Corporate lobbyists: The best in the business

The role of corporate lobbyists in Washington has mushroomed over the past several years as big business leaders have come to realize that decisions are made on Capitol Hill — regardless of whether they’re in the room or not. Trying to get in on the decisionmaking requires connections, and the people below, The Hill’s 2006 top corporate lobbyists, have them.

Sam Adcock, European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co. The European defense giant is positioning itself to grab a hold of lucrative Pentagon deals such as the midair refueling tanker and the joint cargo aircraft. The well-connected Adcock, a former aide to Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.), has exactly what it takes for EADS to make its play.

Lisa Barry, Chevron Commanding an army of outside shops and in-house experts, Barry scored a major victory for Chevron by scuttling a Chinese oil company’s bid to buy Unocal. She spent her career’s formative lobbying years at Time Warner.

Abigail Blunt, Altria Altria, which includes the Philip Morris cigarette-making giant, boasts the wife of the House majority whip as one of its senior lobbyists.

Dan Brouillette, Ford Motor Co. A former chief of staff to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Brouillette has helped revitalize the iconic automaker’s lobbying shop in Washington.

Nick Calio, Citigroup This former White House legislative liaison needs no introduction on Capitol Hill. Both House and Senate leadership lean on him for tough votes and key fundraisers.

Kenneth Cole, General Motors Cole has lobbied for the world’s (still) largest car company for two decades, earning nearly unparalleled expertise about the U.S. auto industry, which though in decline maintains broad political influence.

Lee Culpepper, Wal-Mart Lured from the National Restaurant Association last summer, Culpepper immediately confronted lobbying challenges from financial services to healthcare, helping Wal-Mart score a PR boost with its Hurricane Katrina aid push.

Brian Dailey, Lockheed Martin Lockheed has some of the largest defense programs at stake, such as the F-22 Raptor, the multinational Joint Strike Fighter and the C-130 cargo aircraft. Dailey, with previous high-level experience in the White House and Senate Armed Services Committee, works with Bill Inglee, former aide to House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.).

Rudy DeLeon, Boeing DeLeon, a former deputy defense secretary, leads Boeing’s Washington practice, shoring up a solid political base for the company as well as Pentagon support for multibillion-dollar contracts.

Nancy Dorn, General Electric In 1993, a 33-year-old Dorn became the first woman and youngest person ever to head the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a position she held for two years. She later worked as deputy director at the Office of Management and Budget for the current Bush administration before moving to GE.

Don Duncan, ConocoPhillips Oil may be the new tobacco, as far as public opinion goes, but Duncan’s contacts and industry knowledge have helped keep any punitive bills from the president’s desk.

Duane Duncan, Fannie Mae This former chief of staff to Rep. Richard Baker (R-La.), one of Congress’s leading advocates for reform of the government-chartered mortgage finance system, has held the line before on new reforms. Still, this could be the year Fannie loses the battle.

Robert Foosaner, Sprint His years as chief of the Federal Communications Commission’s private radio bureau have made Foosaner a natural candidate to take over the merged lobbying shops of two telecom goliaths.

Bob Helm, Northrop Grumman With a deep understanding of the political process, Helm leads a shop known for its strength. Helm, a former Senate Budget Committee staff member and Pentagon appointee, has his hands full overseeing Northrop’s interests from defense to shipbuilding and homeland security.

Jack Krumholtz, Microsoft A big issue on Krumholtz’s plate right now: government control of the Internet in China. Krumholtz is regularly asked to testify before Congress.

Hank McKinnell, Pfizer He’s the drug giant’s chairman and CEO, which would provide enough clout for most people. Not McKinnell, who also is the chairman of the Business Roundtable.

Tim McBride, Freddie Mac McBride has a ton of contacts in town and is a veteran of the first Bush administration. He formerly lobbied for DaimlerChrysler.

Tim McKone, AT&T Services McKone is navigating the massive communications company after its merger with SBC Communications and as Congress tries to revamp telecommunications laws.

Buzz Miller, Southern Co. Miller is a powerful player and can move mountains on Capitol Hill.

Scott Miller, Procter & Gamble No one does free-trade-agreement lobbying like Miller, who helped cajole the now-infamous “CAFTA 15” Democrats into supporting the Central America pact.

Bill Sweeney, Electronic Data Systems EDS is a bit under the radar screen but a significant player in the Capitol.