The lobbyists: Roll Call’s people to watch in 2019


A New Corporate Lobbying Firm Is Taking Identity Politics Seriously

Roll Call February 8, 2019

“The goal of United By Interest is to “close the economic advantage gap, and that cuts across party, and that cuts across race,” Williams says. When he and his UBI partners looked at the 100 poorest congressional districts, they found they were almost evenly divided among members of the hard-line conservative Freedom Caucus and lawmakers in the Black and Hispanic caucuses. “If you can get those three disparate caucuses to work together, you can get a majority in the House, at a minimum,” he says of the potential for policy breakthroughs.” — Michael Williams

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The Intercept July 20, 2018

An unusual legislative strategy to revive an infrastructure bill is being tested in the House, with members of the Congressional Black Caucus teaming up with conservative Republicans to sign onto a new bill.

The measure would raise money by selling distressed government loans on the private market, using the proceeds to pay down the deficit and invest in infrastructure improvements. The funding mechanism may be a bit gimmicky, but what’s genuinely unique about the way the legislation has come together is the alignment of two blocs not used to collaborating on legislation.

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Atypical Lobbying Shop Targets Lawmakers From Poorest Districts

Roll Call October 8, 2018

An unlikely cast of lobbyists, odd bedfellows even by K Street’s typically bipartisan approach, has spent the past year nurturing a fledgling firm aimed at building coalitions between dyed-in-the-wool conservatives and lefty progressives on Capitol Hill.

The firm, recently christened United By Interest, is so far a commercial flop, if judged solely by the number of clients it has attracted: zero. But in an unusual twist, the lobbyists behind the effort, all of whom have their own separate K Street businesses, have managed to prod along a unique infrastructure bill with support of lawmakers from the conservative Freedom Caucus and the liberal Congressional Black Caucus.

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A new idea for American infrastructure

Axios 2018

For more than a year, United by Interest — a majority-minority-owned bipartisan lobbying firm — has been working on a plan to unite the bases of both parties to rally behind an infrastructure bill that would invest in America’s poorest communities.

The bill — called the Generating American Infrastructure and Income Now (GAIIN) Act — is expected to be introduced in the House this Tuesday. It brings together a rare coalition, uniting members of the Freedom Caucus and the Congressional Black Caucus:

  • The bill will be co-sponsored by Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Mike Kelly; Democratic Rep. William Lacy Clay Jr., a member of the Congressional Black Caucus; and Republican Rep. Ted Budd from the ultra conservative House Freedom Caucus.

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Geduldig formalizes partnership with Democratic lobbyists

Politico February 14, 2018

Sam Geduldig, a partner at CGCN Group, is formalizing a partnership with four Democratic lobbyists by launching a new firm called United by Interest. CGCN, a Republican lobbying shop, had struck up an informal alliance last year with several lobbyists close to the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, including Michael Williams of the Williams Group, David Morgan of D. Morgan & Partners, Jennifer Stewart of Stewart Strategies & Solutions and Joe Velasquez. All of them are joining the new firm, along with Jim Terry of TDS Public Affairs, a Republican. Four of the six partners are people of color; all of them will continue to work at their existing firms as well as United by Interest.

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A new way for Washington to focus on America's poorest communities

Axios June 17, 2018

An infrastructure bill to invest in America's poorest communities introduced in the House last week could be a template for bridging the gap between the extremes of the two parties.

Why it matters: The bill's co-sponsors are a coalition of members from the Freedom Caucus and Congressional Black Caucus who rarely work together. And it can be a roadmap to expand cooperation to other areas, like pharmaceuticals, telecom, health care and climate change, said the lobbying firm behind the bill.

"This is transferable to a whole host of issues to the extent that the baseline of economic development is there," said Michael Williams of United by Interest (UBI), a majority-minority-owned bipartisan lobbying firm that's backing the legislation.

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