Paul Ryan’s Pick for Chief of Staff Is the Kind of Lobbyist Tea-Partiers Hate

Veteran lobbyist David Hoppe has a long history of helping clients advance policy issues considered anathema by grassroots conservative activists.

US Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan speaks during a campaign event at a farm in Commerce, Michigan, on August 24, 2012.     AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad        (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GettyImages)
Photo: Jewel Samad, AFP/Getty Images

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the Washington Post reports, is preparing to hire David Hoppe, a veteran lobbyist, to manage his office, “should Ryan be elected House speaker this week, as is widely expected.”

While Ryan cited Hoppe’s “passionate commitment to conservative principles” as the reason for selecting him as chief of staff, Hoppe has a long history of helping clients advance policy issues considered anathema by grassroots conservative activists. And in some cases, Hoppe helped clients back legislation fiercely opposed by Ryan.

Just this year, for instance, Hoppe helped Ford Motor Company lobby in support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a controversial trade agreement that faces mounting opposition. And he lobbied to extend a tax credit for solar energy on behalf of the trade group that serves the solar industry.

In the past, Hoppe has been registered to work on implementation issues for the Affordable Care Act, in support of President Obama’s stimulus program, and to help pass immigration reform.

In 2010, Hoppe earned an income of $648,406 as a lobbyist for Quinn Gillespie & Associates (QGA), according to ethics forms filed with the Senate.

That year, Hoppe assisted the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a client of his firm, in support of “comprehensive immigration reform.” Lobbying records show that Hoppe has also worked to support immigration reform efforts on Capitol Hill on behalf Qualcomm, Hilton Hotels, and Immigration Voice, an advocacy group.

In 2009, Hoppe helped the Chamber and the U.S. Telecom Association lobby in support of the stimulus. After the program was signed into law, he continued helping firms seeking stimulus funding, including BNSF, AT&T, and Verizon.

While outright opposition to the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, has become a litmus test in Republican primary elections, Hoppe has taken a more proactive approach as a lobbyist for various healthcare interests. He worked on behalf of Virtua Health, a New Jersey company that serves Medicaid patients, on ACA implementation. The AARP, one of the largest groups to help press for passage of Obamacare, was represented during and after the health reform debate by QGA when Hoppe was president of the firm.

Like many lobbyists, Hoppe has moved back and forth between government, think tanks and K Street.

Hoppe worked for a number of Republican lawmakers, including former Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., before taking his first lobby job at Quinn Gillespie Associates in 2005. He returned to the Hill work for Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., in 2011, before leaving again for the lobbying industry in 2013.

In April, Hoppe rejoined Lott’s staff, this time as a lobbyist with Squire Patton Boggs, where Lott now works as a senior counsel. Lott and Hoppe have lobbied together on several prominent issues this year, including work for a coalition of for-profit college firms seeking to block strengthened rules governing the $30 billion in government-backed loans to their industry.

Though some of Hoppe’s lobbying priorities may buck conservative orthodoxy, and run contrary to Ryan’s voting record of opposing most Obama administration legislative goals, the decision to hire a corporate lobbyist fits neatly into the pattern of House lawmakers ascending the ranks of leadership. When Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., became the House Majority Whip, he hired a lobbyist as chief of staff. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., after taking McCarthy’s position in the leadership shuffle that followed former Virginia Republican Rep. Eric Cantor’s sudden election loss, brought on a retail industry lobbyist as his policy chief.

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