By The Hill Staff - 10/31/12 09:00 AM EDT
2012 hasn’t been the best year for K Street, but it’s too soon to call it a bust.
A divided government and the demands of campaigning have kept Congress in low gear, depressing revenue at lobby shops and leaving trade associations and grassroots groups in planning mode.
Washington’s corps of lobbyists and advocates will be in the thick of the post-election action, and the best of them — represented here on The Hill’s annual Top Lobbyists list — will be working with gusto to shape the policy choices made on taxes, spending and the budget.
The advocates who have earned a Top Lobbyists slot have different roles: some are guns for hire on K Street, while others lead grassroots groups that draw influence from their members.
But not everyone on the list is a lobbyist — at least, not in the technical sense of the term.
Since The Hill began publishing its Top Lobbyists list more than a decade ago, the word “lobbyist” has become a pejorative that many strive to avoid. President Obama, meanwhile, has restricted the roles that registered lobbyists can have in the government.
That has led some advocates to limit their interactions with lawmakers and the administration to avoid having to register under the Lobbying Disclosure Act and receive what some have dubbed the “Scarlet L.”
The Hill uses the term “lobbyist” broadly here to encompass the people who are working day in and day out to influence federal policy. Not all of the honorees are registered to lobby — but all are names to know.
Cory Alexander, UnitedHealth Group. Thanks to experience as Rep. Steny Hoyer’s (D-Md.) chief of staff, Alexander has the connections to centrist Democrats that United will need as the insurance industry targets pieces of the healthcare law.
Bryan Anderson, Southern Co. Anderson, a former VP of government affairs for Coca-Cola Co., leads a stellar lobbying outfit at the power-industry giant.
Sid Ashworth, Northrop Grumman. Ashworth’s team at Northrop Grumman convinced Congress to save one of the company’s Global Hawk drone variants after the Pentagon threatened to kill it.
Meredith Baker and Melissa Maxfield, Comcast/NBCUniversal. As a former GOP commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission, Baker’s telecom knowledge runs deep; Maxfield has Comcast’s successful mega-merger with NBCUniversal under her belt.
Bill Barloon, Sprint. The third-largest mobile carrier has struggled to take on Verizon and AT&T, but could get a fresh start if the acquisition by Japan’s SoftBank comes through.
Wayne Berman, Blackstone Group. Berman, a prominent GOP lobbyist involved with Mitt Romney’s campaign, has gone in-house for the private-equity firm.
Abigail Blunt, Kraft Foods. Blunt’s reputation as a whip-smart lobbyist was bolstered this year when she was named head of U.S. government affairs for the new Kraft Foods Group.
Stephen Brown, Tesoro. A former adviser to then-House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.), Brown draws on deep policy knowledge as leader of the fuel refiner’s lobbying arm.
Pablo Chavez and Susan Molinari, Google. Molinari, a former GOP congresswoman, was entrusted with the search company’s D.C. office this year; she’ll work with veteran Googler and former counsel to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) Chavez as the search giant deals with the Federal Trade Commission’s antitrust investigation.
Jim Cicconi, Peter Jacoby and Tim McKone, AT&T Corp. The telecom giant’s aggressive bid to buy T-Mobile fell short, but it is still a lobbying juggernaut in Washington.
Maria Cino, HP. A former deputy Transportation secretary and president and CEO of the 2008 Republican National Convention, Cino brought her talents to the tech company this August.
Peter Cleveland, Intel. Cleveland, formerly chief of staff to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), will be a voice of authority for Intel as the tech giant continues to lobby Congress for high-skilled-immigration reform.
Ken Cole, Pfizer. The former lobbyist for General Motors helps keep the pharmaceutical giant up to speed on the vast array of legislation and regulatory decisions that could affect its business.
Steven Cortese, Alliant Techsystems. Cortese, a veteran of Lockheed Martin and the Senate Appropriations Committee, brings corporate and political know-how to the aerospace firm’s lobbying operation.
Colin Crowell, Twitter. A longtime FCC aide and congressional staffer, Crowell heads the policy team for the social network service as it tries to translate its popularity among lawmakers into policy clout.
Greg Dahlberg, Lockheed Martin. It’s been a challenging year for the former House defense panel staffer due to tensions with the Pentagon over the company’s flagship F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
Peter Davidson and Tom Tauke, Verizon Wireless. Tauke, a former GOP congressman, and Davidson, a former general counsel to then-House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas), took Verizon’s multibillion-dollar deal with cable companies over the finish line this year.
Nancy Dorn, General Electric. A former assistant to President George H.W. Bush and assistant secretary of the Army, Dorn has helped GE expand from its base in military-grade jet engines into new ventures in electronic warfare, intelligence reconnaissance and advanced network security.
Theresa Fariello, Exxon Mobil. It’s been a busy year for Fariello and the rest of the Exxon lobbying team as energy — and the oil and gas industry in particular — has been front and center on Capitol Hill and on the presidential campaign trail.
Tucker Foote, MasterCard. The former House Financial Services aide is talked about as a rising star on K Street, and will be going toe to toe with retailers next year as they try to push through swipe fee caps on credit cards.
Nate Gatten, JPMorgan Chase and Co. Gatten heads the banking giant’s lobbying shop and dealt with the fallout from JPMorgan’s massive trading loss earlier this year.
Matt Gelman and Fred Humphries, Microsoft. These two plugged-in Democratic lobbyists spearhead the tech giant’s formidable D.C. operation.
Rich Glick, Iberdrola Renewables. The nation’s second-largest wind power operator has a savvy advocate in Glick, who served in Bill Clinton’s Energy Department.
Rick Graber, Honeywell International. Graber has served as vice president of government relations for Honeywell’s electronic surveillance and security division and is taking on more responsibility after the departure of Sean O’Hollaren to Nike.
Bob Helm, General Dynamics. Under Helm’s watch, General Dynamics leveraged the successes of the Littoral Combat Ship and the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle to expand the company’s portfolio into other areas like tactical drones and information technology.
Guy Hicks, EADS North America. After running EADS North America’s communications office since 2005, Hicks was promoted to become the point man for government relations in January.
Ed Hill, Bank of America. Hill is the Washington face for one of the biggest banks in the nation, and has a full plate, lobbying on everything from consumer regulations to transportation to Dodd-Frank.
Joel Kaplan, Facebook. A former top aide to President George W. Bush, Kaplan has boosted Facebook’s lobbying clout since assuming command of the government-relations shop last year.
Tim Keating, Boeing. Keating’s company battled hard for the reauthorization of the U.S. Export-Import Bank and won a multi-year extension of its charter despite some GOP opposition.
Kent Knutson, Home Depot. Knutson is a craftsman of the lobbying trade for the retail giant, which holds significant sway in Washington and in corporate America.
Bill Lane, Caterpillar. Lane is a champion of trade and enjoyed a major triumph when President Obama signed trade deals with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.
Robert McMahon, Merck. McMahon is down in the trenches for the pharmaceutical industry as it tries to ward off a slew of deficit-reduction proposals that would cut into drugmakers’ bottom lines.
Emmett O’Keefe, Amazon.com. A former aide to Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), O’Keefe is trying to drum up support for a federal online sales tax that would end the patchwork state-based system once and for all.
Ziad Ojakli, Ford Motor Co. Ford was the only one of the “Big Three” that didn’t receive a government bailout, and the company’s lobbying team has stayed strong through all the industry turmoil.
Michael Paese, Goldman Sachs. The former top aide to Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) has helped the bank rebuild its reputation from the public lashing it took in the aftermath of the financial crisis.
Dean Pappas, Allstate. The insurer’s top-class advocacy team has been following implementation of healthcare reform and the Dodd-Frank law.
Joe Seidel, Credit Suisse. Over two years after it became law, the implementation of the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul is keeping bank lobbyists like Seidel plenty busy.
Matthew Stanton, Beam Inc. When Fortune Brands split last year, Stanton stayed with Beam Inc., the spirits arm of the company; part of his time is spent directing the company’s social responsibility programs, including efforts to reduce the number of alcohol ads seen by young people.
Sarah Thorn, Wal-Mart. Thorn leads the charge on international trade and investment issues at Wal-Mart, two areas where the retail behemoth hopes to make gains.
Jonathan Weisgall, Mid-American Energy Holdings Co. Weisgall is the Capitol Hill face of the diversified energy firm, a Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary that opened up a renewable-energy operation earlier this year.
Josh Ackil and Matt Tanielian, Franklin Square Group. With combined experience in the White House and on Capitol Hill, these two Democratic lobbyists are among tech’s most successful advocates.
Andy Barbour, Smith-Free Group. Barbour is one of the financial sector’s go-to lobbyists, advocating for several banks and insurance companies as well as his old employer, the Financial Services Roundtable.
Haley Barbour, Lanny Griffith and Loren Monroe, BGR Group. Barbour’s back at his namesake firm after a stint as Mississippi governor, adding cachet to a GOP lobby shop that already had top-tier talent in Griffith and Monroe.
Doyle Bartlett, Eris Group. An experienced Washington hand, Bartlett represents several brand-name companies in the insurance and financial world.
Jeff Berman and David Russell, Bryan Cave. Berman, a senior 2008 Obama campaign adviser, and Russell, once with the late Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), anchor the prominent law firm’s lobbying team.
James Blanchard and Ilia Rodriguez, DLA Piper. DLA Piper’s accomplished lobby team has two of the best in former Michigan Gov. Blanchard (D) and Rodriguez, a jack of many policy trades.
Thomas Hale Boggs Jr., Micah Green, Edward Newberry and Jonathan Yarowsky, Patton Boggs. The K Street powerhouse remains No. 1 in lobbying revenue thanks in no small part to this stable of veteran lobbyists at the top of their games.
Dan Boston, Health Policy Source. A veteran of healthcare policy on K Street and in Congress, Boston’s boutique practice has a robust client sheet.
Chuck Brain, Capitol Hill Strategies Inc. Brain is an alumnus of the Clinton White House and the House Ways and Means Committee, and he is easily among the elite Democratic lobbyists in town.
John Breaux and Trent Lott, Breaux Lott Leadership Group. Now part of Patton Boggs, the two ex-senators aren’t slowing down at their flourishing lobby practice, with Lott often spotted outside the Senate chamber’s doors.
Gerald Cassidy and Gregg Hartley, Cassidy & Associates. Cassidy’s trailblazing firm has continued to innovate with Hartley at the helm and boasts a client-retention rate befitting its reputation.
David Castagnetti and Alex Vogel, Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti. There’s a downturn sweeping K Street, but don’t tell that to the team at Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti, which has logged steady growth even as competitors have faltered.
Al D’Amato, Park Strategies. D’Amato, the former Republican senator for New York, runs an active lobby firm that represents several sought-after clients, including the Poker Players Alliance.
Linda Daschle, LHD & Associates. The former administrator for the Federal Aviation Administration has a top-notch transportation portfolio that includes American Airlines and Norfolk Southern Corp.
Licy DoCanto, The DoCanto Group. DoCanto’s expertise in healthcare was honed as an aide to Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.).
Julie Domenick, Multiple Strategies LLC. Domenick is a connected Democratic lobbyist who has built her own practice from the ground up.
Ken Duberstein and Marti Thomas, The Duberstein Group. Duberstein, the former Reagan White House chief of staff, and Thomas, a Clinton Treasury Department alumnus, are K Street stars through and through.
Steve Elmendorf and Jimmy Ryan, Elmendorf | Ryan. Connected to several in party leadership, Elmendorf and Ryan set the standard for Democratic lobby shops in town.
Victor Fazio, Joel Jankowsky, Scott Parven and Bill Paxon, Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld. Few firms can match the breadth of expertise at Akin Gump, a law and lobby giant that remains within striking distance of the K Street earnings crown.
Mitch Feuer, Rich Feuer Anderson. Feuer, a former Senate Banking Committee counsel, is a top financial services lobbyist and a trusted name among banks and insurers.
Sam Geduldig, Clark Lytle Geduldig & Cranford. Geduldig, a former GOP leadership aide, has seen his firm’s revenues soar since the Republican takeover of the House.
Chris Giblin and Moses Mercado, Ogilvy Government Relations. Ogilvy experienced turnover but remains plugged into both parties, giving Giblin and Mercado a chance to shine.
Nick Giordano, Washington Council Ernst & Young. The former counsel to the Senate Finance Committee will be in high demand once Congress gets down to business on tax reform.
Rich Gold, Kathryn Lehman and Gerry Sikorski, Holland & Knight. Gold, Lehman and Sikorski are the pillars of a bipartisan lobbying team at one of K Street’s top earners.
Slade Gorton, Slade Gorton LLC. The former GOP senator from Washington state opened his own shop this year and is working with his old employer, K&L Gates, as it gets off the ground.
Fred Graefe, Law Offices of Frederick H. Graefe. Graefe is a legend among Democratic healthcare lobbyists and remains in the prime of his career.
J. Steven Hart, Williams & Jensen. With solid earnings each quarter, Williams & Jensen has done well under Hart, a prominent GOP lobbyist and fundraiser.
Ralph Hellmann and David Lugar, Lugar Hellmann Group. The new venture is off to a strong start with choice clients like Google and Boeing.
Michael Herson, American Defense International. A former Pentagon and White House official, Herson and his firm have been a valuable asset for defense contractors navigating a new era of downsized Pentagon budgets.
Mike House, Hogan & Lovells. House calls the shots at the firm’s lobbying practice and has a track record of strong quarterly earnings that speaks for itself.
Mark Isakowitz, Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock. Isakowitz’s firm has done well since the GOP’s midterm election gains and carries a reputation as a substantive, capable lobby shop.
Chris Jennings, Jennings Policy Strategies. A veteran of Washington’s healthcare reform battles, Jennings is a respected authority on President Obama’s healthcare law.
Joel Johnson, The Glover Park Group. Johnson worked in the Clinton White House and ex-Sen. Tom Daschle’s (D-S.D.) office and helps run Glover Park, a Democratic-leaning firm that’s home to strategists, media gurus and lobbyists.
Thomas Jolly, Williams Mullen. Jolly is a fixture of Democratic Party politics and founded the Washington Caucus, a group that has been meeting for shoptalk dinners with lawmakers for more than three decades.
Mark Kadesh, Kadesh & Associates. An ex-chief of staff to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Kadesh has a roster of blue-chip clients from California and corporate America.
Matt Keelen, The Keelen Group. Keelen breaks from his lobbying work for regular forays onto the campaign trail, lending a hand to several GOP lawmakers.
Rick Kessler and Steve Sayle, DowLohnes Government Strategies. Kessler and Sayle’s shared background on the House Energy and Commerce Committee gives their firm a broad range of expertise.
Ken Kies, Federal Policy Group. The considerable influence of Kies, a former chief of staff for the Joint Committee on Taxation, will be evident once Congress delves into tax reform.
Lisa Kountoupes, Kountoupes Consulting. The former Clinton White House and Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) aide delivers for clients, many of which come from the tech sector.
Marc Lampkin, Al Mottur and Manuel Ortiz, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck. Brownstein Hyatt has become a top earner on K Street and has talent like Lampkin, Mottur and Ortiz on call.
Bob Livingston, The Livingston Group. The former GOP House Appropriations Committee chairman built a lobbying practice that has stood the test of time.
Sander Lurie and Todd Weiss, SNR Denton. Lurie, once chief of staff to Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), and Weiss, a former GOP senior Senate aide, bring bipartisan firepower to SNR Denton’s lobbying team.
Steve McBee, McBee Strategic Consulting. McBee’s expertise in clean energy is a hot commodity and has made his firm one of the most successful around.
Dan Mica, DMA Group. The former head of the Credit Union National Association and ex-Democratic congressman from Florida is signing up clients at his new lobby firm.
Larry O’Brien, OB-C Group. Known for his fundraising prowess, O’Brien is a mover and shaker in Democratic Party politics.
Tom O’Donnell, Gephardt Group. O’Donnell and his former boss, ex-House Democratic Leader Richard Gephardt (Mo.), have a steady stream of clients coming through the door at their growing practice.
Marty Paone, Prime Policy Group. Paone is considered an authority on Senate parliamentary rules after spending decades with Senate Democratic leadership.
Jeff Peck, Peck, Madigan, Jones & Stewart. Peck’s background as a former aide to Joe Biden on the Senate Judiciary Committee has added luster to a firm that was already an industry star.
Steve Perry, Dutko Grayling. Perry is a veteran presence at Dutko and has helped the firm become the established name it is today.
Jim Pitts and Chris Cox, Navigators Global. Navigators is one of the city’s sharpest GOP-leaning firms, and both Pitts and Cox have been inside Republican administrations.
Heather Podesta, Heather Podesta + Partners. Podesta has come into her own with a respected lobbying practice that attracts top talent.
Tony Podesta, Podesta Group. One of the Democratic Party’s best fundraisers, Podesta has taken his namesake firm to new heights.
Jack Quinn, Quinn Gillespie & Associates. Quinn, a White House counsel during the Clinton years, has reached the rarified air of Washington’s name-brand superlobbyists.
Thomas Quinn, Venable. Quinn is active on the fundraising circuit and fluent in finance, having served as counsel to the comptroller of the currency at the Treasury Department.
Robert Raben, The Raben Group. Representing both corporate and nonprofit clients, Raben’s firm has broken the mold.
John Raffaelli, Capitol Counsel. Raffaelli is a marquee Democratic lobbyist who has seen his firm grow this year with several new additions.
Emanuel Rouvelas, K&L Gates. Rouvelas has been a prime player for years at K&L Gates, a firm that never seems to miss a step.
Melissa Schulman, The Bockorny Group. Schulman, a former senior aide to Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), is a Democratic lobbying veteran with valuable ties to centrist lawmakers.
Scott Segal, Bracewell & Giuliani. Segal’s skill set in energy is a big asset at a time when battles over production and regulation are raging on Capitol Hill.
Rhod Shaw, The Alpine Group. Shaw has channeled his expertise in energy, environmental and telecommunications policy into a thriving enterprise.
Tom Sheridan, The Sheridan Group. Sheridan’s firm has been a bulwark against proposed budget cuts that could hurt several social service nonprofits.
Tracy Spicer, Avenue Solutions. Spicer’s stable of healthcare clients benefit from her experience as an aide to the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.).
Charles Stenholm, Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Bode Matz PC. The former Democratic congressman from Texas is steeped in the details of agricultural policy.
Alexander Sternhell, Sternhell Group. Sternhell has built a formidable financial services lobby shop with the Travelers Companies and PricewaterhouseCoopers among his clients.
Sandi Stuart, Stuart Murray Group. Stuart, who’s affiliated with Arent Fox, is a longtime Democratic lobbyist with experience at the Defense Department.
Linda Tarplin, Tarplin, Downs & Young. Healthcare lobbying is a hyper-competitive field, but Tarplin, a veteran of two GOP administrations, has always stood out.
Rich Tarplin, Tarplin Strategies. Tarplin exemplifies what a small lobby shop should be.
Dan Tate, Jr., Forbes-Tate. The former Clinton White House aide’s new firm has gotten off to a running start, registering a slew of clients.
Billy Tauzin and Mark Rayder, Alston & Bird. Tauzin, now a special legislative counsel to the firm, and Rayder are among the big names on Alston’s blue-chip lobbying team.
Robert Van Heuvelen, Van Heuvelen Strategies. The ex-chief of staff to Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) is expanding his firm with a strong roster of energy and healthcare clients.
Stu Van Scoyoc, Van Scoyoc Associates. Van Scoyoc has built one of the most successful lobby firms in Washington on the bread-and-butter issues of appropriations and taxes.
Vin Weber, Mercury/Clark & Weinstock. Weber, a former Republican House member from Minnesota, is a true insider and currently serves as adviser for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
Paul Bailey, The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity. Challenged by EPA regulations and the natural gas boom, the coal industry has a real asset in Bailey, a veteran of the trade.
Mitch Bainwol, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. Bainwol has a full year under his belt at the auto group and knows how to navigate rapidly changing industries from his previous gig with the music industry.
Richard Baker, Managed Funds Association. Baker, a former lawmaker from Louisiana, has had a full slate dealing with new derivatives regulations that could put the squeeze on hedge funds.
Ken Bentsen and Tim Ryan, Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association. Bentsen and Ryan made restraint their theme for 2012 as they warned federal officials of the dangers from clamping down too tightly on Wall Street trading.
Dan Berger and Brad Thaler, National Association of Federal Credit Unions. Berger and Thaler will work to keep the industry’s tax exemption from being thrown on the fire in tax reform, and are marshalling support for legislation that would let credit unions expand.
Marion Blakey, Aerospace Industries Association. The former head of the Federal Aviation Administration has guided the defense industry’s aggressive effort to reverse sequestration before the cuts begin in January.
Denise Bode and Rob Gramlich, American Wind Energy Association. Bode’s fluency in tax policy has been a godsend for wind companies as they push Congress to extend an industry incentive; Gramlich has been with AWEA since 2005, a seven-year stretch that has seen explosive growth in wind power.
Tom Buis, Growth Energy. The chief of the biofuel trade group has served as president of the American National Farmers Union and is pressing lawmakers to maintain renewable fuels policies that are popular in rural America.
Nicholas Calio, Airlines for America. Calio’s skillset has been put to the test this year trying to convince Congress to pass a ban on a European Union emission-trading requirement for flights.
Jot Carpenter and Steve Largent, CTIA-The Wireless Association. Carpenter and Largent, a Hall of Fame football player and former GOP congressman, successfully lobbied for an auction of TV airwaves on behalf of wireless providers.
John Castellani, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. Castellani, who came to the drug lobby from the Business Roundtable, is rebuilding relationships with congressional Republicans that were strained by PhRMA’s support for healthcare reform.
Bill Cheney, Credit Union National Association. Cheney, who has amassed a quarter-century experience with credit unions, is among the advocates keeping tabs on Dodd-Frank every step of the way.
Lisa Costello, American Hotel & Lodging Association. Costello represents the hotel industry in Washington and has had a varied portfolio this year, lobbying on immigration, labor regulations as well as healthcare and tax law.
Dan Danner, National Federation of Independent Business. Fewer regulations and lower taxes are front-and-center for Danner and NFIB, which saw its challenge to the Democratic healthcare law fall short.
Richard Deem, American Medical Association. On the strength of growing bipartisan support, the AMA made headway last year on its top priority: a permanent “doc fix” to replace a Medicare payment formula that constantly threatens doctors with drastic cuts.
Scott DeFife, National Restaurant Association. The restaurant trade group has expanded its policy shop under DeFife, a former senior policy adviser to Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.).
Bob Dinneen, Renewable Fuels Association. A Capitol Hill mainstay for the biofuels industry, Dinneen has been an integral player in many of the renewable fuels sector’s policy victories.
Chris Dodd, Motion Picture Association of America. The former senator’s to-do list for 2013 includes persuading lawmakers to take another crack at online piracy legislation.
Tom Donohue and Bruce Josten, U.S. Chamber of Commerce. As in past cycles, the Chamber is proving to be an electoral powerhouse in 2012, funneling millions of dollars to business-friendly candidates and causes.
Cal Dooley, American Chemistry Council. From natural gas policy to EPA regulations and much more, the former Democratic House member from California faces no shortage of battles as he fights for chemical manufacturers.
Charles Drevna, American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers. The group’s name has changed (it’s no longer the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association), but Drevna’s goals haven’t as he represents the nation’s refining industry.
Martin Edwards, Interstate Natural Gas Association of America. Edwards, the VP for legislative affairs, has a lot on his plate as the pipeline industry grapples with the nation’s natural gas boom.
John Engler, Business Roundtable. Engler, a former Michigan governor, and the corporate leaders of the Roundtable are all in for a lower corporate tax rate and more trade deals.
Glenn English, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. The former Democratic lawmaker has been at the helm for 18 years, and will need to muster all that experience as the industry deals with pollution rules and increased competition from natural gas.
Frank Fahrenkopf, Jr., American Gaming Association. The casino industry needs the cards to fall just right for an online gambling bill to pass after the election, but don’t bet against Fahrenkopf, a former Republican National Committee chairman who has led AGA since 1995.
Camden Fine, Independent Community Bankers of America. While most of the Dodd-Frank battles have fought by big banks, it is Fine’s job to make sure the new regulations don’t end up damaging smaller, community lenders.
Alex Flint, Nuclear Energy Institute. Flint, a former top GOP aide to the Senate’s energy committee, represents the nuclear industry at a time when new reactors are under construction for the first time in decades.
David French, National Retail Federation. French, who once worked for ex-Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), is working to protect the retail industry’s victory on swipe fees while pursuing another long-sought prize: passage of a national online sales tax.
Craig Fuller, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. Fuller, a former White House adviser to President Ronald Reagan, is breaking new ground as the fourth president of the AOPA since its creation in 1939.
Lee Fuller, Independent Petroleum Association of America. From drilling access battles to attempts to strip industry tax breaks, Fuller is steering independent oil-and-gas companies through a rewarding but tumultuous time.
Dean Garfield and Robert Hoffman, Information Technology Industry Council. Garfield honed his craft with the motion picture and recording industry lobbies and is trying to wrap up merger talks between ITI and TechNet; Hoffmann is a player to watch in the debate over high-skilled immigration visas.
Jack Gerard, American Petroleum Institute. With oil companies often in Democrats’ crosshairs, Gerard — who has close ties to Mitt Romney — gives the industry an unflappable advocate.
Jerry Giovaniello, National Association of Realtors. A housing market on the mend and a Congress eyeing broad housing finance reform could make 2013 an interesting year for the deep-pocketed realtors’ lobby.
Jim Greenwood, Biotechnology Industry Organization. Greenwood, a former congressman, helped steer lawmakers toward an industry-friendly bill that created a new class of generic biologic drugs.
Edward Hamberger, Association of American Railroads. Hamberger and the freight-rail industry won a huge victory earlier this year when a plan to let tractor-trailers carry heavier loads was reduced to an exploratory study in the final transportation bill.
Regina Hopper, America's Natural Gas Alliance. Hopper, the alliance’s CEO, is known as an effective, high-energy advocate of natural gas as the link between abundant domestic supply and the nation's clean-energy future.
Jerry Howard, National Association of Home Builders. With the housing market starting to look up, Howard is pushing to keep some government role in the sector and to defend the cherished mortgage interest deduction.
Richard Hunt, Consumer Bankers Association. Hunt has been a vocal and visible advocate for retail banks in meetings on Capitol Hill and in sessions with regulators.
Karen Ignagni, America’s Health Insurance Plans. One of the most polished and widely respected healthcare lobbyists in town, Ignangni is helping insurers keep up the pressure for changes to the reform law while setting the stage for big changes in Medicaid and the healthcare delivery system.
Chip Kahn, Federation of American Hospitals. Kahn is a big-time player in healthcare and now leading efforts to protect for-profit hospitals from a “fiscal cliff” deal that cuts their funding.
Frank Keating, American Bankers Association. The former Oklahoma governor has kept a steady hand at the influential bank lobby during a period of upheaval for the industry.
Dirk Kempthorne and Kim Dorgan, American Council of Life Insurers. Kempthorne and Dorgan make for a capable tag team on Dodd-Frank and trade, and will be prepared to jump in if Congress considers changes to the tax incentives for retirement savings.
Tom Kuhn and Brian Wolff, Edison Electric Institute. Kuhn was President George W. Bush’s Yale roommate and has decades of industry experience, while Wolff once headed the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Linda Lipsen, American Association for Justice. Lipsen crusades against tort reform as CEO of the trial lawyers’ group and helped beat back efforts to include limits on Medicare malpractice awards in the healthcare reform law.
Walter McCormick, USTelecom. McCormick boasts years of administration and Hill experience and will be keeping a laser-like focus on the White House and Congress for any signs of movement on cybersecurity.
Dave McCurdy and Rick Shelby, American Gas Association. McCurdy, a former Democratic House member, and Shelby, a lobbyist with deep GOP ties, help the trade group for natural gas utilities work both sides of the aisle.
Nancy McLernon, Organization for International Investment. With policymakers eyeing 2013 as the year for tax reform, McLernon will seek to protect a distinct group: American subsidiaries of foreign corporations.
Mark Merritt, Pharmaceutical Care Management Association. Merritt represents pharmacy benefit managers as they battle with traditional pharmacies for market share.
Rob Nichols, Financial Services Forum. Nichols and the 20 or so members of the forum — which include Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan — have been imploring Washington to avoid the “fiscal cliff” and the recession it would likely create.
Shawn Osborne, TechAmerica. Osborne has more than 25 years of industry experience to draw on as chief of TechAmerica, an influential lobby that counts Apple and Dell among its members.
Rick Pollack and Rich Umbdenstock, American Hospital Association. The duo is manning the ramparts for hospitals as the deadline approaches for yet another fix to Medicare’s sustainable growth rate.
Michael Powell, National Cable & Telecommunications Association. The former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission and son of former Secretary of State Colin Powell now lobbies for the cable industry.
Greg Principato, Airports Council International - North America. Principato is an energetic defender of airports across the country and was on the frontlines of the push for lawmakers to approve a $63 billion funding bill for the Federal Aviation Administration.
Leigh Ann Pusey, American Insurance Association. Pusey is a strong advocate for the property-casualty insurance industry, a role that came after stints in the George H.W. Bush White House and as an aide to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.).
John Rother, National Coalition for Health Care. Rother is a champion for system-wide delivery, payment and financing reforms as the healthcare industry grapples with rising costs.
Bob Rusbuldt, Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America. Rusbuldt has kept up an aggressive campaign in Congress and at the state level to exempt insurance agents from new rules in the healthcare law.
Norb Ryan Jr., Military Officers Association of America. Ryan is leading the charge to protect military healthcare and veterans benefits from the deep budget cuts that are on tap for 2013.
Stephen Sandherr, The Associated General Contractors of America. The contracting industry is counting on Sandherr to impress upon lawmakers the need to end the uncertainty of the “fiscal cliff” and sequestration.
Gregory Scott, Portland Cement Association. Scott was named vice president of government affairs at the PCA in January 2012. Before coming to the cement association, he was a high-ranking official at the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association (NPRA).
Gary Shapiro, Consumer Electronics Association. Intellectual property protections and high-skilled immigration reform are among the top priorities of Shapiro and the CEA’s more than 2,000 members.
John Shaw, Natural Products Association. Shaw represents natural products producers at a time when demand for their wares is growing — along with calls for stricter regulations.
Gordon Smith, National Association of Broadcasters. Local broadcasters have long been a lobbying force in Washington, and will receive a big payout from spectrum auctions thanks in no small part to Smith’s effective advocacy.
Mike Stanton, Association of Global Automakers. Stanton is a storehouse of knowledge about auto industry politics, sporting a resume in the industry that spans three decades.
Scott Talbott, Financial Services Roundtable. If lobbying had an A-list, Talbott would be near the top; he’ll soon be working alongside former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, who is sliding in as the Roundtable’s new president.
Mary Kay Thatcher, American Farm Bureau Federation. Hands-down one of the top agricultural lobbyists in town, Thatcher has labored tirelessly for a farm bill that reforms commodity subsidies while expanding crop insurance protections.
Jay Timmons, National Association of Manufacturers. Democrats and Republicans alike are looking to boost domestic manufacturers, giving Timmons plenty of chances to discuss tax, trade and regulatory policy.
Stephen Ubl, Advanced Medical Technology Association. Ubl is pushing for corporate tax reform and the repeal of the healthcare law’s medical-device tax at AdvaMed, where members face growing competition from manufacturers abroad.
Dirk Van Dongen, National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors. Van Dongen is a power player in the business group world and a big-time fundraiser for Mitt Romney.
Anna Aurilio, Environment America. A fixture in clean-energy battles, Aurilio is a regular guest at congressional hearings and an eloquent spokeswoman for the environmental movement.
Matt Bennett, Third Way. The centrist think tank has been nudging Congress toward a grand bargain on the federal debt and will be urging lawmakers to “go big” if deal making takes place after the election.
Eileen Claussen, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. A former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official and adviser to former President Clinton, Claussen knows how to change policy from the inside out.
Larry Cohen, Communications Workers of America. Cohen hasn’t shied away from difficult organizing fights, epitomized by CWA’s showdown this year with American Airlines.
Ken Cook, Environmental Working Group. Still going strong at the group he co-founded in 1993, Cook is a respected voice on agriculture policy and ethanol fuel.
Chris Cox, National Rifle Association. Few lobby groups can match the grassroots-powered influence of the NRA, which is rallying this year to elect gun friendly candidates up and down the ballot.
Bob Edgar, Common Cause. An ordained Methodist minister and former Democratic congressman, Edgar is among those calling for a rewrite of campaign finance law after 2012’s deluge of outside spending.
Steve Ellis, Taxpayers for Common Sense. Ellis isn’t resting on his laurels after winning a long-sought earmark moratorium in Congress, turning his attention to bloat and waste in the 900-page farm bill.
Leo Gerard, United Steelworkers. Gerard has been a sharp critic of GOP nominee Mitt Romney, and cheered the Obama administration’s flurry of trade actions against China.
Bradley Gordon, American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Gordon will have to draw on all the negotiating skills he learned as a diplomat as he seeks to get the next administration in sync with Israel.
Tim Greeff, Advanced Energy Economy. The clean-energy advocate works to get his members a larger piece of the energy economy pie by working the levers of Congress.
Dave Hamilton and Melinda Pierce, Sierra Club. The group has spearheaded opposition to the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline with a talented crew that includes Hamilton, leader of the group’s “Beyond Coal” campaign, and Pierce, a veteran of the wars over Arctic drilling.
David Hawkins and David Goldston, Natural Resources Defense Council. Hawkins draws accolades as one of the nation’s top experts on global warming, and Goldston brings political acumen to the group’s lobbying operation.
Wade Henderson, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. Henderson is president and CEO of a coalition of more than 200 national organizations that fiercely oppose plans to plug the deficit with cuts to healthcare and retirement benefits.
Mary Kay Henry, Service Employees International Union. Henry is leading a massive political program at SEIU that’s seeking to increase Hispanic voter turnout.
Craig Holman, Public Citizen. Holman is a trusted authority on campaign finance, and made an imprint on many of the ethics reforms that have passed Congress in recent years.
Bob King, United Auto Workers. King was given a prime-time speaking slot at the Democratic National Convention this year and has defended President Obama from GOP attacks over the auto bailout.
Fred Krupp, Environmental Defense Fund. Krupp will harness the fund’s unique mixture of advocacy and industry outreach as it campaigns for safer hydraulic fracturing methods in the natural-gas industry.
Nancy LeaMond, AARP. Few organizations are as important to the Medicare debate as AARP; LeaMond helps lead the group’s first-rate lobbying team.
Chuck Loveless, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Loveless is the long-time director of legislative affairs for the powerful public workers’ union and in the loop when it comes to talks on a “grand bargain” on the federal deficit.
Elisa Massimino, Human Rights First. Count on Massimino to keep individual liberties front and center as the United States grapples with the changes that are sweeping the Middle East.
Meredith McGehee, Campaign Legal Center. When she’s not unearthing dark money in elections or advocating for strong ethics regulations, McGehee manages issue advocacy campaigns at her own firm, McGehee Strategies.
Ed Mierzwinski, U.S. Public Interest Research Group. Corporate tax reform could provide a new target for the consumer group, which advocates strong controls on Wall Street and wants to end “giveaways” in the IRS code.
Eric Mitchell, Bread for the World. Activists organized by Bread for the World fasted last year to protest GOP-backed cuts to domestic and foreign food aid, and the group continues to highlight the affects of spending cuts on the poor.
David Moulton, The Wilderness Society. A former top adviser to Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Moulton is a climate hawk and conservationist who helps maintain the group’s political presence.
Matthew Myers, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. One of the founders of the group, Myers is a leading advocate for tobacco control efforts in the United States and abroad.
Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform. Norquist, the father of the anti-tax pledge signed by most congressional Republicans, will have his influence put to the test as GOP lawmakers battle Democrats on tax increases.
Tony Perkins, Family Research Council. In an election year dominated by the economy, Perkins has used his megaphone at FRC to keep social issues such as gay marriage, abortion and contraception in the debate.
Tim Phillips, Americans for Prosperity. Full repeal of the administration’s Affordable Care Act and cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency top the wish list of AFP, a group that has become the Tea Party’s voice in Washington.
Ron Pollack, Families USA. Pollack is a seasoned Washington veteran and one of the strongest voices on the left when it comes to healthcare policy and the preservation of the Affordable Care Act.
Paul Rieckhoff, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. Rieckhoff’s organization has grown in stature with the return of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, and he attracted national attention this year with his call for a veterans’ parade in New York City.
Anthony Romero and Chris Calabrese, American Civil Liberties Union. The civil liberties group does not win every policy fight, but is rarely denied a seat at the negotiating table; cybersecurity legislation is the group’s latest battleground.
Andrew Roth, Club for Growth. The Club for Growth’s key vote alerts can turn vote counts in the House upside down, and Roth is the group’s go-to expert for Republicans looking to dig deeper into spending and the budget.
Tom Schatz, Citizens Against Government Waste. Being called a “porker” by CAGW can get a lawmaker in serious hot water; look for Schatz to continue his battle against overspending as Congress looks to replace sequestration in the lame-duck session.
Melanie Sloan, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. Sloan’s team is quick to pounce on evidence of ethics violations by lawmakers, and made a splash earlier this year with a report about nepotism in Congress.
Gigi Sohn, Public Knowledge. The president and co-founder of the technology-focused public interest group is a staple at congressional hearings and a forceful voice for consumers.
Jeremy Symons, National Wildlife Federation. Symons, the top political strategist for the influential conservationist lobby, previously handled climate issues for the EPA and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).
Richard Trumka, Thea Lee and Bill Samuel, AFL-CIO. Trumka runs the nation’s largest labor federation, which has revamped its political program and is working overtime to reelect Obama; Lee and Samuel are labor veterans.
Dennis Van Roekel, National Education Association. As the head of the nation’s largest union, he will be a key negotiator when education policy is crafted.
Daniel Weiss, Center for American Progress Action Fund. Weiss leads the climate change team at CAP, a liberal think tank that is hard at work on an agenda for the next Democratic majority — whenever it arrives.
Fred Wertheimer, Democracy 21. Wertheimer was championing campaign finance reform long before Comedy Central star Stephen Colbert made it hip, and hopes the next Congress will be more receptive to legislation like the Disclose Act.
— This list was updated on Nov. 1.