Politico Influence: Rocket Fight Winners & Losers
By Isaac Arnsdorf and Brianna Gurciullo
June 15, 2016
SPACE RACE: Real talk on one of the biggest lobbying showdowns: SpaceX's big guns and loaded rhetoric about boosting Putin cronies weren't enough to overcome Boeing and Lockheed-Martin's muscle, in a remarkable turnaround from last year's NDAA and a stunning defeat for Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain. The amendment yesterday from Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) lets the companies' joint United Launch Alliance buy up to 18 Russian-made rockets, which is what they and the Pentagon wanted. McCain spun the amendment as a "compromise" since it imposed a cut-off in 2022, but the ULA never objected to that because they expect a made-in-America alternative by then. The fact is, the amendment passed by voice vote because SpaceX's side knew it didn't have the votes, sources familiar with the proceedings tell PI. (Last year's NDAA blocked the Russian rockets, but a sneaky rider in the omnibus put them back in play.)
“This compromise reflects the concern shared by authorizers and appropriators alike that year-to-year litigation of this issue did not serve the Congress, U.S. space policy, or our national security well," McCain said in a statement. "In order to prevent future fights on this issue, I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure that this compromise is reflected in the defense appropriations bill.”
John Scofield of S-3 Group, Kevin Kelly of Van Scoyoc Associates, and former Rep. Bud Cramer of FTI Consulting helped carry ULA to victory. The Madison Group, Capitol Decisions, and Theodore Kronmiller were on the case too, and Rokk Solutions helped with strategic communications. The joint venture spent $470,000 on lobbying last quarter. Read More »
February 2, 2016
The results from the Iowa caucuses are in and Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton have come out on top. But are the other presidential candidates out? Our expert panel weighs in.
The results from the Iowa caucuses are in and Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton have come out on top. But are the other presidential candidates out? Our expert panel weighs in.Posted by CTV News Channel on Tuesday, February 2, 2016
January 14, 2016
Republican strategist Robb Watters discusses what to expect from tonight's Republican debate featuring Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush and John Kasich.
Republican strategist Robb Watters discusses what to expect from tonight's Republican debate featuring Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush and John Kasich.Posted by CTV News Channel on Thursday, January 14, 2016
September 17, 2015
Republican strategist Robb Watters takes a look back at how candidates fared in Wednesday night’s GOP debate.
Republican strategist Robb Watters takes a look back at how candidates fared in Wednesday night's GOP debate.Posted by CTVNewsChannel on Thursday, September 17, 2015
Producer "Protons" escaped sanctions by lobbyists in the United States
September 9, 2014
By Tarini Parti, Adam Sneed and Anna Palmer
October 8, 2014
K STREET TURNS OUT FOR GW MAMMOVAN: Downtowners are turning out in force Wednesday afternoon for the annual 'Blush Lunch' charity event at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium for the GW Mammovan. The event, which is put on by the GW Women's Health Board of the GW Medical Faculty Associates, is featuring Joanna Coles, editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, and journalist Cokie Roberts. Over the past three years the event has raised more than $1 million and is expected to pull in around $300,000 this year. Board members include: Chairwoman Blair Watters of the Madison Group; Vice Chairwomen Sarah Bovim of Whirlpool Corporation and Jennifer Platt of ICSC; Sandra DePoy of the American Resort Development Association; Courtney Geduldig of Standard & Poor's; and Tiffany Moore of TwinLogic Strategies.
By Byron Tau With Adam Sneed and Anna Palmer
April 10, 2014
MADISON GROUP ADDS RODNEY EMERY AS PARTNER: Lobbying firm Madison Group has brought on Rodney Emery as a partner. Prior to joining the firm, Emery served as chief of staff for House Homeland Security member Steven Horsford. He also served in the Obama administration in the Department of Commerce and the General Services Administration. Emery has also done a stint as vice president of public policy and research for the Council on Foundations, where he helped create the Congressional Philanthropy Caucus. "Rodney brings a wealth of experience to the firm" said Marcus Mason . "He has served as Chief of Staff to two Members of Congress, advised Cabinet officials and Agency heads along with Fortune 500 companies. He is an asset to our existing client base and brings a much needed skill set in understanding government procurement."
By Byron Tau and Anna Palmer
February 11, 2014
MADISON GROUP TURNS 10: Madison Group founder Robb Watters sent PI a note reflecting on the firm's 10th anniversary, describing how the firm went from being just him and a secretary for two years to include the additions of Blair Watters, formerly a staffer on the House Democratic Caucus; Democratic lobbyists Marcus Mason and David Youngblood in 2007; and former GOP leadership aide Bill Jarrell in 2012. And the firm has plans for more growth in the near future, Watters wrote. "As I look back, it seems that it has gone quickly... We have [had] some ups and downs, learned a lot about phone systems, wiring and teleconferencing. We overcame flooded garages that fried severs just before large client events," Watters wrote. "They say you are a success if you love where you work and what you do. I truly do. It is the people that make this place and I am lucky."
Governor McDonnell Announces Board and Commission Appointments
October 18, 2013
Robb Watters has been appointed by Governor Robert McDonnell to serve on The Virginia Milk Commission. Read More »
Change afoot at Boeing - Pennsylvania inks new federal help - Retailers urge Congress to return to work - Rahman joins New York Life
October 10, 2013
Politico By Byron Tau
MAMMOVAN LUNCHEON DRAWS CROWD: Downtowners turned out in force to support the "La Vita e Bella in Rosa Luncheon." The event at the Italian Embassy Wednesday was in support of the Mobile Mammography Program at the GW Medical Faculty Associates. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp served as the honorary chair and keynote speaker and Rep. Billy Long presented the silent auction items at the event that raised more than $350,000 to help provide free breast cancer screenings for women in the Washington, D.C., area. Downtowners on the board for the Mammovan event: Blair Watters, chair of the GW Medical Faculty Associates Women's Health Board; Jennifer Platt of the International Council of Shopping Centers; Sarah Bovim of Whirlpool Corp.; Jacqui Henry of the Henry Foundation; Tiffany Moore of Moore Strategies; Courtney Geduldig of Standard and Poors; Kimberly Woodard of the WPG Group; and Kathryn McGriff of GW Medical Faculty Associates. Others on hand for the event include: Robb Watters and Marcus Mason of the Madison Group; Lita Frazier of CBOE; and Missy Edwards of Missy Edwards Strategies. Read More »
More Women To Receive Free Breast Cancer Screenings Thanks To The GW Medical Faculty Associates' Women's Health Board
October 09, 2013
Digital Journal By PR Newswire
"We owe Blair a debt of gratitude. The Mammovan's very operation would be in doubt without the cash infusion she's helped deliver over the past two years," offered MFA CEO Stephen Badger. "Blair's work not only shored up The Mammovan's finances, it's elevated the program's marquee."
Mrs. Watters is a partner at the Madison Group, a bipartisan lobbying and consulting firm specializing in tax, telecommunication, trade, technology and transportation issues. Read More »
Governor McDonnell Announces Additional Board Appointments
August 03, 2012
Madison Group managing partner Robb Watters was appointed to the Board of Trustees for the Science Museum of Virginia. Read More »
Google's 4Q Lobbying Bill Triples to $3.76 Million
January 23, 2012
Associated Press By Michael Liedtke
Google's U.S. lobbying bill more than tripled to $3.76 million in the fourth quarter as the Internet search leader fought proposed changes to online piracy laws and sought to influence a wide range of other issues that could affect its fortunes. Read More »
First Person Singular: Marcus Mason, 41, lobbyist, Washington
September 29, 2011
The Washington Post By Robin Rose Parker
Lobbying is a business of relationships. Maintaining relationships in this business is key. It is the currency of the realm. The one thi ng about the Congress is, it's made up of 535 people who come from distinctly different backgrounds. I had the unique experience of living a good portion of my life in Compton, California, and then I [lived] in a place called Palos Verdes. The two neighborhoods are night and day. The Palos Verdes peninsula has four of the wealthiest communities in the country, whereas the city of Compton was considered the murder capital of the world. Now imagine someone who's lived between those two worlds. I can pretty much talk to anybody. I can talk to a prince, I can talk to a pauper, because I've known both. Read More »
Unhealthy Hill: Stress, Schedules Take Toll
August 1, 2011
Roll Call Staff By Emily Heil
They call him Dr. Watters, even though he's not a doctor.
When Republican leaders trucked in a stack of pizza boxes Thursday night as Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) attempted to cajole GOP freshmen into voting for his deficit reduction plan, it was par for the course. Read More »
Google Hires 12 Lobbying Firms
July 4, 2011
Bloomberg News by Brian Womack
Google hired 12 lobbying firms after the Federal Trade Commission began a review of its business practices.
The company has enlisted Akin Gump, Bingham, Capitol Legislative Strategies, Chesapeake Group, Crossroad Strategies, Gephardt Group, Holland & Knight, Normandy Group, Prime Policy, the First Group, the Madison Group and the Raben Group, according to an e-mail from Google. Read More »
Google Makes Big Lobbying Expansion
July 1, 2011
POLITICO by Tony Romm
A federal probe of Google's search industry dominance has the company mobilizing in Washington: It announced Friday it would hire 12 new lobbying firms in a move that will grow its Beltway footprint, influence and balance sheet.
It will likely be a mix of new, outside Democratic and Republican pickups taking Google's message to Congress, the FTC and beyond. Their chief goal is to explain Google's business model, push back against antitrust affronts and further work on other issues affecting the company, including online privacy and copyright reform.
"We have a strong story to tell about our business and we've sought out the best talent we can find to help tell it," a Google representative told POLITICO. Read More »
Google hiring 12 lobbying firms as FTC readies antitrust probe
July 1, 2011
The Hill by Gautham Nagesh
Google said Friday it will hire a dozen new lobbying firms in a sign the search giant is taking the Federal Trade Commission's upcoming antitrust investigation seriously.
"We have a strong story to tell about our business and we've sought out the best talent we can find to help tell it," said a Google spokesperson via email. Read More »
Robb Watters Appointed Vice Chair of the Board for the GW Medical Faculty Associates
May 9, 2011
PRNewswire via COMTEX
The GW Medical Faculty Associates, the largest independent physician group practice in metropolitan Washington, announced today that Madison Group founder Robb Watters has been appointed Vice Chairman of its Board of Trustees. Watters has served The MFA Board since 2005, specifically guiding the Audit and Compensation committees.
"Robb has been an instrumental member on our Board and his help in business matters including our purchase of 2300 M Street building have been invaluable.
His guidance and support are our good fortune and we look forward to more of his considerable assistance,' said MFA CEO Stephen L. Badger. Read More »
Street Talk: Lobbyist's Doctor Pals Will See You Now, Senator
March 6, 2011
Roll Call Staff By Kate Ackley
They call him Dr. Watters, even though he's not a doctor.
He's a lobbyist for technology and financial interests, but separate from his day job, Robb Watters has gained a reputation as something of a healer — a modern-day medicine man — among ailing Hill staffers, Members and fellow lobbyists. Read More »
K Street Files: Netflix Hires 'at Large' Lobbyist; Thorn Run Expands
January 10, 2011
Roll Call Staff By Matthew Murray
Netflix envelopes await delivery in a San Francisco mail bin last year. The DVD-by-mail company is changing its business model to more online transmissions and has brought on its first in-house lobbyist to navigate Washington, D.C. Read More »
Madison Group Partner Bill Jarrell Talks to C-SPAN About the Opening Day of the 112Th Congress
January 05, 2011
C-SPAN Video Library
CBC PAC Has Low Profile at Conference
September 23, 2009
Roll Call Staff By Anna Palmer
The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s annual legislative conference kicks off today, but don’t expect to see the CBC Political Action Committee taking an active role in the events that bring together hundreds of people to discuss issues of particular interest to African-Americans. Read More »
For Black Lobbyists, Progress Is Real but Big Challenges Remain
June 9, 2009
Roll Call Staff By Anna Palmer and Matthew Murray
Donni Turner never imagined herself as a lobbyist. Nothing against the field, she said. The thought just didn’t occur to her when she graduated from Howard University in 1998. Read More »
May 13, 2009
Roll Call Staff By Kate Ackley and Anna Palmer
Lobby shop The Madison Group has signed on a trio of new clients, bringing aboard global firm ICF International, Dallas-based Energy Future Holdings Corp. and Spectrum Bridge, a spectrum auction firm. Read More »
Meeks Has Plans to Rev Up CBC PAC
February 25, 2009
Roll Call Staff By Anna Palmer
When the Congressional Black Caucus political action committee sent out its first solicitation of the year for the March 5 chairman’s dinner, it was more than the average Washington fundraising pitch. Read More »
Madison Group Retained by Spectrum Bridge, Inc. (SBI)
January 27, 2009
Providing a bridge to the new paradigm in the secondary markets for regulated spectrum, SBI -- Spectrum Bridge Inc. has created SpecEx, the world's leading online marketplace for spectrum. Read More »
Web Ad Firm Learns People Don't Like Spying
July 22, 2008
Datamation By Ray Everett-Church
The last couple of weeks have been pretty bad for the folks over at the behavioral targeting and advertising company NebuAd. Read More »
Madison Group Retained by CTIA
July 14, 2008
Roll Call Staff By Kate Ackley and Anna Palmer
Dialing Up a New Client. CTIA — The Wireless Association has bolstered its outside lobbying roster. It recently retained the Madison Group, a bipartisan lobbying and consulting firm that focuses on tax, technology, trade and transportation issues. Read More »
Avaya hires Madison Group to lobby federal government on telephone and patent issues
January 14, 2008
International Business Times By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON - Communication systems provider Avaya Inc. hired Madison Group to lobby the federal government, according to a disclosure form. Read More »
Saving Vulnerable Freshmen
September 5, 2007
Roll Call Staff By Kate Ackley
At a cost of $10,000 per person for this election cycle, it may not be the priciest club for a Washington, D.C., lobbyist. But the two dozen members of a new fundraising clique say their collective effort will pack quite a punch for their party’s most vulnerable House Members. Read More »
Madison Group's Mason has gone far, fast, and now seeks to mentor
May 21, 2007
The Hill By Jessica Holzer
Marcus Mason, a top transportation lobbyist, has always had an itch to get places fast. At 20, he started his own photography business. At 21, he was tapped to run the congressional campaign of Walter Tucker, a Democrat then serving as mayor of Compton, Calif. After Tucker won, the 22-year-old Mason became the youngest chief of staff on Capitol Hill. By his early 30s, he was the No. 2 lobbyist at Amtrak. Read More »
Mason Joins Madison
March 12, 2007
The Politco Suite Talk By Aoife McCarthy
The Madison Group, a government relations firm in Washington, has added a new partner, Marcus Sebastian Mason. He'll focus on transportation and homeland security issues.
Mason was the senior director of government affairs at Amtrak for six years. He also worked on Capitol Hill as chief of staff and legislative director for California Democratic House members Walter Tucker and Juanita Millender-McDonald.
His job at Amtrak has not been filled.
HOME - Vested Interests K Street Moves
February 26, 2007
Roll Call Staff By Kate Ackley
The Madison Group is in expansion mode. The firm, founded by Robb Watters, has tapped Marcus Sebastian Mason, most recently the senior director for government affairs at Amtrak, to be an equity partner. Mason is a former chief of staff to Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-Calif.) and also is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's corporate advisory council.
Forget About the Flowers
February 12, 2007
Roll Call Staff By Kate Ackley and Bree Hocking
With just 48 hours left before Valentine's Day, lobbyists looking to woo a new Capitol Hill crush with a fancy dinner or romantic bauble might want to consider more than just where to book a table and how to find the perfect gift. They also would be wise to brush up on ethics rules.
The newly imposed House standards, including a ban on gifts and meals from lobbyists, deal with the professional relationship between K Street and Congress, but they have infused interactions of a much more personal nature with an element of confusion. Read More »
A 'very practical problem solver'
November 1, 2005
The Hill By Jonathan E. Kaplan
Seasoned Washingtonians might view a poster of the movie "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" hanging in the office of lobbyist Robb Watters as a ploy to soften his image; the public holds lobbyists in the same low regard as trial lawyers, car salesmen and reporters.
But Watters, who founded the Madison Group lobbying firm in February, shares the same idealism as the fictional Sen. Jefferson Smith, who challenged the political system by trying to block legislation that would have created a dam on the site where he proposed building a national boys camp. Watters, like Jimmy Stewart's senator, exudes an enthusiasm and idealism whether he's talking about legislative tactics, James Madison or pheasant hunting. Read More »
Robb Watters Elected to Board of Trustees of The George Washington University Medical Faculty Associates
October 7, 2005
The George Washington University Medical Faculty Associates (MFA) is pleased to announce the election of Robb Watters to its Board of Trustees. Watters will add more depth and experience to the already great wealth of knowledge serving on the MFA Board today.
Watters focuses on the development and implementation of legislative strategies, analyzing and monitoring legislative and agency activity, organizing lobbying campaigns and working with government officials. He executes these services for individuals, businesses, corporations and governments. His practice includes Fortune 500 companies, Business Associations, and municipal governments. In 2003, Watters was appointed an ISAC Consultant on Trade Matters by Secretary of Commerce Don Evans and the United States Trade Representative Ambassador Robert Zoellick. Read More »
Katrina and the Lobbyists
September 12, 2005
Washington Post By Judy Sarasohn
The star-studded (by Washington standards, that is) fundraiser last week at the home of PR and lobbying maven Gloria Dittus brought in nearly $300,000 for five different Hurricane Katrina relief groups. Notable attendees included Lindy Boggs, the former Congresswoman, ambassador to the Vatican and Pelican State native, as well as her daughter Cokie Roberts of ABC News; former Sen. John Breaux (D-La.); and former Reps.-turned-lobbyists Bob Livingston (R-La.), Billy Tauzin (R-La.) and John; Disney's top lobbyist Preston Padden; International Dairy Foods Association CEO Connie Tipton; and H. Stewart Van Scoyoc, owner of Van Scoyoc Associates. Corporate contributors included BellSouth, Pfizer, the American Beverage Association and Exxon Mobil. What had been planned as a quiet dinner with Dittus and the Tauzins morphed into a 280-person shindig that included an emotional speech from Tauzin. "Thank you for caring, thank you for sharing," he told the crowd assembled on Dittus' patio. "You haven't seen the worst of it... But don't count Louisiana, Alabama and the Mississippi Gulf Coast out. We're comin' back." Dittus, who traveled over Labor Day weekend with a team of volunteers and supplies to the Gulf region, added: "It's an honor to be an American today. Thank you again for digging deep." The funds that lobbyists donated to as part of the effort were the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund, the American Red Cross, Alabama Governor's Emergency Relief, Mississippi Hurricane Fund and the Louisiana Disaster Recovery Fund. "It is a terrible tragedy that has befallen the earth," said lobbyist Robb Watters, who, along with his colleague and wife, Blair Watters, served on the event's host committee. "It's wonderful that the Washington business community can come together in a bipartisan nature. I hope we can help everyone who has been displaced."
April 21, 2005
Roll Call By Kate Ackley
Meanwhile... The technology association CapNet has tapped lobbyist and one-time Congressional aide Robb Watters to run its political action committee. Watters, who is president of the Madison Group, said, "I look forward to leading an aggressive fundraising campaign that will assist Members of Congress and Senators who are pro-technology."
Tim Hugo recently left his post as CapNet president to focus on a lobbying career, and he has affiliated the Tim Hugo Group with the Madison Group.
April 20, 2005
CapNet announced Wednesday that Shane Tews, director of government relations for VeriSign, and Robb Watters, president of the lobbying firm Madison Group, will run the high-tech lobbying group's political action committee (PAC). Watters will serve as the chairman of the group's PAC and Tews will hold the position of policy chairwoman. "We are asking our members to help us build a more unified, more cohesive message through aggressive fundraising, which will strengthen the influence of the technology community," Watters said in a statement.
Hill leery of Dulles site
June 27, 2004
The Washington Times By Eric Fisher
Baseball advocates on both sides of the Potomac River have spent years trying to convey how much the Washington area has evolved from its status as merely a government town.
Despite its renaissance, the local area still receives a sizable jolt of energy from Capitol Hill. Hotels, restaurants, cab drivers, caterers, all three area airports and countless other establishments rise and fall on what the federal government is doing both day and night » Read More »
Taking the Watters
June 23, 2004
Off the Record
Blair Watters, most recently director of special projects for the House Democratic Caucus, is joining the Madison Group in July as executive vice president. At the Madison Group, she will focus on technology, budget, and commerce matters for the firm’s clients such as Intuit Inc. and SAS. “She will bring a wealth of information and contacts to our firm,” says Madison Group President Robb Watters, who is married to Watters. For the Democratic Caucus, Watters, 29, assisted Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) on the House floor. She has also previously served as deputy chief of staff to Rep. Karen McCarthy (D-Mo.). Robb Watters says the firm, which he founded in January after leaving Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, will make two more hires next month.
Lobbyists Play the Waiting Game as Gridlock Deepens
June 23, 2004
Influence Magazine By Kate Ackley
As a stalled Congress puts damper on business development, creativity is key for government relations specialists
With bitter partisanship on Capitol Hill, a presidential election on the way, and most members’ attention focused on the war in Iraq, Congress is as gridlocked as ever. But that doesn’t mean the advocacy business grinds to a halt » Read More »
Love You, Hate Your Politics
What happens when donkeys and elephants date
February 12, 2004
Capital Living By Betsy Rothstein and Sarah Bouchard
When Stephen Woodward, a medical researcher in Dupont Circle, began dating Jim one spring, nothing seemed to threaten their blossoming relationship. Woodward, a hardened liberal Democrat, didn't even notice that his new beau was a right-wing Republican ». Read More »