Inhofe chief of staff heads to lobby shop

One of Washington’s top lobbying firms has hired the chief of staff of a high-profile Republican senator.

Ryan Thompson, chief of staff to Sen. James Inhofe (Okla.), is leaving Capitol Hill to take a job at Ogilvy Government Relations, one of the highest-earning firms on K Street.

“They have such an outstanding team of folks who handle all issues across the board, and they do it really well,” Thompson told The Hill.

Thompson will be a senior vice president at Ogilvy, providing strategic counsel in advocacy, legislative affairs and crisis management for the firm’s clients.

Inhofe is the ranking member on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and was one of the more vocal opponents of the cap-and-trade bill that was debated during the last Congress. Inhofe is one of the leading critics of climate change science on Capitol Hill.

As chief liaison for Inhofe on all of his committee work, Thompson was part of the effort to derail the cap-and-trade bill.

Thompson said he is looking forward to lobbying at Ogilvy on the issues he tackled as a congressional staffer.

“It seemed to be a good fit. The opportunity to work on these same issues — energy, environment and transportation — in this new capacity is very exciting,” Thompson said.

Thompson worked for Inhofe for eight years, including a stint as press secretary.

Drew Maloney, CEO of Ogilvy Government Relations, said bringing on Thompson will grow the firm’s energy and environment practice.

“We believe energy and environment issues will be at the forefront of the public policy debate. Ryan’s addition allows us to continue offering the best advice and counsel to our clients,” Maloney said.

Maloney said the firm is expanding its transportation practice and that Thompson’s hire will boost Ogilvy’s lobbying power as Congress debates the surface transportation and Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bills.

Thompson’s hire follows a number of new people joining Ogilvy recently. Mike Hogan, former chief of staff for Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), and Steve Tilton, former vice president of federal affairs at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, joined the firm last month.