David Addington, chief of staff and lawyer for Vice President Dick Cheney, will be the general counsel for the National Federation of Independent Business starting July 18. Photo credit: NFIB.

David Addington, former vice president Dick Cheney’s chief of staff and legal counsel, is joining the National Federation of Independent Business as the trade group’s top lawyer.

Addington was most recently vice president for research at the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation.

At the NFIB, which lobbies for privately-owned businesses, Addington will oversee litigation and provide legal advice in connection with the group’s legislative, policy, and political and regulatory affairs. He is slated to start July 18.

The NFIB has been aggressive in mounting legal challenges to some policies of the Obama administration, including the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan rule and the Affordable Care Act — NFIB was the lead plaintiff in the landmark Supreme Court case challenging the health-care law. Earlier this year, NFIB was the first business association to formally oppose Obama’s nominee to replace Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, Judge Merrick Garland.

As a top aide to Cheney, Addington is considered one of the most influential behind-the-scenes players to shape the George W. Bush administration’s national security response to the Sept. 11 terror attacks, including expanding the legal authority to detain and interrogate terror suspects.

NFIB Chief Executive Officer Juanita Duggan called Addington “one of the smartest lawyers in the country” and said she is thrilled he is bringing his “tenacity” to the organization.

“NFIB works hard to defend the right of small business owners to run their businesses without undue government interference, and I am honored and excited to be part of this exceptional team,” Addington said in a statement.

Heritage Foundation president Jim DeMint praised Addington’s contributions to his group’s research and policy team.

“His leadership enabled us to expand the scope of our research, to strengthen the quality and credibility of our work,” DeMint said. “His work will continue to benefit The Heritage Foundation and the conservative movement for years to come.”