The Influencers 50: Enforcers

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The campaign finance attorneys, lobbyists and watchdogs whose causes will shape the outcome of 2014 and beyond.


Campaigns & Elections has selected 10 individuals in five categories for what we're calling The Influencers 50: Communicators, Disruptors, Campaigners, Enforcers and Activists.

The stage is still being set for the final midterm election of the Obama administration and while it's not easy to predict what will move D.C. several months from now, these leaders are sure to be in the mix. See the complete list of Influencers here.

Colin Crowell Head of Global Public Policy, Twitter Now that Twitter is a publicly-traded company, expect it to start twisting even more arms in Washington, D.C. where the social network is tracking a variety of legislation, including some bills related to the National Security Agency's surveillance procedures. Add in the fact that the site is now a campaign staple and it equates to making Crowell a powerful voice in 2014. A former adviser to the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, and long-time staffer to now-Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey, Crowell knows how to navigate Capitol Hill .

Marc Elias Partner, Perkins Coie A white-collar defense attorney with a robust government relations practice, Elias represents several of the Democratic petitioners in pressing cases before the Federal Election Commission. He recently won approval for the Democratic Governors Association to use an offshoot group to engage in GOTV. With the campaign finance landscape changing quickly, and a decision in yet another Supreme Court case slated for next summer, Elias is sure to be busy next cycle helping his clients navigate the current environment. Among them: The DGA, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. 

Rob EngstromSenior Vice President, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Engstrom is the Chamber’s in-house political strategist and in a year of GOP civil war, his call on whom the business group supports or targets will have added weight. The Republican National Committee vet, who also recorded a stint on the Bush campaign’s recount team in Florida in 2000, could help organize the party establishment’s pushback against Tea Party primary challengers ahead of 2014 if the Chamber decides to jump into the primary game. In the 2012 cycle, the Chamber spent some $31 million in competitive House and Senate contests.

Marne LevineVice President of Global Public Policy, Facebook As chief of staff to the National Economic Council, Levine worked under Lawrence Summers while he helped direct the White House’s response to the 2008 economic crisis. Now part of Facebook’s lobbying “dream team,” the former Obama administration insider will help the social media giant exert its influence in 2014 when it’s tracking a smattering of privacy and online regulatory legislation.

Donald McGahnPartner, Patton Boggs McGahn is sure to be one of the GOP’s point men for campaign finance issues next cycle. McGahn knows the current regulatory environment well, in part, because his tenure as chairman of the Federal Election Commission helped shaped that environment. Generally regarded as one of the most influential commissioners in the history of the FEC, McGahn has solid working relationships with both Democrats and Republicans in the campaign finance world. Now in his second stint at Patton Boggs, McGahn is already lining up clients—several of whom want him to help take aim at even more aspects of state and federal campaign finance law.    

Mike NeedhamCEO, Heritage Action for America Needham has made his name at Heritage’s think tank and now its advocacy arm. A bulletproof policy background, which he put to use on former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s presidential campaign, has helped him refine the group’s messaging and take aim at established Republican figures like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The group flexed its muscle in a big way in the run up to the government shutdown, and even though Heritage Action is now going a bit easier on the Republican leadership, the group has the clout to be a thorn in the establishment’s side once again this primary season.    

Trevor PotterPresident, Campaign Legal Center Whether it’s in the pages of the Washington Post, on air with "The Colbert Report" or at the Supreme Court, Potter is one of the few Republican lawyers advocating for reform on money-in-politics issues. His non-profit group, The Campaign Legal Center, rallied opposition to Shaun McCutcheon’s Supreme Court challenge to aggregate contribution limits. A former chairman of the Federal Election Commission and John McCain's presidential campaign lawyer, Potter is a well-recognized voice on lobbying regulation and government ethics. He also heads up the political law practice at Caplin & Drysdale.

John SampsonDirector of Federal Government Affairs, Microsoft A House GOP vet who served under then-Majority Leader Dick Armey, Sampson is now the general in charge of the tech giant’s lobbying army. While Microsoft isn’t nearly as new on the D.C. scene as Twitter and Facebook, it’s got the same laundry list of legislative concerns and a well-established network of influence to push them.

Michael TonerPartner, Wiley Rein A former Federal Election Commission chairman with deep Republican connections, Toner’s services are sure to be sought after if, as expected, the campaign finance landscape continues to shift in 2014. Toner is co-chair of the Election Law and Government Ethics Practice at Wiley Rein, and his clients include political committees, trade associations and a number of corporate entities who have a hand in federal campaigns.  

Mike Zaneis Senior Vice President, Public Policy & General Counsel, Interactive Advertising Bureau As the head of the Interactive Advertising Bureau's PAC, Zaneis is the interactive advertising industry’s campaign liaison. With online ad revenue soaring past $20 billion in the first half of 2013, his group will help shape the digital regulatory environment next year. The IAB played heavily in the fighting of so-called do-not-track legislation in Congress and ahead of 2014 will focus on advancing the group's policy agenda, including the development of a new US/EU trade agreement. 


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