Top Lobbyists

Top Lobbyists 2017: Associations

Greg Nash

Dana Atkins, Military Officers Association of America

A retired Air Force lieutenant general and command pilot, Atkins took charge of the association in 2016, stepping into the fight to protect the pay and benefits of U.S. troops.

Mitch Bainwol, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers 

Bainwol was a key player behind legislation that would pave the way for self-driving cars; that bill could become the first federal law to govern autonomous vehicles.

Mark Baker, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association

Baker has put general aviation at the center of the debate over privatizing air traffic control, persuading a number of wavering lawmakers to oppose the plan.


Meredith Attwell Baker, CTIA-The Wireless Association

The one-time Texas lawyer rose to prominence in the Bush years and is now using her experience at the Federal Communications Commission to help the telecom industry fend off net neutrality rules. 

Michael Beckerman, Internet Association

Beckerman is helping internet companies navigate the charged political fights that increasingly touch the industry from privacy battles to patent issues.

Kenneth Bentsen Jr. and Andy Blocker, Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association

Bentsen and Blocker are out front for the financial industry as it fights against the Obama-era fiduciary rule on investment advisers.

B. Dan Berger and Brad Thaler, National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions 

Berger and Thaler manned NAFCU’s lobbying operation during a critical time, leading a successful effort to keep the industry’s federal regulator away from tighter congressional control.

Joshua Bolten, Business Roundtable

The former chief of staff to President George W. Bush took over from
John Engler as leader of the Roundtable this year as its corporate CEO members looked to capitalize on a unified government. 

John Bozzella, Global Automakers

Bozzella and his group have been intensely focused on technological advances in the auto space and the Trump administration’s trade policy agenda.

Kevin Burke, Airports Council International — North America

After just three years on the job, Burke secured a long-sought victory for his industry when a Senate panel supported lifting the cap on a passenger fee that helps pay for airport upgrades.

Nicholas Calio, Airlines for America

Calio steered the industry through a major patch of turbulence after a string of airline controversies this year, fending off a number of bills intended to crack down on the industry.

Kateri Callahan, Alliance to Save Energy

The long-time president of the Alliance to Save Energy has led the charge against Trump administration proposals to end the Energy Star program, a popular public-private energy efficiency effort.

Robert Cresanti, International Franchise Association

Cresanti has led the charge for repealing an Obama-era National Labor Relations Board ruling that could make franchisors liable for labor law violations committed by subcontractors or franchisees.

Richard Deem, American Medical Association 

A former Reagan official, Deem directs federal and state advocacy for the nation’s largest association of physicians. This year, they opposed the GOP effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act and worked to combat the opioid epidemic. 

Bob Dinneen, Renewable Fuels Association

Dinneen has been in the trenches of numerous policy fights involving biofuels. He successfully pushed back when fuel refiners sought a significant change to the ethanol mandate.

Thomas Donohue, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

The dean of the business community is ringing out a clear message in the Chamber’s campaign for tax reform: “Failure is not an option.” 

Cal Dooley and Bryan Zumwalt, American Chemistry Council

The council is the voice of top chemical manufacturers in Washington, holding sway across a wide range of regulatory and legislative debates.

Roger Dow and Jonathan Grella, U.S. Travel Association

This powerhouse team has worked to promote U.S. tourism at a time when federal policy has threatened to put a damper on travel.

Juanita Duggan, National Federation of Independent Business

Small businesses recently scored a big win with a health-care executive order from President Trump; now the group wants an even bigger prize, a tax-reform overhaul that levels the playing field for its members.

Martin Edwards, Interstate Natural Gas Association of America

Trump’s energy policy has been a boon to Edwards and the natural gas pipeline industry, particularly with the repeal of former President Obama’s policy to consider climate change in the federal environmental review process.

Camden Fine, Independent Community Bankers of America

Fine, who announced he would be stepping down next year, has huddled with Trump and lawmakers about dialing back Dodd-Frank regulations on small local banks — a mission with bipartisan support and good odds of success.

Geoff Freeman, American Gaming Association

The gaming group is on the cusp of a major breakthrough as the Supreme Court considers whether to lift the federal ban on sports betting.

David French, National Retail Federation  

French is chief lobbyist for the world’s largest retail trade association, pushing for cuts to corporate tax rates as part of the Republican plan to rewrite the tax code.

Neil Fried, The Motion Picture Association of America

Fried, a former House Energy and Commerce Committee lawyer, brings nearly a decade of Capitol Hill experience to an industry that is being transformed by the proliferation of digital streaming services.

Lee Fuller, Independent Petroleum Association of America

Fuller, who has been with the industry group since 1998, has seen it all. Its membership has a lot to celebrate this year, including rollbacks to former President Obama’s drilling regulations.

Michael Gallagher and Erik Huey, Entertainment Software Association

It’s not all fun and games for the video game industry; the organization has been focused on tax and trade issues as the Trump administration charts a new course for the economy.

Dean Garfield, Information Technology Industry Council

Garfield is thinking globally, expanding the group’s advocacy in Europe, where regulators are making life difficult for major American tech companies.

Jack Gerard, American Petroleum Institute

Gerard and the oil and natural gas industry keep racking up wins, from the proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan to rollbacks of regulations that limit methane emissions from oil and gas drilling.

Jerry Giovaniello, National Association of Realtors

Showing strength in numbers, the realtors have mobilized against Republican proposals to repeal the state and local tax deduction and limit the mortgage-interest deduction.

James Greenwood, Biotechnology Innovation Organization

Greenwood came to the private sector in 2005 with a wealth of knowledge, having spent more than a decade grappling with health and science issues as a Republican leader on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Edward Hamberger, Association of American Railroads

Hamberger has been plugging away to ensure that railroad funding and other rail-friendly priorities are included in any infrastructure package that comes out of the White House.

Jerry Howard, National Association of Home Builders

A long-time player in the real estate world, Howard has put his imprint on policies ranging from affordable housing to mortgage regulation.

Richard Hunt, Consumer Bankers Association

For eight years and counting, Hunt has been guiding the retail banking industry through an era of technological upheaval.

Chip Kahn, Federation of American Hospitals

The longtime head of for-profit hospitals was in the thick of the action this year, helping marshal opposition to several ObamaCare repeal proposals.

Dirk Kempthorne, American Council of Life Insurers

Kempthorne’s group notched an important victory after the Financial Stability Oversight Council rescinded its “systemically important” designation for the American International Group (AIG). 

Maria Korsnick, Nuclear Energy Institute

The institute went with an industry veteran when it named a new president late last year; Korsnick had been NEI’s chief operation officer since 2015 and has experience at Exelon Generation and the Constellation Energy Nuclear Group.

Thomas Kuhn and Brian Wolff, Edison Electric Institute

Electric utilities are central to Trump’s efforts to dial back major environmental regulations, and Kuhn and Wolff are working constantly to make sure utilities’ wishes are heard.

Linda Lipsen, American Association for Justice

Lipsen has spent her career protecting the rights of consumers to settle disputes with companies in court. She is also a fundraising force, having bundled more than $1 million for Hillary Clinton’s White House bid.  

Katherine Lugar, American Hotel & Lodging Association

As the head of the hotel industry’s flagship trade association, Lugar has been defending the sector’s interests while working to promote tourism. 

Dave McCurdy and Kyle Rogers, American Gas Association

AGA has lobbied Congress on a host of issues this year, from the tax code to cybersecurity, working to ensure that federal cyber guidelines give industry flexibility. 

Nancy McLernon, Organization for International Investment

McLernon’s group, which speaks for the U.S. operations of global companies, has been pushing for the repeal of the Obama administration’s anti-inversion rules. Trump officials are listening and have pledged to review them.

David Melcher, Aerospace Industries Association 

Melcher, who took over as AIA’s chief executive in June 2015 and will retire in December, helped guide the country’s largest defense industry association into a new political era.

Mark Merritt, Pharmaceutical Care Management Association 

Merritt has power in numbers as leader of the industry association for pharmacy benefit managers. The group spent 2017 working to keep drug costs down for consumers. 

Kraig Naasz, Mark Gorman and David Culver, Distilled Spirits Council

Lobbyists for the alcohol industry often make their mark at the state level; back in Washington, they are keeping close tabs on tax reform, which could have a major impact on the spirits industry. 

Rob Nichols, American Bankers Association

As head of the powerful banking group, Nichols is a player to watch as the GOP seeks to roll back much of the Dodd-Frank Act under President Trump.

Rich Nolan, National Mining Association

President Trump promised during the campaign to revive the coal industry, and the miners are keeping him to his word; their focus is overhauling regulations and laws governing the industry.  

Jim Nussle, Credit Union National Association

The former House Budget Committee chairman is a big reason why credit unions exert such influence on financial regulations.

Mark Parkinson, American Health Care Association

Parkinson, the former governor of Kansas, now heads the nursing home trade group as it stands guard against cuts to Medicaid and Medicare. 

Tim Pawlenty, Financial Services Roundtable

The former Republican governor of Minnesota has settled in as a financial power player. He fought against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s arbitration rule.

Richard Pollack, American Hospital Association

It was a busy year for Pollack as the AHA mobilized against the various iterations of the House and Senate bills to repeal ObamaCare; their advocacy paid dividends, with the effort likely pushed back at least to 2018.

Michael Powell, National Cable & Telecommunications Association

Powell, son of Colin Powell, was once chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, giving him an authoritative voice as the NCTA campaigns for scaled-back FCC regulations.

Craig Purser and Laurie Knight, National Beer Wholesalers Association

At a time when the beer industry faces consolidation and changing consumer habits, lobbyists for beer distributors keep their members ahead of the curve.

Jim Reilly, American Wind Energy Association

Defending wind energy under the Trump administration is no easy task, but AWEA is laser-focused on selling the economic and employment benefits of wind energy to middle America.

John Rother, National Coalition on Health Care

Rother leads a coalition of more than 80 health-care organizations seeking an affordable, high-value health-care system; this year, it helped sink repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Bob Rusbuldt and Charles Symington, Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America

The “Big I” was a force to be reckoned with as it battled for a wide array of flood insurance legislation in 2017, including a long-term extension of the National Flood Insurance Program.

Jennifer Safavian, Retail Industry Leaders Association

The retail industry’s clout was on full display as Safavian helped bury a GOP tax provision that would have placed a higher tax on imports.

Stephen Sandherr, The Associated General Contractors of America

The leader of the construction worker trade group since 1997, Sandherr is pressing Congress to review rules and regulations related to infrastructure.

J.C. Scott, AdvaMed

Since joining the medical device group in 2011, Scott has been a chief advocate for repealing ObamaCare’s tax on medical devices, a cause backed by members of both parties. 

Gary Shapiro, Consumer Technology Association

When Shapiro’s CTA isn’t organizing the popular Consumer Electronics Show, it’s pushing Congress to take action on driverless cars, tax reform and free trade policies.

Cicely Simpson, National Restaurant Association  

Simpson is on a mission as the restaurant industry seeks the reversal of a labor ruling that made franchisors potentially liable for labor law violations committed by franchisees.

Emily Skor, Growth Energy

Skor is trying to ensure that President Trump abides by his pro-ethanol promises; already, the Environmental Protection Agency has disavowed a regulatory change that would have reduced the ethanol-blending mandate.

Gordon Smith, National Association of Broadcasters

Smith served for 11 years in the Senate, so he gives political heft to broadcasters as they do battle with tech firms over spectrum and broadcasting white spaces.

Jonathan Spalter, USTelecom

In his first year as USTelecom’s president and CEO, Spalter is notching major deregulatory victories in Congress and at the Federal Communications Commission.

Scott Talbott, Electronic Transactions Association

The way consumers spend their money is evolving rapidly, but the association is keeping pace with the help of Talbott, a Washington veteran. 

Marilyn Tavenner, America’s Health Insurance Plans

Tavenner, a former Obama administration health official, has her work cut out for her as insurance companies navigate the turbulence surrounding the Affordable Care Act.

Mary Kay Thatcher, American Farm Bureau Federation

The farm policy powerhouse is tracking issues like crop insurance, voluntary labeling requirements for bioengineered foods and disease surveillance response — and that only scratches the surface of its work.

Chet Thompson, American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers

Refiners have celebrated President Trump’s moves in support of fossil fuels and manufacturing, giving the industry a jolt of momentum.

Jay Timmons and Aric Newhouse, National Association of Manufacturers

NAM is a soldier in the GOP’s march for tax reform. Timmons has been a frequent White House visitor, and Newhouse is using his decade of experience at the group to gain policy wins.

Stephen Ubl and Lori Reilly, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America

The drug industry’s largest trade group  has largely fought off congressional action on drug pricing, while launching a campaign to showcase the biopharmaceutical industry’s advances in science.

Dirk Van Dongen, National Association of Wholesale-Distributors 

Van Dongen, a fixture on the GOP fundraising circuit, led the way for the distributors as they won a permanent ban on an Obama administration rule expanding overtime pay.

Nathaniel Wienecke, Property Casualty Insurers Association of America

The insurance group made its presence felt in the debate over the National Flood Insurance Program, but its influence extends far and wide, even into tax reform.

Molly Wilkinson, Electronic Payments Coalition

Wilkinson — who’s led the organization for two and half years — is using her industry bona fides to help the group’s members obtain clarity and flexibility from Washington as consumers turn to  electronic payments.

J. Stephen Zielezienski, American Insurance Association

Zielezienski has been with the organization for two decades; at the top of his agenda are changes to the Dodd-Frank financial reform law and the renewal of provisions dealing with terrorism risk and federal flood insurance.

Read more from The Hill:

Top Lobbyists 2017: Grass roots

Top Lobbyists 2017: Hired Guns

Top Lobbyists 2017: Corporate

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