Top Lobbyists: Grassroots

Anna Aurilio, Environment America. Aurilio is a familiar and tireless presence on the front lines of grassroots and Capitol Hill battles over green energy. 

Matt Bennett, Third Way. The centrist think tank is a force on trade and fiscal issues and has been riding high since President Obama appointed Bill Daley, a former Third Way board member, as his chief of staff. 


Eileen Claussen and Manik Roy, Pew Center on Global Climate Change. Pew will be in the scrum as the global-warming battles shift from climate legislation to promoting and protecting clean-energy initiatives.

Larry Cohen, Communications Workers of America. A longtime union leader, Cohen has sway with congressional Democrats and is regularly courted by communications companies that prize his endorsement on policy matters.

Ken Cook, Environmental Working Group. Cook is at the forefront of challenges to corn ethanol and subsidies for Big Agriculture, upcoming hot-button issues as Congress tackles energy matters and starts work on a new farm bill. 

Chris Cox, National Rifle Association. The NRA has succeeded in turning gun-control legislation into a new political “third rail” on the strength of its loyal and active grassroots network. 

Bob Edgar, Common Cause. Edgar is keeping the flame of campaign finance reform alive after suffering a setback with the 2010 Citizens United decision that rolled back limits on corporate campaign cash.

Steve Ellis, Taxpayers for Common Sense. Earmarks have been banished from Congress thanks in no small part to Ellis, who has a knack for spotting legislative tricks in spending bills. 

Leo Gerard, United Steelworkers. The union leader has been a vocal advocate for taking aggressive trade action against China, and has had some success on that front with the Obama administration.

Brad Gordon, American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Gordon’s team has maintained broad, bipartisan support for Israel in Congress and helped move through tough new sanctions against Iran last year. 

Tim Greeff, Clean Economy Network. Greeff brings experience and policy savvy to the group, which is critical to initiatives aimed at expanding green technology’s place in the economy.

Dave Hamilton and Melinda Pierce, Sierra Club. Hamilton and Pierce ensure that Sierra Club members are heard loud and clear during debates on energy policy and legislation. 

David Hawkins and David Goldston, Natural Resources Defense Council. Few global-warming experts are as respected as Hawkins, who directs the council’s climate programs, while Goldston brings bipartisan credibility to his role as director of government affairs. 

Wade Henderson, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. Henderson’s group jumped into the battle to protect labor rights during the scuffle in Wisconsin over collective bargaining. 

Mary Kay Henry, Service Employees International Union. Henry’s union isn’t letting up on immigration reform or state battles over labor rights. 

Craig Holman, Public Citizen. Holman’s persistent advocacy paid off with the approval of a number of disclosure and ethics reforms in Congress. 

Phil Kerpen, Americans for Prosperity. Kerpen’s outfit is at the heart of the Tea Party movement and counts spending cuts and blocking Environmental Protection Agency regulations among its top goals. 

Bob King, United Auto Workers. Elected UAW president in 2010, King made a splash when his union became one of the few labor supporters of the U.S.-South Korea trade deal — a move that earned frequent White House praise. 

Fred Krupp, Environmental Defense Fund. Krupp is based in New York but his reach extends to the Capitol, where the fund plays a unique strategic role that blends advocacy and negotiations with industry to advance a green agenda. 

Nancy LeaMond, AARP. The seniors’ lobby has taken fire from conservatives for endorsing President Obama’s healthcare law, but the group’s pull in Washington is as strong as ever.

Chuck Loveless, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Loveless is the legislative director for the powerful public-sector union and was key to AFSCME’s pushback during the debt-ceiling talks. 

Elisa Massimino, Human Rights First. Massimino kept up the pressure on the Obama administration to cut ties with tyrannical regimes as uprisings sprouted across the Arab world. 

Meredith McGehee, Campaign Legal Center. McGehee is in the thick of this year’s redistricting battles and will be on watch for political shenanigans. 

Ed Mierzwinski, U.S. Public Interest Research Group. Mierzwinski was a leader in the drive for the 2008 consumer product safety law, and took part in an alliance that backed Wall Street reform. 

Monica Mills, Bread for the World. The group spearheaded a coalition of activists who fasted in protest of GOP-backed cuts to domestic and foreign food aid — budget items that were preserved in the final 2011 spending bill. 

David Moulton, The Wilderness Society. Moulton directs climate policy and conservation funding for the group with a steady hand. 

Matthew Myers, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Myers fought to make sure the Food and Drug Administration was granted the power to regulate tobacco, and now his group is making sure that authority is put to good use. 

Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform. Hands down the most powerful tax advocate in Washington, Norquist is the keeper of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge and is a power-player in Republican politics. 

Tony Perkins, Family Research Council. At a time when fiscal hawks are grabbing the spotlight, Perkins is making sure such social issues as abortion don’t fall by the wayside.

Travis Plunkett, Consumer Federation of America. The federation was instrumental to the passage of Wall Street reform last year and is working to ensure that the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has teeth. 

Ron Pollack, Families USA. Pollack scored the win of lifetime when Obama’s healthcare reform law passed, and is now opposing GOP plans to overhaul Medicare and Medicaid. 

Dennis Van Roekel, National Education Association. Van Roekel is president of the nation’s largest union and an important voice on education issues. 

Anthony Romero, American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU notched a victory when President Obama called off the legal defense of the Defense of Marriage Act, but its long campaign to shutter the Guantánamo Bay prison in Cuba is still at square one. 

Andrew Roth, Club for Growth. One of Washington’s most adept advocates for supply-side economics, Roth is a go-to expert for GOP House freshmen looking for material with which to batter Democrats. 

Aubrey Sarvis, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. Sarvis was a leading proponent of repealing the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, and has spoken out against lawmakers who would like to reinstitute the ban on gays serving openly in the military.

Tom Schatz, Citizens Against Government Waste. Schatz led the fight against earmarks for years and won; now the group is looking to capitalize on the spending-cut frenzy and push the GOP to root out waste. 

Melanie Sloan, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. The aggressive watchdog isn’t afraid of going to the courts to take on members of Congress, and has clashed with the Obama administration on releasing records. 

Jeremy Symons, National Wildlife Federation. The senior VP for conservation and education at NWF is a top strategist and advocate for the environmental movement. 

Richard Trumka, Thea Lee and Bill Samuel, AFL-CIO. As the face of the labor movement, Trumka helped bring the Wisconsin standoff over collective-bargaining rights to national attention. Lee and Samuel are two of his trusted aides. 

Daniel Weiss, Center for American Progress Action Fund. Weiss, the center’s point man on climate change, is among the advocates trying to shield the EPA’s regulatory powers from congressional repeal. 

Fred Wertheimer, Democracy 21. Wertheimer fell short on the Disclose Act, but the godfather of campaign finance reform still wields considerable clout.