Government & Politics

Sen. Roy Blunt has deep ties to Washington lobbyists. See for yourself.

Missouri Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Blunt, left, and his wife Abigail Blunt walk into their polling place to vote along with their 5-year-old son Charlie on Nov. 2, 2010, in Springfield, Mo.
Missouri Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Blunt, left, and his wife Abigail Blunt walk into their polling place to vote along with their 5-year-old son Charlie on Nov. 2, 2010, in Springfield, Mo. AP

Forty-six people who worked for Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt in Congress lobbied either before or after being employed by the longtime Republican lawmaker, according to public disclosure records.

They were employed by Blunt in his congressional office or in other lawmaking offices, or worked for him on his campaign committee or political action committee since 2000.

By comparison, at least 16 staffers who worked for Missouri’s other senator, Democrat Claire McCaskill, used to be lobbyists or registered as lobbyists after leaving their jobs on Capitol Hill. And 46 staffers who’ve worked under Republican Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas also have registered as lobbyists, as have 25 former or current staffers of Republican Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas.

Blunt’s ties to lobbyists and big donors in Washington have become an issue in his race for re-election, as his Democratic opponent, Jason Kander, seeks to cast him as an out-of-touch political insider.

But what does it really mean to say Blunt has ties to lobbyists?

McClatchy reviewed public records available through the Senate lobbying records database and the websites Legistorm and Open Secrets, which track congressional salary data and lobbying work, to create a map of Blunt’s lobbying connections.

Below you can explore the map, along with information about each staffer and Blunt family member who worked in the lobbying industry.

Blunt said in an interview that his office had tried to be “very careful” about working with lobbyists. He said he didn’t talk to his family about legislation. And he pointed out that it’s not unusual for congressional staffers to move on to careers elsewhere in Washington.

“Obviously, when people work for you in the Congress they’re not going to work for you in the Congress forever,” Blunt said.

“Now if somebody, some former member or former staffer, wants to come in and talk to my staff or me about legislation, I think we almost always do that,” he said. “But we prioritize talking to Missourians before that.”

Here’s a look at Blunt’s lobbying ties.

Staffers who’ve worked in Blunt’s congressional office and also worked as lobbyists

Blunt’s lobbyist ties within his congressional office 

Sara Barba

Barba interned for Blunt’s office from January 2015 to May 2015, and she has since lobbied for Urban Swirski and Associates LLC. That firm lobbied on this bill this year.

Trevor Blackann

Blackann pleaded guilty in 2008 for failure to disclose $4,100 in illegal gifts from lobbyists on his tax returns in 2003. Blackann worked for Blunt from 1998 to 2001 and a legislative aide to then-Missouri Sen. Kit Bond from 2001 to 2005. He also had lobbied for Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. and the Dairy Farmers of America.

Christina Blasinsky

Blaskinsky, a former legislative correspondent in Blunt’s congressional office from 2000 to 2001, lobbied for the National Beer Wholesalers Association from 2001 to 2004.

Samantha Cook

After working as a senior legislative assistant in Blunt’s congressional office from 1998 to 2001, Cook lobbied for Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock, an all-Republican lobbying and consulting firm now known as Fierce Government Relations, and SMC Consulting. Here are the industries she represented.

William Dolbow

Dolbow has lobbied for DGSR LLC since 2015. He previously served as a senior adviser for Blunt from April 2009 to February 2010. Here’s a list of the issues he’s lobbied on.

Jennifer Douris

Douris worked in Blunt’s office as a legislative correspondent in 2003 and a legislative assistant from 2004 to 2007 before starting her own lobbyist group in 2010. These are the industries she’s lobbied for.

John Dutton

From 1999 to 2002, Dutton worked as a legislative director in Blunt’s congressional office. He has since lobbied for Veritas Advocacy and Manatt, Phelps and Phillips. Here are the industries he represented.

Brian Hart

Hart has been Blunt’s communications director since May 2015. He previously lobbied for Hill and Knowlton Strategies as well as H&R Block, where he also served as treasurer for the firm’s political action committee. Here are the industries Hart has represented.

Gregg Hartley

From 1997 to 2013, Hartley was Blunt’s chief of staff, and he has since lobbied for the Rhoads Group, Cloakroom Advisors LLC, and Cassidy and Associates Inc. He also runs a political action committee, Heartland Resurgence, which has poured more than $268,950 into the 2016 Missouri U.S. Senate race on behalf of Blunt or against his opponent, Jason Kander. In the last two weeks alone, the PAC spent $61,950 in multimedia services in opposition to Kander. Here are the top industries Hartley has represented as a lobbyist.

Tracy Henke

Henke has been Blunt’s legislative director since October 2013, and she lobbied for the Ashcroft Group from 2006 to 2009. She also worked as executive vice president and chief operating officer for Americans for Prosperity, the conservative issue advocacy group founded by billionaire David Koch. Here are the industries Henke represented as a lobbyist.

Jamie Hollenberg

Hollenberg worked as a constituent services caseworker for former Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt, Blunt’s son, from 2007 to 2008. From 2011 to 2013, she worked as a legislative assistant to the senator. She now lobbies for Honeywell International Inc. Here are the issues she’s lobbied on.

Colleen Kaveney

Kaveney was a legislative correspondent and staff assistant in Blunt’s office from February 2012 to March 2014. She has since lobbied for Duke Energy and the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association. Here are the issues she’s lobbied on.

Zach Kinne

After working for Blunt as a legislative assistant for almost three years from 2011 to 2013, Kinne became a lobbyist for the National Corn Growers Association in October 2013. Here are the issues he’s lobbied on.

Mary Catherine Ott

Ott was a legislative correspondent in Blunt’s congressional office from January 2011 to April 2012, and she later lobbied for the National Guard Association of the U.S. Here are the issues she lobbied on.

Charles Prosch

Prosch, a lobbyist for J.A. Green and Co. LLC, previously worked in Blunt’s congressional office as a military legislative assistant. Here are the bills he lobbied on.

Austin Roberts

Roberts was a research assistant in Blunt’s congressional office in 2009, and he later lobbied for Financial Executives International until 2015. Here are the issues he’s lobbied on.

Joe Trauger

Trauger worked as senior policy adviser for Blunt in the majority whip’s office from 2003 to 2005 and he has since lobbied for several groups, such as the National Association of Manufacturers, the Healthcare Distribution Management Association and the American Hospital Association.

Staffers with lobbyist ties who worked under Blunt in other congressional offices

Blunt’s lobbyist ties in other congressional offices 

David Adkins

Adkins lobbied for Arent Fox LLP from 2005 to 2008. In February 2016, he began working under Blunt in the Senate Rules and Administration Committee.

Laurent Crenshaw

Crenshaw served as the assistant press secretary under Blunt in the Office of the House Majority Whip from 2003 to 2005. He also worked in a few other legislative offices before becoming public policy director at Yelp. Here are the bills he’s lobbied on.

Brian Gaston

Gaston worked as the deputy chief of staff in the House Republican Whip’s Office for Blunt before becoming his chief of staff in 2004. Since 2010, he has lobbied for the Glover Park Group. This is a list of the industries he’s represented.

Samuel Geduldig

Geduldig has lobbied for the CGCN Group in Washington since 2007. Before that, he spent almost four years as a senior adviser to Blunt in the Office of the House Republican Whip. These are the top industries he lobbied for.

David Hebert

After lobbying for the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, Hebert worked for Blunt as his chief of staff from 2003 to 2004. After that, he lobbied for Alston and Bird, the American Health Care Association and the DEH Group.

Ashley Hoy

Hoy is listed as a lobbyist for Yelp, Recreational Equipment Inc. and Monument Policy Group LLC. She also worked for Blunt in the Office of the House Republican Whip from May 2007 to December 2008 as the director of coalitions. Here is a list of the issues she’s lobbied on.

Cheryl Jaeger

Before lobbying for Williams and Jensen PLLC, Jaeger worked for Blunt in the House Republican Whip Office in multiple positions.

Steve Keen

Keen interned in the House Republican Whip’s Office for Blunt from September 2006 to February 2007. He now lobbies for the National Federation of Independent Business. These are the bills the federation lobbied this year.

Mary Kertz

After interning in the Office of the House Republican Whip for Blunt in 2003, Kertz later lobbied on behalf of the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co., TechAmerica, and Tassey and Associates. These are among the top industries she’s represented as a lobbyist.

Brian Lenihan

Lenihan worked as a staff assistant for Blunt in the House Republican Whip’s Office before lobbying for the American International Automobile Dealers Association and Williams and Jensen PLLC. These are among the industries he’s represented.

Kyle Nevins

Nevins worked for Blunt in the House Republican Whip’s Office from 2003 to 2008. Since then, he has lobbied for Capitol Counsel LLC, Churchill Downs and Harbinger Strategies LLC. Here are the issues he’s lobbied on.

Amy Steinmann

Steinmann has lobbied for Boeing Co. since April 2013. She worked for Blunt in the Office of the House Republican Whip as the director of floor operations from January 2003 to April 2007. Boeing has lobbied on these bills this year.

John Stipicevic

After spending three years working for Blunt in the House Republican Whip’s Office, Stipicevic became a lobbyist for CGCN Group LLC in December 2015. These are the issues he’s lobbied on.

Joe Wall

Wall worked for Blunt as a floor assistant in the House Republican Whip’s Office from 2005 to 2007. Afterward he lobbied for Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Lobbyists who worked for Blunt in other lawmaking offices

Blunt’s ties to lobbyists in congressional offices 

Josh Finestone

Finestone worked under Blunt on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee’s Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance and Data Security Subcommittee for more than two years before becoming a lobbyist for Navigators Global LLC in May 2015. Here are bills he’s lobbied on.

Chol Pak

From August 2013 to January 2015, Pak worked under Blunt on the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee. He later became a lobbyist for Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. He’s lobbied on these issues.

Jodi Richardson

Richardson was an intern for Blunt in the House Office of the Minority Whip in fall 2007, and in March 2015 she became a lobbyist for Nixon Peabody. That firm lobbied on these bills this year.

Adam Sullivan

Sullivan has worked under Blunt in the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee since January 2015. He lobbied for Harris Corp. from 2006 to 2011. He’s represented these industries as a lobbyist.

Anne Thorsen

Thorsen worked for Blunt in the House majority leader’s office from September 2005 to February 2006. She was also a lobbyist for Associated Builders and Contractors Inc. from 2001 to 2003.

Blunt’s ties to lobbyists who have worked with him in multiple offices

Blunt’s lobbyist ties from multiple groups 

Ali Amirhooshmand

Amirhooshmand worked for Blunt as a policy adviser from 2002 to 2005. Since then, he has lobbied for Cassidy and Associates, Seward Square Group and the Entertainment Software Association. These are the top industries he’s represented as a lobbyist.

Mark Anderson

Anderson worked for Blunt as a senior policy analyst from 2003 to 2006 and worked for Blunt in the House Republican Whip’s Office. Since then, he has since lobbied for Edison International and Kelly, Drye and Warren LLC. Here are industries he’s represented.

Brian Diffell

Diffell has lobbied for Washington Tax and Public Policy Group since 2013; before that, he worked as a legislative director in Blunt’s congressional office from 2009 to 2013. He’s represented these industries as a lobbyist.

Sean Farrell

Farrell has worked for Blunt as policy adviser since 2014. He lobbied for the U.S. Telecom Association from 2011 to 2013. These are the industries he’s represented.

Charles Faulkner

Faulkner worked for Blunt in the House Chief Deputy Republican Whip’s Office from March 2000 to January 2001, and in 2012, he became a lobbyist for the BGR Group.

Michael Ference

After working with Blunt as a senior policy adviser in the House Republican Whip’s Office from 2006 to 2009, Ference later became a lobbyist for the S-3 Group. Here are the bills the S-3 Group lobbied on in 2016.

Mildred Webber Holmes

Webber worked for Blunt as deputy chief of staff from 2001 to 2006. After that, she lobbied on behalf of the National Association of Broadcasters. Here are the industries she’s represented.

Kristina Merrick

After working in Blunt’s congressional office as well as the House Republican Whip’s Office during a 10-year period, Merrick became a lobbyist for the American Hospital Association. These are the bills that organization lobbied on this year.

John Smedile

Smedile worked in Blunt’s congressional office as well as the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee’s Competitiveness, Innovation and Export Promotion Subcommittee. Smedile became a lobbyist for the National Association of Broadcasters in November 2013. These are the industries he’s represented.

Family members who are current or former lobbyists

Blunt’s lobbyist ties within family and other groups 

Abigail Blunt

Blunt’s wife has lobbied for the Washington firm Altria and Kraft Foods, where she has worked since 2007.

Amy Blunt

Blunt’s daughter lobbied for Husch Blackwell LLP from 2005 to 2006.

Matt Blunt

Blunt’s son is a former governor of Missouri, secretary of state in Missouri and member of the Missouri House of Representatives. Since 2014, he has lobbied on behalf of American Automotive Policy Council Inc.

Andy Blunt

Blunt’s second son has lobbied for Schreimann, Rackers, Francka and Blunt, a Missouri lobbying firm. In February 2016, Andy Blunt formed Statehouse Strategies. He now serves as his father’s campaign manager.

Blunt’s lobbyist ties in other organizations

Jay Perron worked with Blunt on his political action committee, Rely on Your Beliefs Fund, and his campaign committee, Friends of Roy Blunt. Perron has also lobbied for IBM Corp., America’s Health Insurance Plans Inc. and the International Franchise Association.

Sources: Legistorm, OpenSecrets, Senate Lobbying Disclosure database. Graphic: Jessica Campisi

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