Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has selected David Hoppe, a former adviser to Republican congressional leaders and a longtime Washington lobbyist, to serve as his chief of staff, should Ryan be elected House speaker this week, as is widely expected.
The hiring was finalized after Hoppe and Ryan, both Wisconsin natives and proteges of the late New York congressman Jack Kemp, had conversations about Ryan’s desire to staff the speaker’s office with seasoned aides who are also deeply familiar with conservatism, according to people briefed on the talks.
As Ryan moves toward the speakership, the people added, he is eager to sustain the amicable relationships he has built with hard-right factions within the conference, such as the House Freedom Caucus. In Hoppe, a former vice president at the Heritage Foundation and a former aide to House conservatives, he sees a confidant as well as a liaison to leadership-wary backbenchers.
“Dave has been a foot soldier in the conservative movement, and he is a good friend,” Ryan said Sunday in a statement. “His decades of experience fighting for the cause and his passionate commitment to conservative principles are just what I’m looking for to create a new kind of speakership.”
Hoppe, a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, currently works as a senior policy adviser at Squire Patton Boggs and as a senior adviser to the Bipartisan Policy Center, a nonprofit think tank that counts former Democratic and Republican leaders as its founders. A K Street veteran, he previously worked at Quinn Gillespie & Associates and at Hoppe Strategies, his own firm.
Hoppe first met Ryan in early 1990s, when Ryan was a Senate staffer. They became friends when Ryan later worked as an aide to Kemp at Empower America, a now-closed think tank. At the time, Hoppe was chief of staff to Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) after previously working for Kemp, a hero to Republicans who support supply-side economics.
Hoppe ultimately spent 29 years on Capitol Hill, rising to become chief of staff to then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) from 1996 to 2002 and chief of staff to Republican Whip Jon Kyl (Ariz.), before departing for the private sector.
On his Web site, Hoppe cites his involvement in passing legislation in the Reagan era as a defining moment in his career, from “the passage of the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 and the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981 … to the Tax Reform Act of 1986.” Ryan, the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, has long been passionate about similar tax and fiscal issues.
But it was their personal rapport, rekindled in recent days, that eventually moved Ryan to tap Hoppe. Both are fathers of three children, both are Midwesterners with overlapping mentors and experiences. Both have been supporters of antiabortion groups. Both consider themselves to be entrenched members of the conservative movement, rather than just Republicans.
That bond extends to sports. Brendan Buck, Ryan’s spokesman, noted in an e-mail that Hoppe, “like Ryan, is a rabid fan and part owner of the Green Bay Packers.”