The Hill: Lobby firm toasts to four years on K Street

By Megan Wilson

Some of Capitol Hill and K Street’s biggest players came together on Wednesday night, as lobby firm S-3 Group threw a massive bash to celebrate its four-year anniversary and hire of Rob Collins earlier this year.

The party — held at dual-floored Stanton & Greene, a bar and restaurant on Pennsylvania Avenue, Southeast, steps from Capitol Hill — began at 5 p.m. and went into the early morning. 

Lobbyists at the firm, John ScofieldMike FerenceMartin Delgado and Collins all sported custom S-3 belt buckles, and bartenders poured a “Rob Collins” signature cocktail – made with vodka, cranberry juice, triple sec and grapefruit juice – into logo-branded red cups. 

Upstairs, a band called Detached Retina, which was formed by employees of the Arlington, Va.-based consulting firm Excella Consulting, played covers of Billboard hits.

“Four years feels pretty good,” Scofield said. “People came for the belt buckles and stayed for the music.”

S-3 Group, made up of former Republican aides, earned almost $4 million in lobbying revenue last year, according to disclosure records. It's currently on pace to exceed that this year, banking about $1.2 million in the first three months of 2015 alone. Clients include Google, General Dynamics, Halliburton, United Launch Alliance, Koch Industries, the National Association of Broadcasters, General Motors and Academi, formerly known as Blackwater, among many others. 

Collins joined the firm in January after serving as the executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. 

More than a dozen members of Congress made an appearance to support the boutique lobby firm, including House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Chief Deputy Whip Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Sens. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), and Reps. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) and David Valadao (R-Calif.). 

Some of the more than 50 congressional staffers spotted in the crowd: Jeff Morehouse, chief of staff to Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas); Stoney Burke, chief of staff to freshman Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas); Jonathan Day, chief of staff to Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), Jordan Stoick, chief of staff to Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.); several aides for the House Appropriations and Natural Resources committees; Tim Pataki, a staffer at the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

GOP Leadership aides from both chambers were also well represented, such as Neil Chatterjee, senior aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.); several aides to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), including policy advisers Brad Bailey and Maryam BrownJohn Stipicevic, the floor director for the House majority leader; and McCarthy's press secretary Mike Long; McHenry’s chief of staff, Parker Poling; and staffers from Majority Whip Steve Scalise's (R-La.) office, including chief of staff Lynnel Ruckert, Floor Director Chris Hodgson and Deputy Communications Director TJ Tatum.

Jeff Shockey, a former name partner at the firm who left earlier this year to work for the House Intelligence Committee, also came to party with his former colleagues.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a K Street event without some of Washington’s most powerful movers and shakers — such as former Gov. Haley Barbour, now a lobbyist at BGR Group; John Shank and John Blazey of Boeing; Google lobbyist Seth Webb; Mike Henry of Alpine Group; Aaron Cutler, a lobbyist at Hogan Lovells; Shimmy Stein of West Front Strategies; Kenny Day, who heads up political ad sales for Yahoo; Ron and Sara Bonjean; Joe Wall and Mike Thompson of Goldman Sachs; Amos Snead of Bryant Row; Valerie Nelson of Dentons; Rory Cooper from Purple Strategies; The Internet Association President and CEO Michael Beckerman; and Matt Haller from the International Franchise Association.