very logical guy, and he thinks he can make an argument for anything,” he said. “What Ted Kennedy had that the president probably doesn’t use all that often is, like, there are moral absolutes. There are rights and wrongs. And it is wrong that people [who] work full time work in poverty. Or it’s wrong people couldn’t get health care or got discriminated against because they had a preexisting condition.

“The president believes all those things,” he added. “Sometimes I’ll write them with a little more gusto, channeling the senator like that.”

Kennedy has been mentioned in at least 51 of Obama’s speeches, some of them focused on Kennedy’s “unfinished business” — immigration reform and a minimum wage increase.

“That’s what pushes me on,” Keenan said. “I will not leave this job until the end. Because he would be disappointed.”

Keeping the network thriving

For decades, Kennedy served as the most visible and powerful conduit between Boston and Washington, a constant presence on shuttle flights, often accompanied by his Portuguese water dogs.

Now a shadow contingent of former aides travels the pathway their boss once took. Few among the Kennedy alumni have traveled this nexus of power between two capitals more often and more successfully than Scott Ferson as he focuses on securing an array of benefits for Massachusetts — and his clients.

That was precisely what the Westborough-based Center for Technology Commercialization was looking for when it hired Ferson’s company, the Liberty Square Group, a communications, political strategy, and lobbying firm.

The group wanted help to win federal funding to build a center that would provide training and technology for first responders.

Ferson started as a press secretary for Kennedy in 1990, and when he was hired he felt like he’d made it into a secret club, he said. He left in 1995, but his work afterward has helped keep the Kennedy network thriving.

It was a move that proved good for his business. Since 2005, Liberty Square has made at least $5.3 million from federal lobbying and $1.6 million from lobbying in Massachusetts, according to its filings.

The firm has represented a wide array of interests, from the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council on health-care-related issues to the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe in its quest for a casino gambling license.

In the past, Ferson’s method was to place a phone call to Kennedy’s office and lobby for funds sought by the center’s clients.

Kennedy would put requests in, and they would often be approved by Congress. Over several years, Ferson and his firm helped secure at least $7 million in earmarks for the center based in Westborough.

“He was very generous to me in my business,” Ferson said. “He wanted you to succeed.”

The cozy relationship ended, however, with both Kennedy’s death in 2009 and the congressional decision to end earmarks in 2010. In April 2011, the center stopped using lobbyists altogether.

The Kennedy network had to rewire. The influence that many derived directly from Kennedy was gone.

Firms such as Liberty Square Group started shifting strategies, lobbying based less on access to members of Congress than on building coalitions to apply political pressure. Instead of emphasizing connections to Kennedy, they began emphasizing their ability to do things Kennedy-style.

“Back in the day, it was a lot easier to go in the front door,” Ferson said. “Now it’s putting coalitions together.”

Helping out their own

It is a recent Friday at a tony Washington restaurant called Nopa Kitchen+Bar, and nearly a dozen former Kennedy aides sit around a large table in a private dining room.

They reminisce about their old boss, how he worked them hard, rewarded them handsomely, and liked a good party — such as the time he kept singing “Mustang Sally” until the band he’d hired asked for its microphone back.

These lunches began a few months ago when Scott Fay, a lobbyist and former Kennedy aide, met with Melody Barnes, who was Obama’s former domestic policy adviser. It is their own way of keeping alive the network that exists without Kennedy, a living version of his black book of contacts.

Kennedy always tried to set up his former aides for success, and he provided legendary job recommendations.

Shortly after Kennedy’s death, his staff was told that Vice President Joe Biden wanted to meet with them individually to offer them jobs, or help them find one.

“It was very Kennedy,” said Janice Kaguyutan, the chief counsel for the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. “He wanted to take care of us.”



Drew Angerer for The Boston Globe

Scott Fay talked with Janice Kaguyutan during a lunch with former staffers of Senator Ted Kennedy, at Nopa Restaurant in Washington, on Sept. 26.

Preserving a Senate legacy

On a spit of land on Dorchester’s Columbia Point, next to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate is rising. There is nothing like it in the country: a monument to the power and influence of a single US senator — and, by extension, the army of aides he enrolled. The 68,000-square-foot building will include a reproduction of Kennedy’s office and a full-scale replica of the United States Senate chamber.

At first, the effort to build the institute provided an unintended lesson in the state’s ebbing political power. Kennedy died in August 2009 from a brain tumor and, by March 2010, the institute needed tens of millions of dollars to begin construction.

The solution, of course, was to turn to Kennedy’s former staff. The Institute hired Ferson’s Liberty Square Group.

Working on a contract that paid at least $95,000 over two years, the firm worked with then-Senator John F. Kerry and then-Representative Edward J. Markey to try to convince Congress to approve funding for the institute in two appropriations bills, according to lobbying records. They sought up to $20 million in additional federal funding, on top of at least $32 million in earmarks that had been secured before Kennedy’s death.

With earmarks abolished, it never went through.

Instead, theInstitute appealed to those Kennedy had helped over the years. Millions of dollars poured in from old friends, health care and financial corporations, and labor unions. Amgen, the biotechnology giant, donated $5 million. The Service Employees International Union gave $775,000. Raytheon donated $1 million.

The old Kennedy aides, with help from Vicki Kennedy, helped raise more than $80 million, enabling the institute to announce that it plans to open to the public March 31.

“They were the greatest staff in the world and continue to be,” Vicki Kennedy said.

The building will be a testament to Kennedy’s influence, of course, but it will also be a physical reminder of the network of disciples he built.

“There’s a classic Kennedy line, ‘Off the payroll, never off the staff,’ ” said Ranny Cooper, a former chief of staff who now leads the public affairs practice at Weber Shandwick. “Even when you physically left the office, you were still a part of the team.”