On November 2, when the political power dynamic shifted and Republicans took back the House and narrowed the gap in the Senate, a simultaneous shift occurred among the people who seek to have influence over congressional power players. In the aftermath of the midterm elections, there are a number of lobbying firms whose connections and experience would seem to put them in a position of extraordinary influence in the coming Congress. The Daily Caller spoke to some of these firms about their new found influence. Here’s what we learned from some top firms.
Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti, Inc.
As would seem obvious, lobbyists are more popular when their party is in power. “As a bipartisan firm we’ve stayed quite busy these past two years,” said Bruce Mehlman, co-founder of Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti, Inc., “but there’s no doubt our Republicans’ phones are ringing a lot more in November than they were in October.”
Mehlman’s firm is tremendously plugged into the House. He himself served as general counsel to the National Republican Congressional Committee from 1996 to 1999, and was the policy director for the House Republican Conference under former Republican Oklahoma Rep. J.C. Watts.
Elise Finley Pickering, another member of the firm, was Arizona Republican Rep. John Shadegg’s chief of staff, the staff director for the Republican Policy Committee, and congressional liaison to the Bush-Cheney campaign in 2004 for all the Republicans in the House. For dealing with this year’s hot topic of health care, MVC has Dean Rosen, who is a former Ways and Means Committee health care staffer.
On the Senate side, the firm has Alex Vogel, who was the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s general counsel, and also served as the policy director for former Republican Tennessee Sen. Bill Frist of Tennessee, who was Senate majority leader at that time.
Though Republican lobbyists appear to have an edge in the upcoming year, Mehlman touts the benefits of being a bipartisan firm. “I’ve never met a client that only wanted Republican or Democratic votes,” he told TheDC, “and bipartisan firms with strong partisans on both sides still offer a complete solution to most policy changes.
Fierce & Isakowitz
Fierce & Isakowitz, another lobbying firm, took a different strategy. The lobbying shop has stayed entirely Republican since its founding, sticking with GOP through thick and thin. With strong ties to incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, and California Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who will serve as majority whip in the next Congress, their party loyalty looks like it will pay off in the next Congress.
Though the last few years have been rough for Republicans, Fierce & Isakowitz hasn’t felt the heat. Though they may not offer the “complete solution” of a bipartisan firm, clients often pair them with a Democratic lobbying firm to cover all the bases. In some cases, their partisan make up has inspired loyalty, as their business partners know that they can be trusted not to tell secrets to the other side.