Top Lobbyists

Top Lobbyists 2017: Grass roots

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Anna Aurilio, Environment America

Aurilio is an active voice against President Trump’s environmental policy, harnessing the grass-roots organizing power that has been Environment America’s calling card.

Matt Bennett, Third Way

Channeling the spirit of President Clinton’s centrist politics, Bennett promotes problem solving and a bipartisan approach at the prominent think tank.

Ken Cook, Environmental Working Group

The Environmental Working Group is coordinating with allies to oppose President Trump’s policies, keeping its main focus on areas like toxic chemicals, agriculture and human health.


Chris Cox, National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action

Cox and the NRA have high hopes for action from Congress on their legislative priorities, including passage of a federal concealed carry law.

Steve Ellis, Taxpayers for Common Sense

With 18 years under his belt at Taxpayers for Common Sense, Ellis is one of the go-to experts when it comes to government waste, spending and debt.

Karen Hobert Flynn and Aaron Scherb, Common Cause

The group has been “holding power accountable” for nearly 50 years and remains a central player in the fight for good governance.

Lily Eskelsen García,National Education Association

The head of the nation’s largest labor union has been a blunt force opposing Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s push for alternatives to public education such as charter and private schools. 

Leo Gerard, United Steelworkers

Gerard has spent much of the past year pushing for changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement, calling it an opportunity to strengthen workers’ rights and create jobs.

Bradley Gordon, American Israel Public Affairs Committee

Gordon is director of policy and government affairs at AIPAC, the guardian of the U.S.-Israel relationship that hosts an annual conference with some of the biggest names in politics.

Vanita Gupta, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Gupta, who formerly led the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, has had a busy first year defending the rights of immigrants, African-Americans, women and LGBT people, groups she says are under attack from the Trump administration.

Mary Kay Henry, Service Employees International Union

Henry is the first woman to lead SEIU, a powerful union that leverages its grass-roots network in fights over health care, immigration and racial justice.

Craig Holman, Public Citizen

The Trump administration has given Holman and Public Citizen new resolve in its quest for ethics reform; the group was seeking to “drain the swamp” long before it was a catchphrase. 

Frederick Isasi and Shannon Attanasio, Families USA

Isasi took over the liberal health-care advocacy group this year, working alongside Attanasio in what became a nationwide campaign to stop ObamaCare repeal.  

Fred Krupp, Environmental Defense Fund

Krupp is in his third decade at the helm of EDF, which has staunchly opposed spending cuts to the EPA. Addressing Congress in an op-ed in The Hill this fall, Krupp warned of “a crossroads moment for our country.”

Nancy LeaMond, AARP

LeaMond leads government affairs and legislative campaigns for AARP. The group stood in the breach when Republicans tried to allow insurers to charge older customers five times as much as younger ones.

Elisa Massimino, Human Rights First

For nearly four decades, Massimino’s group has carried the banner for human rights, pressing for U.S. officials to champion freedom around the globe. She has been part of the group’s work for 26 years.

Meredith McGehee, Issue One

Issue One is working with former lawmakers and governors on both sides of the aisle to increase voter participation in the political process and create more transparency around political spending.

Bill McKibben and May Boeve, and its advocacy affiliate were an organizing force during the presidential campaign. They’ve been harnessing that same grass-roots energy while resisting President Trump’s policies.

Ed Mierzwinski, U.S. Public Interest Research Group

Mierzwinski is a staunch defender of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; despite attempts by Congress to weaken the agency, it is as strong as ever.

Eric Mitchell, Bread for the World

Bread for the World trains churchgoers to engage members of Congress in promoting legislation to end world hunger.

Janet Murguia, UnidosUS

The organization formerly known as the National Council of La Raza is the largest and most visible Hispanic civil rights group. One of its top goals is increasing Latino political engagement through voter registration.

Matthew Myers, Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids

Myers has led the charge for enhanced Food and Drug Administration oversight of cigars and electronic cigarettes. He’s also sued the agency, seeking a requirement that graphic warnings be used on cigarette packs and in tobacco ads.

Michael Needham, Heritage Action for America

Needham and Heritage Action tilt the scales in conservative politics, forcing members of the Republican Party to stick to their campaign promises.

Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform

Norquist has been in his element championing the tax-reform push from President Trump and congressional Republicans, promoting it at events and on television; his imprimatur will undoubtedly be on the final legislation.

Tim Phillips, Americans for Prosperity 

The advocacy group is putting the heat on Republicans and red-state Democrats to support a tax overhaul; it ratcheted up the pressure this summer with more than 1,000 meetings with members of Congress.

Melinda Pierce, Sierra Club

Blessed with the largest membership in the green advocacy space, the Sierra Club is putting all its weight into campaigning against the Trump administration’s environmental policies. 

Paul Rieckhoff, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America

Rieckhoff, the founder and CEO of IAVA, has emerged as a leading voice on defense and veterans issues, weighing in on battles such as extending the VA Choice program and expanding the post-9/11 G.I. Bill.

Andrew Roth, Club for Growth

Roth, a former securities trader, has spent 14 years turning Club for Growth into a mainstay of conservative policy and electoral politics as its top lobbyist.

Joshua Saks, National Wildlife Federation 

Saks marked his seventh year with NWF in 2017. He’s been the group’s go-to expert on the National Flood Insurance Program, testifying before a House Financial Services subcommittee on the issue this summer.

Lee Saunders, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees

Saunders leads the nation’s largest and fastest growing public services employees union, which has lobbied hard against the recent congressional attempts to repeal ObamaCare, as well as against the administration’s tax package.

Tom Schatz, Citizens Against Government Waste

Known for their successful push to stop earmarks, Schatz and his right-leaning group keep sounding the alarm about wasteful spending in Washington. 

Faiz Shakir, American Civil Liberties Union

Tasked with turning the ACLU’s post-Trump fundraising surge into political action, Shakir, once a top staffer for former Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), has been called the most powerful Muslim in American politics.

Christopher Shelton, Communications Workers of America

Shelton is now in his second year as CWA president, guiding the union’s 700,000 members as they square off against the telecom industry and President Trump’s tax plan.

Tiernan Sittenfeld, League of Conservation Voters

Sittenfeld makes sure that the campaign-focused LCV is heard in the legislative arena as lawmakers battle over Arctic National Wildlife Refuge drilling and changes to the Antiquities Act.

Richard Trumka and Bill Samuel, AFL-CIO

While Trumka and Samuel have tried to influence President Trump’s approach to the North American Free Trade Agreement, they have fought his appointments to the National Labor Relations Board. Now, the labor giant is ready for war against the GOP’s tax plan.

Ana Unruh Cohen and Scott Slesinger, Natural Resources Defense Council

Unruh Cohen came to NRDC from Sen. Ed Markey’s (D-Mass.) office in June, adding new talent to the environmental heavyweight. Slesinger is the group’s legislative mastermind.

Fred Wertheimer, Democracy 21 

Wertheimer is a tireless champion for reforming campaign finance laws. He has backed the investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. election, warning of “the corruption of our democracy.” 

Dennis Williams, United Auto Workers

Williams made sure that autoworkers have a seat at that table in the critical renegotiations over the North American Free Trade Agreement; the outcome of the talks could affect the industry for years to come.

Dylan Williams, J Street

Williams is J Street’s vice president of government affairs, putting him at the heart of the group’s battles in support of the Iran nuclear deal and more aggressive U.S. action against West Bank settlements.

Read more from The Hill:

Top Lobbyists 2017: Associations

Top Lobbyists 2017: Hired Guns

Top Lobbyists 2017: Corporate

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