Former Senate GOP leadership aide joins Podesta Group

Podesta Group hired Matt Johnson, a former top aide to Sen. John CornynJohn CornynThe Hill's Morning Report — What a shutdown would mean for the government Trump, Dems dig in over shutdown GOP lawmakers distance themselves from ObamaCare ruling MORE (R-Texas), snagging Johnson from his post at McBee Strategic.

He will join the firm as a senior principal on Monday, according to a release from Podesta on Thursday.

“Adding a pro like Matt to our topnotch bench is a slam dunk. His deep political acumen and superior policy know-how have won him the respect of Republican leadership — and his relationships and proven ability to deliver results will be a win for our clients. We could not be more thrilled to have him onboard,” Podesta Group CEO Kimberley Fritts said in a statement.

Johnson served as a senior adviser to Cornyn, the likely Senate majority whip, and as the top Republican lawyer on the Senate Judiciary Committee Immigration Subcommittee. He is only one of a few former Cornyn staffers to be found in the advocacy space, making his connections even more useful.

"I am eager to help Podesta's clients navigate the new Republican-controlled Senate and my old stomping grounds in the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is poised to see a lot of high-stakes action early next year,” Johnson told The Hill in an email.

Podesta’s clients include Google, the National Association of Broadcasters, General Electric, First Data Corporation, the Independent Film and Television Alliance and Herbalife International, among many others.

“I was especially attracted by the opportunity to help build and lead Podesta's growing technology practice,” Johnson said. “As disruptors find themselves more often than not in heavily regulated spaces, it's critical they can turn to a team of creative, strategic thinkers with a record of success.”

Podesta remains as K Street's No. 3 firm by revenue, but the firm’s lobbying figures have plateaued in recent years as it saw gains in other areas — such as public relations and foreign lobbying. It still earned $27.3 million last year in lobbying fees alone.

“As technology issues take center stage in Washington, and as we continue to buttress our bipartisan offering, Matt’s razor sharp expertise will be a game-changing asset to our growing practice,” Fritts said.

Johnson, who specializes in civil justice, immigration, intellectual property and patent reform issues, joined McBee Strategic last September.

There could be a shakeup happening at the firm, as its founder, Steve McBee, announced in November he would be leaving for New Jersey-based power company NRG Energy, serving as the president and chief executive of a clean-energy subsidiary called NRG Home.

Law firm Wiley Rein then acquired the lobbying, consulting and public affairs shop last month, though McBee would act as an independent subsidiary, according to a Washington Post report.