Government Relations & Administrative Law
Federal Government Relations

Former U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley has a key role in the Nelson Mullins government relations practice. As the longest-serving secretary (eight years) in that department’s history, and as Governor of South Carolina for two terms (eight years), he enjoys widespread personal and professional respect throughout the country for his bipartisan statesmanship and ability to achieve successful outcomes.

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom Philip Lader brings federal government service and domestic and international business expertise to our practice. In addition to his four years at the Court of St. James’s, he served as the U.S. Small Business Administrator, White House Deputy Chief of Staff, Deputy Director for Management of O.M.B., and held several college and business presidencies.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Canada David H. Wilkins offers experience on a wide range of strategic bilateral issues and also chairs the Public Policy and International Law Practice Group. Before being tapped as ambassador, he practiced law for 34 years and served in the S.C. House of Representatives for 25 years. He served as Speaker of the S.C. House of Representatives for 11 years. He is joined on the team by Senior Advisor Christy Cox and Special Advisor Ashley Martin Aldebol.

Robert B. Crowe served as co-chairman for Finance for the Democratic National Committee during the 2004 Presidential campaign. He serves as the co-chairman of Senator John Kerry’s Finance Committee and PAC. He is also a member of the Finance Committees of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Congressman Michael Capuano and many local officeholders.

Former Congressman Ron Klink maintains close, personal relationships with members of both the United States House and Senate, as well as the various federal agencies, to successfully effect regulatory reform for clients and to steer federal dollars to them. He served four terms representing the 4th Congressional District of Pennsylvania. His knowledge of the federal legislative process has made him a well-known entity on Capitol Hill. To read Mr. Klink's full biography, click here.

Leo Coco, a Senior Policy Advisor in the Washington office, has more than 20 years of Congressional and Executive branch experience. As Chief of Staff to several House members, Staff Director of the Subcommittee on the Legislative Process and senior staff in the House Caucus and Whip organizations, he has broad knowledge of Congress at every level and excellent working relationships with Members and staff.

Christopher T. Cushing has more than 20 years of experience in the nation's capital. Mr. Cushing represents clients in transactions and investments in which there is an interaction among political, business, regulatory, and legal environments. His clients include multinational corporations, nonprofit organizations, state and local governments, major trade associations, and domestic and foreign start-up ventures. 

Joseph M. Donovan is a Managing Director of the Federal Strategies Team and assists clients in areas such as defense, higher education and energy. Mr. Donovan interacts regularly with the New England Congressional delegation as well as state officials in Massachusetts on behalf of his clients. He previously served as Director of Communications for the Executive Office of Economic Development in the administration of Governor Mitt Romney and provided counsel to four secretariats and 17 agencies and offices..

Craig H. Metz, a partner in the Washington office, advises a range of clients, with emphasis in the areas of appropriations and defense. His background has provided him with the skills to craft successful strategies for enabling clients to achieve their objectives throughout the federal government. With more than 20 years of experience in federal legislative, regulatory, and agency adjudicative operations. Prior to going into private practice, Mr. Metz represented the federal government relations interests of the EMC Corporation (EMC), in Washington, D.C., for almost six years. EMC, a Boston-area based Fortune 500 company, is a global leader in information technology systems and services. Mr. Metz was chief of staff to the late Congressman Floyd Spence (R-SC), for eight years.

Partner David Quam provides clients with coordinated state and federal policy solutions, strategy, and representation, combined with knowledge in high-level policy negotiations, presidential and gubernatorial transitions, legislative drafting and process, state government, tax, intellectual property rights, homeland security, telecommunications, electronic commerce, international trade and investment, National Guard, education, Medicaid, regulatory reform, insurance, the Constitution, and veterans affairs. He has previously held leadership positions with the National Governors Association.

Vinoda Basnayake assists foreign governments and international corporations in legislative and policy matters. In addition to his international experience, Mr. Basnayake has strong local connections within the Washington DC community. He chairs the Firm's District of Columbia Government Relations Practice.

Of counsel Rob Hawkins practices in the areas of DC government relations, administrative law, federal government relations, and public relations strategies. His background is in District of Columbia government, having served as Deputy Chief of Staff and Communications Director to the Mayor as well as Special Counsel and Deputy General Counsel to the Mayor of Washington, DC. He also has served as Legislative and Communications Director for a variety of legislative committees.

Policy Advisor Justin Meyers assists clients with federal government matters including legislative and regulatory issues. He focuses on energy, environmental, and climate change policy. He also works on U.S.-Canada strategic bilateral issues with former United States Ambassador to Canada David H. Wilkins.

Government Relations Consultant Connie Myers brings a wealth of legislative and executive branch experience to the Firm.  With prior service in the Majority Whip offices of the U.S. House of Representatives and as Chief of Staff for Intergovernmental Relations at the U.S. Department of Education, she organizes strategies to gain legislative and executive branch support for client issues and requests.

Jennifer L. Pharaoh has more than 15 years of experience in the public policy and political arenas, including positions on Capitol Hill, in the Executive Branch, and national political campaigns. As a senior aide on Capitol Hill, she designed and managed the policy agendas for members of Congress, successfully navigating legislation and appropriations projects through the political and legislative process. In addition, she served as primary staff liaison to the House Democratic Leadership, the New Democratic Network, and the Blue Dog Coalition. She previously served in the administration of President William J. Clinton. Ms. Pharaoh's political campaign experience includes six years with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Most recently, she was Deputy National Finance Director, Women for Kerry-Edwards 2004.