Hillary Clinton’s K Street network is preparing for a White House run in 2016.
With Democrats in Congress already anointing Clinton as the party’s standard-bearer, lobbyists are pledging their allegiance and making clear they will do whatever they can to help the former first lady become first in command.
Many of the lobbyists helped Clinton with her last run for the White House in 2008 and say they are willing and eager to jump back on the train.
“Absolutely, 100 percent,” said Steve Elmendorf, president of Elmendorf Ryan, when asked if he would support a Clinton run. “To me, it’s not even a close call. … Among Democrats, there’s no one else as well-positioned to win as her.”
Lobbyists are often crucial players in a candidate’s campaign, offering valuable political advice, strategy and policy expertise. They also serve as donors and bundlers of the cash needed to fund a national campaign.
Lawyers and lobbyists gave more than $18 million in campaign contributions to Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Elmendorf is among a number of prominent fundraisers on K Street who could help build a Clinton machine. Tony Podesta, chairman of Podesta Group, is another campaign rainmaker who is expected to support her if she runs.
In addition, a number of lobbyists and consultants have already taken formal positions with the “shadow campaign” that is being waged in Clinton’s name.
In January, Priorities USA Action announced that Jonathan Mantz of BGR Group would become a senior adviser. The super-PAC, which was created for President Obama’s reelection campaign, is retooling in anticipation of a Clinton bid.
Mantz was the national finance director for Clinton’s 2008 campaign. Jay Dunn, a senior managing director for FTI Consulting, was Mantz’s deputy in 2008, and lobbyists consider him a likely Clinton backer in 2016.
Another prominent K Street supporter is former Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.), who is an adviser to the super-PAC Ready for Hillary, which is already on the ground in primary states like Iowa and South Carolina.
“She [Clinton] is perhaps inevitable because of her enormous skills and experience. … Only she can make the decision, and she hasn’t yet. So we will just have to wait and see, but for many of us, she’s the one,” said Tauscher, who was undersecretary for arms control at the State Department with Clinton.
Tauscher is not a registered lobbyist, but she is a strategic adviser at Baker Donelson