Podesta Group, one of Washington’s most lucrative lobby shops, is bolstering its technology practice by hiring a former aide to Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), the new Senate majority whip.
Matt Johnson was Cornyn’s chief counsel from 2005 to 2013 before leaving Capitol Hill to join lobby and consulting shop McBee Strategic in 2013. At McBee — which is being acquired by the law firm Wiley Rein by the end of the year — Johnson represented companies including GE Energy, Google, JPMorgan Chase, Oracle and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
He is slated to start at Podesta on Monday, and will help lead the firm’s technology practice.
In 2013, Podesta was the third-largest lobby shop by revenue, bringing in $27.3 million in lobbying fees, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Johnson advised Cornyn on technology policy, including issues related to immigration, intellectual property and patent reform, and worked on more than 50 bills touching on issues ranging from content streaming to legislation to help U.S. employers access and retain high-skilled foreign workers.
His ties to Cornyn and Republican leaders in the Senate Judiciary Committee — he was the top Republican lawyer for the immigration subcommittee — gives Podesta an edge in influencing policies in the incoming Republican Congress.
“Immigration and patent reform are two issues I know well that are going to take center stage early next year,” Johnson said. “I intend to hit the ground running and provide immediate value to Podesta’s clients.”
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