POLITICS, LAW, AND LOBBYING
Sanford K. Ain
Partner, Ain & Bank
Sandy Ain is considered to be Washington’s top divorce lawyer – clients respect him for his honesty and ethics, not to mention his track record for winning high-profile cases. He’s represented billionaire Steve Rales in his divorce from his wife, Christine. Other clients have included former Maryland First Lady Francis Glendenning and drugstore magnate Herbert Haft. His success in representing billionaire Sheila Johnson in her divorce from BET founder Robert Johnson landed him the role of general counsel of her sports, hotel, and business empires.
Partner, Williams & Connolly
When former British Prime Minister Tony Blair needed a publisher, he called on Barnett, a Washington attorney who brokered book deals for former President Bill Clinton (garnering the latter a cool $10 million for bestseller My Life) and former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan. Others on his impressive client list include Hillary Rodham Clinton, Bob Woodward, Lynne Cheney, Karen Hughes, James Patterson, Katharine Graham, Ari Fleischer, Tim Russert, Stephen White, and Barack Obama. Barnett is also a partner at law firm Williams & Connolly.
Partner, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom
A former homicide trial prosecutor, Bennett’s clients have included ex-NY Times reporter Judith Miller, ex-World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz, and Duke lacrosse players embroiled in the famous rape allegations of 2006. The real proof of his pedigree? He was former President Bill Clinton’s lawyer way back when, during the Paula Jones imbroglio.
Managing Director, Ogilvy Government Relations
An admitted political junkie, Berman served as assistant secretary of commerce during the administration of the first President Bush. He is the founder of Berman Enterprises, a lobbying and business consulting firm he merged with the Federalist Group (for a princely sum) and that was recently acquired by Ogilvy Government Relations (where he raked in even greater sums). His role as one of McCain’s early financial supporters is sure to increase his influence if the Republicans retain the White House.
Former Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, Mid-Atlantic Finance Chair for Obama, and Owner, Don Beyer Volvo
With whispers growing louder that former Virginia governor Mark Warner is on the short list as Barack Obama’s VP pick, Beyer becomes one of the top candidates to run for the open Senate seat from Virginia, given his successful service as lieutenant governor of that state. Either way, Beyer came out early for Obama, and with his wife Megan (who serves on the Women For Obama steering committee with Governor Kane’s wife Anne Holton and Sheila Johnson) has raised a bundle for him as his mid-atlantic finance director, where he serves with Hyatt heiress Penny Pritzker, Obama’s Presidential National Finance Committee Chair. In short, Beyer has access and clout aplenty.
Charles R. Black
Lobbyist, Founder of BKSH
Black recently left his plush position as chair (and founder) of lobbying firm BKSH & Associates, where high-profile clients included General Motors, United Technologies, JP Morgan and AT&T, to work full-time for Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign. Black worked on both the Reagan and George H.W. Bush presidential campaigns and served as an adviser to George W. Bush’s campaigns in 2004 and 2000, where he played a significant role in the Florida recounts. Other inner-sanctum lobbyists who have hitched their wagon to McCain’s rising star include former Rep. Tom Loeffler (R-Texas), who founded the Loeffler Group, and Kirk Blalock of Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock, who leads McCain’s younger supporters and has raised more than $250,000 for him.
President William J. Clinton
Chairman, William J. Clinton Foundation
Regardless of whether or not Hillary wins the Democratic nomination, this former President will continue to exert his power within Democratic circles and beyond. Earlier this year, we learned that he has earned approximately $100 million, in part from speaking engagements, since leaving the White House and raised $400 million for his Clinton Global Initiative foundation, which attracts over 50 heads of state to its annual conference. Last year’s gathering brought in $7.3 billion in committed donations for causes near to the former president’s heart: health security, economic empowerment, environmental security, leadership development, and cross-cultural understanding.
Tom & Linda Daschle
Special Policy Advisor, Altson & Bird
Lobbyist, Baker Donelson Bearman & Caldwell
When the former Senate majority leader lost his South Dakota seat, some thought his political days were numbered. But as one of the first senior Democrats to throw his weight behind Obama, Daschle’s access and influence on the likely presidential nominee is considerable, ranking with such Obama longtime friends and Harvard Law Review classmates Julius Genachowski of Rock Creek Ventures and Tom Perelli of Jenner and Block. He and his wife, Linda Daschle, one of the top aviation lobbyists in town, are among Washington’s top power couples.
Rick Davis and Mark Salter
McCain Campaign Manager
Former Senate Chief of Staff to John McCain
Salter, who is known as “McCain’s closest confidante and alter-ego,” recently left his Senate position to join manager Rick Davis in leading the campaign. A speechwriter for McCain and a former aide to neo-conservative diplomat Jeanne Kirkpatrick, Salter is also close with Bill Kristol, McCain’s most influential foreign policy advisor. Together with Davis, whose lobbying shop stepped up to the plate for McCain last year when almost all hope was lost, they are the campaign’s primary gatekeepers. Davis has assembled a team of trusted McCain advisors that includes Doug Holts-Eakin and Kevin Hassatt, both whom advise on domestic policy.
Chairman, Democratic National Committee
Although perhaps deliberately not as omnipresent as his predecessor, Terry McAuliffe, Dean revolutionized internet fundraising in his 2004 presidential bid, and insiders say Obama’s success in this arena is “Dean 3.0.” His power is also reflected in his enforcement of the presidential candidates’ agreement on the Florida and Michigan vote, as well as the fact that he appoints the 25 swing votes to the Democratic Convention Credentials Committee (which could ultimately help decide who becomes the nominee should this race go all the way). The party powers are also impressed with his micro-targeted approach to rebuilding the DNC’s voter file and the rollout of his 50-state strategy. Most importantly, Dean is one of the few who can bring the gavel down on “super-delegates” and settle the contentious nominee fight by early June.
Frank Fahrenkopf, Jr.
President & CEO, American Gaming Association (AGA)
Forget Vegas: viva Frank Fahrenkopf, Jr. A former Republican party chairman, Fahrenkopf is the national advocate for the commercial casino industry and is responsible for positioning the AGA to address regulatory, political, and educational issues affecting its members. Now he’s pushing legislation to allow casinos to operate in the U.S. instead of offshore and enable users to gamble from their television sets.
Chair, Victory 2008, RNC
Over the past year, Washington has seen more and more of the former Hewlett Packard head and savvy business executive, and after recently being named Chair of Victory, 2008 for the RNC, we’re likely to see more of her. An early supporter of McCain, her name has been discussed as one of his possible vice president picks (He’s been open about his lack of economic knowledge). With her regular commentary on the new Fox News Business channel, she might not be a bad choice.
The AIPAC presidency carries with it Congress’ utmost attention, as Friedman knows well. The New York Times called this steadily-growing, 1,000,000-member powerhouse “the most important organization affecting America’s relationship with Israel,” making it a pretty big grassroots affair – more like a treetop affair at this point, really. “If you want to be involved with issues affecting the U.S.-Israel relationship, there is no place to be involved like AIPAC,” Friedman says.
Lobbyist, Ashcroft Group
Glover, who once worked for Vice President Cheney and supports McCain, has made her Wyoming Avenue residence a place to be for power hobnobbing, the release of the latest “it book,” or fundraisers for local charities. The Republican operative and power hostess is known as much for putting on her dancing shoes as her power suits. As an early backer of McCain’s presidential bid, she traveled with the Senator and assisted with communications during crunch time, before he locked the nomination.
Chairman, Hogan & Hartson
Known for his law practice in corporate finance, securities offerings, mergers and acquisitions, real estate, and investment trusts, this superlawyer is able to manage his practice as well as his firm – no small task with over 1,100 lawyers and 22 offices worldwide.
President & CEO of Aspen Institute
After a career that included stints as the Editor In Chief of Time Magazine and as chairman of CNN, this successful journalist and best-selling author now cultivates enlightened leadership and intellectual dialogue at The Aspen Institute. A political moderate, Isaacson’s influence derives from his ability to bring major players like Colin Powell, Bill Clinton, and Henry Kissinger to the table, in order to tackle some of the most divisive issues of our time.
Vice Chairman, Persus LLC
Johnson’s presence in Washington power circles is fortified by his sheer ubiquity. He’s run Fannie Mae, led the Brookings Institution, been chairman of the Kennedy Center, and has been involved in almost every Democratic presidential campaign since 1972. Today, he’s a vice chairman of the private banking firm Perseus LLC, and a board member at Goldman Sachs, Gannett Company, Inc., KB Home, Target Corporation, Temple-Inland, and UnitedHealth Group, as well as a member of the American Friends of Bilderberg, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Trilateral Commission. Through his friendship with Tom Daschle and others, Johnson has thrown his weight behind Obama’s presidential bid as well.
Former Vice President and Founder of Current TV
Gore must get mighty tired of repeating the phrase, “I have no plans to run.” You’ll have to forgive those who can’t stop asking; 2007 was definitely the Year of Gore. Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, starring in the Academy-Award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth, organizing global warming benefit concert Live Earth: Gore went from awkward stiff who lost the nomination in 2004 to bona fide environmental rock star in a comeback that rivaled John Travolta’s. As arguably the most senior Democratic leader and super-delegate who remains uncommitted, he is likely to play a key role in the eventual outcome of the Democratic nomination race. Moreover, together with a coterie of environmental lobbying groups like the NRDC and the Sierra Club, he will continue to exert tremendous influence on environmental security policy.
Senior Managing Director, Lazard Freres & Co. LLC and Senior Counsel, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld
Jordan may sit on more corporate boards than anyone else in the country and he’s remained an active player in Washington, despite spending considerable time in New York. He’s a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and was part of the Iraq Study Group. Although he is a big Hillary supporter, he also hosted one of the first fundraisers for Obama’s Senate campaign. In short, this Democratic powerbroker could play an instrumental role in healing the nomination fight over the next few months and is likely to see his influence increase should either Democrat win the presidency.
Director, Pew Research Center
A day doesn’t go by without the Pew Research Center’s studies getting mentioned in the press. Kohut not only helps to gauge public opinion on everything from current issues to voting trends throughout the election, but he also gives valuable interpretation of the data which is very useful to political analysts.
Anthony Lake and Susan Rice
Senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and
Professor at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service
Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution
Word has it that former Clinton National Security Adviser Tony Lake and Susan Rice (also a former Assistant Secretary of State under Clinton) are the two top foreign policy advisors to Senator Obama. Add campaign staff foreign policy director and Latin American specialist Denis McDonaugh (the former foreign policy adviser to then-Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle), Center for American Progress foreign policy expert Lawrence Korb, Clinton-era National Security Council Southeast Europe specialist Mark Brzezinski, and recently departed Pulitzer-prize-winner and Darfur activist Samantha Power, and you’ve got a serious superstar roster. Obama will put all these players to good use if elected, as he’ll no doubt have a number of foreign policy conundrums to sort out….
Although Dick Armitage may be the primary realist foreign policy advisor to McCain, insiders consider Bill Kristol (Fox News commentator, Weekly Standard editor, former Chief of Staff to VP Quayle, son of neo-con godfather Irving Kristol, Iraq war cheerleader, and now, op-ed columnist for the New York Times) to be the most influential voice in the campaign on such matters. As a testament to his influence, Kristol has helped embed other neo-cons into the McCain camp, including Randy Scheunemann (McCain’s foreign policy director who drafted the Iraq Liberation Act and was on the board of Kristol’s Project for a New American Century), former CIA director James Woolsey, former Wall Street Journal editorial editor Max Boot, and Robert and Frederick Kagan, of SAIS and AEI, who authored the report that led to the Iraq-surge strategy and were brought into the administration with the support of Cheney and Lieberman to convince the President to approve the escalation. Insiders say these are the people who guide McCain’s foreign policy.
As controversial as gun laws are, there’s no doubt that gun lobbyists are a powerful bunch regardless of the outcome of a particular bill. LaPierre has served as executive vice president and chief executive officer of the National Rifle Association since 1991. He’s no stranger to politics, and he lobbied effectively against presidential nominee John Kerry in 2004 (look who lost). In a town run by a Democratic Congress, power, for him, is the absence of anti-handgun legislation, which has been conspicuous to say the least.
President, Americans for Tax Reform
Although he’s had an extensive list of corporate interests over the years (including American Express, NRA, and Microsoft) this in-your-face lobbyist heads the conservative Americans for Tax Reform and hosts weekly gatherings for Republican power players (most recently with Condoleezza Rice). McCain will likely need to reach out to Norquist to garner support from the Republican base.
Executive Director, AARP
As we know from the deterioration of the financial stability of Social Security, Americans are aging in record numbers. This pretty much makes the AARP one of the most powerful interest groups on the planet. Novelli has made it his mission to explore economic changes in Social Security and prioritize the continued well-being of 35 million American senior citizens age 50 or older, half of whom remain actively employed. He has also successfully crusaded against President Bush’s approach to health care and will exert considerable influence in the upcoming presidential election.
Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher
Olsen has touched many Supreme Court cases. As former solicitor general of the United States and assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel, Olsen has argued nearly 50 Supreme Court cases including the notorious Bush v. Gore and Bush v. Palm Beach County Canvassing Board. He has served as private counsel under the Reagan and the current Bush administration and has worked consistently with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher since 1965.
Partner, AKP Message & Media
Having purchased a house on Macomb Street in 2006 when he was a strategist at the Democratic Congressional and Senatorial Campaign Committees, Plouffe, together with pollster-strategist David Axelrod, are in the nerve center of the Obama campaign together with Director of Communications Robert Gibbs (who travels with Obama), National Press Secretary Bill Burton, speechwriter Jon Faverau, and Domestic Policy Advisor Heather Higgenbottom. Axelrod and Plouffe have produced winning media and messages for over 150 campaigns at the local, state, and national levels and, along with Obama’s Senate Chief of Staff Peter Rouse, have helped turn a relative newcomer into the likely nominee for the Democratic party.
President, Podesta Group
Podesta is regularly mentioned as one of Washington’s top lobbyists and best-connected dealmakers by The National Journal, Wired magazine, and The Hill newspaper. As a legislative and public relations strategist, his public relations are obviously on point, and he played an instrumental role in Senator Clinton’s win in Pennsylvania. Additionally, his ties to members of Congress and local interest groups make him an obvious choice for Washington’s must-hire-lobbyist list.
President, Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Raised in Texas (she’s the daughter of former Texas Gov. Anne Richards), Cecile Richards obviously doesn’t cotton to antiquated notions of women’s roles. She previously served as founder and president of America Votes, a coalition of more than 30 national organizations, including the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, of which she also served as president. She was also deputy chief of staff to Rep. Nancy Pelosi and is married to Kirk Adams of the Service Employees International Union.
Political Operative and Commentator
Though he’s no longer in the power seat at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, most believe that Rove’s star is still rising. Right-wing Republicans can’t get enough of his political commentary on Fox News. And “Bush’s brain” recently signed big contracts with The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, and Simon & Schuster; the latter offered him a cool $1.5 million for his memoirs. The GOP still believes he holds the cards to securing the Republican base, which McCain needs to win.
Bob Strauss & Bruce McLean
Founder and Chairman
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld
Bob Strauss and Bruce McLean still preside over top lawyer and lobbying shop Akin Gump. The firm just won a $666 (the largest in the history of Medicare program) million Medicare settlement from the Federal Government for 660 hospitals on top of a string of cases so successful that American Lawyer ranked their litigation practices as in the five best in the country. Partner Steven Ross, who manages the firm’s oversight practice, which is ranked second after Patton Boggs in terms of revenue by National Journal, says the workload has more than doubled in 2007 from 2006. They must be doing something right.
Brendan Sullivan, Jr. and Greg Craig
Partners, Williams & Connolly
Although this law firm has its fair share of star talent, Sullivan and Craig are two standouts. In addition to his legal practice, where he’s represented a host of well-known clients including John Hinckley and Elian Gonzales, Craig has handled debate negotiations for the Obama campaign and advises the senator on foreign policy. Sullivan has defended Ollie North during the Iran-Contra scandal, enough to get him Mount Olympus status among Washington litigators. Described by the Washington Post as a “world-class lawyer,” and consistently ranked by the National Law Journal as one of “America’s One Hundred Most Influential Lawyers,” Sullivan has also represented former Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Henry Cisneros; Walter A. Forbes, former chairman of Cendant Corporation; and a number of states against Microsoft.
John Sweeney (Labor Power)
President of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations
Sweeney ushered in a breath of fresh air upon ascending to the office of president, bringing with him a focus on the younger generation of workers. Eventually, his commitment to change shook up the AFL-CIO, which split in two, with Service Employees International Union president and power broker Andrew Stern heading the new “Change To Win” branch with Anna Burger, SEIU International Secretary-Treasurer and one of Washingtonian’s 2006 Most Powerful Women, and James Hoffa. Jr. of the Teamsters. Gerald McEntee, president of American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees International, stuck with Sweeney and the AFL-CIO. Together these five represent the most influential players in the labor movement and will exert considerable influence in this year’s presidential election.
John Podesta, Strobe Talbott, and Chris DeMuth
Respectively, Presidents of Center for American Progress, Brookings Institution, and American Enterprise Institute
These three think tanks likely house the largest number of future cabinet members and political staffers ready to return to government when the White House changes hands. Podesta, who was President Clinton’s chief of staff, founded and developed CAP into the pre-eminent center left think-tank. A number of CAP’s fellows are busy advising Clinton, and even more have signed on with Obama. Talbott, who was a Rhodes Scholar with President Clinton, helms the centrist Brookings Institution, whose reports are the third-most cited by members of Congress. Brookings has fellows supporting all three campaigns. Since 1986, Christopher DeMuth has presided over the growth and rising influence of AEI on the Republican right, bringing in neo-conservative architects of the Iraq war such as Richard Pearle. AEI’s Kevin Hassett is also one of McCain’s key economic advisors.
Hillary Clinton’s Communications Director
When chief strategist Mark Penn was stripped of his title, political consultant and former Glover Park Group partner Howard Wolfson took over the top job in the Clinton campaign. Ironically, though the titles have changed (and pollster/strategist Geoff Garrin has been brought in), much is the same and Penn’s firm Burson-Marsteller “will continue to poll for the campaign and play an important role advising both Senator Clinton and former President Clinton,” while Wolfson and Garrin are tasked with helping to shape the senator’s message.
Generals Anthony Zinni and Wesley Clark
These two outspoken anti-Iraq war generals have helped bolster the Democratic party position on foreign policy. Zinni is considered a top choice for vice president on an Obama ticket and Clark, who has Southern and national security credentials, has been an ardent advocate for Senator Clinton and is likely to be tapped for a senior role if either democratic candidate wins.