Senior HELP Committee staffer moves to nonprofit lobby firm

A senior Senate committee staffer is headed to Washington’s premier nonprofit lobbying firm. 

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee staff director Dan Smith will start at The Sheridan Group next month. Smith will be a principal at the nonprofit advocacy organization. 

“I spent my entire professional career in the public arena,” Smith told The Hill. “I really wanted to take everything I’ve learned in the past 25 years and put it to work for clients that not only want to change laws but actually want to change the world.”

Smith also served as chief of staff to Harkin and as Senate Agriculture Committee staff director. He is the founder and former president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

Harkin emphasized Smith's contributions to the HELP committee and wished him well at the non-profit firm.

“Since he joined the HELP Committee, Dan has been instrumental in advancing an agenda that benefits millions of Americans — assuring access to an affordable health system and quality education for all children, making sure workers have a right to organize, holding for-profit colleges accountable to the taxpayers, and protecting the American middle class,” Harkin said in a statement.

As a principal at the firm, Smith plans to help clients with both “inside” and “outside” strategy, guiding them through the political process while encouraging grassroots work beyond the Beltway.

“I can advise them on how to effectively build an organization that is politically savvy and will really help them get results,” Smith said.

Tom Sheridan, president of The Sheridan Group, said the group is excited by what Smith brings to the table.

“For 21 years, it has been our honor to work with social-change leaders to deliver results. Dan Smith’s leadership and expertise embody our mission of building the political muscle and effectiveness of the public interest advocacy community,” Sheridan said in a statement.  

“We are very excited to be able to offer this tremendous resource to our clients.”

Pam Smith, who is now deputy staff director, will replace Smith as HELP staff director.

Pam Smith previously worked for the Catholic Health Association as senior director of government relations. She has also worked for the Justice Department and for Catholic Charities USA.

Lauren McFerran will take on the role of deputy staff director while also continuing her work for the committee as chief labor counsel.