New GOP whip hires retail lobbyist for leadership office

The group of senior aides to incoming House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (La.) includes a lobbyist from the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA).

Bill Hughes, the executive vice president for government affairs at RILA, will lead Scalise’s policy team, according to a release on Tuesday.

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“Bill is an exceptionally talented professional. Bill’s substantial contributions to the retail industry’s public policy efforts are central to RILA’s success in Washington over the past several years,” said RILA President Sandy Kennedy in an emailed statement. “We wish him well as he takes his skills and know-how back to Capitol Hill.”

This isn’t Hughes’ first time serving Republican leadership in Congress. He spent six years as the policy director to former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) and then went on to become the staff director for the Senate Republican Policy Committee.

He has also held other key roles on Capitol Hill, including working for former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) and the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation and Budget committees.

Scalise, formerly the head of the Republican Study Committee (RSC), was elected to leadership in June after the primary loss of House Majority Leader Eric CantorEric CantorEric Cantor offering advice to end ‘immigration wars’ Trump's olive branch differs from the golden eras of bipartisanship After divisive rally, Trump calls for unity MORE (R-Va.).

The new Republican whip is keeping most of his staff from either the RSC or his personal office. He did hire back a former staffer, Lousiana native Darren Achord, from Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOvernight Defense: Tillerson, Trump deny report of rift | Tillerson says he never considered resigning | Trump expresses 'total confidence' in secretary | Rubio asks Army to kick out West Point grad Rubio asks Army to kick out West Point grad with pro-communist posts GOP establishment doubts Bannon’s primary powers MORE (R-Fla.) to serve as the deputy chief of staff and legislative director in his personal office.