Top Lobbyists 2014: Grassroots

Top Lobbyists 2014: Grassroots

Call them the influencers.

From corner offices all over town, the members of The Hill's Top Lobbyists list are the advocates, lobbyists and professional agitators who shape the policy decisions made in the nation's capital.

While some fit the mold of a traditional lobbyist, others have made public relations, grassroots advocacy and even data-crunching the tools of their trade.

The broad sweep of The Hill's list means that only a portion of the people listed are officially registered to lobby the government, but that doesn't diminish their clout.

From "hired guns" who run into battle for clients, to association heads who wield the power of industries, to union leaders who exert might through membership, the names are all players to know in the competitive world of Washington advocacy.

 

Anna Aurilio, Environment America.
Environment America might not be among the heaviest hitters in green group lobbying, but Aurilio keeps the group in the mix on fights over climate change, water pollution and wildlife protections, among other priorities.

Jeremy Ben-Ami, J Street.
A former domestic policy adviser, Ben-Ami takes his experiences and background from Israel to support U.S. politicians who back a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians. 

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Matt Bennett, Third Way.
The centrist think tank backs the administration’s regulations to curb power plant pollution because they allow states to propose their own implementation plans.

Larry Cohen, Communications Workers of America. 
After a decade at the helm of one of America’s most powerful unions for communications workers, Cohen is preparing to step down next summer. 

Ken Cook, Environmental Working Group.
Cook wields a wide sphere of influence in Washington, particuarly for the environmental community on industrial agriculture and food and farm policy.

Chris Cox, National Rifle Association.
Ahead of the midterm elections, Cox and the NRA have been busy endorsing pro-gun candidates in state and federal races who will protect the Second Amendment.

Steve Ellis, Taxpayers for Common Sense.
Ellis’s work to expose government bloat and increase transparency has made him a visible and oft-quoted critic of federal fiscal policies.

Lily Eskelsen García, National Education Association.
The new president of the nation’s largest teachers union has emerged as a central player in the national debate over education policy and as a leading critic of the heavy focus on standardized testing in schools. 

Leo Gerard, United Steelworkers.
Gerard leads the country’s largest industrial union, a post from which he seeks to influence issues ranging from labor rights to trade. 

David Goldston and Scott Slesinger, Natural Resources Defense Council.
The NRDC left its mark on the Obama administration’s carbon pollution plan for power plants, and now Goldston and Slesinger are helping push it through the regulatory process.

Bradley Gordon, American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
The leading pro-Israel group has worked with lawmakers wary of new diplomatic nuclear negotiations with Iran and urged Congress to impose further sanctions.

Dave Hamilton and Melinda Pierce, Sierra Club.
Hamilton is director of clean energy for the green group’s Beyond Coal campaign, seeking to discredit the fossil fuel industry. As chief legislative director, Pierce is front and center in advocating for the administration’s climate plan and other policies central to the Sierra Club’s mission.

Wade Henderson, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
Closing in on nearly two decades at the helm of one of the nation’s most powerful civil rights organizations, Henderson is pushing for voter protections.

Mary Kay Henry, Service Employees International Union.
With Henry at the helm, the SEIU is backing fast-food workers around the country as they campaign for a wage of $15 an hour. 

Craig Holman, Public Citizen.
Holman is a tireless crusader for increased government transparency.

Matt Kibbe, FreedomWorks.
Drawing on his background in economics, Kibbe and FreedomWorks wield influence with Tea Party members on Capitol Hill as they push for ObamaCare’s repeal, among other conservative causes. 

Fred Krupp, Environmental Defense Fund.
Approaching three decades at EDF, the veteran Krupp is well known in environmental circles.

Nancy LeaMond, AARP.
Backed by AARP’s 38 million members, LeaMond is a leading voice on retirement policy as the U.S. population ages.

Elisa Massimino, Human Rights First.
Massimino’s organization shines a spotlight on international human rights violations such as the government crackdown on LGBT citizens in Russia.

Bill McKibben, 350.org.
Utilizing grassroots tactics to engage the younger generation and voters on environmental issues, McKibben leads his activist organization to the front lines of the political battle surrounding climate change.

Ed Mierzwinski, U.S. Public Interest Research Group.
The group’s consumer program director advises lawmakers on a wide range of consumer issues that deal with identity theft, credit cards, privacy and financial services.

Eric Mitchell, Bread for the World.
On behalf of the anti-hunger group, Mitchell pushes the federal government to protect funding for foreign aid and food aid programs.

Laura Murphy, American Civil Liberties Union.
The ACLU has been at the forefront of Congress’s attempt to rein in the National Security Agency in the months following Edward Snowden’s revelations. 

Matthew Myers, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
Myers has strong-armed a new era of regulation against some of the country’s biggest companies, most recently enacting hundreds of college campus smoking bans.

Michael Needham, Heritage Action for America.
Regularly a thorn in GOP leaders’ side on fiscal issues, Needham found himself defending the party leadership’s approach this summer to the influx of unaccompanied children from Central America.

Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform.
They say nothing is certain but death and taxes. In Washington, the third certainty is Norquist trying to kill the second.

Tony Perkins, Family Research Council.
Amid a raging national debate over same-sex unions, Perkins stands as a leading voice in opposition to gay marriage.

Tim Phillips, Americans for Prosperity.
Phillips’s group, supported by industrialist brothers Charles and David Koch, is funneling considerable chunks of money into the midterm campaign in hopes of gaining a better climate for its free market preferences.

Ron Pollack, Families USA.
Pollack is one of Washington’s strongest defenders of the Affordable Care Act, and a key voice urging red states to adopt the Medicaid expansion. 

Trevor Potter and Meredith McGehee, Campaign Legal Center.
The Campaign Legal Center is headed into overdrive as courts take on an increased number of voting rights and campaign finance cases nationwide.

Paul Rieckhoff, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
The Iraq veterans organization played a leading role on passing a Department of Veterans Affairs reform bill this year, and will continue to be a big player on its implementation, among other veterans issues. 

Andrew Roth, Club for Growth.
The Club remains in the middle of fiscal fights — including the unresolved flap over the Export-Import Bank — but has also had to adjust this year, as Washington’s focus turned away from economic issues.

Lee Saunders, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. 
The first African-American president of a union primarily representing public-sector workers, Saunders has his sights set on taking down Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and other candidates he sees as anti-union in the upcoming elections.

Tom Schatz, Citizens Against Government Waste.
Schatz has developed a reputation for identifying  legislative “pork” as wasteful government spending.

Richard Trumka, Thea Lee and Bill Samuel, AFL-CIO. 
Trumka and his lieutenants are using the labor federation’s considerable clout to keep the pressure on lawmakers to raise the federal minimum wage for all workers.

Daniel Weiss, League of Conservation Voters.
Weiss came to the LCV this year from the Center for American Progress, and he’s making the most of his position at the helm of the league’s campaign operations.

Dennis Williams, United Auto Workers.
Williams became the 36th president of the powerful UAW in 2014. He previously served as the auto union’s secretary-treasurer. 

Fred Wertheimer, Democracy 21.
Wertheimer continues to push for an overhaul of the campaign finance system and an end to unlimited campaign contributions that have flooded American politics with “dark money.” 

Read more from The Hill:

Top Lobbyists 2014: Corporate 

Top Lobbyists 2014: Associations

Top Lobbyists 2014: Hired Guns