In the News

The Hill's 25 Women to Watch

Kirsten Chadwick didn’t think she was going to have a career in politics.

“I actually wanted to be an architect,” she said. “Then I got a D in physics, so I thought, ‘The building is going to fall down — time for a new major.’ ”

Chadwick, 43, is a partner at Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock, one of Washington’s most prominent lobby shops. The Republican-leaning firm is in high demand, signing up a number of brand-name companies, like Apple and Oracle, since the GOP took over the House in the 2010 midterm elections.

The Penn State University graduate said the lobbying process — the vote-counting, the interaction with lawmakers and their staffs — is appealing to her.

“I like being up on the Hill and having my finger on the pulse,” she said.

Chadwick lobbies for several clients, including the Business Roundtable, Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines, Ford and JPMorgan Chase.

The Newton, Mass., native said that while architecture was her first love, politics was always on the horizon. Chadwick’s mother is at Fox News, and has worked with Roger Ailes for more than 25 years, including a stint as a political strategist crafting advertising for George H.W. Bush’s 1988 presidential campaign.

Chadwick worked as an assistant to Airlines for America President and CEO Nick Calio when he was the legislative affairs director in the first Bush White House. She followed Calio to K Street and then back to the White House after the election of George W. Bush, serving as a legislative affairs special assistant.

Calio “taught me all of the essentials,” she said. “I really attribute it to learning from one of the best.”

“Keep providing the good service that we do, keep working on the politics,” Chadwick said. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Chadwick said she is happy at the lobby shop, which feels like family.

This Year's Top Lobbyists

Breaux and Gephardt. Gerard and Maloney. Berman and Podesta. According to First Street, these were among the most powerful lobbyists in Washington this year.

Using the amount their firms were paid, the number and diversity of clients and the number of Fortune 100 clients they represented, First Street compiled lists of the top lobbyists in town, divided among former members of Congress, former staffers and professional lobbyists.

The former staffers are:

  • Randall Gerard - Podesta Group
  • Christopher Hatcher - Williams and Jensen
  • Kate Hull - Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock
  • Drew Maloney - Ogilvy Government Relations
  • Jeffrey McMillen - Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld
  • Michael Merola - Winning Strategies Washington
  • Daniel Meyer - The Duberstein Group
  • Jonathan Talisman - Capitol Tax Partners
  • Alex Vogel - Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti
  • Letitia White - Innovative Federal Strategies

These lobbyists all average over 50 clients, who paid an average of $144,737 for their services, according to First Street. This was the inaugural edition of the ranking, dubbed the First Street 30. First Street -- an arm of CQ Press formed this year -- analyzes government and lobbying data and issues weekly reports about policy.

Danielle Maurer: 40 Under 40
Maurer left Capitol Hill only in March, but she's already earning a reputation as one of the best-connected young lobbyists. While her peers scramble to build relationships within the big freshman class in the House of Representatives, Maurer is way ahead of them. Her previous role as director of member services for speaker of the House John Boehner gave her the chance to interact with the new group of Republican members. She assisted with assigning them to committees, in the process learning about each of their interests and objectives. Though Maurer hasn't worked downtown since 2007, she's no stranger to lobbying. Prior to joining Boehner's staff, she was a financial-services lobbyist for TIAA-CREF.
The Power Brokers

(Bloomberg) -- You won't find her name on a plaque at the entrance of the D.C. lobbying shop. She's not on the firm's letterhead. What Kirsten Chadwick may soon have to show for her skills of persuasion is a U.S.-South Korea free-trade agreement.

Chadwick, a lobbyist at the boutique Republican firm Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock, is an expert on trade and the treaties that underpin it. She's seen as a superb vote counter in Washington, tracking the ever-changing yeas and nays on Capitol Hill and knowing when a lawmaker is just being polite or actually promising a vote.

Chadwick represents an array of companies, from Ford Motor Co. to Home Depot Inc. to JPMorgan Chase Bank NA, all rooting for a U.S.-South Korea pact. Trade deals dictate the rules both countries must adopt on patents, banking and telecommunications. With almost $68 billion in trade involved, the deal would be the largest for the U.S. since Nafta in 1994, the pact on which Chadwick began earning her reputation.

Once again she'll spend a lot of time in the offices of House members trying to secure their votes. "It's not really even lobbying at this point. It's education," she said, referring to Congress' 100 new members.

Fast Riser

Chadwick started out as an intern in President George H.W. Bush's congressional liaison office. Her boss, Nicholas E. Calio, was so impressed with the 22-year-old that he brought her to his lobbying shop. The pair returned to the White House under George W. Bush, with Chadwick serving as primary contact with the House Ways and Means Committee, which writes tax laws and approves trade deals.

Chadwick was so involved in passage of the controversial Central American Free Trade Agreement six years ago that newspapers mistakenly reported she was on the House majority whip's staff.

In recent years, Fierce, Isakowitz resisted adding Democrats. The firm's deep relationships with Republicans leaders now back in power in the House, boost the odds of the deal with South Korea becoming law by midsummer.

Maurer to Join Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock as Senior Vice President

The Republican lobbying firm Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock today announced that Danielle Simonetta Maurer will join the firm as Senior Vice President.

"Danielle is a great addition to our team," said Mark Isakowitz, president of the firm. "Having spent the last several years in the House Republican Leadership Member Services operation, and most recently as Director of Member Services for the Speaker of the House, she will provide our team and our clients a unique and important perspective of the new Republican Majority."

Danielle graduated from Washington and Lee University in 1998. She worked for the House Rules Committee, the Office of Management and Budget under President George W. Bush, and the House Majority Leader's Office. She also worked in Federal Relations for TIAA CREF before returning to the hill to work in Member Services for the House Republican Leadership.

Danielle said, "I am thrilled and honored to be joining Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock. This next step in my career allows me the ability to continue to be a part of the team that helped elect a Republican majority in the House as well as utilize my strategic and legislative background to help our clients navigate the maze that is Washington, DC. I am grateful to the Speaker for the opportunity to serve the people's House and am looking forward to this exciting new chapter for me and my family."

Name partner Kirk Blalock said "We are extremely lucky to attract another great talent like Danielle to our firm. I know our clients will be as impressed with her skills as we are."

Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock represents a wide range of clients including Fortune 500 companies, trade associations, and issue coalitions. More information about the firm's clients and professionals can be found at

People-Lobby Shops

Bitten by the Washington bug after spending a semester in D.C., Billy Piper hit the pavement hard during the spring break of his senior year of college looking for a job. On a whim, he knocked on the office door of Sen. Mitch McConnell, a fellow Kentuckian, and as luck would have it, the Republican had an opening.

Piper graduated from the University of Richmond on a Saturday in 1991 and started work that Monday, beginning in the mail room and, for a time, serving as McConnell's driver. "There's not a job in this office I haven't done," Piper laughs. "The highlight is easy-that's being a part of what has continuously been a really strong and fun and close-knit team."

Piper moved up the ranks quickly, becoming a legislative correspondent and a legislative assistant in the mid-1990s, as well as serving as McConnell's political and finance director during his reelection campaigns. In late 2002, Piper became chief of staff.

But nearly 20 years after he landed his first job out of college, Piper has decided that it's time for a new challenge. In January, he will start at Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock, an all-Republican lobbying and consulting firm, as senior vice president. Piper, 41, was born and raised in Louisville. Piper attributes his ability to serve his home state as the main factor in keeping him in one place for so long. "I couldn't have worked anywhere else on the Hill."

Billy Piper to Join Fierce, Isakowitz and Blalock
as Senior Vice President

WASHINGTON, DC - Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock, the Republican lobbying and consulting firm in Washington, today announced that Billy Piper will join the firm as senior vice president, effective January 3, 2011.

"I am extremely pleased to announce that Billy is joining our team," said Mark Isakowitz, president of the firm. "I deeply admire Billy for his professionalism, integrity, political smarts and strategic ability. He has been at the center of so many important moments for our party and our country, and our clients will benefit from his wisdom and experience."

Piper joined McConnell's office in 1991 and has served in several senior positions for the Republican Leader since 1996. As the Senior Legislative Assistant he was responsible for coordinating legislative strategy for McConnell and played a key role in crafting legislation dealing with complex issues surrounding elimination of the chemical weapons stockpile at the Bluegrass Army Depot and cleanup of the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant. He has served as McConnell's Chief of Staff since late 2002 and been what McConnell describes as the "indispensable man" in a variety of successful legislative and political efforts during his tenure.

Piper commented, "The opportunity to join a firm that enjoys an absolutely sterling reputation is a real blessing. Their focus on customer service fits in perfectly with how Leader McConnell has run his office and therefore provides a comfortable fit. I am honored to join this talented team and help them advocate for their clients and policies that move America forward."

Billy is a native a Louisville, Kentucky and a 1991 graduate of the University of Richmond. He is married to fellow Kentuckian, Holly, and they are the proud parents of two young boys, Billy and Tucker.

"Billy is well respected and highly talented, " said Kirk Blalock, a name partner. "Our team and our clients will be well represented by his good nature and his proven leadership skills."

GOP Lobbyists on rise again

This all-Republican firm has also made it through the lean years and is poised for a comeback. Ohio native Mark Isakowitz is tight with Boehner and recently defended the presumptive speaker's close ties to lobbyists in a New York Times article - a quote the Democratic National Committee worked into an attack ad.

The firm also features Kirsten Chadwick, a respected policy wonk particularly well-versed in trade issues. She managed former President George W. Bush's legislative strategy on No Child Left Behind and was the White House point person for the House Agriculture; Energy and Commerce; and Ways and Means committees.

The New Power Players

The Obama administration has been an unusually energetic regulator. From health care to financial overhaul to the environment, Cabinet secretaries and their deputies can expect to spend a lot of time before House committees next year defending their rules against Republicans who campaigned on limited government and ending regulatory overkill. That's where Mark Isakowitz, 44, and Kirk Blalock, 40 come in. They head Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock, one of the only all-Republican lobbying firms in Washington. Their clients include Coca-Cola, Ford Motor and JPMorgan Chase to name just a few.

Isakowitz and Blalock didn't follow the lead of other Republican lobbying shops that staffed up with Democrats several years ago in anticipation of a Democratic Congress and White House. Their firm now holds a niche spot in the lobbying world that became a lot more valuable after last week's elections; it is Republican to the core. All of its lobbyists have long pedigrees of Washington-related service, either under Republican administrations, on the campaign trail, or on Capitol Hill. Blalock was a special assistant to then Republican National Committee Chairman Haley Barbour. Isakowitz spent years running the lobbying operation for the National Federation of Independent Business and was a member of the Bush-Cheney transition team.

The two men will need to use their institutional memories skillfully in educating the new crop of Republican House members in the ways of Washington. On health care, for example, the lobbyists can offer tea party members gunning for an all-out repeal a sense of the subtler ways to undermine the new law, thus avoiding paralysis in the Senate. The firm's clients span a host of industries-health care, telecommunications, manufacturing, banking, retail, gambling--whose issues lead to almost every House committee. For every government rule those panels consider, Isakowitz and Blalock will help their Republican clients to hammer on the same themes. They will question how those rules contribute to job creation, economic security, and the federal debt, and they will try to get them scaled back. The firm is already taking on the Environmental Protection Agency's rule aimed at reducing emissions from institutional boilers and the Securities and Exchange Commission's proxy access rule to give shareholders easier access to corporate voting.

Isakowitz and Blalock's work won't be entirely devoted to channeling anti-administration fervor. Their shop also represents the Republic of Korea, which will put them at the heart of the South Korean free-trade agreement being pushed by the administration. If that deal gets approved, it could pave the way for other trade agreements that both the White House and the business community support.

With Republican election gains, 4 lobbyists to watch

These Republican lobbyists may be relative newcomers to the private sector, but many around town say they bear watching because of their close ties to the Republican power structure. These former legislative and executive branch senior advisers and lawmakers have had the time to find their sea legs. Now that their party is back in control of the House and gaining influence in the Senate, they're ready to go.

Kirsten Chadwick: Fierce Isakowitz & Blalock

Fierce Isakowitz & Blalock was cited by those on both sides of the aisle as one of the best-positioned shops going into the 112th Congress, and one of its secret weapons is executive branch veteran Kirsten Chadwick, a quietly effective force in Washington.

Chadwick worked in the White House during both Bush presidencies, making her the only player on this list who hasn't called a congressional office home. But that doesn't mean Chadwick hasn't spent her share of time on the Hill. She worked with key members of the House and Senate on the No Child Left Behind Act under George W. Bush. Now, she applies that coalition-building experience to clients' interests on the Hill.

"When you're in the White House, you have to bring everybody together to pass something; learning it from the outside in does give you a bit of a different perspective," Chadwick said.

Chadwick concentrates on tax and trade issues for a roster of clients that includes Delta Air Lines, Ford Motor, the Business Roundtable and the country of South Korea, which is watching for what might happen to a pending free trade agreement.
Five Big Losers (Plus Five Winners)

The Republicans won control of the House and cut into Democrats' Senate majority. Here's a look at some winners and losers from Election Day.


1. Rep. John Boehner of Ohio. The Speaker-in-waiting capitalized on a risky campaign strategy to steer Republicans back into the House majority after a four-year absence. Mr. Boehner spent much of the campaign criticizing Democratic policies without offering his own comprehensive Republican plan - and voters didn't seem to mind. The 10-term Republican leader also parlayed the tea party's energy to benefit mainstream GOP candidates even though he embodies many of the problems that the Tea Party sees with Washington.

2. Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada. Despite his incredible unpopularity in Nevada, Reid engineering a political comeback in a race that at once sealed the Democratic majority in the Senate and kept his grip on one of Washington's most powerful jobs.

3. Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie. The pair spent nearly $100 million through several Republican organizations to help Republicans win control of the House, pick up seats in the Senate and win control of more than a dozen state legislative chambers ahead of redistricting. With courts chipping away at campaign-finance regulations, the two could be kingmakers for Republicans running for office in 2012.

4. Fierce, Isakowitz and Blalock. The all-Republican firm was the only K Street lobbying shop that resisted the Democratic control of Washington by refusing to hire Democrats. Few lobbyists have deeper ties to Republican leaders than partners Kirk Blalock and Mark Isakowitz. That bodes well for their book for Fortune 500 clients.

5. Sarah Palin. The former Alaska governor established herself as a force to be feared in Republican politics. Not all of her endorsed candidates won, but she proved to have a formidable following.

Jarvis makes partner

Aleix Jarvis has been promoted to partner at Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock, a Republican lobbying and consulting shop in Washington.

"He has made remarkable contributions in business development and in client service," said firm president Mark Isakowitz.

Previously a legislative director for Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Jarvis joined Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock in 2005. He also worked for then-Rep. Charles Taylor (R-N.C.) and was director of operations for the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn. And he worked on Sen. John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign and on President George W. Bush's 2004 reelection campaign.

Top Lobbyists: Hired Guns
Mark Isakowitz, Fierce, Isakowitz and Blalock. The firm has remained true to its Republican roots and continues to thrive, thanks in large part to Isakowitz's direction. The firm's Aleix Jarvis is a rising star, according to one top Senate Democratic aide.
The All-GOP Firm: It Ain't Dead Yet

As the most prominent all-GOP lobby shop left in town, the firm is brazenly keeping its one-party status, bucking the street's longtime bipartisan trend.

Their formula: Stay small while taking on white-shoe clients along with coalition work in order to maintain steady revenues.

All In the Family -- Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock isn't too worried about a Democratic Congress. This GOP shop likes solidarity.

If last year's Democratic takeover of Congress was a signal that Republican lobbying firms needed to look for a new business plan, Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock didn't notice.

"The vision we had for this business was that we would build long-term relationships with our clients as elections come and go," says president Mark Isakowitz, who describes the firm as "part of the Republican extended family." Last year's revenue is evidence that those family ties can make for a full house.

"There is no election scenario where the business community will not have to lobby both sides of the aisle," Isakowitz says.

The New Washington

"Now he's [Kirk Blalock] a lobbyist with Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock and is also the national chairman for Young Professionals for McCain...

Blalock was motivated to come to Washington to push for core tenets of the Republican Party: lower taxes, less spending and fewer regulations."

The New Sheriffs in Town

In part one of our annual listing of Washington's top lobbyists, we highlight the best "hired guns" and corporate lobbyists on K Street. The list is determined through conversations with members of Congress, key aides and lobbyists themselves.

Kirk Blalock, Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock The former White House official represented The Business Roundtable during the debate over rules covering foreign investment in the United States.

Kirsten Chadwick, one of the best vote counters on K Street

Chadwick, a partner at Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock, has been the lead Republican vote counter on every trade bill to move across Capitol Hill since she left the White House at the end of 2003.

Her talents are such that even House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) respects her counsel.

"Kirsten knows a lot of the members and understands political dynamics in a way that a lot of people who work downtown with a more narrow scope don't." Blunt said.

The Sharpest Shooters on K Street

We highlight the best K Street has to offer from the corporate side and among so-called "hired guns" from lobbying and law firms. The lists are determined through conversations with members of Congress, key aides and lobbyists themselves.

Kirsten Chadwick, Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock

As a legislative affairs staffer in the White House under Nick Calio, Chadwick helped usher deals with Jordan, Chile and Singapore through Congress. On K Street, she's continued vote-counting efforts on trade deals with Australia, Morocco and the Central America Free Trade Agreement.

Lobbying the White House
Not many companies change their names to accommodate a recent hire, but not every employee has the standing of Kirk Blalock. In a town where influence is predicted on who you know, Blalock's connections are a conspicuously valuable commodity. As special assistant to the president, he often counseled George W. Bush and crafted political strategies with now-Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove. And as deputy director of the White House Office of Public Liaison, he coordinated the Bush Administration's outreach to the business community - a role that gave him unique stature along Washington, D.C.'s K Street corridor.
Marshalling K Street's battalions for CAFTA
In February, House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO), whose job it is to win tough votes, encountered Republican lobbyist Kirsten Chadwick in a Capitol hallway and told her to start organizing a coalition in support of CAFTA.
The Top Lobbyist Whips
Kirsten A. Chadwick: A White House legislative liaison assigned to lobby the House during President Bush's first term, she is now a senior vice president at Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock. At the request of Majority Whip Roy Blunt, R-MO, she is heading the lobbyist-whip team seeking to secure a House majority for the Central American Free Trade Agreement.
Moving Up
Mike Chappell has been named a partner. "Chappell's excellent political and legislative skills have been matched by his ability to attract and maintain top notch business, and that combination has earned him his partner status," name partner Kirk Blalock said in a statement.
Locking Up a Big Title
"[Blalock] has hosted several fundraisers and hopes to become a fundraising "Maverick," the term applied to younger Republicans who haul in at least $50,000 for the re-election effort."
Federal Page
After less than a year on the job, Kirk Blalock is becoming a partner at the very Republican Fierce & Isakowitz and his name is going on the door, Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock. Blalock previously was deputy director of the Bush White House Office of Public Liaison.
The Persuaders

Who's Got the Juice in Washington? Fierce & Isakowitz.That's who corporate America calls when it needs to get things done on Capitol Hill. "Fierce, 56, a blunt, old-style politico, helped engineer the GOP's historice takeover of the House."

"Isakowitz has been angling around Washington, working for a Republican member of the House and the National Federation of Independent Business, a well-known Republican farm team, since he graduated from Ohio State University in 1988. He knows a lot of people and has a knack for tactical planning."

Bush Aides Take the K Street Exit
Blalock had worked with dozens of business lobbyists during President Bush's successful tax-cut effort in 2001, and he spent untold hours strategizing with senior presidential adviser Karl Rove. Dirk Van Dongen, co-chair of the Tax Relief Coalition, praised Blalock for his "ability to think beyond the immediate moment and connect sometimes seemingly unrelated dots in the midst of a fast lobbying battle."
What Top Lobbyists Can Do For You
Don Fierce, GOP "Sherpa" Ask any GOP pol to name the most effective lobbyists in Washington, and Don Fierce's name is almost always on the short list.
On the Campaign Trail, The Washington Lobby
Dozens of lobbyists and political operatives said the number of campaigning lobbyists has increased significantly this election, reflecting a recruitment drive by party leaders and a recognition that spending a few days helping a candidate is a savvy business investment. Take Mark Isakowitz, whose GOP firm of Fierce & Isakowitz is emptying out of Washington this week. Isakowitz and his secretary are headed to New Hampshire, which has competitive races for the Senate and House. One staffer is volunteering in an Oklahoma House race. Another is headed to Texas for the contest to succeed Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Tex.), and a third is helping GOP Senate nominee C. Saxby Chambliss in Georgia. "Increasingly, it's becoming clear fundraising is not enough anymore," Isakowitz said. "You have to do your part on the grass roots and be part of the ground game."