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 Ivan CantorThe Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by CVS Health — Trump’s love-hate relationship with the Senate Race for Republican Speaker rare chance to unify party for election Scalise allies upset over Ryan blindside on McCarthy endorsement 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 RubioHillicon Valley: Experts worry North Korea will retaliate with hacks over summit | FBI works to disrupt Russian botnet | Trump officials look to quell anger over ZTE | Obama makes case for tighter regs on tech Putting pressure on Trump, House passes bill barring government from doing business with ZTE The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — Tensions mount for House Republicans MORE (R-Fla.) to serve as the deputy chief of staff and legislative director in his personal office.