CREW founder Sloan starts new venture

A new public affairs firm called Triumph Strategy made its public debut on Wednesday, launched by a prominent Washington watchdog.

Melanie Sloan, the founding executive director of the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), is teaming up with Michael Huttner, the founder of a state-based progressive communications network called ProgressNow. It has more than 3.4 million members in 23 states.

In an announcement, Sloan and Huttner said their firm will specialize in “crisis and disruption strategies.”

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“After more than 20 years in public service, the last 12 years running CREW, I am excited to open a new firm specializing in crisis and disruption strategies,” Sloan said. “I also am thrilled to be partnering with Michael Huttner, a creative and tireless advocate.”

Sloan stepped down from CREW in August, after more than a decade at the helm, but said she would remain at the watchdog organization until a replacement had been found. She will remain an of counsel with the group.

“Melanie Sloan is a results-oriented, hard hitting, tactical thinker. No one is better at holding people accountable and she’s the first person you’d want on your side in a crisis,” Huttner said in a release. “Our complementary expertise will allow us to serve a wide range of clients.”

The firm will have offices in Washington D.C. and Boulder, Colo., according to a release. Huttner has been the president of a Boulder-based communications strategy firm, the Huttner Group, since 2011, which has helped to launch 40 different political organizations.

Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) praised Huttner in a statement, calling him an "aggressive advocate."

CREW has earned a Washington reputation as being one of the more aggressive government ethics watchdogs inside the Beltway. The organization announced a shake-up in leadership last fall, with Democratic operative David Brock becoming chairman.

Conservative critics pounced on Brock’s arrival, arguing it’s evidence that CREW is a liberal group in disguise. CREW denies that charge, noting that it has gone after members of both parties.

Before stepping into the private sector, Sloan had served several roles on Capitol Hill. She worked as minority counsel for the House Judiciary Committee, and worked on criminal justice issues. She also worked on the panel’s crime subcommittee, chaired by then-Rep. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), and on the Senate Judiciary Committee under then-Chair Joe Biden (D-Del.).

 

-- This post was updated at 12:45 p.m.