HILL: Thune aide heads to GOP lobby shop

By Megan R. Wilson – 12/11/14 10:22 AM EST

All-GOP lobby firm Clark Geduldig Cranford & Nielsen is adding Doug Schwartz, the chief of staff for the Senate Republican Conference.

Schwartz also advises the conference chair, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) — the incoming chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee.

“Doug has been at the intersection of politics and policy at the highest levels for more than a decade,” said partner Steve Clark in a statement. “We feel like we just signed the best athlete in the draft. We are excited to get to work.”

Though he began his role with Thune in 2009 — managing Senate leadership through the Republican conference and the Republican Policy Committee — Schwartz also helped run several of Thune’s election efforts, including his 2004 victory over former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.). The acquisition is notable, as there are very few Thune aides working on K Street.

“Doug is one of those rare individuals who possesses political, policy, and communications savvy. For the past several years, I have relied on him to guide my leadership offices and he will be sorely missed,” Thune said in an emailed statement. “CGCN is gaining a tremendous asset and I wish Doug and his family all the best in this next chapter.”

As a new addition, Schwartz also comes armed with executive branch experience, serving in both the White House and the Energy Department during the George W. Bush Administration.

He will join the firm as a partner after finishing out a couple of weeks on Capitol Hill. After that, he is subject to a “cooling off” period before he can lobby his Senate colleagues.

“Everyone in leadership loves him, knows him. He’s a well-liked, smart guy who understands not only the substance, but he understands the process as well,” Rob Collins, the executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, told The Hill. “Probably the highest compliment that I can give him is that I’ve seen members turn to him for advice and counsel and a way forward in a real and substantive way that very few staffers can enjoy while they’re on the Hill.”

The latest addition is another big score for Clark Geduldig Cranford & Nielsen, which recently hired Mike Catanzaro, former aide to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and incoming Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chair Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.). Catanzaro also worked on environmental issues in the White House and the Environmental Protection Agency during the George W. Bush Administration.

The firm already houses others close to Boehner, Sam Geduldig and Jay Cranford, who specialize in financial services and energy and technology, respectively. It also boasts Mike Nielsen — a Senate Banking Committee guru — and Clark, a veteran lobbyist with more than three decades under his belt.

Its client roster includes Boeing, MasterCard, the Children’s Hospital Association, Microsoft, oil and gas company Encana, Koch Companies Public Sector and tech company Teradata.

Revenues show the small firm also has juice: Its lobbying take has been steadily rising each year since 2007, reaching an all-time high of almost $5.2 million last year.