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50 Politicos to Watch: Lobbyists
7/12/2012 | Politico
Steve Elmendorf came to Washington nearly 30 years ago to work on Walter Mondale's presidential campaign because he "didn't have anything better to do" after college. He stayed and is now one of the best-connected power players in Washington.
There isn't a Democrat on Capitol Hill who doesn't know Elmendorf's name. He is widely recognized as a master fundraiser, a respected lobbyist and a longtime political insider.
After serving 12 years as a senior adviser and later chief of staff to House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt, Elmendorf was a senior adviser to Gephardt's 2004 presidential campaign, John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign and Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign.
This year, however, Elmendorf is tapping into his tea-leaf-reading skills, and said 2012's year-end drama on the budget and taxes is the same old show.
"Having gone through things like this, you know what the big pieces are. And the reality is that the world doesn't change that much," Elmendorf told POLITICO. "The thing that's different probably from the rest of the year is that it's so focused – you have 30 days or 60 days and a lot of pressure to get stuff done."
"I think we've been talking about this now for the last two years and there have been so many of these significant efforts that people have culled through all the policy options and they're all laid out on the table," he added.
Luckily for Congress, the hard part is mostly over, Elmendorf said.
"The policy expertise is less important," he said. "I don't think we're going to be dealing with a lot of new policy. It's going to be much more important what the politics are and the extent that people are willing to compromise."
Elmendorf, co-founder of the lobbying firm Elmendorf Ryan, officially works on behalf of his firm's dozens of big-name clients, all of whom have a lot at stake in tax, budget and deficit negotiations. Among them are UnitedHealth Group, Citigroup Management, Goldman Sachs and Union Pacific Co.
With his long-standing relationships in Congress and at the White House, he's as good a handicapper as any.
"I learned that there are two different ways of doing this. One was the '93 budget act where we passed groundbreaking legislation and we did it without one Republican vote," Elmendorf said. "Then there was the '97 budget deal which Clinton and Gingrich did. It was a bipartisan bill that people on the right and the left weren't happy with."
"My guess is that you're going to have to do one of the bipartisan deals," he predicted.
Steve Elmendorf named one of Washington's most powerful, least famous people
10/11/2011 | The New Republic
President of Elmendorf Ryan
Even people who don't recognize Steve Elmendorf's name will recognize the policies that bear his hidden imprint: NAFTA, McCain-Feingold, and the Iraq war resolution, to name a few. Those bills are part of the legacy that Elmendorf built as a high-powered Hill staffer and long-time chief of staff to Representative Dick Gephardt, the former Democratic House leader. Elmendorf was widely known as Gephardt's "guru" in the House, and he was crucial in spurring the congressman to run for president. After Gephardt's 2004 campaign folded, he was snatched up by John Kerry's team. Since then, he hasn't strayed far from the presidential periphery; through a friendship with David Plouffe, Elmendorf enjoys easy access to Obamaworld, while also maintaining a position as a lobbyist at his five-year-old firm Elmendorf Ryan, where clients include Citi, Ford, the Human Rights Campaign, Microsoft, the NFL, and Verizon. A final sign of Elmendorf's lordliness: a permanent reservation at Tosca, a chic Italian restaurant in downtown D.C., midway between the Hill and the White House.”
Shanti Stanton: 40 Under 40
05/23/2011 | Washingtonian
“Tony and Heather Podesta may be Washington’s favorite lobbying power couple, but Matt and Shanti Stanton also make an impressive husband/wife duo. Shanti, an expert in House floor procedures after serving eight years with former Democratic leader Richard Gephardt, was one of the first lobbyists whom veteran Washington powerbroker Steve Elmendorf hired for his firm. Since joining him in 2007, Elmendorf says Shanti has been a consistent source of new business. He also praises her relationships with so-called Blue Dog Democrats. Shanti, a self-proclaimed generalist, lobbies for such companies as Delta, MillerCoors, and Microsoft.”
- Steve Elmendorf was featured on a panel as part of the National Journal Insiders Conference. 03/29/2011 | National Journal
Steve Elmendorf quoted in National Journal (11/11/2010) on “The New Power Players” in Washington; saying about Bill Burton:
“If you’re going to deal with the press, you’ve got to be an honest broker, and you’ve got to be fair,” Elmendorf said. “You’ve got to be tough sometimes, but you’ve got to do it in a nice way … and I think that’s the great thing about Bill. He’s fair and honest with people.”
- Steve Elmendorf quoted in National Journal (11/11/2010) on the challenges facing Democrats after the mid-term elections.
- Elmendorf Strategies Becomes ELMENDORF | RYAN 11/08/10 | Press Release
- Washington's Lobbyists Change Their Tactics 8/26/09 | BusinessWeek
- Elmendorf Named One of the Top Lobbyists 5/15/09 | The Hill
- Elmendorf Scores Former Top Aide to Harry Reid, Jimmy Ryan 5/14/09 | Politico
- The K Streeters Obama Will Hear 1/21/09 | Politico
- Six Degrees of ... Dick Gephardt? 7/24/08 | Politico
- The Hill Puts Elmendorf on its List of Top "hired guns." 5/07/08 | The Hill