News & Politics

Trump-Connected Lobbyist Hires a Handful of Democrats

Brian Ballard is hoping that he can continue to cash in during the Joe Biden years.

Photograph by wellesenterprises/iStock.

A Trump-connected lobbyist who became one of Washington’s most sought-after influence peddlers over the past four years has hired a handful of Democrats, as he readies the firm for the post-Trump era.

Brian Ballard, who served as Trump’s lobbyist in Florida long before the 2016 presidential campaign, opened an office in Washington after Trump’s surprise victory, according to Politico. Within a little more than a year, he’d landed more than 60 new clients and emerged, according to Politico, as “The Most Powerful Lobbyist in Trump’s Washington.”

For Ballard, however, the next four years won’t be so welcoming. The firm’s continued success will depend on its ability to advance the interests of its clients at a time when Democrats will control the White House and (at least) the House of Representatives.

To that end, Ballard on Tuesday announced that the firm had hired Courtney Whitney, who’d been a consultant to PrioritiesUSA Action—a super PAC that supported Joe Biden during the 2020 election—as a partner in the Washington and Miami offices, according to a press release from the firm. The firm also hired Ana Cruz, a former Senate aide who oversaw the Biden’s campaigns efforts in the Tampa Bay area during the final weeks of the race, and Stephanie Grutma, a former senior Democratic House aide.

The news of Ballard’s new hires was first reported by Ken Vogel of the New York Times.

Ballard says the effort to reposition his business for Biden’s Washington is ongoing. “In the weeks ahead,” he said in a statement included in the press release, “we will make additional announcements as we continue to grow our firm’s ability to effectively advocate on both sides of the aisle in our nation’s capital.”

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Senior Writer

Luke Mullins is a senior writer at Washingtonian magazine focusing on the people and institutions that control the city’s levers of power. He has written about the Koch Brothers’ attempt to take over The Cato Institute, David Gregory’s ouster as moderator of NBC’s Meet the Press, the collapse of Washington’s Metro system, and the conflict that split apart the founders of Politico.