In an article in The Hill, Ivan Adler discusses the new popularity of Charles Schumer’s former aides.
By Megan R. Wilson | April 12, 2015
The anointment of Sen. Charles Schumer as the next Democratic leader is creating new royalty on K Street. popularity
At least 30 former aides to the New York Democrat now work in the influence industry, according to a review by The Hill, and their stock is soaring now that Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is preparing to hand him the leadership reins.
“They’re the new ‘it-animal’ in the forest and they also happen to work on the most important street in the forest — K Street and Pennsylvania Avenue,” said Ivan Adler, a principal at The McCormick Group.
“He will be a very active participant in leadership, so that it’s never bad to know a member who is very active. Schumer may be the quintessential high-profile member.”
Prominent lobbyists in “Schumerland” include Erick Mullen, a managing director at Mercury; Jim Kessler, a co-founder and the senior vice president for policy at the centrist think tank Third Way; Sean Sweeney at The Messina Group and Izzy Klein, a principal at the Podesta Group.
Other Schumer alums on K Street include Nicole Di Resta, senior vice president of Cassidy & Associates; David Hantman, the head of global public policy at Airbnb; Carmencita Whonder of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck; Jason Abel, an of counsel at Steptoe & Johnson, among many others.
Schumer’s ascension to Democratic leader is putting his current and former aides in high demand, with corporations, trade groups and advocacy organizations seeking a connection to him.
“In big deals and small deals — at some point, these things all get done in a small circle of people,” said a former leadership aide-turned-lobbyist. “A lot of the downtown world is about coverage — you want to know who is going in the last room [of negotiations] on any kind of effort.”
“You’ve got to have some [of those] relationships so you know what’s going on behind the curtain before the issue gets there,” the lobbyist, who asked for anonymity in order to speak freely, added.
Schumer still has roughly 20 months before the Democratic caucus casts their ballots for leader, but he appears to have the position all but wrapped up.
Reid endorsed Schumer to succeed him when he announced his retirement last month, and potential rivals for the position have said they won’t challenge him for the job. With the election map in 2016 tilted toward Democrats, it’s possible that Schumer’s leadership of the caucus will make him majority leader in 2017.
Former aides to the senator said they began to receive phone calls from current and prospective clients almost immediately after Reid announced his retirement plans.
What everyone wanted to know, lobbyists said, was how the power shift would change the Senate landscape.
“There was a lot of that activity over the last week and I think that folks are looking at what the Senate is going to be like in 18 months or so,” said Abel, who last worked for Schumer in 2011 while on the Senate Rules Committee.
“Certainly there was some interest in figuring out what will be the agenda and how will a change of leadership impact that agenda.”
Lobbyists are generally optimistic about Schumer’s move into the leadership position, viewing him as a pragmatic dealmaker who can work with Republicans […]
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